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'Farm Girl Fit Girl' teaches free virtual exercises classes from her family barn

After her fitness classes were canceled due to COVID-19, Rachel Pfeiffer got creative and started teaching free virtual fitness courses on Facebook Live.

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. — For more than 15 years, Rachel Pfeiffer taught exercise classes at the National Institute For Fitness and Sport (NIFS) on IUPUI's campus and was also a fitness instructor in her hometown of Connersville. 

When the coronavirus pandemic hit earlier this year, all of her classes were canceled, and she felt lost without her devoted fitness students. So, she became the “Farm Girl Fit Girl.”

Pfeiffer constructed a wooden stage in the barn at her working family farm in Connersville and started teaching virtual fitness courses for free on Facebook Live. 

"This barn is on our property, and my dad works full-time here, and he actually he just had a 79th birthday a few days ago. We have beef cattle, corn and soybeans, so this is an operating farm and and all sorts of things happen as I'm teaching [online fitness classes]," Pfeiffer said. "People come in and out who need tools, who need to fix something that broke. It can be a little distracting at times, but we try to keep it on track or just add it in as part of the workout."

Pfeiffer's first online class had more than 1,000 participants. Not only does she average hundreds of viewers every time she jumps on Facebook Live, Pfeiffer also has to deal with all the animals on the farm. 

"I've got my dogs, Gunner and Lizzie, here to keep me company, and they sometimes look at me like, 'Who are you talking to, Mom?!'" Pfeiffer said. "Sometimes, my donkey, Gus, chimes in, and you can hear him every once in a while in the background. He's kind of loud."

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Then, there's the time she briefly had to shut down an online class because of a cattle scare. 

"Last week, I was teaching outside, and I saw that a car had stopped out by the cattle in our front field," Pfeiffer said. "I figured the cows were out because why else would a car stop? I figured a baby calf must be in the middle of the road. So I had to go see about that for a second."

Pfeiffer is now teaching more than a dozen different fitness routines every week from her barn in front of her farm animals, tractors and hundreds of online followers. 

"I've had so many people join me, people who have been with me for years at the gyms where I teach. I've also had people who are new to fitness, who were maybe nervous to go into the gym, but finally decided ‘Hey, I can do this by myself in my living room! Nobody's gonna see me, so I can try this out and see how it goes,'" Pfeiffer said. "I love that it has inspired people to come to fitness and try it out, or maybe try a new format that they would be scared to attempt in a full cardio dance class, but they're not scared to do it at home with only their dog watching them."

It looks like "Farm Girl Fit Girl" is here to stay.

Take part in Pfeiffer's fitness classes at the following links: 

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