We can all stand to lose a few

Hirschbach Motor Line's Carl Bailey's 'before' picture, weighing in at 227 pounds.Hirschbach Motor Line's Carl Bailey's "before" picture, weighing in at 227 pounds.

Losing weight is not an easy endeavor. Whether motivated by monetary incentives, poor health issues or clothes that just don’t fit any more, it’s easy to lose sight of our long-term goals and not see a weight loss program through to the bitter end.

From the seat of an 18-wheeler, adhering to a weight loss competition becomes even more difficult. Drivers have the added burden of a sedentary occupation, typically poor food options at truck stops and few options for exercising while they are away from home.

That’s what makes the achievements by participants in the Truckload Carriers Association’s “Trucking’s Weight Loss Showdown” even more impressive. The program included teams of 12 drivers and staff from 11 different carriers. When the 10-week program concluded, participants had lost 10.4 percent of their total body weight on average, for a total of 3,022.2 pounds.

Carl Bailey, a driver for Hirschbach Motor Lines, took home top individual honors, losing 25.8 percent of his body weight. The 12-man team from Prime, Inc., took home the top team award, losing 15.3 percent of its starting body weight. Hats off to TCA and its program participants for showing the rest of the industry what it means to take ownership of driver health.

Of course, carriers and drivers shouldn’t have to be led by the nose to do something about an issue as important as obesity. As you’ll see in the June issue of CCJ in a report by Carolyn Mason, CCJ contributing editor, some carriers like Celadon have established comprehensive in-house driver health programs. And management there isn’t just talking the talk. As Celadon CEO Steve Russell demonstrates, they are walking the walk. Russell and 85 of Celadon’s employees recently participated in an Indianapolis-area 5K race as part of the company’s Highway 2 Health program established six years ago.


Bailey's 'after' photo. He dropped 25.8 percent of his starting body weight.Bailey's "after" photo. He dropped 25.8 percent of his starting body weight.

In a continually tightening driver pool, carriers that offer wellness programs can set themselves apart from the competition. “What the program tells a new recruit is that we care about the health and well being of our employees,” says Russell.


TCA is currently accepting applications for carriers looking to participate in the next competition later this summer. For more information on TCA’s Trucking Weight Loss Showdown or to learn how to set up your own company “Showdown”, visit www.truckingsweightlossshowdown.com.