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5 Things I Learned Going Back To The Gym

equestrian fitness
Written by Andrea Parker

This year I set a goal of improving my strength and fitness. While I have a reasonable base level of fitness thanks to riding 5-6 days per week I’m eager to see if increasing my fitness will make my position stronger and therefore make riding easier.

Anyway I set a goal of going to the gym 3 times per week and I am now just shy of 1 month into this goal and here is what I have learnt.

#1 I Have Fairly Good Core Strength

Apparently all that time Coach Dani has been telling me to sit up and use my belly has not been in vain. When it comes to exercises that are predominantly core based I can hold my own.

horse rider workout

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#2 I Have The Upper Body Strength Of A Fish

While my core is faring well, my upper body (read arms and chest) are sadly lacking. Maybe this is due to the fact that I rarely lug hay or feed around anymore. Just one of the benefits of being on agistment I guess. No the less this will improve after some time in the gym!


source: canva

#3 Going To A Gym Class Called ‘Grit’ For The First Time While You Are Still Sick

The good news is I didn’t pass out! The bad news? I came kinda close to it. I also wasn’t sure if I was running a fever or just hot from the intensity of the class and that was just by the end of the warmup … whoops.

In all seriousness I am a huge advocate of self care and if you are feeling unwell one of the best things you can do for yourself is to rest up.

#4 This Body Was Not Designed For Cardio

I feel like this one is fairly self explanatory and to be fair I kinda already knew this. When I was away from home as a uni student on placement I was unable to ride. In order to maintain some degree of fitness I started running, well sort of. I did not enjoy it and apparently this has not changed.


source: canva

#5 Activewear Should Be Called Comfort Wear

I’m ready to ditch my regular bra’s for sports bras and have now taken to wearing cotton exercises singlets the majority of the time I’m not at work. And this is coming from someone who used to laugh at girls who hashtaged everything #activewear. That being said I refuse to pay $100 for what is essentially leg shaped spandex, unless they bear an equestrian label.

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About the author


Andrea Parker

Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.