Truck driver Carlos Soto understands how hard it can be to stay fit as a truck driver, but instead of giving in to the ease of an unhealthy lifestyle, he has made his health and wellbeing a priority with just a “few changes to your exercise routine and food.”
Soto spends at least 10 hours a day driving his truck up to 4,000 miles a week – not exactly the perfect formula for a fit lifestyle – so he finds whatever opportunities he can to work out and eat healthy, even if it takes a little extra focus.
“As a trucker, all you do is pretty much eat, sleep and drive, and it’s easy to be unhealthy,” he said to Men’s Health. “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.”
As many as 50% of American truck drivers are obese according to the National Institute of Health, and Soto says he used to be one of them, weighing in at 250 pounds. But once he decided to make a change by working out at home, he started seeing results and knew he had to take his new ‘healthy-living initiative’ on the road.
“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.”
He soon realized that his new healthy lifestyle had more impact on his life than just the visible changes.
“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.”
Now, Soto makes a concerted effort to workout when he can, meal-prep healthy meals for OTR, and never lose focus on what matters most – his wellbeing.
“Sometimes it’s very hard, often the only time I have is around 2 to 4 in the morning. 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.”
Although it takes effort and intention, Soto says it’s worth every extra step to feel as good as he does and keep his body moving.
“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.”