Wellness Wins & Challenge Takeaways

By Kelly Visser, Iowa Food & Family Project

The Iowa Food & Family Project is proud to sponsor Live Healthy Iowa’s 10 Week Wellness Challenge, which is held in January, February and March each year. The team-based competition encourages Iowans to set wellness goals and keep moving.

Our Farm Team of four incredible Iowa farmers competed in the challenge, shared practical tips about fitness and inspired participants to fill their plate with nutritious Iowa-grown and raised ingredients. After all, wellness starts with healthy food, and healthy food starts on the farm!

To wrap up the challenge, each participant shared takeaways from the experience and what they’re looking forward to this spring.

10 Week Wellness Challenge Wrap Up

Shannon Latham

What was one thing you learned about yourself during the challenge?

This 10 Week Wellness Challenge has reminded me that focusing on my health and fitness is not just a choice, but a need. I need to make myself a priority, so that I feel better for myself and am in better health for my family. Too often I view making food choices as a diet for weight loss rather than as a health choice for daily living. I’m putting a renewed emphasis on eating to fuel my body.

I’m also trying to exercise daily, even if I don’t have as much time as I’d like. I’m now convinced that one 10-minute walk is better than nothing. If I lose my willpower at one mealtime, I make a conscious effort to make better choices at the next meal. I’ve wasted too much time, energy and calories with an “all or nothing” attitude!

What are you looking forward to this spring? Both on and off the farm.

I’m looking forward to the return of nice weather! I tend to wrap myself in blankets, read books and feast on comfort foods when the weather is snowy and cold. It’s naturally easier for me to increase my activity level and eat lighter when the weather outside is enjoyable. I’m naturally more active around my yard and in my gardens from spring through fall. I also eat a lot of more grilled meats and fresh vegetables from spring through early fall. I’m looking forward to planting my garden, mowing my lawn and taking long walks outside.

Sara Ross

What was one thing you learned about yourself during the challenge?

I learned that I can run longer than I ever have before. I’ve done 2 to 4 miles but running 6 to 7 miles at a time is a whole different ballgame. Training for this half marathon has been a journey but I’m excited for the race on May 3.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Both on and off the farm.

I’m looking forward to warmer temperatures and working outside more. I love when things start greening up and I can work on my garden and flower beds. Springtime also means calving season and fieldwork around here, so it is a busy time!  

How can readers keep following along with you and your wellness journey?

You can follow along with me on Instagram @the_mrssaraross.  

Casey Schlichting

What was one thing you learned about yourself during the challenge?

It is great having the accountability of a team of workout friends. Looking at what you eat and how it affects your performance is also important. More carbs for cardio, less carbs and more protein for powerlifting and not enough water or salt to absorb it. It is crazy how your fuel can make or break your performance.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Both on and off the farm.

I am looking forward to dust… as silly as that may sound it has been a rare to make dust the last few years of spring work because it has been so wet. Also, I’m looking forward to getting my road bike out on the trail system. I urge my fellow farmers to pay attention to their fuel gauge, not in your machinery, but your own body. Put good stuff in and you will get good results out.

How can readers keep following along with you and your wellness journey? 

To keep up with my life on the farm and fitness related I’m on Facebook, Twitter @getfitfarmer and Instagram @getfitfarmer55.

Lacey Zuck

What was one thing you learned about yourself during the challenge?

I’ve enjoyed sharing my farm and fitness routine over the past ten weeks! By the end of this 10 Week Wellness Challenge, I will be exactly 50 days from my first competition of 2020. This prep came during our busy calving season and I’ve impressed myself with how dedicated I can get when I put my mind to it. There were plenty of long nights that a pizza would have been easier, but my husband is a trooper and I’m not one to back down from the challenge. Reaching for big fitness goals can be scary, but it also lets me see how disciplined I can be.

What are you looking forward to this spring? Both on and off the farm.

This spring and summer we are branching out into new territory, FARMERS’ MARKETS! I’m excited to connect with consumers directly and help them to better understand our farm operation. I’m also looking forward to the weather straightening out and my half marathon season to begin.

How can readers keep following along with you and your wellness journey?

Hop on over to my Instagram @CattleandCardio! My stories are full of the day-to-day life of a farming fitness competitor and my feed is aimed to provide some inspiration and motivation. And for those wanting to connect directly with our farming operation, please feel free to shoot me an email at zuckcattle@gmail.com.