Life as a over the road trucker can be quite tough, even for us seasoned drivers who have been at it a number of years. Besides long hours sitting behind the wheel staring through a bug splattered windshield while our hip flexors are trying their best to to atrophy, we are often bored out of our blooming minds or dealing with a million stresses which can affect our well being.
Worries about our families at home.
Pissed about running behind schedule because your load was finished late. Or maybe the loader had no regard for what it was going to require to unload the freight. On my job, we unload up to 40,000 lbs of freight each trip out. My driving job is physically demanding.
As a professional driver, I deal with a lot of issues the normal motorist does not. My truck weighs 80,000 lbs and can take the length of a football field to stop from 55 miles per hour. We get motorists who area angry if they have been stuck behind us who will then break check us once they get around our rigs. Never mind how incredibly dangerous this act is to all in the vicinity.
Besides all the hazards of the road, motorists, animals, weather conditions et al, we also have federal laws which govern all that we do, including the hours of service we put in on any given day. We have mandatory breaks which must be taken with no regard to where we may be at the time. Sometimes, you are just not in a safe place to pull your rig over, and this results in a log book violation if you press on to a safe place. You can do all the pre-planning in the world, but there are many obstacles which can ruin your plan.
I often get asked about how I manage to eat on the road and remain fit and trim. The answer is simple, I pre-plan for every day and night spent on the road. I pre-measure and prepare healthy meals for the road. I pre-plan physical fitness exercises and execute my plan religiously. No excuses, ever. Not for anyone. I treat my physical fitness with the same importance as I do my job as without being physically fit, I would soon find myself looking at a different career path. I love my work, and will remain with it until I make the choice to move on.
As for the topic of meals, as with at home, I eat high protein and low carb meals. I also practice intermittent fasting, how ever, I do not do fasting seven days a week any longer as being at 9% body fat, I do not desire to lose any further weight. I almost never purchase anything from a truck stop to eat while on the road. There are too many bad choices at them all. I will get back to truck stops though.
For my road food, I pack nothing but healthy choices in my cooler. I use low carb/low calorie bread for sandwiches such as Sara Lee 45 calorie whole grain bread or Natures Own whole grain bread with zero sugar. I use these breads instead of white bread as the carbs in white bread are a trigger for me and will cause me to get terrible cravings.
I make my sandwiches with a lean protein source such as Boarshead Tavern Ham or their Salsalito Turkey breast. These meats are lean and also low in calories.
I will also pack a good protein bar which is sugar free and very low in carbs. I like the Think Thin protein bars as they are filling and pretty tasty, while not being sweet. You have to watch the labels on protein bars as a lot of them are nothing more than glorified candy bars. If they have more than a couple grams of carbs to them, I treat them like garbage, the same as a Snickers Bar.
Nuts are a constant staple in my lunch box, specifically almonds which are one of the healthiest you can consume. Eggs are a constant too. I always boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, bag them and then season them with random seasonings I have in my pantry in order to keep a different flavor profile going with them.
Last, but not least, I pack a protein shake in my cooler too. I will use 12 oz of 2% milk, a scoop of protein powder, 2 tbsp whey protein, 2 tbsp powdered peanut butter, 2 tbsp of coconut oil and 2 raw eggs for a thick and silky smooth shake.
These foods are all healthy and will keep me satiated while not causing me to get cravings for junk food. Junk food is the worse trap you can fall into as a trucker. You will find your ass has gotten fat and out of shape and then sweating out being able to pass your Department of Transportation physical every 2 years,or yearly if you have a health condition which warrants yearly. High blood pressure being one of the conditions.
It is rare that I ever purchase anything other than fuel or coffee from a truck stop. There are so many bad choices to be found. Some truck stops have Cinnabon kiosks situated directly in front of their coffee. It can be hard for many to resist, the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls hitting you the moment you walk through the doors. There is also an endless supply of chips, candy, cookies, roller dogs, soda pop and on and on with the garbage.
If you look close enough though, you can find healthier choices in truck stops, but it may take some patience and effort. If you are on the road, whether in a semi or or personal vehicle with the family and must stop for food, some truck stop restaurants will have a few menu items which are healthy enough. Sometimes, you can find fresh fruit, salads, and boiled eggs out where the packaged foods can be found. Beef jerky can be a decent choice providing it is not made with too much sugar and sodium. Watch the carb content of protein bars and you will be fine until you can get home or somewhere with better choices.
As truckers, we are always under the gun to meet a schedule. Therefore, too many find themselves eating like crap out of convenience. If you have a trucker in your life, know that the day of the fat out of shape driver is quickly coming to an end. DOT physical standards are getting tougher and if you can not pass your physical, then you are done as a driver until you can. If you are too far gone being out of shape, then you could easily lose everything you have worked hard for by the time you can get your weight back down and your health in order. It is not uncommon to see a driver sweating out being able to pass his or her physical. To me, this stress of uncertainty just is not worth it…