At Intrepid Wellness, I help equestrians work off the horse so they can be better on the horse. I help you get physically and mentally fit so you can perform well when you ride.
One question I’m always trying to answer is what’s the most effective way to help my clients gain confidence and motivation to pursue their performance goals? Do you start with mindset training? Motivational speeches? Visualization exercises? Physical fitness?
What’s the trigger for change? Does it start with changes in the mind or body?
Physical changes in your body.
I know I’m splitting hairs and many people will argue with me. We’ve all heard about the power of the mind and that mindset is everything.
But in the game of fitness and mindset, I think you change your body first. It’s your experience with success, with change in how your body feels and how that translates to being a better rider, that creates a mindset change. It can go the other way, but it’s less common.
You don’t just sit around and wait for your mind to be right.
You have to take action.
And that is where I think the disconnect with fitness begins. People wait to feel motivated. To feel empowered. To connect with their why.
All of that is really important, don’t get me wrong, but in the beginning, you just have to move even when you don’t feel like it.
Getting fit is part of the journey to becoming an effective rider. Once you decide to go on this journey, you need to make a plan and take action. Put one foot in front of the other. Start to do a few workouts per week. Spend some time on a foam roller. Stretch a little. Pay attention to what you eat.
Then keep doing those actions over and over. Again, and again. This is the hardest part. I’ve definitely learned how to slog this zone better (maybe wisdom with age and experience?) but I have many stories about starting a workout plan, then losing focus before the results showed up, then feeling like a failure, then starting again. To break the workout and weight loss cycle of start-stop-start, you have to consistently hold your course of action. It can be frustrating and boring.
Some days you won’t feel it but go to the gym anyway. Eat the salad. Keep a journal and track your progress. Get some stickers to reward yourself.
Because here’s what happens when you work through those boring sections and consistently work your plan.
One day your riding pants will be looser. Someone will comment you look stronger. Your horse will spook, and you’ll stay balanced in the saddle.
You’ll realize the whole time you’ve been training your physical body you’ve been training your mind too. You’ve been training your mind to be committed, consistent, and believe in your goal. You start to really want that fitter, trimmer version of yourself who is more athletic in the saddle. You can see her and love standing in your future self. It feels amazing.
At this moment, you connect with your why and sticking to your fitness journey just got a whole lot easier.
But to connect, you had to see some results.
When that step happens, bam!! Now your dreams have power my friend!
Welcome to the Equestrian Athlete journey!