Archive for the ‘Physical Health OTR’ Category

August 24th, 2017

Those of us deep in the trenches of a weight loss battle are well aware that to achieve the goal of a healthy lifestyle, it will require getting out of our comfort zone primarily adding an activity into your schedule. The career of a professional driver brings its own set of challenges.  Let’s say, you belong to those who have committed to making a change.  In spite of the odd schedule you keep, you’ve masterfully incorporated into your day a 20 – 30 minute time slot either before or after delivering.  You are consistent and get in a bit of exercise.  You are a member of the few who have made the commitment and are quite proud of this positive change in your life.

It has been a solid two months and you are feeling great and are frankly amazed that you’ve stuck to it this long. However, the pride you feel is clouded by a bit of frustration. It is only human to be impatient. As rational individuals, we did not expect our weight to start dropping the first week or two, but surely after two months? It appears as if you’ve only dropped the same couple of pounds which seem to fluctuate up and down. Coincidentally, you begin to feel better. You have more energy and your sleep is better. So, what gives? Why am I not losing weight?

Fact: While exercise helps tremendously with your health journey, it alone cannot do the job of losing it. The list of benefits you get from exercise is long, astonishing in fact, but to lose weight, we have to cut calories. No surprise right?

Understandably, your first impulse is to rationalize that consistent activity should now give you a pass to eat like you’ve always eaten and somehow things will sort themselves out…eventually. Admittedly, there are some people, who without changing their diet at all would, in theory, lose weight. These individuals would have to exercise a whole lot. As a driver, you’d be hard pressed to find the time to squeeze intense training of this sort into your day.

Michael Joyner, a Mayo Clinic researcher who studies how people respond to the stress of exercise, states: “The key for weight loss is to generate and maintain a calorie deficit,” he adds, “It’s pretty easy to get people to eat 1,000 calories less per day, but to get them to do 1,000 calories per day exercise – walking 10 miles – is daunting at many levels, including time and motivation.”

This is when educating yourself on how many calories are in your food selections is critical. For example, a single piece of chocolate cake is between 200 – 500 calories. Most people will burn roughly 100 calories for every mile of walking (with some variations). This gives you an idea how long it will take you to burn off that slice of cake.

The good news? The exercise you’re doing is singlehandedly the BEST thing you can do for yourself. You will improve your health in several ways.

It strengthens your heart and lungs. It reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that include high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Running strengthens your bones and muscles. Having strong bones prevents osteoporosis. We’ve all heard of older individuals breaking a hip. Strong bones comes from weight-bearing activities. Walking counts too, you can run when you feel up to it, but walking is great too.

Exercise lifts your mood and helps keep your thinking and judgment skills sharp. This is critical to the professional driver.

Exercise will help you live longer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who work out for about 7 hours a week have a 40% lower risk of dying early as compared to those who exercise less than 30 minutes a week.

The takeaway: Stay the course and exercise consistently. Begin to focus on a reduction of calories in your diet. Knowledge is power, download an app to help you track what you’re currently eating (like MyFitnessPal or Lose It). You will be surprised at the number of calories being consumed. In order to maintain your current weight, you have to continue to consume that same number of calories. Once you see what you are consuming, reduce that number by 500 and stay there for a week before coming down again. An average woman needs to eat about 2000 calories per day to maintain, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average man needs 2500 calories to maintain, and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week. Once again, multiple factors come into play, but you get the idea.

Congratulations on your commitment to improve your health. Stay the course. Never stop learning. Be patient and you will reap the rewards of your effort.

July 28th, 2017

James Smith has been driving for CFI as an Independent Contractor since 2015. While most drivers sit behind the wheel of a an 18-wheeler, Smith prefers his 20-wheeler. Smith built a lift on the back of his truck for his Harley Davidson so he is always able to pursue his passion.

How long have you been driving? 32 years and I seem to learn [new] stuff all of the time.

What made you pursue this career path? I got talked into it at a young age and kind of fell in love with it. I get to travel all over the country and I get paid to see all kinds of cool stuff. I liked this job so much I got my son into it. He actually drives for CFI too and lives down in Laredo. I have to laugh because most people pay thousands of dollars to travel overseas for vacation, but there are so many awesome things to do here in the United States. I actually ended up at Mt. Rushmore at the 20th Anniversary and ran into a guy who worked on it. That was really cool. There is more to see in this country then you know.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned over the years? Patience. Most of the guys laugh at me because [when] I hit traffic jams I don’t care. I just kind of relax and pull through it. I don’t let any of this upset me. Something else I would [say] is time management. If you can’t get that right you’re going to screw up every aspect of this job.

What is your favorite aspect of driving? The travel part of it. I get to meet a lot of really cool people and if I had a chance I would do this all over again.

Hobbies? I’ve been riding since I was 16. My dad was Harley man as far back as I can remember. My brothers and I all ride and meet up when we can to go riding. I have three children, two sons and a daughter, and the only one that doesn’t ride is my middle son. I have always had a bike on the truck. I worked with a moving company for 16 years and when I did that I could just put my bike in the trailer. When I started hauling freight I did some research and ended up building a lift for my Harley. I like taking the bike because [I think] you need to get away from the truck. I’ll usually have to do a 34 hour restart after six days and when that happens I will take the bike off the truck and just go. One of my favorite rides is from Miami, Florida and driving down to the Keys. Driving down that stretch of highway with the ocean on both sides, doesn’t get any better than that.

Would you say it’s important for professional drivers to have hobbies outside the truck? Absolutely. The biggest thing is to try and stay healthy so you can enjoy your hobbies. Choose a parking spot far away from the building and walk around the building a couple of times before going in. Sitting in the truck all of the time will make you crazy and hate the job. I don’t eat bread or drink, but I do smoke so I make sure I walk a lot during the day. When I stop for the day I don’t just sit in the truck. Doing a pre-trip inspection two or three times a day gives you another reason to get out and walk around. I would also add that you need to make sure your hobbies don’t interfere with your job. For example, an Xbox is one of the worst hobbies you can have because it doesn’t get you out of your truck. I have guys tell me they were late to a customer because they got caught up playing a game or overslept because they stayed up too late the night before playing games. You need fresh air, you need move around.

Why do you like to ride? You get to meet a lot of cool people. Like I said, my kids love to ride. In fact, my son took a ride with some people up to New Jersey and I rode up and met them. I usually go up to D.C. and ride in the Rolling Thunder, which is a ride for Veterans. A couple of weeks ago I ended up in Yuma and the Harley dealership there was having a poker run, so I took the bike off for a couple of hours and then came back to the truck. [Riding] is addictive. You meet some really cool people. I have brothers that live in Maryland when I get out that way that’s what we do, we plan to ride. Down in Laredo, there are about five of us with bikes and we like to meet up to ride. The terminal manager down there ended up making a motorcycle parking area just for us.

Favorite place you visited: Arizona. You can be in Phoenix and go to Flagstaff and it’s like you changed countries. You go from desert and rock formations to bears, elk, buffalo and hundred foot trees. The world changes in just five miles. It’s awesome. I try to work as hard as I can during the week so I have to do a 34 hour restart over the weekend.

Advice for others: Keep your mind open. Never be afraid to ask a question. The second you think you know everything about this job you need to get out of the truck because that is when you get reckless.

Don’t always stop at the same stop. When you can, try to go someplace different so you have something new to look at. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to learn about the country, you just have to keep an eye open.

July 24th, 2017

Feeling the summer slump? As the temperature rises, working out becomes less appealing and the in-cab air conditioning calls your name. Don’t forget your former healthy habits! To get back to routine, here is your motivational to-do list:

  1. Sacrifices will be made. On your time, energy and food. This seems like common sense right? You aren’t taking the easy way out, time to get up and get moving.
  2. You must be consistent. If your effort is sporadic, it will reflect on your body. Results are based on long term effort…not what you did for three weeks.
  3. Motivation will wane. It is inevitable, there will be days where you’d rather throw in the towel. DON’T. Go to the gym, get moving and do it regardless of your lacking motivation.
  4. Perfection need not apply. Don’t even try it as no one is perfect. Instead, improve on what YOU did last week. That is sufficient.
  5. Results will vary. At times, you will be able to measure lost inches and at other times you will remain unchanged. The scale is not the ultimate judge of success. Hide it, it does more damage than good.
  6. Prioritize your hydration. It is easy to become dehydrated in the summer heat. Stay ahead of those muscle cramps by drinking water. It should be as routine as a pre-trip.
  7. Get creative. Let’s face it, you’re in a truck, time to improvise. Find work out tips and tricks from your fellow professional drivers.

This list is your groundwork and now for the heart of it:

Nutrition. Everything you eat is made up of calories. The amount you consume will determine if you lose, maintain or gain. You don’t have to eliminate a complete food group. Keep it simple, eat a protein about the size of your palm, with each meal. Fill up half of your plate with veggies. Don’t waste your money on supplements.

Exercise. In the gym, it is usually divided by the cardio section and the weights section. Cardio (treadmill, elliptical, bikes) – important for heart health and endurance. Weight training – any activity that forces you to use your muscles against an external resistance. The more muscle you build the higher your metabolism and the faster your metabolism is, the faster your weight loss will be.

How much time? 1-3 cardio sessions per week (for at least 20 minutes in duration). Weight training – 2-4 days a week (perform 3-6 exercises per workout at 10-12 repetitions each).

That’s it. Make good choices to go on your plate. Train consistently and with gusto! Start today. Give yourself time and judge your results by what you see in the mirror. Happy healthy journey!