There’s very little routine from one day to the next in farming. Equipment breaks down, weather changes, animals need help, truck drivers call, neighbours drop by to visit — it’s what keeps every day interesting, but it also makes sticking to a disciplined fitness plan difficult, especially when it comes to seasonally busy periods.
In this latest episode of The Fit Farmer Podcast, co-hosts Gary Chambers, farmer from Drumheller, AB, and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney talk about the keys to starting and maintaining a routine. (Certainly it’s also an appropriate — and ironic — topic for this less-than-consistent podcast!)
While any routine must be flexible, especially during seeding or spraying or calving or harvest or trucking and so on, Chambers and Haney discuss some key strategies that will improve your chances of maintaining a workout or exercise plan:
- Time of day matters — Most people start the day with the best of intentions. Willpower generally declines as the day passes, so Chambers recommends establishing an early morning routine, which leads us into tip #2…
- Minimize distractions — “The rest of the world chooses not to call us til after sort of 8 o’clock, so I think we need to use that time before if we can,” he notes. “That window from 5 to 7 or 6 to 7 is a window where we can often create a starting point.” Also avoid opening emails or checking social media between reps or while exercising. As an example, Chambers says he listens to his workout music on an old iPod that doesn’t offer these distractions.
- Set realistic expectations — On some days, a 10 or 20 minute workout squeezed between farm duties is a success. You don’t need a 90-minute block open on the schedule to begin. Make sure your expectations fit with your other priorities in life.
- Plan — Write down what you want to do and then record it, whether that’s on paper or in an app. It might seem like a little thing, but it can have psychological benefits.
Check out previous episodes in The Fit Farmer Podcast, including how to build your own on-farm gym, here (you can also subscribe in iTunes or your favourite podcast app.)