Real Answers from Real Pilots

How do most pilots maintain a good weight and health while flying?

How do most pilots maintain a good weight and health while flying? I know it’s on the go a lot and hard to meal prep and such, so I was wondering how most pilots stay active and eat right while flying.

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Cam,

If you visit any airport you’ll see pilots who do a fine job maintaining their health and others that look like it’s episode 1 on The Biggest Loser!

While it can be somewhat challenging, maintaining fitness and health is definitely doable. All hotels have gyms so that’s pretty easy. Meals require a little more work but if you plan it’s not that big a issue. Meal prep is on you but most hotel rooms we get have refrigerators, access to ice machines and microwaves. I’ve never been much of a meal prepper myself beyond Day1. I simply check what’s healthy around the overnights and simply go there.

This is important and frankly I’m surprised how many pilots let their health slip. Aside from the obvious health benefits, your job literally depends on it.

Adam

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Cam,

I am a big fan of walking on the overnights, I usually spend several hours per day just walking around whatever city I am in. Some pilots are big gym rats, but I prefer walking.

I find places to eat that have good salads. While not exactly gourmet food, Subway and Chipotle are my go to restaurants.

Chris

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Cam,

If health is important to you, you will find a way. It’s not a mystery. Those that care make the effort to meal prep, pack healthy snacks, and make good choices when they eat out. Healthy people prioritize their food and exercise. I imagine the unhealthy pilots would be unhealthy even if they weren’t pilots. All the hotels have gyms, walking/running is always free, there is a gold mine of workout videos on YouTube that can be done inside your hotel room, there are a variety of gyms near the hotel, usually, they all offer day pass rates if you’re not a member, resistance bands are easily packable, there’s an endless list of ways to stay fit and healthy on the road. You just have to get a little creative sometimes depending on the types of workouts you’re into.

My favorite thing to do on overnights (when I can) is indoor bouldering. All you need is a pair of climbing shoes which are small, flexible and lightweight and a chalk bag. It’s super fun, a great workout and I’ve made a lot of new friends along the way.

Tory

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Had a Capt take me bouldering on an overnight in Asheville NC… I’m slightly heavier and out of shape compared to 10yrs ago. Was hard to rotate and flare flying the next day because my arms were so beat haha

Chris

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:rofl: I know the feeling! That’s my excuse for a bad landing too! :wink:

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Cam,
You’ll find everyone is in the same box. We have the same lifestyle career wise but it’s how you handle it that makes the difference. If you try to find healthy food options, take those extra walks or hotel workout breaks, drink lots of water throughout the day that all adds up over time. I’ve seen pilots with a cooler and meals packed for their whole trip. That’s a lot of commitment but it can definitely be done.
I focus on healthy snacking throughout my day, lots of water, and working out at the hotel during my layovers… even if it’s just a quick 30 mins.

-Hannah

Just turned 30 and still rely mostly on a good metabolism… once that goes I’m gonna have to actually work at it and eat better.

There are actual FB groups dedicated to Pilot Meal-Prep & actual paid people who specialize in Pilot Nutrition.

In the plane all you can do is get up and stretch. In the airport can walk around and not get McDonald’s. Key is all about what you do and eat at home & in hotels.

I lost 10lbs and felt great last year when I was spending 10hr/day renovating my rental property. So any activity can help.
Chris F