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Airline Pilots and Fitness


V-Dub for Life
Like many of us pilots I'm suffering from the dredded "first officer 15" before that I suffered from the "flight instructor 15" and now see myself almost 30 pounds overweight ans sitting a very sedentary lifestyle in the cockpit. I've started taking my cooler with on trips and i'm eating healthy but looking for ideas on how other guys manage to work out effictively while on the road.

Most hotels we stay at have atleast a treadmill and most have weight machines. Since i really don't have plan/routine or anyone that can help me set one up I'm turning to you, my flightinfo brothers and sister. Is there any good, free, online sites that helps a person set up a fitness plan and helps assess goals and progress? I have no problem with the motivation, I just want to know i'm doing the correct and most worthwile excercises for my body type and goals without hurting myself in the process. Thanks!


Well-known member
i got rid of about 40 lbs a couple years ago, and read about every fitness book and magazine out there, found what works and doesn't. forget all the no carb stuff and the other fad diets. just common sense good foods and excersise will work great.

one site that may be some use is www.fitday.com, track your food and excersise for a few days and see how much your intaking compared to burning.

an excellent book is "the abs diet" from mens health, it's the same stuff alot of other books have, and you could probably go read it at the book store in about an hour, but it's got all the information you need in it.

basically the stuff you wanto avoid are simple carbs that turn straight to sugar (soda, sugar, white bread) and saturated fats (whole milk, most red meat, egg yolks, etc). some stuff that works good is lean meats (chicken, fish), veggies and some fruits, whole grain food, fat free milk and yogurt. the book has alot more examples, and you can probably find more online.

as far as excersise, try to get in a good 30 minutes of cardio whenever you can. interval training (running hard for 30 seconds, walking for a minute) really gets your heart rate going and can burn up to 10 times as much fat compared to slow steady jogging. and any weight training will help too. a good excerise magazine with more information about that is fitnessRX, or you can search for HIIT online. any more questions i'll be glad to help.
I think one of the most important things you can do is to find a form of exercise you like to do. It could be cycling, walking, jogging, weight lifting, or whatever. If you don't enjoy the form of exercise you'll end up quiting at some point. If you are stuck with stationary machines in a hotel then make sure you have something to keep your attention while exercising. That could be TV, radio, Ipod, or a book/magazine. It helps to keep your mind of the actual boordom of a stationary type exercise regimen.



Well-known member
50 yard sprints are great and you don't need a big area to work out in. Sprint 50 yards and walk back catch your breath and do it again. Do it about 6 times easy then harder and harder. Your heart rate gets way up good for the BP. Great to do on layovers when you don't have a lot of time.


V-Dub for Life
Cool, thanks for the fitday.com link! Thats along the lines of what i'm looking for. Has anybody had luck with a personal trainer from the heath club setting up goals, diet, and exercise routine while on the road? I'm wondering if it would be worth joining a health club just to get professional advice. Chances are i'd never really be around home enough to actually get my money's worth from the club equipment though.


Active member

You might want to read the book "Body for Life". It has great info. about eating habits as well as a step by step guide to cardio and weight training. It is surprisingly simple. The best thing about it is that it doesn't make false promises. You get out of it what you put into it. I followed the work out (a few years ago) and was completely amazed with the results. Nothing like losing weight and putting on muscle at the same time. As it says in the book, "Progress not perfection."



Heyas all,

I suffered from the same thing. I put on 10 after I got on at a major. Then I got into working out, building mass, and drinking that myoplex goop, and put on another 10.

Unfortunately, I got ill, and pretty much gave up strength training, and the 10 pounds of muscle turned into 10 pounds of fat almost overnight.

My solution? Get divorced. I lost the 15 pounds almost overnight from the stress involved.

After that, I've found that regulating my caloric intake (reduced it by about %35) lets me maintain the new weight, even without working out every day. I'd like to lose another 5 (basically gut fat), but that would take more effort, and really, I like the couch and TV too much for that.



Well-known member
Swimming laps at the pool at the hotel and/or a 20-30 minute jog/run on the treadmill is a good idea but you may find that if you are not a runner or used to running, the first couple of times you are going to be tired and sore from the effort. After that vary the workout, intensity so that you are not doing the same thing over and over again. It has already been mentioned but avoid low carb diets - although they aford quick and often times substantial weight loss, many of the people I have seen employ them start to look like the living dead in a short period lacking anything close to the energy levels and endurance required for a long day in the cockpit. Reducing your daily caloric intake by only 250-500 calories coupled with 30-40 minutes of exercise each day can help produce a 1-2 pound weight loss reduction each week!


Jeezz, What have I Done?
cargoflyr69 said:
Has anybody had luck with a personal trainer from the heath club setting up goals, diet, and exercise routine while on the road? I'm wondering if it would be worth joining a health club just to get professional advice. Chances are i'd never really be around home enough to actually get my money's worth from the club equipment though.
My wife an I just joined the YMCA. Its a brand new facility and has all the latest and greatest equipment. We got a family membership and it runs about $45 a month. The nice thing about it is you don't have to sign a contract with the Y. Its month to month. In addition, they have trainers there that will give you the low down on the equipment. They will also sit down with you, figure out what you need, and set up some goals. They aren't really "personal trainers" because they don't hang out with you while you are working out. They do keep track of your progess and give additional suggestions. At a lot of clubs, the trainers cost extra. Not so at the Y.


Well-known member
I recently found that a local community center herew has a full out gym, and membership for me was like 160/yr. not too bad...exercise and eye candy that is lol... I also suggest bringing something to read or else you get bored quick.

Yellow Snow

never eat the yellow snow
I understand cigarettes and vodka can knock off the pounds pretty quick. Oh and crack will work really well for those of you who are forty or more lbs overweight


Shem Malmquist
I'll second the divorce diet, the most effective thing you can do! Between eating less and exercising to relieve stress, it's really a wonder diet!


Cabin Heating & Air Tech.
I've recently joined a gym for the first time. I am NOT (and never have been) the athletic type.

I wouldnt know a football from a frisbee.

I'm not getting any younger and I figured it would be a good idea to take care of my heart.

Can anyone recommend a good start for a gym newbie? I need to find something that I don't mind doing or i'm afraid i'll be one of those people who pays for the gym membership and never goes.

I generally work from 5am until 6pm, but i'm home every night, so I dont have to worry about hotel workouts. Getting motivated after a long work day may be the toughest part. I rarely work more than 3 or 4 days in a row though. Is it possible to just go to the gym on off days? or is that just a waste of time?
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Shem Malmquist
3 days/week will maintain fitness, but no gain. You need to gain fitness, so a min of 5 days/week, IMO.

Aerobic exercise every day, treadmill is probably best, but stair steppers, etc, are ok also, just don't cheat. You can cheat on machines by supporting your weight with your arms, greatly lessens your workout. Go for time, not speed. Min of 30 mins, ideally at least 45 mins at the fastest pace you can do and not be out of breath (be able to talk, etc). Your speed will increase as your fitness does.

For the rest, chest, back, shoulder and leg exercise, arms if you still have time. I alternate, with chest/shoulder with triceps and back (lats) with biceps, with stomach crunches every time.

Ask someone there to show you how to work the weights or machines. SLOW is the key, and the return stroke should take twice as long as the lift stroke. A 2 count for the lift and a 4 count for the return. Weights that allow you to do 8-10 in a set, do a min of 3 sets/muscle group.

Don't forget to eat right, also.


Well-known member
Stay away from personal trainers. I've been to alot of gyms and most of the trainers are out of shape themselves. When they are working with clients, they aren't even making their clients sweat. At one gym I was at, they had a few sessions for cheap. I signed up for it, but instead of getting personal training, I paid to get a sales pitch for a really expensive program. I complained to the management and got my money back for that one.

As far as working out on the road, try jump roping. It sounds easy, but try it for 5 minutes.


Beach Bum Extraordanaire
3 hours+ of surfing and/or at the boxing gym everday plus a healthy diet of cigarettes, coffee, booze, tums, advil, and the occasional bowl of cereal works for me.


Marriott Platinum Member
public parks

are free and usually have a running trail, along with pull-up bars and work-out stations along the route

I have found that drinking lots of water, eating lots of fruits and vegatables, chicken and fish, and not too much sugar and carbs (I use sugar in my coffee but thats about it), will help.


Freight Dawgs Rule
NookyBooky said:
3 hours+ of surfing and/or at the boxing gym everday plus a healthy diet of cigarettes, coffee, booze, tums, advil, and the occasional bowl of cereal works for me.
:D I miss the gym days...I remember when I could strap a belt on my waist and hook plates on it and do dips! Leg extensions on the machine would include the full stack of plates and I would put my finger in the stack to make sure form was correct.

I'd love to hit it again...flabby love muffin that I am.


Freight Dawgs Rule
NookyBooky said:
You might want to try good ol' push-ups, and sit-ups, combined with jogging and or running. It works ok for these fellas:http://www.navyseals.com/community/navyseals/navysealworkout_main.cfm

I really think gyms and all their machines are worthless unless you have injuries you need to rehab. All you really need is alot dicipline and a little time, period.
True...but one other thing I miss about the old gym days was the commraderie. There's nothing like being asked to spot for someone as making them do what they couldn't do for themselves...that one last rep with you screaming at them to do it! Yea, your fingers were on the bar, but you weren't doing nothing..."Push it, push it...it's all you you...you can do it!"