While he was in school studying to get his physical therapy degree, Mark Manera interned at a health clinic in Southern Missouri. During his internship, Mark saw many OTR truckers as patients who were struggling to exercise and eat healthy. The average life expectancy of a trucker is 16 years less than the rest of the population. Many of the truckers Mark met said that they didn’t feel they could prove that statistic wrong, and that they’d totally given up on even trying to eat well and get exercise. They had come to accept that they were sacrificing years of their life for their profession — and didn’t think they could do anything about it. 

Workouts and Healthy Eating Tips Made for Truckers

Mark and two of his physical therapist colleagues started their company, The Trucking Fitness Company, in order to change that. They saw that the reason why many workout plans and diets don’t work for truckers is because they don’t take into account the limitations of a trucker’s lifestyle. Your downtime as a trucker is limited and you have little space in which to workout. Your schedule also is unpredictable, which makes exercising regularly and eating healthy hard. Based on their previous experiences working with truckers, Mark and the cofounders of The Trucking Fitness Company built an exercise program specifically for truck drivers. 

“A lot of the truckers we work with think can’t do anything about their health,” says Mark. “We’ve created an all online, app-based health coaching service that is customized for truckers. It’s important to get yourself moving first and to keep it simple. When you join the program, you receive resistance bands that you can use in your truck or outside your truck. The ideas is to take away barriers like not being able to park your truck at a gym or needing to drive to a gym to work out.”

Tips for Staying Healthy

If you’re struggling on where to start with exercising more and eating healthier food, Mark recommends that you start with small changes. This could be, for example, drinking a sugar free drink instead of a soda at the beginning of your day. Once you’ve gotten used to that, you can add something else, such as walking around the parking lot every time you stop at a rest area or doing a dozen sit-stand exercises every time you get out of the truck.

“When you try to change too much at once, it doesn’t stick,” Mark advises. “Instead, you can start by focusing on making small, lifestyle changes. If your only option is fast food, try to find the healthiest options. You don’t have to flip your whole life around. Just cutting down on portions or shifting to diet drinks can be life changing.”

“When you try to change too much at once, it doesn’t stick,” Mark advises. “Instead, you can start by focusing on making small, lifestyle changes. If your only option is fast food, try to find the healthiest options. You don’t have to flip your whole life around. Just cutting down on portions or shifting to diet drinks can be life changing.”

All of The Trucking Fitness Company’s workouts can completed in 30 minutes. The company’s app provides videos and written instructions on how to do each exercise. After doing a short warm up, Mark recommends several rounds of exercises like squats, sit-stands, overhead press, dips, banded rows and neck bends for truckers. 

In terms of healthy eating, Mark says portion control is a good place to start. Instead of counting calories, use your hand as a measurement. At every meal, aim to eat a lean protein portion that is the size of your palm. You can limit fats (like peanut butter) by only eating a portion the size of your thumb. Up your vegetable intake to one fist portion per meal and limit carbs at each meal to the size of your cupped hand.

To learn more about Mark and The Trucking Fitness Company, visit https://truckinfit.com or https://www.facebook.com/thetruckingfitnesscompany/

Looking for more healthy eating tips? Check out Meal Planning Tips for Life on the Road. To download Trucker Tools’ free driver app, visit https://www.truckertools.com/carriers/

Disclaimer: To reduce and avoid injury, check with your doctor before beginning any healthy eating or fitness program. By performing any of the exercises mentioned above, you are performing them at your own risk. Trucker Tools will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of the above health and fitness tips.