North Iowa Farmer Takes Step-by-Step Approach to Fitness

6482Just like his mentor Jason Landers of Strive Fitness, Phil Pitzenberger of Greene, Iowa, believes in a step-by-step approach to fitness. He puts on 5 to 9 miles a day during the cropping season as he climbs steps into the tractor cab, walks to equipment and climbs grain bins.

Phil’s days are especially busy from April through November as he grows seed beans for Latham Hi-Tech Seeds and is a seed dealer. He and his brothers farm with their dad, Ted Pitzenberger of Tyden Farm No. 6. Phil also operates a custom spraying business with his brother Ian.

During the winter months, Phil stays active by lifting weights four times weekly.

“A good workout routine gives you so much more energy. After a month or two of not working out, I feel sluggish and find myself tiring more quickly,” says Phil, who started working out in high school when he participated in wrestling and football. “As I’ve gotten older, weight just doesn’t fall off like it used to by just lifting free weights. Now that I’m 42, it’s just an accomplishment to string together good workouts.”

IMG 0170“The scale isn’t the only measure of success,” adds Phil. “It gets tougher every year for me to see results when I start lifting again after harvest. I don’t ever feel intimidated in the gym because everyone is there for his or her own reasons. Everyone has had a first time in the gym, so I try to be welcoming for those who are new.”

As a proud father of three, Phil says his kids are his motivation to work out regularly.

“Staying committed to working out sets a great example,” says Phil, who also enjoys outdoor sports like hunting and fishing. Hunting is a natural physical activity that requires endurance to walk woods and track animals. Game meat also is nutritious and is generally a lean protein.

Photo Nov 23, 3 35 46 PM“I’m not sure how much hunting I would do if we didn’t have the ground that we have,” says Phil. “I didn’t have to introduce my boys to hunting because they want to go with me. It’s just something they have grown up enjoying. They also love fishing. Finn is the best fisherman, just ask him! While it takes a lot of work to take the boys fishing, it’s pretty satisfying watching them. They all stand there with a pole in their hands, anxiously waiting for a fish to bite.”

Outdoor activities and farming also provide this former agricultural education teacher with an opportunity for real-life teaching opportunities. Phil attended Kirkwood Community College before transferring to Iowa State University. He graduated from ISU in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Education. Phil’s wife, Lyndsie, graduated from the University of Iowa. As librarian for Greene Public Library, Lyndsie shares Phil’s passion for helping kids learn, discovering new things and using their resources wisely.

Today the Pitzenberger family is sharing with us a family favorite recipe for Deer Jerky.


Deer Jerky


  • 1 pound of deer roast cut into ½-inch slices
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 oz. hot sauce
  • 1/2 bottle of liquid smoke
  • 7 tablespoons of tender quick (cure)
  • 2 tablespoons Accent (cure and flavor enhancer)
  • 4 oz. lemon juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 quart water


  1. Mix all ingredients, then pour over jerky slices.
  2. Marinate for 24 hours.
  3. Periodically mix the meat around the container, covering all the meat really well.
  4. Lastly place on a dehydrator set at 155-165 degrees.
  5. Dehydrate for 5 to 6 hours.
  6. Enjoy!