Riding at Peak Performance
As equestrians, we are really good at caring for the health and wellbeing of our partners, focusing on the supplements, feed, and exercise routine of our horses as we always want them at peak performance. But, we can’t forget about their pilot. It is just as important for the rider to be in top condition as it is for the horses. A strong, healthy, confident rider can build a better bond and earn the respect and trust of their horse. I have implemented habits and routines in order to ensure I am always at the top of my game for Lux. In today’s post, I am going to share with you my top tips for keeping you at your peak performance. Remember, everyone is different. What might work for me, mentally or physically, might not necessarily work for you. Find what feels good for you and be open to adaptations whenever necessary.
I believe that one of the best ways to improve your riding is to strengthen the muscles and areas most used in the saddle in your workouts. For example, I used to have my leg swing back over nearly every jump (especially oxers). I decided to start to focus on my legs throughout my workouts, specifically my calves. I would do 10-15 minutes of targeted work after my 20 minutes of cardio. Finding a workout system and exercises specifically for equestrians can be challenging, but it can greatly improve your effectiveness in the saddle.
I have found The Fit Equestrian Live (linked here) to be an awesome resource. Targeted specifically for equestrians, TFE Live has a plethora of different videos that range from 10 to 25 minutes long. You can easily pick and choose different workouts to do based on what you want to focus on that day. With classes in areas like HIIT, core, leg, and even yoga, there is something for everyone. What I love most about the program is that everything is targeted for equestrians. Although other platforms are fantastic, they are typically aimed at the general population, and piecing together the right workout for you can be a bit time consuming. The Fit Equestrian is almost like a one-stop-shopping platform for riding workouts.
The Fit Equestrian also has tons of workout gear to make your workout a little more fun! Personally, I love their resistant bands because they come in 4 different strengths, have the cutest colors, and are marketed at a great price. I find the TFE resistant bands (linked here) pair perfectly with the 15-minute resistant band HIIT workout (linked here). I also love their workout shirts. They’re well-fitted, sweat-resistant, and flattering! I have my shirt in a fantastic pink color (linked here), not too bright and not too pale. Use my code BREECHESANDSWEATS or click the link (here) when purchasing for 10% off!
Generally, I begin my workout with a 10 minute walk followed by a 10 minute jog/run on the treadmill. To “trick” myself into working out, I watch a YouTube video or Netflix show to keep me occupied and entertained. After all, being on the treadmill can be quite boring. After my 20 minute treadmill, I head right into 10 to 15 minutes of strength training. I do a little bit of everything in this workout: abs, leg, butt, calves, etc. I focus my time mostly on core and lower body training. Added bonus: doing a lower body circuit at a quick pace adds more cardio to your routine while building strength. Some of my favorite core exercises are: crunches, bicycles, penguin touches, planks, etc. I also love to go for walks outside to change things up and get out in the sunshine. Just recently, I went on a 3 mile walk with a friend of mine. It was a great way to chat and catch up, while also getting in a good exercise and some fresh air!
Meals / Snacks
I just did a huge blog post regarding all my favorite meals and snacks to stay healthy and fueled throughout the day (click here to read!). I find it is important to know what and why you are putting the foods you do into your body. TFE Live is the one-stop site to answer all your questions. With the input of a fantastic nutritionist, TFE has posted numerous videos regarding nutrition and what to be putting into your body. They also included some fantastic recipes that might be appealing to you. For example, energy balls, muffins, overnight oats, sandwiches, granola bars, etc.! You can find these recipes on The Fit Equestrian blog (linked here) or their Nutrition page on their TFE Life Website (linked here)
I can’t stress this enough, breaks are ok!! As students, when we hit this time of the year (so close to the end, but so far!), we begin to get burnt out and exhausted. Try to do something in your day that is exciting and uplifting. Set goals with little rewards at the end: if I finish this chapter in math I will go for a bike ride to get a smoothie. Change up lunch: get a bagel from your favorite shop (I do this frequently lol!) or try a new salad recipe at home. Throughout your day, plan times when you can get outside and enjoy the (hopefully) nice weather. Take your dog for a walk, get together with a friend (face to face!) for some quality time, or simply sit and soak in the sun. Even if it’s just for a couple of minutes, a small break can help you reset and prepare to tackle the rest of the day. But also, it’s ok to spend that extra hour watching Netflix or sleeping in. If your body needs to rest, let it rest! After a day off to decompress, I am usually chomping at the bit to have a productive day the following day. It is just a nice way to spring back.
As I said before, not all of these tips are going to work for everyone. It is important that you focus on your body, your schedule and your own personal goals. Do not try to do a workout or a diet just because you want to look like that person. The most important thing you can do is listen to your body and mind and figure out what makes you your happiest, most effective self. We put all of this time and care into our horses, we have to be sure to do the same for ourselves. After all, the horses need us just as much as we need them!