Over the last few months, NAL in partnership with over 30 fleets has been piloting a health and wellness program specifically developed for the trucking industry. So far, the results have been “quite impressive”, reports Aaron Lindsay, NAL’s Marketing Manager who has been heading up the pilot. “Everyone that completed the program so far has achieved some very impressive weight loss and overall wellness goals. There were even a few that reduced or eliminated certain medications” he added.
I had the privilege of speaking with one of the drivers recently who completed the 13 week Healthy Trucker pilot. Bill Hartman has been a company driver with TransPro Freight Systems Ltd, (Milton, ON) for 16 years and is very enthusiastic about the program already. Although he only started the program in early September he is already “down 35-40lbs, depending on the scale I am using” he enthusiastically reported. Bill’s initial consultation with our Registered Dietitian (RD) really got the ball rolling for him. “She really educated me on what to stay away from, what to eat, and when to eat” Hartman reported.
Changing his eating habits has also saved a ton of money. “She encouraged me to stop at a grocery store near the highway and load up on groceries for the week. When I cross the border my first stop is usually Walmart or Meijer so I can pick up enough food for my entire trip. I set a budget and rarely go over that budget so I’m even saving money. My truck is equipped with a good size fridge and a hot plate to make my meals. There is also a generator on the side of my truck to keep my idling down too. “
“Breakfast use to consist of the $12 all-you-can-eat buffet,” he suggested. “When I was spending that much, I felt obligated to get my monies worth so I would tend to scarf down as much as I could and then waddle my way out to the truck. Now breakfast consists of a couple bowls of oatmeal and a banana”, he points out, “I’m just as happy and I don’t feel the drag of a big breakfast anymore. His meals and snacks aren’t the only thing he changed. “Our company hooked us up with a membership at Goodlife Fitness clubs”. Goodlife has over 400 locations and they have certain memberships that allow you to use any location across Canada. Although they don’t have any location in the USA, there are a number of Truck stops like the TA (http://www.tatravelcenters.com/drivers/truck-drivers/services/stayfit) that offer work out facilities for reward members to use. Bill has a number of walk and run locations he likes to use when on the road, although he chooses not to venture too far from the truck in some of the States he hauls through.
Bill was not new to the gym as he used to have a membership at the YMCA but really didn’t get a chance to use it as he was rarely home. With Goodlife’s many locations (open 24 hours a day), he has “no excuses to not go.” Sometimes he finds himself there at 6pm, where this week he didn’t get there until 1AM. “Even though I didn’t get home until 3AM, I was still up at 8:30AM ready to go.
Losing all this weight has also had other benefits. “I’ve always been at the high normal for my cholesterol and blood pressure and was on the border of going on meds. My new family Doctor just informed me that I now have the blood pressure of a 20 year old” he proudly confirmed. Bill cut sugar out of his diet years ago. He still likes his diet soda, but tries to drink 3-4 bottles of water a day and even a bit of green tea.
Since losing all that weight, he’s found he has a lot more energy and can get up a lot earlier and not feel tired. He was quick to point out that he doesn’t consider what he is doing a “diet”. “Diets are something you go on and off,” he mentioned. “My wife is also watching what she eats and has already dropped more than 20 lbs. We are all just making better food choices”, he explained.
I asked him if he could give one piece of advice, what would it be? “Just get started….getting started is the key”. Once he made up his mind what he was going to do, “it wasn’t that difficult” he admitted. “All it took was a little commitment” he continued, “every couple of weeks she calls (his RD) and checks up with how I’m doing” which seemed to help keep him focused on my goals.
Based on the feedback received from the first survey, NAL will continue to make changes to the www.healthytrucker.com program. It’s not quite where we want it to be,” admitted Lindsay. “We still have some tweaking to make it more trucking friendly before it’s ready to launch out to the entire industry” early next spring.
About the Author
Glenn Caldwell is the Vice-President of Sales for NAL Insurance Inc. of London ON. For over 25 years, Glenn has worked closely with many fleets across the country to ensure their Owner/Operators have the protection they need to Keep Rollin’. You can reach him (800) 265 1657-3350 or firstname.lastname@example.org * www.nalinsurance.com * www.healthytrucker.com