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The seven stages of becoming your fittest self yet!

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Rider fitness, work and horses

Looking for the ultimate guide to getting fit for (what’s left of) this season? Then you might need to look elsewhere… But enjoy a laugh relating to our step-by-step guide to what goes on behind your decision to get fit

We all feel we could be doing more to get fit, whether you want to improve your aerobic abilities for your riding or fit back into those summer breeches you swear must have shrunk over the winter. There’s no shortage of plans out there to suit anyone and everyone, with every exercise under the sun, a strict list of dos and don’ts and a ban on anything that tastes good. To take your mind off burpees and protein shakes, here’s our tongue-in-cheek guide to the psychology behind getting fit…

Stage one – Denial

Fail to do up your breeches before your first time back in the saddle since lockdown. Hey, everyone gets a bit bloated sometimes – no shame in that!

Stage two – Guilt

Oh. Your riding boots won’t do up. Google “can your legs get bloated”. OK, maybe you do need to prioritise your fitness, but electrical tape round your calves will do for today.

Stage three – Bargaining

Stand in the kitchen and consider what foods shouldn’t be there. You can’t just throw the ice cream away – that’s wasteful! You can eat that tonight – just to get rid of it – then start fresh tomorrow. Maybe that goes for the chocolate biscuits, too…

Stage four – Disappointment

Eat a salad for lunch. Realise salads kind of suck. Hey, your friend does triathlons and they get to eat whatever they want – maybe exercise really is the answer?

Stage five – Acceptance

Your trainers are laced, your shorts are on and headphones are in. Running can’t be too hard, it’s only 5km after all. Google “How many calories does a 5km run burn”. Well, that’s disappointing.

Stage six – Positive steps

OK, so running wasn’t for you (who likes running anyway, right?). Spin classes and Pilates though – that’s something you can get behind. You’ve finally got rid of the tape holding your boots together and you’ve gone down a size in your breeches (that or they’ve finally relented and stretched out a bit…) – that’s winning!

Stage seven – Hope

Does losing weight really matter? Absolutely not. But that added aerobic fitness and leg strength is doing wonders for your riding. Gone are the days of feeling exhausted after a round of showjumps – you’re unstoppable!

Getting fit is a process – and certainly not an easy one. Take some time off the fad diets and give yourself a break. If your horse deserves a treat for a tough workout then you do, too, so enjoy that ice cream while you indulge in Netflix’s latest releases (just remember the golden rule: everything in moderation) – you can’t do that while you’re on a spin machine.

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