Hairs are getting lighter. Skin is getting darker. I’m actually gaining muscle. Did I just say that?
And my sock tan is getting more legit by the day.
Working at a greenhouse is basically like being paid to go to the gym everyday. No lie. Either that or some sort of new age health spa where you sweat out all of your problems. Some days I walk, like, 10 miles. I lift, squat, pull, and bend. I sweat like I’ve been drenched with a water hose. That earthy, sunshiny greenhouse smell alone will lift your spirits. And you remember my obsession with pineapple sage, right? It’s like heaven. And let’s not forget that I get to work with hot (sweaty?) guys every day. HA.
So are you ready to workout like a greenhouse guru?
You’ve got to bring it!!!
First: You’ll be standing on your feet all day in the sun so I recommend tennis shoes, sunscreen, and a sun hat. I don’t care how ridiculous you look – you’ll thank me later! I ended up buying one of those sun hats from China with the wide brim and the built-in neck flap. 50 UPF. Adjustable neck strap. Adorable bow on the back. This thing is the real deal. Customers literally chuckle when I walk by, and some of my co-workers have taken to calling it my “sunbonnet”. I’m pretty sure they were all just jealous.
Warm-up! Yoga works wonders for morning-after-long-shift soreness. Like when you’re pretty sure your hammies have cemented overnight… Jog (or wog depending on your soreness level) from the parking lot to the greenhouse.
Temperatures begin the in 70’s and reach early 100’s by midday so drink, drink, drink!
For the next 8-10 hours:
- Work those calf muscles with heel-ups while you water plants. It’ll only take you about 2 hours to water your section so this one should be a doozy.
- Lunge to reach down for that hose you dropped (that subsequently sprayed water on your behind…).
- Water high and water low; your shoulders will…thank you.
- Suck in your gut when you reach for something. Feel the burn!
- Want quads you can see from space?? Squat and lunge while you deadhead petunias, geraniums, and marigolds. Then no one can accuse you of skipping leg day AND random people in the greenhouse will get a good laugh.
- Work those arms, shoulders, and core with hanging baskets! Lift the basket from the ground with the hook in your right hand. Put your left hand on the bottom of the basket. Left hand lifts and hooks the basket to the bar above your head. Simultaneously, right hand puts drippy lines into the plant. Now reverse the motion so that both sides are exercised evenly. Repeat 50-80 times.
- Each flatbed holds 9-11 flats of plants. Water the flats. Load the flats. THEN push the flatbed all the way from the back hoophouse to the front of the greenhouse. Unload and then walk back to the hoophouse. This time pull the flatbed instead of pushing it. Repeat 15-30 times.
- If it’s Truck Day then you and the team will have 15-20 racks to unload. Use these days for the “step-up-reach-high-bend-low” exercises to get the plants from the top of the 8ft high racks to the flatbeds. This works legs, core, and shoulders. And pretty much every other muslce. Score! I suggest keeping your mouth closed while performing this exercise since dirt likes to fall from the pots…
- When you carry the flats of plants to their tables carry them like a waiter’s tray. It works your shoulder AND makes you look important.
That about sums it up. Go home. Peel off your sweaty, nasty clothes, shower, and repeat the next day. It’s funny because since I started working in the greenhouse I’ve found that I’m much more heat tolerant than I was. It’s like 85 is the new 65. Everyone else is dying and I’m like, “Hm, yeah, it feel nice out here.”
Want more exercise in your life? Workouts are everywhere! And if people look at you funny just smile and wave. Or flex if that’s your style.
Long live the sock tan!