mind body



Amanda M. Quinn



            You’re half way through  2019 and sticking to your resolution to get in shape. Perhaps you’ve bought a gym membership, hired a personal trainer or embarked on a new diet. But what if I were to tell you to abandon those mainstream options to go live on a farm instead?

     That’s exactly what I did. For two years I was a certified personal trainer. I hoped acquiring that knowledge would motivate me to get in shape. It didn’t. I just became a hobbyist personal trainer who didn’t exercise.    

     Exasperated with myself and my failed enterprise, I threw my hands up in despair. Feeling the need for a jarring change, I dropped everything to go live and work at Quail Hollow Farm in Overton, NV for 10 weeks.

     There on the farm, I learned the true meaning of humility, and my fitness knowledge was put to the test.  By the end, I was in the best shape I’d been in since I was a teenager. It’s incredible what fresh food, sunshine, clean air and manual labor can do for your body.

     I understand not everyone has the luxury to leave behind their lives to be a farm trainee. Luckily, infusing your life with Farm Fit principles has never been easier. I did all the dirty work for you. By following these principles, you can enjoy the benefits without accidentally sitting in fresh cow poop like I did.


The Farm Fit Program for City Folk

Principle #1: Farm Nutrition

     My favorite perk of the farm internship was being included in their weekly Full-Farm CSA (community supported agriculture). This meant I was able to pick my groceries from a list of available items on the farm every week, ranging from meats, eggs, dairy products, grains, herbs and produce. I learned to eat what was in season and to make well-rounded farm fresh meals. Within days of eating this way, all of my chronic digestive problems disappeared.

     Minimize your intake of processed foods and start eating fresh foods instead.  If you can afford it, the Full-Farm CSA is offered to residents of Las Vegas and Henderson and is delivered straight to your home. Alternatively, you can join their regular CSA for a bag of produce each week delivered to a drop off location.

     If a commitment to a CSA sounds too daunting, you can still obtain fresh food from farmer’s markets around town almost every day of the week. Or, shop directly at a farm in town. (See website links in sidebar.) Learn to eat what is in season, prepare farm fresh produce at home and try new foods!

Principle #2: Plenty of Sunshine

     I spent about 8 hours a day outside in the sun. Aside from initial sunburns, remedied by wearing a hat and buying sunscreen, I was amazed at the healing powers I experienced from the sunshine. My skin took on a healthy glow and my mental health was suddenly pristine.

     Fast forward to the present, where I’m back to my routine of staying up late and spending most of my waking hours peering at a computer screen. I’m definitely feeling the consequences. If you have a job that requires you to stay indoors during daylight hours, you may be feeling these subtle effects, too. Insomnia, anxiety, depression and fatigue are the most common. 

     Luckily, there’s still a way to get the sunlight you so desperately need. Purchase a UV lamp for your home or office to give you a boost when going outside isn’t an option. Even just 10-20 minutes near the sun lamp each day can bring dramatic improvements to your sense of well-being.

Principle #3: Fresh Air

     Only an hour outside of Las Vegas, the air quality in Overton is drastically cleaner. At night, you can see the Milky Way and count shooting stars. I noticed my allergies were virtually eliminated.

     Fresh air can be hard to come by in the city. Opening a window can help a little, but the haze of pollution seen from the outskirts of Las Vegas is concerning. On days off, escape the smog and breathe fresh air from places like Mt. Charleston, Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire.

     During your workweek, however, you may want to invest in some equipment to help you breathe easier. Utilizing humidifiers and air purifiers can help with allergies, dry skin, dermatitis and more. They also help combat the unavoidable pollution you are exposed to in the city. With these inexpensive tools, making a refuge of clean air in your space is available at the touch of a button.

Principle #4: Manual Labor

     By far, the most physique-changing experience on the farm was the manual labor. Instead of lifting weights, I hauled 5-gallon buckets of compost. Rather than using a treadmill, I walked up and down a steep hill between the greenhouses. Farm animals had to be wrangled, weeds had to be pulled and fields had to be harvested.

     Don’t limit physical activity to times and places you set aside for exercise. On the farm I wasn’t counting sets and reps, tracking steps or making sure my right side got the same amount of exertion as my left side. I was just working and living.

     Find areas in your own daily routine where you can exert more physical energy than usual. Take the stairs instead of an elevator. Park farther away from building entrances. Carry heavier loads of groceries instead of multiple light loads. Be creative. The more active you can be in your daily life, the better. Small additions to the frequency of daily activity will make more of an impact than sporadic diets and short-term bouts of spin classes.

     Also, the more you can integrate the principles, the more likely Farm Fit will stick. For example, get sunshine, fresh air and manual labor all at once when you go hiking. You don’t need to abandon city life like I did to put this Farm Fit program to work for you. By following these principles you can enjoy the health benefits of a farmer while retaining your city roots.

Helpful Links for Farm Fit Living: