This post was written by Tom Kyrk.
Earlier this year, I was struggling to lose some weight. I had hit a plateau, both in terms of motivation and just getting the next few pounds off. The great folks at ToughTested and I were talking about some of the challenges drivers face on the road and the struggle with my weight came up.
During that conversation we decided to revive the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge and put a fresh spin on it, making it a group goal rather than who can lose the most. Our aim was to guide the trucking community toward a healthier lifestyle by sharing educational tips and motivational messages, such as nutritious recipes, exercise plans, and advice for making health-conscious choices while on the road. The ultimate goal was to collectively lose a ton by shedding 2,000 pounds in body weight amongst all participants. We are now closing in on the finish line, and to quote Jerry Reed, “we have a long ways to go and a short time to get there.”
MATS 2 GATS currently has 116 members and has lost over 825 pounds. As you can see, we still have some work to do. However, part of the problem is that we have about 40 people who have not sent us their weight updates. (If this is you, PLEASE DO SO!) Yes, we are up against the wall, but if everyone in the group continues to work and support each other, we can still make it happen.
Since this challenge begun, I have been asked several times what I’ve learned from this group and found to be inspiring about the process.
When this was started, we had people who only had a few pounds to lose and others with far larger goals. All of them have put in huge efforts to hit their goals and shared their stories, tips, successes, and failures.
Several times we have had people who felt they should give up as they were diagnosed with a health challenge or had a family situation that was making it hard for them to continue. They felt they were holding back the group and were thinking about leaving. Within minutes, the other members of the group would respond with encouragement. They were told they could gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same—we are a team and we’ll do it together. In one case, the lady involved was losing inches but her weight was staying constant. Everyone let her know: “Hey, you’re losing inches—that’s progress, stop worrying about the scale.”
We’ve had people make huge gains in losing weight, and others who have had smaller amounts to lose, yet the message is the same. We have challenges out here on the road that make weight loss a challenge, so the key is to go in small steps. Find changes that you can make that fit in with your lifestyle. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. There is a wide variety of people making different lifestyle choices in terms of diet, exercise, and even supplements. The biggest lesson is to never give up and keep experimenting until you find what works for you.
The biggest lesson I have learned from this: Never give up, find a group of like-minded people for support, and just keep on trucking. Sooner or later you will find your groove and the pounds will come off. For most of us, putting on the pounds was a journey, so why should losing it be any different?
For those who are members of the MATS 2 GATS group, don’t forget to let us know if you’re planning to make it to GATS in Dallas. We will be announcing the results at the show on the Health Pavilion Stage. We are also planning a victory celebration for Friday evening after the show to celebrate what we’ve achieved as a group. Even if we don’t hit the one ton weight loss goal, we will be celebrating! Why? Simply put, the members of this group have put in a lot of effort to achieve their personal goals. Their efforts should be rewarded. Whether it is pounds lost, inches lost, or fitness improved, we want everyone to realize what they have achieved, and to celebrate it with their new friends in this group. This will be a fun-filled event with some surprise industry guests and a short concert by our very own Bill Weaver.
Looking to develop some healthy habits? Here are some tips from the MATS 2 GATS group:
Drink water. Lots and lots of water. It helps your body function better, reduces fatigue, and helps prevent kidney damage.
Get rest. When you are overtired, you begin making poorer decisions about food and find it more difficult to get motivated for exercise.
Stretch. Doing exercises to increase flexibility will give you better range of motion, help you to perform your job functions better, and reduce risk of injury.
Walk. Walking is one of the best forms of exercises. Whether you do laps around your truck or the truck stop, or go for a stroll on a walking path or country road, walking 30 minutes a day can have a great impact on your health. If you can’t find 30 minutes to walk at one time, you can break it into smaller segments throughout the day.
It helps to eat healthy, too. Many people feel that cooking has to be complicated, but that is not the case. Here is a simple but delicious recipe that can be easily made in the truck or at home.
Trucking Good Pot Roast
- 1 Small Roast
- 1 small can Low Sodium V-8 Juice
- 6-12 baby carrots (can get from veggie cup section of truck stop or salad bar)
- 1 can green beans drained
- 2-3 potatoes cut into small pieces (or 1 can of potatoes drained)
- ½ TSP garlic powder
- Black pepper to taste
- ½ TSP onion powder
- 1 TSP Mrs. Dash or equivalent
- Salt to taste (if desired)
- Brown mustard
- Place roast in pan sprinkles with seasonings and lightly coat with brown mustard
- Add vegetables and V-8 juice
- Cover and cook on low about 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours or until done