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A Trucker Explains How He Stays Fit and Healthy While Driving 4,000 Miles a Week – menshealth.com

Long-distance truck driver Carlos Soto spends upwards of 10 hours every day sitting down, traveling between 3,000 and 4,000 miles a week—not exactly conducive to a healthy or active lifestyle. As he tells Men’s Health, prioritizing his own wellbeing meant finding whatever opportunities he could to work out and eat better.

“As a trucker, all you do is pretty much eat, sleep and drive, and it’s easy to be unhealthy,” he says. “So many people in my line of work get knee problems, diabetes and have high blood pressure, because you’re not moving and eating crap. Your body just starts shutting down. It feels like that’s true for 90% of the industry. There’s a lot of truckers in their 30s or 40s who are already walking like 80-year-old men when they leave their truck, because they don’t walk or run or get any activity.”

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According to the NIH, 50 percent of truckers in the United States are obese. Determined to reduce his own risk of serious health problems, Carlos (who weighed 250 pounds) joined the Life Time fitness club so he could work out when not on the road. A longtime fan of bodybuilding, he focused on growing strength and muscle in addition to losing weight.

“My body fat went way down,” he says. “It was important for me to maintain muscle in my fitness journey, though. I do more heavy weights than cardio for my workouts, and my muscle has gone up as a result… I’ve been able, through workouts, to never have problems with my lower back. I’m sitting for 10 hours, so I often emphasize my quads through machine workouts and exercises like deadlifts and squats to keep them strong.”

Having lost 30 pounds and replaced some of his body fat with muscle mass, Carlos set himself an unconventional goal: to visit all 150 Life Time club venues across North America, fitting them into his travel schedule with work. “Sometimes it’s very hard, often the only time I have is around 2 to 4 in the morning,” he says. “Sometimes I’ll plan my routes to target 24 hour Life Time clubs. I try to get to Life Time the night before, park my truck, sleep in the parking lot and in the morning after 8 hours of sleep, I wake up, work out, get breakfast and hit the road for 10 more hours.”

He also made some serious changes to his nutrition, cutting out the fast food that made up a large proportion of his diet, and prepping meals to take on the road with him instead. “Right now my favorite foods are things like fish and brown rice, sweet potatoes,” he says. “No bread or pasta. I include a gallon of water every day. I also have a supply of healthy snacks and supplements that I keep in my truck with me.”

carlos soto, life time

Life Time

Carlos has found that making a concerted effort to fit exercise and a healthier diet into his lifestyle, while still fulfilling his work responsibilities, has yielded more results than mere weight loss or muscle growth.

“I feel amazing these days,” he says. “My energy levels and strength after many years are totally different. I’m stronger and healthier, even after so many years of driving. I wanted to shock the stereotype of all truck drivers being out of shape… My ultimate goal, though, is to look at myself in the mirror each morning and feel healthy and happy. I want to play soccer with my son and be in shape for that. I want to be healthy for my job and have a long, healthy and productive career.”

“For people who are new to fitness, I always tell them that you have to do it for yourself. Do it to be more productive and healthy for your lifestyle and family. I know a lot of people, they don’t want to have health problems. Exercise is a great way to fight that. It’s also amazing to feel good about yourself. I meet a lot of depressed truck drivers who are overweight. Even the money they’re making right now, they’re miserable. Everything can be accomplished with a few changes to your exercise routine and food.”

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