Maggie Holub, a third-generation farmer, has created a mobile fitness facility to bring fitness classes to rural communities that may not have other options.
Maggie Holub wears many hats. Between balancing farming along with her full-time job at Farm Credit Services of America, it’s safe to say that she keeps busy.
Despite her heavy workload, she manages to carve out time for her other passion: physical fitness.
A few times a week, she takes her mobile trailer furnished with exercise equipment and travels to surrounding towns, where she leads community fitness classes.
“I always enjoyed physical activity and being active outside. In high school I ran cross county. It provided me a great long-term foundation into my adult life for physical fitness. I was certified to teach at a gym close to Omaha, Nebraska. Then my job and my career took me to Northeast Nebraska, which is just really rural communities. And I saw a need for a fitness program because there's not much access to those types of facilities, let alone do they have the instructors or fitness trainers.”.
The 16-foot trailer fits enough equipment for about 25 people to use, which includes weights, stair steppers and mats. “I've used a lot of extra equipment around the farm,” she said. “There’s an old pivot irrigation pipe that I put weights on. There’s just kind of a crafty ingenuity in doing it that way. One of the best parts of all this for me was putting the trailer together.”
Building Community Through Fitness
For many of the rural towns where Maggie holds her workouts, it’s the only opportunity for people to participate in a group fitness setting. During the summer months, which is her busiest period, most classes are held outdoors. Each session lasts 45 minutes with a focus on strength training mixed in with some cardio. “I'm certified in multiple formats. I generally just do my own independent style workouts. We do a lot of squatting and lunges, and then we’ll work on your biceps and triceps,” Maggie explained.
The classes have attracted a following and have become a regular routine for a number of participants, giving them an activity to look forward to each week. “It’s definitely an accountability,” continued Maggie. “If one of those regulars doesn't show up, we are definitely calling and asking, what's wrong or, where are you? You know, why are you not coming?”
However, before she started working on the farm and teaching fitness classes in rural Nebraska, Maggie ran a very different life. She moved away from her hometown to take a full-time job in Omaha. Then her life took a turn.
Continuing A Family Farming Legacy
A third-generation farmer, Maggie grew up on her family’s farm in Scribner, Nebraska, where she started learning her way around the farm by helping her father.
After earning an agribusiness degree from the University of Nebraska, Maggie began working full time at Farm Credit Services of America in 2009, where she still works as a credit analyst.
Then in 2014, tragedy struck. Her father passed away after fighting a three-year battle with brain cancer, leaving the farm for his family to take care of.
Maggie was given the opportunity to take the reins of her father and farm the family ground, which meant moving from Omaha back to Scribner, where she grew up. And with that, she found herself back on the farm.
“I lived on the farm growing up, and I helped my dad a lot. To a certain extent, there was a huge learning curve when it came to running the farm on my own. But I was acclimated to what I was getting into. So, I was able to buy our family acreage where I grew up, and I live there now.”
Determined to continue her family’s farming legacy, Maggie used her financial and business expertise to successfully manage the farm, where she raises 320 acres of corn and 200 acres of soybeans.
Other skills she has honed along the way, besides traditional farm duties, include learning how to drive a semi-truck — an accomplishment she takes pride in. Her hard work paid off when she was named the 2018 Top Producer Horizon Award winner, an annual award given to young farmers who demonstrate excellence in the farming business.
However, despite her success, she isn’t quite ready to give up on her day job at Farm Credit Services of America quite yet.
“I love my job, and I love what I do. And from a size and scope standpoint, 520 acres would not support my living and my personal needs. So, I have to have a mix of both. My ideal and goal is to always be on the farm. But as of now, it's just a balancing act. I'm a better farmer working at Farm Credit. And I'm a better banker, you know, for working on the farm. So, it all goes hand in hand,” she explains.
Fitness and the Farm
While she certainly has her hands full already, Maggie has always made it a point to keep health and fitness a priority. Once a regular at her local gym, she needed to find other outlets once she started working on the farm. “To stick with fitness once I made the jump to farm, I knew I had to find a way to be more committed,” she said. “That is when I made the decision to become a certified Les Mills Body Pump instructor. And since then have gotten several more fitness certificates under my belt.”
Many of the towns Maggie hits up for fitness lessons are on her way back from work during the week. Though she’s able to travel a bit farther on weekends.
As far as age range, it’s a mixed bag. “I try to market it for any age group because I think fitness is a life journey, and at different points in life, you're at different stages. I'll do some high school classes but then I also have your middle-aged folks and then people who are all the way into their 70s.”
While Maggie’s long-term goal is to build a fitness center right on her farm, she will continue to help keep the surrounding rural communities fit and healthy by taking her mobile fitness trailer to small towns. “The relationships I created at the gym really got me through the challenges in life,” she said, which is likely part of what inspired her to start bringing her fitness classes to others.
“I watched my father deal with brain cancer, which was a huge struggle for me because he was extremely active and healthy,” she said. “It put into perspective: you have one body and one life to live.”