FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — How does a 36-year-old former Golden Gloves boxer stay in shape when on the road?
“I try to work out when I get the chance,” said Lanod Westmoreland. “I carry a 55-pound dumbbell and some rubber ropes (for resistance training) and a dip bar. I run sometimes around the truck stop, far enough to get the heartbeat raised.”
Westmoreland isn’t boxing anymore, but he still trains for the ring, and the results are obvious. He’s the first-place winner in the men’s division of the Fit to Pass Fittest Driver Push-up Challenge, having racked up an incredible 125 pushups in a single set during the contest.
Physical fitness was instilled in Westmoreland by his father, a career military man who brought his family along to multiple assignments.
“I’ve always been into sports and athletics. I boxed in high school and college as an amateur, and Golden Gloves in Hawaii,” he said, adding that he even considered a shot at the Olympics, but other plans took precedence.
Westmoreland started driving trucks in 2018 after his own stint in the military.
“After I got my associate degree, I joined the Air Force as an intelligence analyst,” he said. “We dealt with drones overseas, but they were controlled from here in the U.S.”
Following four years in the Air Force, Westmoreland’s employer changed but his efforts to support the military didn’t.
“After the Air Force, I worked for a civilian contractor. I went to Afghanistan as a tactical controller,” he said, noting that he worked overseas for four years.
Needing a break from military matters after eight years, Westmoreland found warehouse work — but it was the trucks and drivers coming to the warehouse that caught his attention.
“I kept seeing these trucks come in and out,” he explained. “I thought, ‘I can do that.’”
Currently employed by J&R Schugel Trucking, based in New Ulm, Minnesota, Westmoreland hauls refrigerated and dry loads.
“Reefer is kind of laid back, but appointment times are important,” he said.
Westmoreland generally stays on the road two weeks to a month at a time.
“We haul all 48, but most of the time I run Florida, East Coast to Midwest,” he said.
While working in the Air Force, Westmoreland continued his education, earning a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in digital cinematography and computer networking from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. He then founded JusNod Productions, where he could combine his talents and education to produce music and videos.
“Music has always been a hobby,” he said. “My brother plays trumpet, and we performed together at some events.”
Westmoreland plays keyboard instruments, including piano, and sings — a little, he said.
“I carry a microphone and keyboard in the truck and work with them sometimes, writing songs or creating beats in R&B and Hip Hop,” he explained. I’m very creative.”
His production company has been on hold for a few years, but Westmoreland said he plans to get it going again.
“I’d like to start it back up,” he said. It’s kind of a dream I have.”
While he enjoys creating music, he said, “My real interest is in using my cinematography education to produce short stories and films. That’s what I’d like to do.”
Producing videos isn’t Westmoreland’s only dream.
“I’ve been thinking about starting something fitness-related, specifically for drivers,” he explained. “Maybe some tips every week on how to eat right on the road. It’s so hard to eat healthy with the choices at truck stops.”
To help keep his own diet healthy, Westmoreland said he depends on stops at Walmart to obtain fresh foods and ingredients for balanced meals. He also takes a daily protein supplement.
Another dream involves physical fitness and helping younger people.
“I’d like to open up a boxing gym and work with youth as a coach or mentor,” he said. Trucking is a way to earn a living while he works toward his longer-term goals.
“Trucking is something to keep in my back pocket,” he said. “It’s like insurance when I need it.”
Westmoreland credits his faith as an anchor for both his driving and his dreams.
“First and foremost, I thank God for keeping me safe and getting me home to my family,” he said.
His advice to fellow drivers? “Take it one day at a time so you’ll finish the race.”
Wherever the road takes Lanod Westmoreland, you can be sure he’s staying in shape — and bringing his dreams along for the ride.
Other winners in the men’s division of the contest include:
Second place: Kenneth Johnson of Tampa, Florida, 81 reps
Prize: Yeti cooler provided by Michelin
Third place: Oleg Poleacovschi of Citrus Heights, California, 78 reps
Prize: One month of CDL meals by Fresh n’ Lean
Fourth place: Craig Skiba of Houston Texas, 77 reps
Prize: Road Pro cooler and water bottle
Fifth place: Igor Pavlyukh of Houston, Texas, 71 reps
Prize: Solar charged battery backup by Transflo
To read more about the winner in the women’s division, click here.
The Fittest Driver Push-up Contest, presented by Fit to Pass and The Trucker, was designed to test the strength and conditioning of professional drivers and get them on the road to better health. The virtual online event challenged drivers to perform as many push-ups as they could in one uninterrupted set. There were separate divisions for men and women, and prizes were awarded to the top five finishers in each division. To read a note from Bob Perry, The Trucker Trainer, click here.
Cliff Abbott is an experienced commercial vehicle driver and owner-operator who still holds a CDL in his home state of Alabama. In nearly 40 years in trucking, he’s been an instructor and trainer and has managed safety and recruiting operations for several carriers. Having never lost his love of the road, Cliff has written a book and hundreds of songs and has been writing for The Trucker for more than a decade.