A Modern Spin on an HMO

20150612_082836In an earlier article we spoke with Taavi about his quest for losing weight and getting healthy again after a seven-year hiatus. Driving a big truck often leads to being sedentary and falling into unhealthy habits, as Taavi personally discovered. With a bit of determination, motivation, and a change in daily routines he was able to get on the right path to improving his health.

So I asked him what was the next step? Taavi decided he wanted to help his fellow drivers. Like so many truck drivers, some of his companions struggled with health and weight problems. While he was losing weight a few of his fellow drivers, he said would often comment on their inability to lose weight. But when you don’t do anything to change your sedentary lifestyle of course you’re not going to lose weight. It is the nature of the beast. That’s when he decided to reach out to his company for help. His company has held several health challenges; however, those challenges were always for the corporate offices, not the drivers. He decided it was time to change that.

Photo by Taavi

Photo by Taavi

Taavi is a company driver of 9 years for a small, family owned company based out of Cotaeu-Du-Loc, Quebec, C.A.T.  He first approached the owner’s daughter and VP of Operations, Karine Goyette for help. He told me he was merely hoping for some assistance in encouraging company drivers to get out of their trucks to walk 30 minutes a day.  Ms. Goyette, a serious cyclist and runner herself, was immediately on board with his ideas. Together they set up a meeting with HR and Safety to discuss different ideas. HR and Safety also liked the idea of encouraging their drivers to improve their health. Later, the company brought Taavi into a second meeting with big news; C.A.T. was providing a nice budget for the project! This is what is currently offered for their drivers:

– C.A.T. has partnered with local bike shop, Dumoulin Bicyclettes, specializing in urban and folding bikes.  Dumoulin gives all C.A.T. employees VIP discounts.

– C.A.T. purchases all cycles upfront at a discount for its drivers. The drivers then pay back the cost of the discounted bike a little each week out of their paycheck.

– C.A.T. Offers coupons to its drivers for discounts at Dumoulin Bicyclettes.

– C.A.T. pays for the drivers’ helmets.

– The company will be sponsoring fun biking and health challenges for its drivers complete with prizes.

The Employee Gym at CAT. photo by Taavi

The Employee Gym at CAT.
photo by Taavi

– Of course, drivers are always free to use the company gym when at a terminal.

– Coming soon, C.A.T. is equipping it’s drivers with 100 brand new 2016 Freightliner Cascadia CNG trucks complete with FIT systems from Rolling Strong so they can also exercise from the safety and comfort of their trucks when the weather is bad. It also provides a more rounded workout to coincide with biking

Talk about company commitment to its employees!

In this case not all company provided Health Maintenance Options are bad things.

Photo by Taavi

Photo by Taavi

I asked Taavi what his goal was and what he wished to share with other drivers. He says he just wants to get people moving. It doesn’t matter if they are trucker drivers or work in another industry. That number. 260, he doesn’t want anyone to face that type of health crisis. He says it’s not easy staying in shape, especially when you are on the road, but if you want it, you can do it. Finding the time to do it is part of the fun, and FUN is the #1 thing to keep in mind, he stresses. Keep it fun, whatever it is you are into. Biking, walking, hiking, running, rollerblading, whatever, just make sure you have fun doing it, and getting in shape will be easier. Not easy, but easier because it’s something you’re having fun doing.

Wonderful advice from a wonderfully interesting man! Thank you, Taavi! Can’t wait to see you at GATS.

~ Sierra Sugar

This is part 2 in this series by Sierra Sugar.

You can learn more about Taavi, and this program he has developed in parternship with C.A.T.  At the Great  American Truck Show. he will be presenting his story, and this program at 1330 on Thursday August 27 2015.  This will be at the health stage in the Landstar Fit for the Road Health Pavillion

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