Nutrition For Dressage Riders
All too often I talk to riders who know so much about their horse’s nutrition and will spend all their cash on making sure their horse is on the right supplements. Everything from enough magnesium, selenium through to b vitamins and toxin binders which is fantastic. However, that same rider is then loading their own body up with nutrient-poor food choices such as white bread, muffins, cakes, alcohol and biscuits. Everything that is pretty much void of all nutrition. They know inside and out what their horse needs dietary wise, yet they never put the effort into their own body and then wonder why they struggle with energy.
As a rider, it is just as important that you take care of your own body as you do your horses. The food that you eat builds every single cell in your body. You are what you eat, every single piece of food you eat has a reaction in your body. Food can either enhance you or do the opposite. The human body is made up of approximately 50 trillion cells. We rely on the communication of these cells to utilise the nutrients from our food. Too many people aren’t consuming the nutrients that are needed to build a healthy and robust body and encourage basic cell-to-cell communication. Nutrients play a role in every single split second of our health. When our body lacks energy, it’s a message saying we’re lacking the nutrients needed to create biochemical pathways, which is your cell-to-cell communication.
Every three months your body generates a whole new blood supply. Your blood is responsible for delivering oxygen and nutrients around your body. Every 28 days, your skin is renewed; the entire outer layer of your body. Your skin is created from the food you eat and the hormones your body produces. So, beauty is built from within; your skin is created from the inside out and energy is created from what you choose to eat on a daily basis.
When we’re healthy, we have energy and when we have the energy we can enjoy our riding more. Energy allows us to focus on performance and the day to day training of our horse, not just going through the motions of a ride to get it done. So in order for energy to be created, we need to provide our body with the energy from the nutrients you eat.
When we consume a diet that’s completely processed and “beige” our body will lack the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive. When we lack nutrients, our body craves more foods. This can lead us to eating in excess and over consuming food as we’re not providing the body with enough vitamins and minerals.
Another problem with highly processed foods is our bodies inability to digest and absorb that food. If your body can’t break the food down, because lacks the tools to do so, you’re likely to be left feeling very unsatisfied from your meal. This tends to result in you eating too much due to the food choices you’re making.
Ideally, you want your food to be vibrant and packed full of vitamins and minerals. Picture a sandwich made with white bread with some peanut butter in it, versus a beautiful big bowl of salad greens, nuts and seeds thrown in along with some chicken or chickpeas and an avocado dressing. One of these meals is very vibrant and colourful the other “beige” processed and lifeless. One is going to provide nutrition for your cells to thrive and one will leave you needing more.
Nature Has It Right
Mother nature has provided us with what our body needs and you want to make sure the food you eat can be digested and provide nourishment for your cells. Additives, preservatives, flavouring and over-refinement are all factors that can affect how your body can utilise that food.
So your goal is to try and remove these highly-processed food-like products and instead, choose “nude” foods. These are foods that are the ingredients and as nature intended. When shopping. look at the ingredient list. If it’s packaged foods, make sure you know all the ingredients on the back. If you don’t, put it back and start to get comfortable in the kitchen as this is where energy and health are created.
Be kind to yourself in the process also, there will always be food choices you can make. Some foods will be better for you than others. The key to your health and wellness is to understand that the majority of processed foods won’t be as great as real food. So, focusing on what’s important, that being your health and energy will help you in those moments when choices are to be made and just try and make more better choices than you do the opposite.
Health is Wealth
The honest truth is I want to see you really succeed and be the best rider you can be and truly love the journey you are on, so in order for that to happen, it does mean its time for you to also take care of yourself. To put yourself and your health first. Health is wealth and let’s face it those horse feed bills need you to be healthy enough to be able to work to pay for this life with horses and all that requires energy. Life is so much harder when we are tired. It really is hard doing those things if you are dragging your feet each and every day due to the rubbish diet you are feeding yourself well. You simply won’t have the energy to put in the effort to that sport you love at the end of a long days work and you will end up not enjoying something you really do enjoy so much.
So let’s start to pay attention to our own health and start taking care of your amazing body at the same time as your amazing horse.
Here are some tips to help get you started….
- Stay hydrated. Drink 2+ litres of water per day. Try starting your day with this amazing mineral cocktail 350mls of water and the juice of a lemon with a pinch of Himalayan salt. Great for replenishing your cells and setting you up for a successful day ahead.
- Eat intuitively. Meaning only eat when you are hungry and allow yourself to feel hunger and don’t just eat because your bored or its that time of day. Then don’t overeat and stop eating once you feel fueled.
- Eat variety and include vegetables and eat as many green vegetables per day as possible. Try adding a green smoothie or greens powder to your diet daily as a great source of nutrients and nourishing energy.
- Add good quality protein and quality fats into each of your meals, especially breakfast. This helps to stabilize your appetite hormones ghrelin and leptin which will help to stop you overeating later in the day and settle sugar cravings.
- Cut refined sugar out of your diet and only eat sugar from whole real foods in small amounts.
- Limit alcohol and avoid caffeine after lunch as this affects your sleep.
- Avoid processed foods and eat whole real foods only. Look at the ingredients, if you can’t understand, pronounce or read it the words. Leave it. Ingredient lists should be real food only, no chemicals, additives and preservatives.
- Stop eating 3 hours before bed. Melatonin is mainly produced in your gut, this is your recovery and repair hormone and helps you sleep. If you are eating too late you can disrupt this and affect your sleep quality, therefore your energy the next day, not to mention your waistline.
- Aim to get 8 hours of sleep per night.