I thought it was high time I shared with you my weight training experiences. Being goat farmers/ranchers, it is extremely important to be strong enough in order to take care of your animals. You never know when you will need to haul feed, carry water, carry hay bales, carry kids, be able to out run a territorial buck and leap over fences. Oh, didnít mean to mention that last. Itís under my Running and Jumping Guide to be written sometime in the future.
Anyway, since I am not interested in bulking up with huge muscles, which, heaven forbid, means I would have to eat correctly too, I decided I would rather look like a very strong couch potato, able to leap up and pick up a wandering baby goat and put it back with itís mother. Or, able to drag a thirty-five pound square bale over to the hay elevator so Lee can stack it up in the hay loft, and do this 700 times.
Now the trick in gaining strength through weight training on the farm is to always remember, in order to gain that strength you have to make that muscle go beyond what it is use to doing. Now, we donít have to go overboard on this. No need in popping out double hernias all at one time.
And some of us, well, it wouldnít take much at all to go beyond what our muscles are usually use to do in order to become stronger. Not that Iím saying that before becoming a goat farmer we led sedentary lives. Well, yes, that is what I am saying. Some of us, in the past, our only weight training was carrying a plate full of food in front of the television and picking up a TV control. Iím not suggesting to put more food on the plate to make it heavier, though we do need to keep up our strength, or even suggesting buying a heavier control and thatís all you need. But, when you become a goat farmer, suddenly you find yourself carrying buckets of grain, square hay bales, baby goats, dragging a full grown goat back into the field where she belongs, and a multitude of other muscle straining things.
Whether you like it or not, now you are into weight training. Some normal folk weight train in ways to build up their strength by a variety of means: repetition - doing the same thing over and over; increasing weights - adding a pound or two each time you train; or having a certain set of exercises, several things, that you repeat over and over in one session.
Well, guess what? The weight training farmer does all the above, not just one type of training, including one where you periodically just about gut yourself out. For example, carrying a 45 pound kid up a hill to a waiting car because it is too muddy for the car to drive down to the barn. And then, turning around and doing it again because they wanted two kids.
We put some customers into weight training the other day when they bought several 4-H wethers each. They had to help carry them out to their truck, manipulating the heavy weight of the kid, shifting that weight from one arm to the other to open gates and close gates, blocking adult goats with their legs who wanted to follow them out, thus developing the muscles in their legs, and donít forget about picking the kids up and setting them down. Being generous people, Lee and I didnít even charge them for that weight training exercise that they would have had to pay a lot for at a gym.
One repetitive exercise I find myself doing all through kidding when does are in their kidding stalls, is carrying buckets of water. With at least thirty does in stalls this past January, I carried thirty buckets of fresh water to them in the morning and then in the evening, day in day out. Also they needed hay and donít forget the grain. Carrying a bucket of grain into those stalls, the grain bucket weighing at least 20 lbs., and fighting to get to each feeder, trying not to let the happy over eager doe knock you down for your bucket, and doing this every day, well, itís not only weight training, but it also teaches you commando skills to survive the grain feeding.
Now if you only have a few goats to feed and the grain bucket is not all that heavy, you can either increase the amount of grain you feed, which the goats will dearly love you for, or, layer the bottom of the bucket with bricks and then put in the grain. You bet, that will make those muscles work. And, donít forget to carry the grain bucket with one hand and then to switch to the other hand the next day. We donít want to be muscle bound and strong all on one side, do we? And, it evens out that staggering gait you have when hauling a heavy grain bucket around. You can equally stagger on either side so when you do a general walk without the grain bucket, you will have all your improved muscles of one size and able to gimp along quite evenly.
So, there you have it. Without realizing it, you have been in weight training all along. You are increasing in strength without even realizing it. You just got to even out those loads, increase the weight you lift slowly, and soon you will be one strong goat farmer. Right now I have to go pick up a thirty-three pound goat protein block, carry it through two pens and into one large field, fighting opening and closing gates, pushing goats away who just know that block is really a grain bucket in disguise, and walk a long distance to put it in itís proper place in the field. The help of sixty goats in that field trying to assist you in carrying it is a bonus. I canít wait to see how amazingly strong I am going to be after this.