Bored of the gym? Looking for an unusual fitness challenge? Gayle checks out a super-fun farmyard workout in Fife.
Hunkered down on my knees, I grab desperately at tufts of damp grass. I’m going to do this!
My heart thumps in my chest, my thighs and arms strain as I pull the near two-tonne tractor harnessed to my body across the field.
Okay, so teammate Alasdair Chisholm is helping me out, but nevertheless, this is no mean feat.
“Do whatever you can to get it moving,” instructor Jonny Crowe advises, and this we why we’re ripping out grass and getting our knees soggy.
Our technique works, though, and the machine rolls swiftly into action.
We reach the 10-metre finish point in just under 25 seconds. Not bad, although not as good as the pair before us (two burly men in their 20s) who did it in 18 seconds.
I’m taking part in a recently-launched Farming Fit session, a farming-themed boot camp at The Rhynd near Tayport.
It’s a brilliant concept – a novel way to burn calories and (hopefully) develop abs, gluts, quads, triceps and biceps to die for.
There are around 30 folk here today and after a quick jog round a field, we form a circle and throw a gym ball at each other while performing squats. If anyone drops the ball, we need to bend down and touch our toes or do burpees.
Jonny then instructs us to pair up. I grab CrossFit aficionado Jim Smith before he has a chance to run for the hills.
“Get yourselves an exercise ball from the shed,” hollers Jonny. “There’s a choice of 5kg and 10kg.” All the 5kgs are taken, so we’re lumped with a 10kg.
We zip round the field taking it in turns to balance the beast of a ball on one shoulder before getting stuck into a relay of squatting (with the ball), “bear crawling” and running – 10 minutes of physical hell.
After we’ve got our breath back, we form teams of four and collect a (heavy) rope and three tyres.
“Run to the end of the field with your kit, thread the tyres through the rope and drag them back,” instructs Jonny.
“Then do 20 sit-ups and 20 burpees. Repeat this sequence three times.”
My heart sinks as I strongly believe that burpees are the devil’s work.
The final challenge is the 10-metre tractor pull, which we (in my humble opinion) totally nail! And the buzz that comes from having pulled a tractor (yes, an actual tractor) is pretty intense!
At the end of the session, my legs feel tired, I’m covered in grass stains and there’s mud in my fingernails and hair – but I feel truly invigorated!
We head to The Rhynd Cafe for well-deserved tasty protein shakes – mine is aptly called “grassy knees”!
It’s three days before I can sit down properly, a sign that while I may be fit, I’m not yet “farm fit”!
Sure, I run, ride horses, do pilates and yoga and walk the dog, but when it comes to strength and muscle power, I don’t have a heck of a lot of it (although I am rather proud of having pulled the tractor without dying).
Over my shake, Ed Foster, owner of The Rhynd, tells me the inspiration behind Farming Fit.
“I’ve been dragged, kicking and screaming, to too many classes where I’m made to feel particularly unfit and useless,” he says.
“I wanted to start something where you could come and have a fun workout, no matter your fitness level.
“It’s very sociable and team-oriented; that’s very much the Farming Fit ethos.
“We’ve been delighted so many groups have ended up having their shakes together in the cafe afterwards!”
Sessions are an hour, routines change regularly and may incorporate logs, hay bales, tractors, tyres and more!
“It’s about using our bodies in the way they were meant to be used!” says Jonny.
“Workouts can be scaled to any ability of fitness. This means you can choose weights to fit your strength and fitness level. That way everyone can workout together but in a way that suits them.”
Another great thing about Farming Fit? Your first session is free!
Farming Fit at The Rhynd runs on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 9am. It’s hoped more classes will be laid on.
Classes use a blend of CrossFit and functional training. Anyone over 16 can take part. The price scheme is set so whatever your schedule, there’s something to suit you, whether a drop-in class for £10, or a block of sessions that work out at £4.44 a go.
The Rhynd is five minutes from Tentsmuir beach. Your first Farming Fit class is free! See myfarmfit.co.uk