Fitness club memberships seem to be the rage these days. If you happen to be in a city that has health clubs and you drive by at almost any time of the day or even late into the night, the parking lots are nearly full of cars whose owners are inside lifting weights, swimming laps, riding stationary bicycles, and doing whatever else it is they do inside the fitness clubs.

Weight lifting equipment at the Agriculture Country Club.

            Here in the agricultural world, we own a lifetime membership to fitness workouts. We don’t need pilates (isn’t that European for something?) to get fit. There are no stationary bikes at our fitness club. Our “tools” are simple—shovels, pitchforks, rakes, miles and miles of fence line, hammers, too many vehicles (or implements) and too few drivers…the list is nearly endless.

            Let’s consider fence repair as one fitness source. There you are, walking along, humming a song (yes, remember, you ENJOY this), driving steeples into posts, patching holes in the wire, occasionally planting a steel post, and before you know it, you’ve left your pickup or ATV or whatever source of mechanical ride over a mile back in the pasture. That means you get to walk all the way back to get the vehicle. That’s a two-mile jaunt, including the mileage you put on going the other way. You didn’t have to walk circles in a shopping mall. You didn’t have to do steps because the sandy soil is friction enough and, besides, pulling yourself out of the gopher holes is a workout in itself.

            Chopping ice on a frozen stock tank in minus 35-degree temperatures is a great cardiovascular workout. We don’t need high tech circuit training equipment to achieve buff bods—just swing an axe and grab a pitchfork or shovel to toss the ice. It is guaranteed to work every muscle in the body, including those all-important glutes!

            When I played basketball for Colorado State University, we used to have to run the stairs in Moby Arena for conditioning. I used to know how many stairs there are in that arena, but my mind has purposely erased that memory. But now if we members of the Agriculture Country Club want to achieve a stair-running exercise, we can simply put ourselves between an angry momma cow and her newborn calf and we can get all the stair-running, sprinting, fence-jumping exercise we care to achieve in less than five minutes.

            This might be one of my favorite workouts—“Honey, can you help me move the equipment to the field?” the spouse inquires. “Why, yes I can.” Problem is, once we’ve reached the field, he starts the farming process, forgetting that he needs to give me a ride back to the house in the pickup I lovingly took to the field for him to get back to the house in. Now I can either take that said pickup back to the house and leave him with no means of returning home (other than a tractor with equipment hooked on), or I can “hoof” it home. The dogs vote to get a little power walking done that day, so we head south toward the house. Well, heck, what’s another three-mile trek in the day?

            You would think with all of this ‘high tech’ workout equipment we have at the Agriculture Country Club, that all of us would be svelte, well-toned members. Well, speaking for myself, I can only rationalize that two peanut butter-oatmeal cookies and another cup of coffee at break time makes it all worthwhile!