FIFO workers have a significantly higher chance to be overweight or obese than their non-FIFO counterparts, research indicates.
In 2013, 79 per cent of FIFO workers fit into the two categories, compared to 64 per cent of the general population in Australia.
However, working away does not need to be a choice between being FIFO or being fit, said recruitment agency Mining People International. Workers have the power to maintain their fitness while working at mine sites.
According to a nutritionist of WA-based LiveLighter program, Amelia Harray, there are choices that FIFO workers can make to live a healthier lifestyle. They ultimately boil down to two things: food choices and exercise routine.
In the morning, fibre-filled breakfast can keep the stomach full. An example is to opt for Weetbix and porridge, instead of bacon and hash browns.
For lunch, instead of giving in to the impulse to fill the plate with hot chips or creamy potato bake, reach for the salad or vegetables first.
It is also helpful to prepare lunch to take to the sites, and ensure the lunch will get the stomach full.
Harray said eating excessive amounts of protein does not necessarily equate to more muscle. One easy thing to do is to swap large serves of meat with sandwiches and wraps that contain salad and boiled eggs.
Should the impulse to snack kick in, LiveLighter recommends drinking a glass of water first: your body’s thirst can be easily mistaken for hunger. Otherwise, healthy forms of sweets can help FIFO workers snack better.
For example, put cheese and tomato on top of wholegrain crackers, grab a slice of fruit bread lightly spread with low-fat cream cheese, or reach for fresh or dried fruits to give one the vitamins and fibre that fill up the stomach.
A gym should also be available in most mine sites. Harray suggested drawing on a gym operator’s expertise, and weights to be balanced with moderate cardio.
Lastly, temptations also exist outside mine sites, such as at the restaurants, the pub or home.
One simple thing that FIFO workers can start doing is to choose food that is grilled instead of fried, salad instead of chips, and water instead of sugary drinks.
Lastly, exercising does not need to be a solitary activity. Harray advised FIFO workers to allocate 30 to 60 minutes a day to do some moderate physical activity; they can go for a cycle with the children or hit the ball with some friends.