I first discovered “The Fit Equestrian” over a year and half ago while I was scrolling through Instagram while eating “grab and go” sushi for lunch at the counter of Whole Foods after a riding lesson. During the time frame in 2017, I would fly to Arizona to lesson on my hunter and I would stay in hotels. I was therefore always looking for convenient healthy food choices. Many of the dishes posted on the @thefit.equestrian Instagram account mimicked dishes I already preferred and they also inspired me with additional ideas for meals on the go.
I immediately messaged the owner, Lauren Mahr, and during our first scheduled introductory call I recognized that we shared very similar philosophies regarding nutrition and cross-training for riding, especially for those of us that are afforded only limited time in the saddle.
I learned that Lauren is a former ballerina, but now her time is concentrated as both a college student and equestrian. Her nutritious diet is partially driven because she is a carrier of the celiac gene and thus cannot eat gluten. As she explained, “My family had always been very healthy, but I personally never went to any great lengths to eat “healthy” until after I was diagnosed with Celiac.” Lauren followed up with the importance of fitness for the equestrian. “The Fit Equestrian is to help spread awareness about the importance of cross-training for riders. I believe that a lot of equestrians could improve their riding immensely by integrating a strength-training program into their routine. The Fit Equestrian is really targeted towards anyone that rides horses. At all levels of riding I think that exercise is extremely important and can help anyone improve regardless of their ability. If someone rides only once or twice a week, exercise can help to supplement the lack of time in the saddle. For competitive riders, exercise can help take them to the next level and may make the difference between not placing in their class and winning champion."
Recently, I caught up with Lauren for summer meal ideas and also to check the progress of The Fit Equestrian's business development. The strength training programs offered on www.thefitequestrian.com continue to expand and Lauren’s commitment to further her education to better improve the wellness and strength of equestrians is ever expanding. I firmly believe that The Fit Equestrian will grow as an information resource for our community and solidify that equestrians are athletes and need to implement this philosophy as an everyday lifestyle. The business continues to add more strength training products and provide relevant nutritional information due to the the real life experience and passion of the founder. The quote stated on The Fit Equestrian’s iconic t-shirts sum up the sentiments of the brand and it’s followers, “ Trust me, it’s a sport”
Kristin M. Thornton.
“…we believe in cross-training and whole foods, but we also believe in balance and eating desserts.”
Founder, The Fit Equestrian, llc
In the summer I definitely like to keep my meals on the lighter side, especially on hot days before heading out to the barn. Although it’s important to fuel your body before a ride, you also don’t want to feel sluggish or bloated. Here are some of my favorite summer meals and snacks that are great pre or post ride. Avocado toast is always a favorite of mine on summer mornings as a light breakfast. You can get really creative with how you top your toast as well.
Greek salads are always a great option for lunch on hot summer days. Swap out packaged dressings with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a healthier option. The best part about a salad like this is that it is easy to pick up at a deli or grocery store in the prepared foods section.
Taco bowls or burger bowls are a great alternative to traditional tacos with less carbs and more veggies.
IMAGE: Burger bowl with chopped romaine, lean ground beef, pickles, ketchup, chopped onions, and polenta fries.
My strong belief in cross-training for equestrians came from a time in my life where I was very determined to improve my riding but had limited time in the saddle as a college student. As a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and hunter/jumper rider, I was able to determine which muscle groups were used in the saddle and how to translate that to a fitness routine. I believe that a core strength routine is by far the best place to start for any hunter/jumper rider. Although the legs and upper body are also very important, it can be difficult to target the exact muscles used in the saddle. Unlike certain leg and upper body exercises, there is not one core exercise that will hinder your position or performance in the saddle. In other words, you can’t do any “harm” by strengthening your core. The The Fit Equestrian Core Strength Program is a great place to start for any equestrian looking to improve their riding. Our program includes exercises that target the specific core muscles used in the saddle and is available in both “beginner” and “advanced” levels. We also recently released a Lower Leg Strength Program that complements muscle memory in the saddle with various at-home exercises.
ICONIC T-SHIRTS: “TRUST ME, IT’S A SPORT”
Our t-shirt with the slogan “Trust me, it’s a sport” was inspired by the hard work and dedication of so many equestrian athletes.
We believe that there’s no question riders work just as hard or harder as athletes in other traditional “sports”. Frankly, we were pretty tired of defending the fact that we don’t “just sit there” and “let the horse do all the work”. Our iconic tee is available for sale on our online site. Stock is currently low on our limited edition pink tee and classic black, but we are excited to announce some new colors soon.
Founded by Lauren Mahr, The Fit Equestrian strives to help riders unleash their full potential in the saddle using exercise and a healthy lifestyle. Many riders neglect their fitness due to a lack of time or simply the misconception that it isn't necessary for riders to cross-train. The Fit Equestrian serves to provide equestrians of all ages and disciplines with exercise programs and nutrition information tailored specifically for riders that are simple and effective.
Lauren is a NASM certified personal trainer and is pursuing a degree in Applied Nutrition with a minor in Equine Science at the University of Delaware. At home, Lauren rides in Brewster, NY and at school she enjoys riding on the UD Equestrian Team. As an equestrian, personal trainer, and Applied Nutrition major she is knowledgeable about all aspects of training and is well equipped to design exercise and wellness programs for other equestrian athletes.
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