Staying Strong While Caring for Calves

By Lacey Zuck

Welcome back to Zuck Cattle for Week 7 of our Live Healthy Iowa 10 Week Wellness Challenge! Josh and I just got back from San Antonio where we were attending National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) annual convention. We got home just in time for our busiest time of year… CALVING SEASON!

Once again, it is proving to be especially hard on our bodies and stretching us beyond our limits. Round-the-clock calving checks have us exhausted and our immune systems are drained. Weather swings of more than 40 degrees have us breaking ice one day and fighting mud the next. Physical requirements of manning a full-time bovine maternity ward leave every single muscle aching.

Although our tanks are running close to empty, it’s vital we keep our fitness routine going. Why? Because injury prevention starts with a strong structure! With the fatigue of a new routine, we have to remember that form is key.

New calves require lifting, carrying, ear tags, vaccinations and a host of other physical demands. Having a strong core and legs helps prevent back injury when we’re out in the field. Josh and I make sure to add a few core exercises to the end of each workout! Whether you’re calving cows or keeping up with kids, strength training is the key to staying away from injury.

Once a week we incorporate a functional cardio workout into our routine, with moves like what basketball or football players use. Footwork, mental focus and speed come in handy when an over-protective momma cow decides you should find the first fence to exit!

While we all know that lack of sleep can lead to a weak immune system, we like to fight back by staying active. Something as simple as moderate walking can boost your white blood cells and your immune system! We just don’t have time to be sick this time of year.

Keeping up with our fitness routine keeps us going when the times get tough, but we also have a secret weapon to push through… BALANCED NUTRITION! As I’m preparing for my upcoming bikini competitions, it requires me to stay on top of our meal planning and there are no fast-food solutions. I love to use short cuts like the Instant Pot and air fryer to cut down prep time and speed up dinner time. 

If you’re looking for a beefy delight in no time at all, check out one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes just in time for St. Patrick’s Day… Irish Stew! This hearty, easy-to-prepare recipe is courtesy of the Beachbody On Demand blog.