The gym is a weird place. I have had patches of time during my life when I have gone to the gym but it still feels like an alien world to me. At University, I had a sports scholarship which meant I was given a personal trainer once a week…. that sounds wrong, I was given a personal training session once a week! I remember him being very confused that an “Elite Athlete” as we were called, could not run, had never been in a gym and in the words of my hero, Bridget Jones, was just a little bit fat. However, I enjoyed my sessions, not only because he was muscly, charming and funny, not only because the men’s rugby team used to work out at the same time, but also because I saw a significant improvement in my riding through improving my fitness, strength and core strength.
After Joey was born, I went to the gym again. Doing the reverse of most post-pregnancy mums and looking to strengthen and build myself up after leaving hospital totally broken and at just 7 stone. Laura Pye, PT extraordinaire from Henley, put me through my paces and started getting my muscles going again. It not only helped me physically to feel better, it was beneficial mentally too (something we maybe don’t consider with fitness).
Fitness for riders is something hugely underplayed and something I have never given enough importance to but in the spirit of being better, I am on it! I will never see myself becoming a Gym obsessive, downing a protein shake and sporting expensive Sweaty Betty outfits which I then share on Instagram. I will however explore fitness and share with you what I learn and what works for me in the hope it may help others who would like to improve their fitness too.
I recently did a video with Emma-Jane Taylor (@theinspirationalmentor) as a starting point and have actually been lifting my baked bean cans! And now, I have joined “Revive” at my local Crowne Plaza hotel, and so am upping my game. I have signed up for a 6 week membership to see how I get on (a year is a long time for a commitment phobic like me) but two weeks in and I am surprisingly enjoying it. Charlie, the super friendly personal trainer, has put a plan together for me so I am not totally lost in the alien world. Riding involves so many different muscles that I need to consider cardio work, core strength, upper body and leg strength – basically the whole shebang. Plus with a pool and steam room included I get a bit of a treat too.
So, have you got any fitness stories or recommendations? Anything you would like to try or find helpful?