You see, I'm a truck driver and I'm on the road - a lot. Finding time to fit in workouts is tough. Eating properly is tougher still. But I'm committed and I'm making it work. I'll tell you how.
I'm luckier than most over the road drivers in that I'm home every other day. I drive at night though, so I'm supposed to get my sleep during the day. Some people can do that. I'm not one of them. I can't sleep worth a darn during the day. So while the experts tell us we must get eight hours of quality sleep each day to function, I slip by hoping for four to five hours.
I guess I've grown accustomed to sleep deprivation because I manage to do my job and get my workouts in on way less than the magical eight hours. The secret for me is - NAPS. I take lots of 15-30 minute 'power naps.' Don't laugh. They work. Anyway, I'm building muscle and trimming fat on 4-to-5 hours of sleep per day.
My training schedule is built around my job. I wanted to fit in four workouts a week. With my schedule, here is how I do it. Monday is lower body day. With me, lower body means thighs, leg biceps, and calves. And, to help keep my workouts to around an hour, I also do my arms on this day. That's biceps and triceps. At the end of every workout I do my abs as well.
Out And Back
Since I'm "out and back" on Monday night (meaning I drive to a certain point and return in one 'shift'), Tuesday morning is my next workout day and it's upper body day. Upper body means chest, back, and shoulders. I finish off with abs again and this takes me around an hour. Tuesday morning is usually my worst morning energy-wise so it may take more than an hour, but not more than maybe 10-15 minutes longer.
I'm on the road again Thursday night and don't see the gym until Saturday morning when I again hit the upper body and abs.
On my job, when I arrive at my destination on 2-day trips my company puts me up in a hotel for the day. Lucky for me it's a pretty classy joint and they have an exercise room. No weights but they do have a stationary bike, two treadmills, and a stair stepper (and an indoor pool!).
So I bring my workout wear and take advantage of their equipment for a pretty good cardio workout. Lately I've been using the pool as well. When I get back to my room I've got a series of ab exercises I do. These are left over from physical therapy when I found out I had a herniated disk in 1998. While doing these exercises I usually watch the "Gladiators" on TV for added inspiration - ha.
As I mentioned above, eating right is even harder than keeping up with a workout schedule when I'm on the road. If you've ever stopped at a truck stop you know what I mean. There are aisles and aisles of junk food. And not just your garden variety of chips and crackers and candy, but Super Sized everything.
Two and 3-pound bags of every kind of chip known to man. Huge extra-sized candy bars. Quart sized soft drink containers. And fat truck drivers lining up at the check out counter with shopping bags full of this stuff. Next time you pass a truck (or a truck passes you …), try to get a look at the dashboard. Most likely you'll see a huge bag of chips nestled up there right by the steering wheel. That's the mainstay of far too many drivers, sad to say.
If you go into an actual truck stop restaurant you'll see a menu chock full of high-fat, high-carb stuff that just makes matters worse. And it's hard for drivers to go anywhere else because they have to be able to park their 'big trucks' quickly, wolf down a meal, and get back on the road. So driving around town looking for the local "Good Earth" restaurant is out of the question. I feel for these guys.
But, there is something that can be done - and I'm doing it. Again, I'm lucky to be home every other day so the solution has been relatively easy for me. Every Monday morning I grill up about a half dozen skinless chicken breasts (or 'chicken chests' as my wife calls them). These I refrigerate until I need them.
Every trip I take a sliced 'chest,' a container of low fat cottage cheese, a container of my private tuna concoction (which consists of one can of Albacore tuna, two chopped hard boiled egg whites, and a 1/2 cup of non-fat yogurt). One apple and one 'meal replacement bar.' This stuff will keep me going all night (except for the coffee I buy at my favorite truck stop).
On my two-night trips I just double the above and add a 'leftover' meal I'll have in the hotel room. My wife always makes enough dinner so I have leftovers to take with me. My classy hotel also has microwaves in the rooms (along with refrigerators and coffee makers) so I can reheat my leftover dinner stuff when I wake up.
All the remaining food that was in my cooler I put in the reefer in the room for safekeeping. The hotel lets me put my "blue ice" in their freezer so when I get ready to go I've got 'fresh' ice. For me, this is the ideal situation. For true "over-the-road" drivers who are out for weeks at a time, something else would have to be done - but it can be done. Most guys have coolers and microwaves in their trucks so with some slight modifications this plan could work for them as well.
And of course, I always have a jug of water with me. I'm constantly slugging down water.
Training And Trucking
So there it is. This is how I combine training with trucking. I don't have to have the 'magical' eight hours of sleep (though I'd definitely get that if I could!), and I don't have to be home for dinner each and every night in order to build the body I want. I've figured out how to eat right in my situation and fit in workouts that build muscle.
I do, however, have to be dedicated because sometimes when I get home, the last thing I feel like doing is going out to the gym and pumping iron. I want to check my email - and go to bed. But I slam down a protein drink, some creatine, and hit it. After a couple sets my blood is flowing and I'm into it! It's amazing.
Some of my best workouts ended up being days when I almost said, "screw it" and went to bed. But I never actually pass on a workout. As we all know, it's far too easy to blow a workout, and once you do that, it's just too easy to blow more workouts, and before you know it you're no longer working out.
Keep on truckin'!