T Nation

New To It All


ok i am a truck driver and i am about 5'10 250 pounds with a 38 inch waist.my q's are i am on the road atleast 3 weeks a month and i have no ready access to a gym on a regular basis. also the food sux. about the best thing you can get out of a truck stop is subway. a few yrs back i worked on oilrigs doing a extensive workload and i was taking androsteine and it was great.

i was slim but always had a gut but was bulked up good. 3 yrs in a truck has takin its toll and i am tired of it. with my limited access to food and a way to prepare a good meal and limited means to anything much more than a set of dumbells does anyone have any suggestions on a diet and exercise plan that i could use?

currently i take green tea xtract and drink only green tea drinks or water no cokes. i also have been recomended 17 h-d. so i bought it and it does give me a surge of energy like i think i need to do as much as possible.if you have any suggestions or q's on what kind of workouts i am tryin i will let you know. thnx.


Given your being on the road so much, you will probably want to center your exercise routine around things that can be done without the traditional gym equipment. If you search the articles and forums/fora you will find a lot of good hard exercise programs using body weight and things like tires, sandbags, etc.

Still, some of this presumes you have access to homemade equipment you still would find difficult to lug around, so only a portion of the exercises you find will be possible candidates for developing a program.

You also might want to consider a set of dumbells that take up little space while allowing you to adjust the weight. I've used the PowerBlocks before, and they are good quality (don't have experience on other brands like bowflex, but you can probably get feedback from others here).

You can get a basic set that is about 15-18" long and 6" wide that will give you from 10 to 60 pounds each. They have bigger units which go up over 100 pounds each.

You could also try a swiss ball as a supplement to dumbells, using it as an improvised bench. You inflate it for use, but it takes up little storage space beyond the small pump you'd need.

Another thing to consider is to keep an eye out local parks with fitness trails. There are a surprising number of exercises you can do with these, including chins, dips, and different push-up configurations.

One thing that is fairly easy to do is some cardio. You can run just about anywhere with a decent pair of shoes. You can also run stairs/stadiums when you are fit enough, as well as doing sets of sprints.

On diet, get a cooler, and stock up whenever you get near a regular supermarket. Then you can make some of your own meals, and keep healthy snacks for a day or two at a time if you manage the ice.

The final thought is that you will want to watch the stimulants so you can get enough rest to recover from your workouts. Otherwise, you could get into a nasty loop of stimulants to stay awake while you drive, then exercise without being able to sleep well enough to recover, and then more stimulants to compensate. You may have to avoid pushing your workouts on the road because of this.

Good luck.


Well, I love a challenge, so I'll chime in.

dkm365--great freakin' post. Great advice. You really didn't leave much for me. I especially like the cooler/grocery store idea, as that was something I was about to say. Only thing is it might be hell on your joints to run for extended amounts of time at your weight.

I'd suggest working that up slowly. Go till you feel tired, log how long you went, and then try to beat that the next time out. As far as cardio, it might be better to do stuff like farmer's walks with dumbells when you want to take a break from running. It'll work the grip, give your joints a break, and work really well.

Local parks, and at least a couple rest stops I've been to, have a jungle gym type thing and some trails--the jungle gym comes in handy for a lot of different stuff, just use your imagination.

I cannot recommend adjustable dumbells enough (aka Powerblocks)! You can carry them in the back of your cab, and do exercises whenever you have time to stop. I have a hatred of all things bowflex, but I have to admit I've never used their adjustable dumbbells, so I can't speak for them.

My advice is to get the heaviest set of dumbells you can find--it will be a lot easier to spend the extra money in order to give yourself extra room to grow. That way you only have to do it once. If you get a smaller set, then what happens when you out grow them?

You have to spend all that money over again for a bigger set. If you're gonna get some adjustable dumbbells, look around and bite the bullet to get some that will allow you plenty of growing room.

Bottom line is you're in a tough position, but you can make the most of it. It'll take a lot of creativity, but with a little thought you can get something done. Lunges, farmers walks, dumbbell squats and deadlifts,floor presses, swiss ball bench press, swiss ball abs and db weighted crunches, curls, overhead presses, dumbbell flyes, dumbbell rows, pullovers, etc. These are just some of the exercises you can do.
You can do just about everything you want. Throw in pushups, body rows (also known as "fatman rows"), and you should be good to go.

Diet--well, you're stuck in a tough spot here, but good on you for kicking the coke/soda habit. Green tea is great. In addition to what dkm365 said, I think you should spend some time when you're at home and prep a bunch of meals you can keep in the cooler, or that can be kept unrefrigerated, and pop them in the truck when you take off.

You may only be able to make about a week's worth of food, but if you keep the cooler stocked with ice it's as good as a fridge--and that's one week less of food you need to worry about.

I'd grab real wheat bread (looks like it was made with a wood chipper :slightly_smiling: ) and sandwich supplies at grocery stores while on the road, but I'd suggest making big batches of chili or pot roast or steaks while at home. Fish and chicken too. That way you don't have to eat sandwiches every day for the first week or so while on the road.

Heck if you've got room for a big enough cooler, you might make it up to two weeks. Fruit keeps well if you keep it iced, and apples/oranges keep pretty well in the open.

Do you have a microwave in the truck? I know some cabs have an outlet for electrical stuff like that, and you could warm up your steaks or roasts there. Or you could run a Foreman grill off the outlet for chicken and other meats. I can eat good chili cold with no problem, but you could heat that up too.

Also, there was an article on fast food emergency strategies you would really find useful--It's called "On the Go Nutrition" by Mike Robertson. Runs through stuff you can use on the road. I should mention that most fast food joints have a decent chicken selection--if you get grilled chicken (not nuggets/wings/breaded chicken).

Tell them to leave the mayonnaise off and ditch the bun when you get it. Add a salad, which most joints should have, and you're good to go. You just have to stave off the temptation to get the "Gut Enlarger Xtra Bacon D-lux Burger Special" with a side of fries. If the temptation is strong, then just avoid the places and stick to subway, grocery stores, and sandwiches.

Finally, check out "It's Not About the Food" by John Berardi--some extremely useful tips on how to manage the food prep at home without cooking all day long. Would also come in handy prepping for your 3 week long trips.

Good luck man--it will be hard, but it's definitely doable if you can bring the determination to the table. That, however, is up to you. We can't really help you with that. The week you're home, check out some gyms and train there for a good change up--do the stuff you weren't able to on the road.


thanx great info.i just "modified" the inside of the truck with a bar for pullups or whatever else i can come up with and i didnt find adj. dumbells..(all i could get to was wal-mart) but i got a 35 lb set since that was the biggest they had.not to heavy but not to light for me just to begin with.

so let me ask this. if i am tryin to lose some of the weight but also increase strenght and maybe increase muscle mass all at the same time should i go low carb or low cal on the diet? or both for that matter.i did install a inverter so i can run a microwave and bought a 40 qt plug in cooler.so meals are a bit more possible now.and generaly i try to do the lifting when i get up so i am not so pumped in the eve when i need to go to sleep. is that wrong or is there a rule on when to lift and when not too?


one last q before i forget. i know there are a million sites that give diagrams on correct ways to lift and proper form as well as names of the lifts. but i want a opinion from a real persons point of veiw on whats a good site. i doubt google has ever lifted anything...thanx


This one is pretty solid and elitefts.com is building a hell of a video index



For adjustable dumbells, you'll have to find a specialty store or order online. PowerBlocks are at powerblocks.com. Again, others might be fine, I just don't have experience with others.


Well, my thought is that you'll outgrow the 35 lb dbs pretty quick, since you worked on an oilrig w/heavy labor. However, anything is better than nothing. That's always true.

Diet--the best one is the one you'll stick with long term. I would not go low calorie--damage to your metabolism down the road, probable loss of muscle tissue, etc, etc.

Rule of thumb is to just go low enough on the calories to start losing weight. As long as you're going down weekly, even by half a pound, it's enough. This strategy also helps you keep from getting too hungry all the time. The goal is 1-2 pounds a week, with 1 lb being about normal.

The big thing right now is to find the approximate number of calories that will allow you to lose weight. This way you have some way of tracking your progress. The CLASSIC trap almost everyone falls prey to as a newbie is to think they should drop the calories really far so they can just lose all the weight in a couple weeks. Unfortunately it doesn't work like that and you end up screwing yourself up and rebounding.

You need a place to go when your initial calorie deficit is compensated for by your body--you can drop the calories just a bit lower and restart the weight loss. Drop calories too fast and you have nowhere to go when the weight loss stalls and your body goes into "starvation preservation" mode. After you've been cutting for a long while you'll need to up the calories for a few weeks anyway, to reset your body's equilibrium.

There is absolutely NO rule about when to lift and when not to, as long as it works for your schedule and needs. Don't let anyone tell you different. Scroll down. Look at the powerful image. He's the guy that can worry about when hormonal profiles and CNS potentiation at different hours of the day. The rest of us just train when we can. :slight_smile: You'll be fine.

This site and elitefts.com are the two IMHO. This site can be overwhelming if you let it. Elitefts.com has a pretty killer list of exercises in their index, as Phill said.