118: Simple Steps to Improving Your Health as an Owner-Operator

During this week’s episode of the Oakley Podcast, host Jeremy Kellett is joined by Jon Slaughter to discuss their partnership with Healthy Trucking of America. From owner-operator success stories to physical-passing help, learn about the simple steps you can take today to improve your health.

Key topics in today’s conversation include:

  • Oakley’s partnership with HTA (5:42)
  • Radio Nemo (11:17)
  • Owner-operator success story (12:49)
  • How long the program takes (17:52)
  • The next step for you to take (21:33)

Oakley Trucking is a family-owned and operated trucking company headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. For more information, check out our show website: podcast.bruceoakley.com.


Jon Slaughter  0:12  

When we’re looking at drivers, their programs are focused and centered around a goal of their CDL license renewal. So if somebody comes to me and they say, ‘Hey, John, look, I’m obese.’ And by the way, obese means that you have a BMI of 28 or greater. And they say, ‘We got six months.’ We’ll put together a pretty aggressive package for you that if you follow that package, you’ll be able to meet the weight requirements necessary to pass that CDL.

Jeremy Kellett  0:44  

Welcome to the Oakley podcast, trucking, business, and family. This show is brought to you by Oakley Trucking, headquartered in North Little Rock, Arkansas. The purpose of this podcast is to communicate with Oakley owner-operators and their families by giving them up-to-date information concerning Oakley Trucking and the trucking industry. From business advice to safety updates to success stories. Also to give an inside to outside truck drivers that might be interested in joining the Oakley family.

There is Jeremy Kellett, Director of Recruiting here at Oakley Trucking and I’m your host for this podcast. This is the Oakley podcast: trucking, business and family and this is episode 118. So on today’s episode, we actually got a guy that has been with us before back on episode 49 I believe in his Jon Slaughter with Healthy Trucking of America. And we’re going to visit with him because we have partnered up with Healthy Trucking of America and we want to tell you all about it in the details, especially focusing on our owner-operators here and tell them what’s going on and what they need to know. But before we get started, let’s hear from our sponsor, Arrow Truck Sales.

Let’s listen to one of Oakley’s owner-operator experience with Arrow Truck Sales.

Unknown Speaker  1:55  

Called Kenworth off of 440. Called Peterbilt call Freightliner. None of them wanted to work with me. So, Jeremy Kellett got me and got me over to Trey. Trey visor, me and him had a conversation. He’d sent me to Keith Wilson and never looked back from that point. I was upside down 29,000 and change. They paid off all but $5,000 of my loans on a blown truck. That right there said a lot to me. They were willing to step outside of their comfort zone to get my deal done. I’ve never felt like a customer. Yeah, it was more like a family feeling. He took care of every aspect of the deal. He was completely transparent. There was no hidden nothing.

Jeremy Kellett  3:03  

So if you’re in the market for a used truck, you owe it to yourself to call Keith Wilson at Arrow Truck Sales in Springfield, Missouri. Tell him you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

Okay, we’re gonna visit now with Jon Slaughter. He is a Healthy Trucking of America. And they go out of their way to try to make truck drivers healthy. And I’ll tell you what, it is a program that I’m super proud of that Oakley has just partnered with them. Ever since we had an episode back 49 with John came on and talked about it. It’s been on my mind for a while. And we actually had one of our owner-operators go through the program. And it’s a success story, which we’ll get to in a little while. But it made me think, we really need to talk to Healthy Trucking of America a little bit more detail and see if we can’t do something about it. And John, he course hit us up about partnered partnering with Oakley and I think was a great idea. Here’s really what made our decision to do it is the health of truck drivers and paths and physicals because we were having so many problems of owner-operators, having trouble passing physicals, and it’s just been an ongoing deal with either the ones coming in to lease on with Oakley having issues, or our guys getting recertified and  it’s a challenge because sometimes it seems like the doctors are getting a little, a little more stricter on some things. So we thought maybe if we partner with Healthy Trucking of America, then maybe we can help curb some of these problems. And I think it’s gonna be a success. And we’ve got Jon Slaughter. He’s here to tell us all about it and we’re going to talk about it. Jon, what’s going on today?

Jon Slaughter  4:51  

Thank goodness it’s Friday.

Jeremy Kellett  4:52  


Jon Slaughter  4:54  

I look forward to this day every single week.

Jeremy Kellett  4:57  

Yeah, me too. We’re weekend warriors up here in Arkansas for sure. Are you from Alabama?

Jon Slaughter  5:05  

From Montgomery, Alabama. Absolutely. And that’s where we’re headquartered. And of course, they say that a profit is not popular in his own country. So we operate throughout the country. And in all 48 have a lower stake. What we’re doing stuff in Alaska now too, as well. And working a lot with a southern working with those NAFTA type companies down there with their drivers.

Jeremy Kellett  5:31  

So when we say Oakley Trucking has partnered with Healthy Trucking of America, explain that to our listeners what that means.

Jon Slaughter  5:41  

Yeah. So for our listening audience, everything that we provide you is free of charge. That’s number one. And the way we get our money, people are always like, Well, how do you get paid, we get paid through grants that we write, we get paid through federal programs that subsidize this awareness campaigns and that kind of thing. So we’ll we’re talking about the National Diabetes Prevention Program that has been sponsored to Oakley for any of the drivers or anyone who wants to participate to in that particular program that was sponsored by the CDC. So our job is to bring that to our partnership. And what we ask of Oakley is, is, let’s get the message out to your drivers like we’re doing today. And then we turn around and provide those free health coaches, along with those other services that we provide. Not only the drivers, but any of the employees.

Jeremy Kellett  6:40  

That’s really good to do it for not only drivers, but any of the employees too. That’s a good offering. But that’s something that I think that is probably your biggest hurdle because when somebody hears something’s free, nothing’s free, John, nothing’s free. But we know it is in this case, when the government is funding it for you to go out and help these drivers get healthier. That’s a big deal. And so Oakley owner-operators need to volunteer or just get in touch with Healthy Trucking of America? What is the course?

Jon Slaughter  7:16  

The easiest thing to do is just pick up the phone call 800-800-1198. You will be directed to a health coach. You tell him hey, I’m Jon with Oakley Trucking. They’re going to go, great! Welcome! And then they’ll start laying out to you the different programs that are available to you, and get you enrolled into those programs, you can call them and just say, hey, look, I’m not a diabetic, but I need to lose weight. And they’ll say great, let’s put together nutrition program for you. And oh, put together nutrition program, we have exercise physiologist that can put together a fitness program for you. But when we’re looking at drivers, their programs are focused and centered around a goal of their CDL license renewal. So if somebody comes to me and they say, ‘Hey, John, look, I’m obese.’ And by the way, obese means that you have a BMI of 28 or greater. And they say, ‘We got six months.’ We’ll put together a pretty aggressive package for you that if you follow that package, you’ll be able to meet the weight requirements necessary to pass that CDL. And not only that, but a lot of times, Jeremy, people go in for these occupational exams, and they can’t get their blood pressure under control. They’ll sit there and take it and it’s just a little high. And the doctors say sit there know that 30 minutes and don’t take it, it’s a little high. And so a lot of the times our health coaches will encourage you call me the day before, right? Because we’re gonna do a couple of things. For instance, we’re gonna get you to not smoke a cigarette for the whole day before because that’s a huge contributor to your blood pressure. Now, I know that’s tough, but when you compare that toward keeping a job, I can do one day, then we’re going to turn around to get your drink a lot of water. And so they kind of prep you before you go to that doctor’s office, so that when you’re in there, you’ve got your best opportunity to turn around and pass it. So that’s free of charge.

Jeremy Kellett  9:15  

That’s awesome, and they need that. We see that all the time exactly what you’re talking about the blood pressure being high and not preparing to go take that physical ahead of time, they’d like to just go in there and get it done. And that’s not the case you got anything. So these coaches that you have, so when somebody signs up with you—once again, it’s free—but when they sign up and you say you provide them a coach and the material, is that like a weekly phone call?

Jon Slaughter  9:43  

It’s really whatever you want it to be okay. So when you’re just talking about dealing with your health coach there to support you. They’re the ones that you say, hey, look, I need to be able to figure out some way to do some exercises when I’m out at love’s truck stop or ta travel centers Unlike that, and they’ll say, hey, look, Jeremy, let me go ahead and get this over to you on your email. And you’ll have some of those programs you can do. If you enroll into the National Diabetes Prevention Program. This is someone that’s going to help you make your way through that program. It is not hard, I mean, you could sit in your truck and do it on your telephone. And it’s just gonna kind of make you aware of some better choices that you can make. And then we also have a podcast that goes along with every single one of those episodes that you can listen to while you’re driving in the truck. But also, that health coach will check in with you to see, are you weighing in? Have you drunk this much water? I’d encourage you, and oftentimes we deal with a lot of clinical depression, Jeremy, so these health coaches, we tell them, call us, let us talk with you. We’re a faceless person. Everything we do is in confidence. And so you could literally just kind of get past that what I call FOMO fear of finding out problem, and you could share with them, look, I’ve got these kinds of problems. What do I do? They’ll talk with you about it.

Jeremy Kellett  11:13  

Right. So you mentioned other forms— I actually was looking at this radio Nemo. Were you on that this morning?

Jon Slaughter  11:24  

I was on there Tuesday so you heard a rebroadcast.

Jeremy Kellett  11:29  

Yeah, I was listening to it. Have you partnered up with Dave Nemo, or what’s the story there?

Jon Slaughter  11:34  

Yeah, so we sponsor the highway to health series that’s on every Tuesday from eight to nine o’clock Eastern Standard Time. And so we bring in people from HHS, from the CDC from all these different, like, for instance, we found a wonderful writer out in California whose dad was a truck driver, and she became a health coach because her dad was in such bad shape. And so she coached her dad and guide him to get in better health. And did that because she loved him. And so she wrote us an article about it. And so she was on there talking about that. So we tried to bring people in that are in the trucking industry or have some relationship with it, talking about health-related issues.

Jeremy Kellett  12:19  

Oh, that’s good. Yeah, I listened to part of it this morning. It was really good.

Jon Slaughter  12:23  

Yeah, Dave does a great job.

Jeremy Kellett  12:24  

Oh, yeah, he does a great job. Of course you do to going on there and explaining it. To dial down a little bit deeper with exactly what this program is and why we teamed up with you— of course, to help our guys get healthier. All drivers, but ours specifically. We had one do this. We did this episode 49. We had one of our owner-operators, John Haley, go through this program. I’ve talked to him off and on some, but I called him just to get a little bit more detail from him on what his experience was with this Healthy Trucking of America.

So he is 62 years old. He did this, I guess it was last year because he did it right after we recorded that episode. And he bragged and bragged on this process because he says it’s easy. He said it’s easy. If you just do what you’re supposed to do. He said there’s not really any major exercising, there’s no food prepping, nothing that you got to go through all these major steps to get done. He said he had to set up an app on his phone.

Jon Slaughter  13:36  

Yeah, that was easy. And the health coach will help me with that.

Jeremy Kellett  13:39  

Yeah, that helped him with that. Y’all sent him a scale to weigh himself every day. Yep. Which he could do that. And he said he got a weekly call from I forgot the lady’s name, coo-coo. He said, Yeah. And so she was very knowledgeable. He was 205 pounds and now he’s 175 pounds. And he said, “I have more energy. My knees feel better. I just got a two-year physical.” He said he was at home and he got a load of stone at his house. He said he moves stone all day did like 11 miles with a wheelbarrow of stones. He just feels so much better. And he says it was easy to do. And he recognized that.

Jon Slaughter  14:31  

And it’s kind of like this. He was a great success story. I was talking to a COO about him prior to this broadcast, and she just loves him. And I think they even still communicate, she’ll call and check on him every once in a while. But the thing is, she made a very good comment. This doesn’t have to be a big expensive thing. And this is why I tell people and is just break out a pair of tennis shoes. Don’t go join a gym. Just walk around the block when you’re home. Walk around your truck parking a little further route, just push yourself a little bit, but don’t go out and spend any money on this. Choose better we know what it is, I go into these places. I’m in the south and barbecues is like, it’s just something we eat all the time. And I love barbecue, and I go different places and find out who’s got the best barbecue. It’s kind of like a sport down, but I can’t eat it all the time, Jeremy, yeah, I’m 57 years old and I’ve gotten to where now I’ve got to go like once a quarter, I go. And it’s tough. And it’s hard, but you have to do it. And let me tell you. The other side of that is, is that as you eat healthier, like you were saying, you get a lot more energy. And you don’t find yourself nodding, when you’re driving, you don’t have those sugar highs and sugar loads, which causes it to be dangerous. You’re talking about people having trouble passing their CDL physical, we’re finding now that 40% of the people that go in there to get that CDL physical are failing, that the schools are sending people out who can’t pass the physical. And so we’re now starting to work with more schools and that kind of thing. CRS T is with their group out in Riverside, California and others where we’re educating them. The average lifespan of a driver is 57 years old. That’s the average lifespan. When you take this job, it’s too young. There’s too much to live for. And so it’s really important. And so we’re giving you this we speak trucker ease, we understand your schedule, we know what what you’re under, we know your pressures, and not getting that two-year physical that’s to your license approved. That’s stressful. Because you’re worried about, what about after six months? What happens?

Jeremy Kellett  16:57  

Very good. John, let’s take a quick break in here from our sponsor LubeZone.

You’ve been hearing me talk about lube zone for a couple of years now. Well, now it’s time you hear from one of our owner-operators. Listen to Mike Durbin talk about his experience with LubeZone.

Mike Durbin  17:11  

The price is great. The service is great. From the time when I pulled the door all the time, I pulled out with less than allowed best I’ve ever had, as far as an owner-operator had more chains, checks the wall that showed me it all. They had all the portion on the renter’s showed me my rear end wall on the paper and they did their job. They were just it was very nice to go somewhere else, get what you wanted, done and go. And I was very pleased by it. And like I said, very satisfied, I won’t go out of my way from now on to go there.

Jeremy Kellett  17:46  

Check out lubezone.com for all their services and all their locations and tell them you heard it on the Oakley podcast.

We all know and we all ignore the signs, especially men. We’re very stubborn. And I, myself know I need to get in better shape. But what am I doing every day to change that? And it’s something that you, like Jon said, you got to change. It’s a little tough, but once you get in the habit of it and you start seeing results and you feel much better—well, man—that makes a world of differene. Then you really want to keep going. It’s just that first initial, what? Two months, John?

Jon Slaughter  18:27  

Well, we found even sound really two weeks.

Jeremy Kellett  18:30  

Two weeks. Nice.

Jon Slaughter  18:31  

If you can just get past the two-week mark, then there’s about a 50% chance you’re gonna move on to another two weeks. So you really want to just kind of be dedicated and do that. I love the comment that you’re made about men. It is true, there are medical anomaly when it comes to health care. And I’ll tell you my story. I was the same way. I never went to the doctor. I literally grew up if your arm was cut off and you were still bleeding, then you go to the doctor, otherwise we would have just stuck you up and said, “Go back to work.” And so I ignored all of my examinations. My didn’t go in. Well, I had two strokes and 20 and it Oh no. And they found out at high cholesterol heart condition to have a little bit of a liver issue. I was a wreck. And then COVID came in. And so I’ve now just gotten clear to start exercising and that kind of thing for my cardiologist that I meet with and from my gastroenterologist that I meet with and from all the other doctors that I have to now put up with. I take 14 medications in the morning.

Jeremy Kellett  19:41  

Oh my gosh.

Jon Slaughter  19:42  

I take six before I go to bed because I had FOFO (Fear Of Finding Out) and so but I got medically cleared and so I am a competitive person, Jeremy and so we’re actually putting together a challenge that I’m going to do with all your hopefully drivers, and I’ve got prizes I’m putting behind it. And I’m going to go through the whole thing, I’m a video my entire experience, we’ve hired a video firm to start working on it. So we’ll be posting these videos. And as kind of John’s challenge, and we’re going to be given away some wheels for their truck, we’re gonna be given away all kinds of things, if they sign up to the shift in the program, like we put into you shift into better health, they’ll get a t-shirt and a hat, we’ll send them a scale, and I’ve got Fitbit looking like they’re coming in to be a sponsor as well, and everybody to get a Fitbit. But it’s Jon’s challenge.

Jeremy Kellett  20:37  

That’s great that you’re going to do that.

Jon Slaughter  20:39  

I’m doing it myself.

Jeremy Kellett  20:41  

I need to join you on that. I need to get in shape, too.

Jon Slaughter  20:45  

That’d be great. And one of the things Jeremy I’d like to do is maybe look at a charity in your local area or someone that Oakley supports, and then we’ll put some money behind it. And if everybody loses a certain amount of weight, then we’ll turn around and make it charitable contribution. So I like competition. I’m a big competitor. You see my University of Alabama. Roll tide. So I’m looking forward to taking on everybody and Oakley and I don’t think they can beat me. I don’t know you boys from Marketo everything y’all might do all kinds of things.

Jeremy Kellett  21:16  

Hey, we can get mean now. We get down to the tree.

Jon Slaughter  21:19  

Listen, I hear you. I hear you. We call it getting in the paint.

Jeremy Kellett  21:23  

Yeah, that’s what it is. So what’s the best thing for Oakley owner-operator that’s listening right now? What does he need to go? One thing we did send an email and letter out to all of our explaining how to do it. But just so they didn’t get the email, we’re gonna send it again, we’ll be sending another email to all our owner-operators explaining what we’re doing. But what do they need to do? They need to go to shift into betterhealth.com?

Jon Slaughter  21:47  

Yeah, and just fill out that form on there. And then what will happen is a health coach will contact him and or they could turn around a call 800-800-1198. And then a health coach will be assigned to him at that point, once they sign up for the shift into better health, then they’ll get their scale. And then I’ll turn around and we’ll be sending them a workout T-shirts, and we are gonna ask your size, so be real about it. And we’re gonna sit them out a challenge, oh, jobs challenge packet. And that’ll be coming out. We’ll have the Fit minutes and that kind of thing in August, but everybody who signs up right now will be getting one. And so we’re really going to take on everybody and start measuring this and I want to challenge all the folks inside that corporate offices. Well, secretaries, loaders, mechanics, everybody. So we’re gonna have a prize program for everybody.

Jeremy Kellett  22:38  

Oh, fantastic. Well, we need to get it out to all the employees because I don’t think we’ve done that yet. So we’ll try to get that information out to all employees to so they can participate.

Jon Slaughter  22:47  

Yeah, the high tide will have a packet out there for you guys on media at some point right after Walcott we’re going to Walcott truckers jamboree next week. So I’m gonna get my pork chop sandwiches in before I start this thing, to be honest with you.

Jeremy Kellett  23:02  

I knew there was alternative motive there.

Jon Slaughter  23:05  

There’s always alternative, but soon as we get back you guys will be getting immediate packet you’ll get that out. But everybody who signs up go ahead and get in and double-take the whole company if you need to.

Jeremy Kellett  23:16  

Okay, and anybody just need to go to that website and fill out that information shift into betterhealth.com Fill it out. John, thank you for coming on and doing this man and her and partnering up with Oakley so we can make our truck drivers and our employees healthier means a lot and it’s free and that really means a lot to a lot of people because I liked the part where you said don’t go join a gym. You ain’t got to do all this. It’s a lot simpler than that. Don’t make it idiot don’t make it too complicated. It’s a lot what goes in is what makes a big damage. So alright, man, well, thank you much anything else you’d like to add?

Jon Slaughter  23:52  

Well, just that I really encourage you to do it. If you ever heard about eating something really for free. That was really good. This is it. And just know we work real hard to get these funds for you. And take advantage of it. Because it’s all for you. And, and honestly, take take a little bit of advice from your local driver there that had such a great success. It really makes a difference in their life. And that is how we measure our success is how much we’ve impacted you guys, so we’re looking forward to it. But also, I’m planning on that big challenge so I’m not gonna be fooling around guys. We’re gonna be okay guys. You Yeah, we’re gonna get serious. We posted some numbers and there’s gonna be a lot of stuff going back and forth. But we’re looking forward to doing that.

Jeremy Kellett  24:39  

Looking forward to John, thank you much for joining me today. Hey listeners, everybody out there appreciate y’all listening, be sure to subscribe comment like on all your social media outlets spread the word about Oakley Trucking. And if you’re interested in leasing on with us you got questions about Oakley Trucking, give us a call. We’ll put the number up. We always have check us out on our social media platforms and we sure appreciate He listened. We’ll talk to you next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Oakley podcast: trucking, business, and family. If you enjoyed this episode, be sure to rate or review the show on the podcast platform of your choice and share it with a friend. We love hearing from our audience, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or just want to say hello, head over to our website, theoakleypodcast.com, and click the “leave a comment” button. We’ll get you a response soon and may even share some of the best ones here on the show. We’ll be back with a fresh episode very soon. Thanks for listening.