Overcoming the fatigue of seasons like calving is all about preparation. By Harriet Bremner.

He’s a farmer who gets fit for farming. A different perspective to most, Kane Briscoe believes that we need to shift our thinking to this – for example; get fit for calving, rather than letting it slaughter you a week in. He knows this first hand because it happened to him.

At 27, Kane, a fit rugby-playing dairy farmer had his last season of the sport and went into calving fit, fresh and good to go. He had always been fit for calving as it started after rugby finished but the following year there was no rugby and he assumed he would sail into calving with no trouble. Wrong.

He got one week in and knew he had made a mistake. The lack of rugby, and more couch, beer and pie time had meant Kane was the least-prepared he had ever been.

Not only was he physically struggling but his mental clarity went and decision-making was out the door too. He says he had a lot of self-doubt moments due to his inability to make good decisions – even being close to driving his motorbike off a cliff due to fatigue.

Unsure how he was going to get through calving, instead of continuing down this rabbit hole, he told himself to get fit for farming.

An hour’s drive to a 1.5-2-hour boxing session in the evenings after work then the drive home was his first next step. He was absolutely buggered after work and the couch was calling but he knew something had to change. So Kane introduced FarmFit Bootcamps from January to July – preparation to get fit for farming/calving. He likens this to the All Blacks preparing for a test match, they do the preparation then the match is to test their fitness and skills.

The same goes for FarmFit – get fit and then test your fitness throughout calving. That way, you can focus on farming and cope both mentally and physically because you have done the preparation.

His response to people who tell him they are too busy is:

“You are not too busy for beers on a Friday night, or any other night for that matter.”

People need to be challenged as to where they are spending their time – it is all about priorities. If you are physically and mentally unfit your days are going to feel longer and less enjoyable so change your ‘why’.

Kane’s new book – Tools for the Top Paddock was initially all about helping others but he has found it healing, reinforcing the tips and tools he has learnt along the way.

Kane has some great tips for the end of calving and how to reset before mating;

  • Make use of this downtime to have a mental and physical break from the farm to relax and refresh. Go on a mini holiday, even for two days to completely unwind.
  • Go back over your calving and find the wins you had – giving yourself confidence and taking some of that positive energy with you.
  • Use this time to reinforce good eating and workout habits. He knows it is very easy to grab the not-so-good food and run.


  • Are you really too busy to work out and get fit for farming or is it in the too-hard basket?
  • Are you grabbing food that is nourishing and fueling your body or are you taking the short, easy-at-the-time option and eating pies?
  • Has calving been mentally and physically hard, brought you to tears at times even? If yes, how are you going to make changes to ensure it is more manageable next year?
  • What do you do that gives you a mental and physical break?
  • Do you go from work straight to the couch or is there a sport you used to love that you could get into again? Have you read Kane’s book yet? If not, do it!

Farming can be hard and breaking old habits is tough. But there is always another option and it is a matter of changing our mindset to see exercise as a tool to get fit for farming rather than a chore.

Good luck getting FarmFit!