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Andrea is the lead Nutritionist & Health Coach with Healthy Trucker, where she educates and motivates drivers and office staff across the industry to improve their health through simple, consistent changes in their diet and exercise routines. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about wellness and helping others reach their goals. At Healthy Trucker, she coordinates and administers various health programs and interactive challenges in order to provide wellness education and resources to the industry. Over the past four and a half years, she has coached hundreds of drivers and staff to lose thousands of pounds, reduce the need for medication, improve their energy, and regain their health. She can be reached at amorley@healthytrucker.com, or more information about Healthy Trucker can be found at www.healthytrucker.com

When trying to lose weight, it can be hard to know whether to focus on diet or exercise to get results, and what exercises you should actually be doing. This is especially true for drivers, who are dealing with challenging schedules and food options on the road.

Here’s how I often break it down: diet should be at least 2/3 of your focus, and exercise should be 1/3 of it.

This means that your diet plays a far bigger role in whether you’re losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight, but exercise is still crucial to getting the results you want – and it’s important for your health! So if you want to lose weight (and get healthy), start cleaning up your diet ASAP! This is going to mean smaller portions sizes if you’re overeating, less processed foods, and more fruits & veggies, as a starting point.

However, if you’re eating a very healthy diet but not exercising at all (or maybe just doing some walking), you may find that you still don’t have the body you’re after, even if you’ve lost weight. You will likely feel “soft” and thin, with little muscle mass or definition, and if you lose a lot of weight you may have some loose skin. When you add in strength-building exercise, you will gain muscle, improve your posture, and have better overall muscle definition. Building muscle also improves your metabolism and allows you to burn more calories, helping the excess weight to fall off. When combining this with proper nutrition, this is where your clothes will fit better, you’ll feel better, and people will start to notice how great you look!

Now, strength training doesn’t mean you have to become a body builder and dedicate your life to it. If you don’t have a lot of time to workout, try to commit to strength training at least 3 times a week, and the workouts don’t have to take up a lot of time. You can use your own body weight (think pushups, squats, burpees, etc) or use dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands to help you out (bonus: these are all small enough to travel with you in the truck – no excuses).  Just be consistent and make sure you are challenging your muscles!

Now, there are many other types of exercise that are incredible for your health, from walking to swimming, and from boxing to yoga. I encourage people to try and incorporate several types of exercise into their routine, but when your goal is weight loss, it helps to know what workouts will benefit you the most.

Many people assume cardio is best for weight loss, but running or walking at a steady pace will only burn a limited number of calories and it doesn’t build much strength, not to mention how boring it can be! Getting out for a walk is a great form of movement for your rest days, as it has countless health benefits and aids in recovery for those sore muscles!

Now, aside from regular weight lifting, there is a form of exercise that’s great for weight loss, will make the most of your limited time, and works to build muscle and shed fat…

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts fit this description, and they are the perfect workout for truckers! HIIT is a type of workout that alternates intense (heart pounding) moves with slower paced exercises, which forces your heart rate to rise and fall repeatedly.

The best part? HIIT workouts require very little time since they are intense, meaning you can be done in as little as 10 minutes. They also require little to no equipment so they can easily be done right beside your truck! Bonus: the time flies, and you’ll never get bored! You can amp the workouts up by using a set of dumbbells, a kettlebell, or a skipping rope, but they aren’t required either. The combination of workouts is endless, and they can include anything that challenges your strength and your lungs. Think of push ups, skipping, bicep curls, and jumping jacks.

Ready to try a HIIT workout? Head to Youtube or Google and search “Beginner HIIT workout” or add in any other specifications you may have, like “15 minutes” or “no equipment” based on your interest and needs. Try them out and workout them into your exercise routine. Have fun!

*Note: Always talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise routine.

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Andrea is the lead Nutritionist & Health Coach with Healthy Trucker, where she educates and motivates drivers and office staff across the industry to improve their health through simple, consistent changes in their diet and exercise routines. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, and is passionate about wellness and helping others reach their goals. At Healthy Trucker, she coordinates and administers various health programs and interactive challenges in order to provide wellness education and resources to the industry. Over the past four and a half years, she has coached hundreds of drivers and staff to lose thousands of pounds, reduce the need for medication, improve their energy, and regain their health. She can be reached at amorley@healthytrucker.com, or more information about Healthy Trucker can be found at www.healthytrucker.com