Jockeys might not be the first people to come to mind when you think of athletes, but nevertheless they have some pretty grueling diets and training to get their weight low enough for race day. Being small in height, they often weight between 7st and 9st, and jockeys like Frankie Dettori and AP McCoy were known for going to drastic lengths like eating just a chicken leg and half a Mars bar in a day! Recently AP has admitted he could have extended his career if he’d have been given better advice to healthily manage his weight, something jockeys today hopefully have more access too.
That’s one side of the spectrum, but we wanted to know exactly what goes into the everyday diet and workout routine of jockeys ahead of the Grand National and see if there are any useful tips to take on board!
Cardio & Circuit Training
Barry Geraghty, former Grand National winner, swears by plenty of circuit training to keep metabolism high. His sessions are made up of plenty of bodyweight exercises like push-ups, lunges, squats and core work, ideally half an hour before eating. Cardio is a biggie too, not just to keep weight down but also to improve fitness levels – Geraghty says varying routes is essential to prevent getting fed up, something we definitely agree with, running can be a bore-fest sometimes!
Eat smart & avoid the scales
Low fat, high protein is the way forward for jockeys, as an effective way to maintain a healthy weight and prevent weight gain. Geraghty believes constant trips to the scales aren’t a good idea either as it can have a negative effect; “You know how your clothes fit you and you know if you feel sluggish, so just listen to yourself”.
Tasty, low calorie meals
Great British Racing published a few high-profile jockeys favourite low calories recipes, all coming in at just 300-500 calories per serving! Hayley Turner went for chicken and vegetable risotto, while Paul Hanagan favours a quick and easy salmon parcel – get your hands on all of the recipes here and start eating like a jockey!