Lessons Learned: Fitness Training for Training

“If I can’t be inspired to exercise for my own general health, at least riding has finally motivated me. Thanks, eventing!”

I’m not even going to pretend like this doesn’t suck. (Photo by Erik Jacobs/P.TEN Marketing)

Now that I’m in my mid-30s (ugh) I’m noticing that I can’t shed weight quite as quickly as when I was younger. Plus, combined with the fact that my lungs suck at being lungs (I hate you, asthma) I figured it was time to focus on fitness if I’m going to get to Training…

Normally, I’m VERY stagnant during the day – I have a “desk job” and I work from home, so if I’m not at the barn, I’m basically sitting on my ass doing nothing. I’ve also had a lot of pretty serious injuries (including a fractured back when I was 14) that means working out hurts so I reeeeaaally don’t like exercise. Also, I’m lazy by default. Whatever.

When I was in Florida this past February, the turn out paddocks were really far away from stabling. Going to and from the first couple days was tough, and I would get winded easily. I’m what I like to call “skinnyfat” – yes, I’m thin, but I’m definitely not in shape.

By the end of the 12-day trip, though, I noticed my fitness had improved significantly just from a little bit of walking. I even noticed halfway through my Novice XC course at Rocking Horse that I was breathing normally and wasn’t exhausted like usual – cool!!

So, now that Novice is easy and Training is looking tempting, I figured it was time to work on the physical aspect of my move-up (since I seem ready mentally) and keep this fitness trend going. If I can’t be inspired to exercise for my own general health, at least riding has finally motivated me. Thanks, eventing!

When I got married in 2012, I bought an elliptical machine. I used it for a few months and then promptly never touched it again. We moved to a new house this past September and said machine was relegated to the [unfinished, non-air conditioned] basement aka “my own private workout hell.”

I have a training plan for JJ’s fitness, and now it’s my turn. I’ve committed to spending 20-30 minutes on my elliptical every day – while watching 4* XC helmet cam videos to pass the time, of course. 😉 I’m hoping it’ll make my step up to Training less miserable and more attainable.


It’s not fair of me to expect JJ to be fit enough to run Training if I’m not fit, too.

Ainsley Jacobs is an adult amateur based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She started riding huntseat equitation when she was eight, and has tried practically every discipline since then. In 2014, Ainsley discovered eventing and it changed her life! She purchased her first horse, JJ Spot, in February 2016 and chronicles their successes (and struggles) of learning to overcome literal and figurative obstacles in her blog at www.RideHeelsDown.com.

Photo by Erik Jacobs/P.TEN Marketing

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