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How Much Cardio You Should Do to Stay Fit for Riding

Submitted by member: Cassie

I do cardio at the gym at least a few days a week and I always do it for half an hour, but I honestly don’t really know if it’s doing anything at this point. Can you tell me what the ideal amount of time actually is?

Answer by Robin

I like 20 minutes. I’ve found that if my goal is to increase my cardio capacity, it’s really a perfect amount of time. I look at it like this; there’s cardio endurance (how long can I go at a relatively comfortable pace, which is what most people do on a treadmill at the gym) but then there’s increasing my body’s ability to consume oxygen (aka VO2 max) and that’s a whole different thing.

If increased cardio capacity is what I’m after then I have to “push it” in order to increase it.  This is where the use of interval training comes in. Just think — make it harder till you can’t stand it, then make it easier till you’re ready to make it harder again. Your overall time should be 20 minutes, but the intervals are different depending on your current cardio capacity. For some it might be 30 seconds of “push” followed by 1 minute of recuperation, for others it may be the opposite. Remember that it has to be uncomfortable in order to see improvement. So put on your ear buds and your willingness to be uncomfortable for 20 minutes and go for it!

If you’d like more personalized help? I offer virtual training to riders everywhere so I’d love to hear from you!


Blackjack Fitness


For more information on virtual training, visit my website:



Happy riding!


“A true horseman will only ask athletic feats of his horse if he has his own body under control.”

– from The Principals of Riding/German
National Equestrian Federation

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Robin Martinez

Robin and her husband Dionicio Martinez own Blackjack Farms, a beautiful and secluded 5+ acre ranch in North San Diego, with a very unique indoor/outdoor fitness facility. They have a well-equipped indoor gym, multiple permanent outdoor workout stations and a groomed running track. The fact that it's also the home of their show horses makes it truly one of a kind. There is also a limited amount of room for people to board their horses, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a horse facility and fitness facility all in one. Robin has fitness clients that ride and riding clients who workout. Its a wonderful harmony, everybody is fit around there - horses and riders alike. Robin's focus is on establishing core strength and building a foundation of fitness for her clients. As a competing rider herself, she uses that experience to create fitness programs geared specifically for equestrians to help them gain the strength and mobility they need to be at the top of their game. Her style is positive, fun, encouraging and pleasantly tough. For more information on Blackjack Fitness please visit her website at

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