Training for horse show season isn’t just about building your horse’s strength and stamina. Rider fitness is a factor that can make or break your performance, particularly during long, hot days or an unpredictable order of go. If you’re on the competitive circuit or looking to jazz up your fitness regimen, here are four ways you can strive for peak performance with travel-friendly fitness apps and platforms.
The Gist: This virtual studio offers hundreds of yoga, Pilates, and fitness videos you can do in the comfort of your own home (or hotel or RV camper). Unlike my ancient Jillian Michaels DVD, this platform is regularly updated and allows filtering by themes i.e. hip-openers, relaxation, balance, to suit your daily needs.
Founder Annie Langlois started MyVirtualYoga as a way to sustain her yoga practice, wherever she may be (including travel across five continents). She travels around the world living the yoga lifestyle, which means she can log in and train from her laptop, tablet, or smartphone. “You wake up in the morning and all you need to do is press play and start stretching,” she says. “You can bring your yoga with you anywhere you go.” Sounds tailor-made for equestrians traveling across the country – or across the globe.
Cost & Commitment: $19 a month gives you unlimited access to the vast MVY video library. A yearlong subscription is also available for $199. Content is fresh with 2 new videos each week (there’s 200 or so in the bank already).
Bonus: Annie receives a lot of email inquiries seeking recommendations and advice and responds to notes personally, like my inquiry about yoga poses to fight back pain in two-point. “Any routines working on the hips is fantastic (hip opening), and also routines working on the core for posture, strength, and to protect your back,” she explains. “For flexibility, Yin Yoga is excellent. For strength and stamina, Vinyasa yoga is a real workout. And for recovering after a ride, Restorative yoga is excellent,” she suggests.
The Gist: Ballet Beautiful is a not-so-secret weapon of choice among celebrities and models to sculpt a lean physique. Founded by professional ballerina Mary Helen Bowers, she has gained cult status for having trained Natalie Portman for her Black Swan role (and for shaping countless Victoria’s Secret assets).
Ballet workouts are all the rage these days, with studios popping up to feed the craze. But this web-based platform offers a few different things for the on-the-go equestrian. Custom Workouts deliver 2 new workouts each month tailored to your specific goals, with unlimited access to BB’s streaming video library. It will run you about $9.99 per video otherwise. And their BBLive option streams a live class to you, if you can’t get in to their SoHo studio for a private class in person.
For an equestrian living the show lifestyle, this platform is an easy way to dip your pointe-toe into horse-free fun. Imagine a sleek, graceful, and toned position during sitting trot…meet me at the barre!
Cost & Commitment: $39.99 a month for the Custom Workout option seems to make the most sense in terms of variety and access to BB’s library. While you can order DVDs and purchase ad-hoc videos, the opportunity to get customized training content, tailored to riding goals, is pretty exciting.
The Gist: This app brings freedom to your fitness plan with the ability to book group classes at studios around the world. Rather than be tied to individual studios with local packages, ClassPass is effectively a monthly passport granting you access to spin, yoga, Pilates, CrossFit etc. across the US and some international locations too.
There’s awesome flexibility in the types of classes you can take, the studios available in your home city, and the ability to book in other cities if you are traveling. So if you’ve found your perpetual gym membership to be a bit of a bore, you might want to consider mixing it up by bopping around the wide array of offerings. Or if you find yourself traveling for work or shows, this is a great way to squeeze out some sweat wherever you may be. Rather than sit in your hotel room, book right through the app and make the mental commitment.
Cost & Commitment: Monthly prices vary by city (NYC is $125) and grant you access to a ton of different studios, although you’ll likely frequent your faves. There is a maximum number of times you can visit a studio in a month, so consider that in your planning. Or look into their recent release of a 5x a month offering that is cheaper. This is a great tool if you don’t have a trainer traveling with you (cos most of us non-rockstars do, right?)
The Gist: It all started with BBG – this stands for the Bikini Body Guide by Kayla Itsines (not the acronym found in personal ads). BBG was a simple yet whispered-about eBook series that made its way through my social circle like wildfire. “Have you done Kayla?” we would ask each other, hoping to peer pressure ourselves through the 7 minute circuits. “Sorry, can’t talk – I’m doing Kayla,” would come the responses to make you squirm through another set of mountain climbers. The Instagram pictures of Kayla’s followers show drastic transformations in a matter of weeks as the BBG program is really optimal for those wanting to get shredded.
Building on the success of the lower-tech BBG eBooks, this social media savvy trainer launched the Sweat with Kayla app for her millions of followers around the world. The app features workouts with glossy pictures, daily recipes, and a feature to compare before/after photos of your body. The routines use minimal equipment, so it’s a travel-friendly fitness app that’s easy to work through on your smartphone.
This workout approach will certainly shock-start your cardio and toning from day one and it would probably come in handy if you’re planning any promotional photo shoots. You know, for your sponsors.
Cost & Commitment: $19.99 a month app subscription or sign up with 3-month increments of say $5. The original BBG guides are set up as a weekly progression, increasing the load on your body over time. In this case, you may find the commitment to the passionate BBG community to be that layer of peer pressure you need to hold you accountable.