Truck-stop fitness centers help drivers stay in shape on the road
Driver wellness programs and an expanding number of truck-stop gyms are helping truckers keep fitness from taking a backseat.
Sun, Apr 29 2012 at 5:06 PM
GETTING FIT: Trucker Glenn Keller is one of seven participants in CNN's 2012 Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge. (Photo: Jeremy Freeman/CNN)
Keeping up with a regular fitness routine can be a challenge when you spend your days and nights in the driver’s seat and find yourself in a new city each day. But eating healthy and staying fit is becoming a little easier for professional drivers, thanks to expanding trucker-wellness programs and truck-stop fitness rooms.
Both TravelCenters of America (TA) and Pilot Travel Centers are adding new gyms to many of their U.S. locations, which could be particularly beneficial to those drivers who are logging a lot of time on the road. In fact, according to a 2011 study by the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, people who travel most frequently for work are more prone to obesity than their counterparts who travel more moderately.
Glenn Keller, a pastor who’s also worked as a trucker for 20 years, says being on the road for 250 days a year makes it difficult to stay in shape, but he was finally inspired to make some lifestyle changes.
“I spent a lot of time on our live prayer line encouraging other people about what they were able to do for themselves that I thought it was time to practice what I preach,” he said.
Today, Keller is training for a triathlon as part of CNN’s Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge, and he frequents TA’s StayFit Fitness Rooms.
“I have to make time to exercise in between rest breaks, and it’s the fitness rooms at the Travel Centers Of America and Petro Truck Stops that are making this possible. I hate to think how difficult this would be without them,” he said.
TravelCenters of America currently has about 40 StayFit gyms and is expanding its program by adding new sites, and Pilot Flying J (PFJ) will be adding 100 fitness centers through a partnership between Snap Fitness and Rolling Strong, an organization that provides truckers with nutritional programs, health screenings and personalized fitness routines.
“The life of the professional truck driver comes with a lot of ‘withouts'," said Diana Van Leuven, vice president of strategy and communications for Rolling Strong. They’re without exercise facilities, good food choices, proper rest, quality home time and conveniences the residential sector has at their disposal, but Rolling Strong offers driver-designed wellness programs that services them where they work and live: on the road.”
The first 85 freestanding Snap Fitness gyms will open at select PFJ locations in April and will include a variety of exercise equipment, as well as a staff of fitness professionals. Monthly gym dues are $29.95 for truckers, and the fee gives drivers access to all the Snap Fitness Rolling Strong gyms, as well as the 1,300 Snap Fitness clubs worldwide.
TA’s StayFit Fitness Rooms are free to use by any UltraOne Rewards Program member — drivers simply have to swipe their membership cards for access. TA also offers healthy food options marked with StayFit signage, as well as running trails at select locations. For a complete list of TA fitness rooms and running trails, visit the TA website.
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