“The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Life of a pilot is tough and challenging, irregular sleeping patterns, even what we eat in the aircraft is not healthy because it is mostly cooked in oil and butter. Not all airlines can afford to provide utterly healthy food. So how do pilots stay fit? Of course, they have to undergo a medical examination every six months or 1 year depending on the age of the pilot. Also, aircraft fly under pressurized conditions and have air conditioners, that makes the skin dry. To conquer this, we must be healthy, fit all the time. Here are three main fitness factors:
1. Motivation- If you have everything around you and still you are not working out but just sitting like a lazy lad, then you will never achieve your goal. Motivation comes from inside, and it is essential for anyone to do or to accomplish any task, the same goes for staying fit.
2. Physical health- Good health is significant as it is the one that will help you in surviving in the long run and will also save you from many diseases. You need to build good immunity, BMI, as many airlines will ask for it.
3. Good food- “We are what we eat.” You cannot eat anything, and everything, quantity, and quality are always to be taken care of. Only eating and not exercising won’t help as well.
Now my routine and ideas to stay fit are revealed below:
1. Try to avoid eating airplane food as told earlier it is not that healthy.
2. I look if there is a short, long flight or a layover and prepare my meal beforehand and always keep them with me in my bag. I choose healthy and low-fat food like brown rice, oatmeal, cottage cheese, steamed vegetables, banana, steaks, grilled chicken (not fried).
3. Small meals are consumed every 2-3 hours; the body should never feel hunger as it will reduce the metabolism. And the meals should include carbohydrates like brown bread, brown rice, oats; proteins; fiber like steamed vegetables, pulses, salads.
4. I drink a lot of water because pilots cannot afford to dehydrate and collapse. Drinking water will make the metabolism to speed-up, and your skin will also show that.
5. When I board a plane, I avoid the drinks like Pepsi, juices, sugary waters and try to have a proper intake of green tea. Coffee is good but limited.
6. When am on a layover, which I am most of the times I ask the chef and emphasize on asking to provide me low-fat food, and what exactly I want, sometimes I pass by supermarkets on a long layover and buy some low-fat yogurt, fruits, tofu, etc.
7. I always calculate what amount of food is required for my body. Remember that you need to burn more calories than the amount you consume, a lot of quantity of food is not right; similarly, low-quality food is also not encouraged.
8. I always listen to my body; I never overdo workout and gym sessions; they are a maximum of 45 minutes to 1 hour. When my body says it needs rest, I do take rest and skip the gym if I am tired.
9. Workout clothes, sports shoes, my fitness band are the necessary items in my baggage. I never move without them. Also, just by taking food is not enough to provide everything needed by the body, so I take multivitamins, b-complex, CLA, supplements that should always be taken to stay fit
10. I take protein shakes after a workout and never stress on lifting heavy weights as I am not a bodybuilder. I work to keep fit and keep my body healthy. If I am in a hotel I use the gym over there; most hotels have a gym inside. If the gym is not what I want, I google to find one nearby and get 1-2 days access.
If you are a pilot, cabin crew, ground crew, or related to aviation industry or even a fitness enthusiast, then you should never make excuses, that you are tired, bored or too lazy. You must stay fit always, and for that, you should leave the procrastination and start working in any condition. Motivate yourself, do the workout, and treat your body in the right way so that it is available to you and supports you when you need.
Until next time and as always “We Speak Aviation.”