Fit Enough to Farm?

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Is that a thing? Do you have to be fit to farm? This question has plagued me since we made our offer on this house a year ago November, and I thought about the pain I get in my knees while doing easy hikes. It was painful enough I'm pretty sure I didn't hike the beautiful desert trails right outside our back gate for the entire last year we lived in Phoenix. 

We had miles and miles of trails right outside our backyard in Phoenix.

We had miles and miles of trails right outside our backyard in Phoenix.

It reared it's ugly head at me when I had to drag bags of salt to the basement alone during one of our many back and forth trips last spring, and threw my hip out requiring a trip to the chiropractor in the feed store. Yup, my chiropractor works out of our feed store. He's awesome and I still go see him every week. I didn't know anybody in town yet, and crawled out of the basement on my hands and knees. I wasn't upright again until the adjustment the next day. With a little pep talk I did finally finish the job a few days later in case you are curious. The water softener was EMPTY, and I had to.

It really drove it's point home last summer while weeding. I worked so hard I injured my elbow and shoulder, and am still in pain from it. The initial pain was so excruciating, I would go days without moving my arm to avoid it. I know, I probably should have seen a doctor about it, but with strength training and stretching it's improved ten fold easily now, so no need to worry.

And we still weren't done weeding, as you can see.

And we still weren't done weeding, as you can see.

Clear your head for a moment, and imagine a farmer. What do you see?

I saw a man, extremely gray, and a bit soft in the middle, wearing overalls. He kind of looks like my grandpa! He also had a wheat stalk in his mouth and a straw hat (talk about stereotyping!). Is that guy fit? I don't know, but in my head he can pick up a pig, schlep bales of straw, and huck a feed bag over his shoulder. So yeah, he must be fit enough to farm.

This lady right here, she's not fit enough to farm. She can't do any of those things. Fit has nothing to do with that number on the scale, or size in your jeans.

She also doesn't really consider herself a farmer because she doesn't feed America. She's just trying to feed a family and enjoy the company of farm animals. This place requires real farm work though, so in that sense it's a farm.

She also doesn't really consider herself a farmer because she doesn't feed America. She's just trying to feed a family and enjoy the company of farm animals. This place requires real farm work though, so in that sense it's a farm.

The post you're reading has been in my head for months. Is this oversharing? Where's the line between being authentic and just sounding like a weak baby woman? This is not the inspiring story of city dweller turned homesteader I pictured. 

I can't be the only wannabe homesteader that worries about this though. Before we had the Mule, when the feed can needed to be refilled in the coop Jared had to carry the bags out, or I would do it. A few feet at a time, death grip on the 40lb bag, taking short little steps trying not to hurt myself again. Same story with the straw bales. Holy buckets why is everything so heavy?! I had to do something about this. I don't care about what the scale says, or what size my pants are. I need to be healthy, and strong.

So, now I'm working out. It's perfect timing. Too cold to really do anything outside, I don't have a ton of inside projects at the moment. All the squatting and hauling of soil bags will be here before I know it.

A sweaty selfie is the best way to get to know someone, right? Today was leg day.

A sweaty selfie is the best way to get to know someone, right? Today was leg day.

I'm on day 19 of 80, and I've never felt better or stronger in my entire life. My knees are even pain free, which is somewhat of a miracle. I'm doing the 80 Day Obsession program on Beach Body on Demand.

Before I go any further, I have to tell you I'm not a Beach Body Coach, or affiliated with them in any way. If you want my honest opinion, I was always really turned off by their programs. The 21 Day Fix made me feel like I was just working towards a bikini body (worthless on the farm if you ask me), and all the selling of powders, and supplements, and food schedules. Ugh, I'm trying to eat real food I grow and harvest here. What do you mean bacon isn't allowed?! Is the whole pig off limits? What's wrong with pork? I have two whole pigs in the deep freeze. I'm not buying factory farmed meat when I have perfectly good pastured pork already. What are all these tiny containers? I live 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store. How am I supposed to have time to go shop for and then eat all of these fresh fruits and vegetables that are so out of season it makes me cringe to buy them?   

Seriously. I'm not trying to sell you anything here. That little rant are my real thoughts about the whole thing, which is why it is so amazing I actually started it. Normally that level of negativity would have totally derailed me. That's how badly I want to be able to do things for myself.

Now that I'm doing it, I have zero regrets. I love (almost) every minute of it, and it's because of how awesome my group is. My coach is Rebecca A Havens and we are Rebecca's Booty Movers on Facebook. You can watch her little intro video here. We're not trying to have bikini bodies, we're all trying to make our bodies be stronger so we can do the physical challenges that call to us. We're currently also a tiny un-intimidating group of 7, so we have a lot of fun with it. If you want to join us after finishing this post, please do. Don't worry about being late to the game either. We all have to start where we are at. 

If you've gotten here and you're still reading, I'll tell you a bit about it, and how I'm making it work for me.

Squeezing in a one hour workout everyday was the first challenge I had to overcome. I ended up giving up my lunch "break", and do it when I was normally stuffing my face at my desk laughing at chicken memes anyhow. It was a good time usage swap. I work at home, so that works well for me. On days where I have too many demands vying for my time, I do the workouts in the evening after dinner.

My weights are a hodgepodge from Dick's Sporting Goods, Target, and Walmart.  Sliders  and  loops  are from Amazon.

My weights are a hodgepodge from Dick's Sporting Goods, Target, and Walmart. Sliders and loops are from Amazon.

I'm not doing the food or the supplements as scheduled. I am making an effort to eat as healthy as I can though. I have the containers and I filled out the sheet to figure what I should be eating in order to maintain my weight while doing the program. Weight loss is not my goal. Strong hamstrings, and a back that hucks things are. I use the containers to get an idea of how many meals of each type of food I should try to eat. I never get them all in. I do drink a shake after my workout. It's chocolate whey powder, veggie powder, a handful of spinach, ice, coffee, half a banana, and some PB2. I plan to cut out the whey powder when I start cheese making again and use the leftover whey from that instead. Here's hoping I start cheese making again soon! 

As for the food, I am buying all of those out of season fruits and veggies for the time being. Substituting the veggie powder wasn't enough. I crave the energy boost eating the fruit gives me, and fresh salads really are the best (and most delicious) way to get your greens. I started growing some spinach, arugula, and other salad greens in my window garden, so hopefully I can stop making so many grocery store runs soon. Fresh food doesn't last as long as frozen does, but it is satisfying to eat when your body is working so hard. Next year, I hope to have more canned, dehydrated, and frozen fruits and veggies to get me through the winter with the window garden. We eat the meat our local farmers have raised. Bacon and all. 

I also eat the bread I make myself, and make an effort to avoid processed food. I try to keep it to just a couple bread items a day. The next book in our book club is all about making naturally leavened bread using quality flour! Join us if you want to make your own delicious bread.

Testing a recipe for our new book club group!

Testing a recipe for our new book club group!

It's basketball season, so I find myself hungry at Orion's games often and get popcorn or a candy bar every now and then. I also did not give up beer. I don't drink a ton of it anyhow, but a craft beer with friends is like my favorite thing ever. 

So, if you've been feeling like I was, don't be intimidated to start an exercise program that doesn't necessarily reflect your goals. No one ever regrets getting stronger, or feeling healthier. Until someone creates a program for straw schlepping and feed bag hucking, us farm folk are going to have to improvise. I can't wait to share that photo of me doing these tasks on my own in a few weeks.

My Mother in Law and I made quick of work of cleaning these stalls last weekend. I credit my stronger arms for that!

My Mother in Law and I made quick of work of cleaning these stalls last weekend. I credit my stronger arms for that!

Next up, start a 5k training program so I can chase after goats when they escape. That's really the only reason you would ever see me running. Take note neighbors!

Cheers!

Bev

This post contains ads & affiliate links (this links to our full disclosure about browser cookies, and way more than you probably wanted to know about ads and affiliate marketing). We make a small commission when you purchase from some of the links shared in this post. Making a purchase from a link will not cause you to pay more or affect your purchase in any way. It will however, support our wildest farmin' dreams, which is mighty awesome of you.