Britain’s Fittest Farmer: 5 strong video entries so far

We’ve been blown away by the incredible applications to take part in this year’s Britain’s Fittest Farmer competition, with farmers from across the UK keen to get involved.

It’s quick and easy to apply – just go the the website, fill in the application form and upload a video or photo of yourself.

Once you’ve uploaded your application, you’ll get an email inviting you to compete in one of three qualifiers.

See also: Video: 6 simple exercises to keep you fit on the farm

These are free events for the rural community to take part in or spectate as competitors tackle a series of physically challenges designed to test all elements of fitness, set by judge Tom Kemp.

This week, we’ve picked out some the best video applications so far to get you inspired to enter.

Remember, this competition is all about finding great ambassadors for physical fitness and mental health in agriculture, so it’s about more than who can run the fastest half-marathon or lift the heaviest tractor tyre.

How to apply

To apply, entrants need to go to the Britain’s Fittest Farmer website and answer a few questions on how they keep themselves physically fit and look after their mental health and upload a video or photo of themselves.

Check out the fantastic applications so far for some inspiration.

Pete Eccles

Midlothian farmer Pete runs the family beef and sheep farm with his wife and two children, keeping 2,000 breeding ewes and 100 suckler cows. Here he is keeping fit on the farm.

 

“Working long days with lots of manual labour keeps me fit,” says the 35-year-old. “I enjoy going for family bike rides and long walks with the dogs. I like to take off to the beach or to the hills for a workout when time allows.”

He regularly gets up 5.15am to go to his local gym class with a group of friends before starting work too. Frequent exercise helps Pete to release the stresses of the busy life working on the farm.

“The endorphins released help keep me motivated and feeling energised and I’m able to cope with stressful situations. I also get a lot out of chatting and sharing experiences with others.”

Charles Biggs

Oxfordshire stockman Charlie is no stranger to hard graft on the farm, including shearing.

He works on a 160ha sheep and beef unit and until recently played rugby, but was forced to retire because of an injury.

Now the 34-year-old keeps fit thanks to the physically demanding work he does on the farm and he also goes for walks in his spare time.

Since his dad passed away two years ago, Charlie says he has been more aware of his own mental health because of the grief that comes with losing a close family member.

Talking to friends and family more openly has helped him.

“I try to talk to people close to me as it’s been a tough couple of years and working a lot on my own it’s important that I talk to people,” he says.

Britain’s Fittest Farmer 2020: Dates for your diary

  • Qualifier 1: Marlborough, Wiltshire – Sunday, 29 March 2020
  • Qualifier 2: Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire – Saturday, 4 April 2020
  • Qualifier 3: Jedburgh, Scottish Borders – Saturday, 18 April 2020
  • Final: Great Dunmow, Essex – Saturday, 9 May 2020

Lucy Sheffield

Farming mum Lucy always makes time to workout in the gym, not matter how busy she is.

Out on the farm she’s putting out 10t of turkey feed by hand and is always keen to show that she is just as capable of carrying out farm jobs that her dad and brother typically do.

As if working on the family farm and raising her daughter isn’t enough to keep her occupied, the 41-year-old also runs the office at her local school and works in the gym where she trains.

“I am very lucky to have all three things in my life, they all run alongside each other well,” says the East Sussex farmer.

“I have a real passion for Crossfit which is the area I like to train within and only wish that I had come to it sooner in my life.”

Lucy loves to see the strength and conditioning progress she’s made during her time devoted to this form of high-intensity interval training, something she does most days.

She’s so into it that she has made herself a home gym on the farm so that she can still squeeze a session in at hectic times of the year.

Taking time out for herself is the main reason for her rigorous training, with gains in physical fitness an added bonus, she says.

“While being physically fit and strong are great attributes, they are secondary to the reason why I first came to training the way I do.

“I suppose I didn’t feel like I belonged anywhere. I struggled with being labelled a mum and don’t like the stereotypes which go with this.

“When the local gym advertised for people to start small group sessions, it was my calling and that’s how it all started. I immediately felt better in myself.”

Henry Corp

Young farmer Henry works on his family’s arable farm in Wiltshire. Having not been very fit as a child, he joined a rugby club aged 16 and decided to work on his all-round strength and fitness.

Since then he’s thrown himself into a wide range of activities, including rowing, cycling, cross country running and athletics.

Here he is getting some handstand push-ups in during harvest.

Right now he’s keen on high-intensity fitness workouts, incorporating elements from Crossfit and several sports.

“I love going ‘full send’ on high intensity exercises outside on the farm, where I have a single barbell, two gymnastic rings, a medicine ball and plenty of space to run and do burpees,” says the 22-year-old.

To keep himself in a positive mental state, he practises gratitude; a method of writing a short journal entry of everything he’s grateful for whenever he’s feeling down.

“It’s a very good way for me to focus on the positives from day to day,” says Henry.

AJ Hills

West Yorkshire arable farmer AJ has been working on his family farm for 10 years, having spent a four-year stint playing rugby full-time. Here he is hitting it hard in the gym.

Today the 28-year-old helps run 400ha of land growing cereals and potatoes, doing everything from drilling to harvesting.

To keep fit he’s often found in the gym or working out at the farm.

“I’ve always been into my gym work and trained in various places, including my own setup on the farm. I’ve recently got hooked on CrossFit,” says AJ.

He describes himself as a “happy-go-luck” sort of guy, but admits that long, lonely days in the sprayer cab can sometimes take their toll on his state of mind.

“My recent CrossFit addiction has not only improved my fitness and strength, but improved my positive attitude to everyday life,” he says.

“I try my best to train every day where I can and the continuous learning of new skills and surrounding myself in a group of like-minded people from a non-farming background helps to get out of the farming headspace and enjoy training and life far more.”

Britain’s Fittest Farmer: Our sponsor and partners

Grenadier: Sponsor
Tough, rugged, agile – the new INEOS Grenadier 4X4 will share plenty of traits exhibited by the winner of Britain’s Fittest Farmer. That’s why we’re so pleased to be sponsoring this rural British physical challenge.

As an uncompromising, no frills, off-road vehicle, the Grenadier will provide all the capability, durability and reliability you need to tackle the toughest tasks on the farm. That’s why we see ourselves as the ideal partner for this true test of grit, endurance and strength.

For more information on Grenadier, pay a visit to their website.

Farm Fitness: Partner
Farm Fitness has rapidly become a burning beacon on the UK fitness scene, attracting spectators and participants from all over the country to come and take a swing at its almost alchemic blend of modified strongman, functional bodybuilding, calisthenics and blistering cardio efforts.

The gym, founded by farmer’s son Tom Kemp, was voted one of the best gyms in the world and ‘coolest outdoor space’ by Men’s Health (PDF)

Tom has blended his farming background with his love of training to create a raw and exciting outdoor environment for people of all strengths and abilities to get fit.

The Farming Community Network: Partner
The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.

The charity has helped thousands of people deal with a variety of issues, including financial difficulties, animal disease, mental health and family disputes.

Volunteers provide free, confidential, pastoral and practical support to anyone who seeks help, regardless of whether the issue is personal or business-related. FCN also runs a confidential national helpline and e-helpline.