Riders are often of overlooking their own nutrition in favour of their horses but both are important for excellent performance.
Skipping breakfast and going for sugary snacks when energy may be a quick way to gain energy throughout the day but neglecting your nutritional needs can negatively affect your performance and outlook the longer term. Foods that are high in sugar give us an instant feel-good hit, but we become dependent on this and develop cravings.
Early starts, long hours and frequent trips away can cause havoc with eating habits. Many riders underestimate how their diet can influence not just their own performance but that of their horse.
One positive spin-off of eating well is riding at the optimum bodyweight fro your shape and height.
Yet. Some riders struggle to address dietary issues because they don’t see themselves as athletes. You are a professional athlete and you stand to benefit if you start treating yourself that way.
Healthy eating means nothing too faddy. Rather a sensible approach that fits into a busy lifestyle. Begin with a small habit that builds onto two then three.
Start everyday with a well-balanced diet that includes slow-release carbohydrates, such as porridge with milk or Greek yoghurt for protein and some berries.
Lunch could be a meat-filled sandwich including protein and carbs.
Eat something small every 1.5 to two hours if there is no time to eat lunch. Healthy snacks include malt loaf, hard-boiled eggs, half a bagel with peanut-butter and jam and protein based yoghurt drinks.
For the evening, base your meal around protein for muscle repair, with 2 or 3 portions of vegetables. This is your least active time so dinner should be with less carbs.
Staying hydrated is key. Do not drink your calories in the form of sugary drinks and limit caffeine to the mornings to avoid disturbing sleep.
When performing, it is important to ensure that you're properly fueled. Your main meal after your event should balance protein, carbs and higher protein. Foods that reduce inflammation such as dark green, dark red vegetables and dark berries.
If you're wanting to lose weight, consume 500kcals less per day than you're burning or, 300kcals to gain weight.
Ensure you are also looking after health as that is just as important.
Extracted from Horse & Hound. Fuel Your Performance. 2021