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Blog: Blog2
  • Writer's picturekmbleekman

Who Am I?

Welcome to my blog if you haven’t already visited the site! Usually, on the blog, I’ll try and bring you a post every week about a topic that you need more information on or something that I believe will help you to find a solution to the fitness and health problems you’re currently struggling with.

This week I wanted to do something a little bit different, introduce myself a bit more and give you some background on me! For a lot of my riders, their number one priority is finding a coach who is the right personality & energy match for them and actually gets them.

And I totally agree with this as a coach. There has to be good energy and a healthy dose of likeability for the coaching partnership to work; if you're working with someone who has completely different values & energy to you it will be hard to be on the same page!

So who am I?

My name is Katie, I’m 29 and I live in Devon. I'm the founder & head coach of Event Rider Fitness. I live on my family stud farm where my sisters and parents work full-time breeding, competing and training showjumping and eventing horses. These days I don’t compete at the moment but it is definitely something I’d like to get back to doing soon! Horses are pretty much but we breathe & sleep here!

You can find me out hunting and I still ride most days. I now work solely online as an equestrian-specific fitness coach helping riders all around the world achieve their goals and better their riding performance.

I was part of the silver medal-winning team at the Pony Europeans & have evented myself up to 3* International level. Across the years I have struggled with my own body image & eating issues & this has led me to do what I do today! I've been through a big journey myself & now I want to show others how to do that for themselves

For my own training, I attend the gym 3-4 times a week, I run twice and I swim. In the last year, I’ve had a big interest in triathlon and it’s really been a game changer to get me enjoying training again. Previously I ran 6 marathons but to be honest the last time I did one which was last year I got to the point where it became very monotonous & at the minute it’s not something I would do again. I always preach to my clients to only do training you actually enjoy and that’s definitely something I’m following through myself!

When I’m not training or at home on the farm you can find me out with my dog Zip, I love going for long walks with him and also going out socialising with friends. Travelling is something I love to do as well and with more time I’d love to do & see more.

So how did I become a trainer?

From a really young age, I’ve always been very sporty and active. At school, I was the kid that did most team sports from hockey to rounders, cross country running and summer athletics. Alongside competing the horses when I was younger I absolutely loved pushing myself and being competitive in any sport. When I finished school I decided to go on and do my A-levels and after those were complete I spent about a year doing a bit of grooming, riding out racehorses whilst trying to figure out what I wanted to do.

I ended up moving to Suffolk and I got a job working in an office & also running trade stands for the shop. The brand sold Equestrian clothing such as Animo, Tattini, Kingsland and we travelled all over the UK with the tradestand. I even got the opportunity to go to America, it was a great time. Hard work but good fun! After a few years, I decided to make a move to an e-commerce role and it was the worst move I made!

After about 5 months in my new job I realised it just wasn’t for me, I was dreading going to work every day and that is not who I am. Sitting behind a desk from 8-5, 5 days a week was just not for me so I decided enough was enough and I resigned & decided it was time to make a change.

I returned to Devon & at the time it felt a little like my life was going backward returning home but I needed that time whilst I decided what I was going to turn my hand to next. So being unsure what I wanted to do I decided to start freelance grooming for the 2016 year.

Having my HGV licence too proved a bonus so I started freelancing and ended up working all over Europe grooming for both event riders and showjumpers. That 1-year grooming hiatus turned into a 3-year spell culminating with a trip to Jakarta for the Asian games. It was an incredible experience and I loved every minute of grooming and what I did but I knew deep down right from the moment I went into the grooming it wasn’t what I wanted to do forever! Horses have never been what I've wanted to do full time so I needed to find my true passion.

Just before I started grooming I’d been talking with a riding friend and they had said to me what do you want to do for your career and I said no idea. They suddenly said to me well you love your fitness & sports don't you, so why don't you think about being a personal trainer?

At first, I thought, "Nah no way that’s not for me, I couldn't do that" and then I thought about it for a bit & thought actually that sounds really cool. In my head, I was thinking how cool would it be going to work if what I did was turn up at the gym, give people awesome workouts and help them to get fitter and healthier everyday.

From that moment I was sold so I embarked on my PT coach qualifications and completed the theory whilst I was still grooming. In the back of my head I thought worst-case scenario if I don't enjoy it I'll earn enough money to pay the qualification back & move on. Anyone who has horses knows combining things takes a long time so it took me quite a while to complete my qualifications but in 2018 once I was fully qualified as a PT I then turned my hand.

I was still freelance grooming & living in Gloucestershire so I started looking for part-time training roles to fit in around the horses to give me experience. I initially started in a women only boutique HIIT gym which was an awesome way to introduce me to group classes and then I picked up a job at an independent gym near Cirencester where we did a lot of small group PT sessions and one-to-one personal training. It was really a game changer for me, working alongside other extremely experienced & knowledgeable trainers I learned so much and gained a wealth of experience.

I absolutely love my job, the clients who I worked with here were absolute legends and I had the best time when I was at work. Sadly Covid hit in March 2020 and I made the decision to return back to Devon before we got locked down as not knowing how long it would be for I decided I'd rather be at home on the farm with the dogs and horses than stuck in a house for weeks on end. Very lucky to have that option & something I am very grateful for through the whole pandemic.

Sadly through Covid, the gym I was primarily working at didn’t make it through the pandemic. The move to zoom & closing the gym wasn’t a positive outcome but when this all happened I immediately started thinking about how could I build my rider training platform & start my own coaching business.

Right from the moment, I decided to become a trainer that is what I’d always wanted to do, focus on riding as my specific training niche. A lot of riders struggle to see how to make their training specific to their riding and benefit what they are doing in the saddle so I wanted to show riders of all levels and disciplines how to train themselves, the difference their fitness could make to their riding & how to boost their performance. For as long as I can remember this has always been what I wanted to do as a PT & coach & combine my love of riding & fitness.

So that is how Event Rider Fitness, the online coaching community and programme was born and now I coach riders all over the world from my online app showing them how to make the changes I have!

How did I get into fitness?

So as I said earlier I’ve always been very sporty, at school I was always the kid in teams playing hockey, running and doing athletics.

When I left school I was a little bit lost without any team sports and sadly my focus turned the wrong direction. Having been a very tall 16-year-old riding ponies I was always very conscious of weight & how heavy I was & which led to struggling with eating issues in order to manage my weight.

I think realistically looking back I always had a negative body image and it’s something I have to work on every day now but at the time I exercised for all the wrong reasons & being skinny was my driver. I used exercise as a punishment and a way to simply burn calories rather than making myself stronger and fitter for the better.

It wasn’t coming from a healthy place and I used to run for hours on end. When I started to get better and not struggle with eating issues anymore I found quite quickly that I fell out of exercise altogether.

I think I knew what I was doing was wrong and not exercising for the right focus so I almost went the other way and did nothing at all! I've been through a big journey over the past few years as you can see!

For those years when I lived in Suffolk I toyed with a few classes here and there, would go on an occasional run, I did actually run a marathon in that time as well but they were all things I did occasionally not consistently.

When I then started training for my PT qualifications I knew I had to practice what I preach and I had to practice movement patterns, using machines in the gym and being confident in that space so I got myself training regularly in the gym both taking part in classes as I found that a good way to get me in with zero excuses and also have camaraderie because I definitely was intimidated by going into the gym at this point.

Initially when I worked in my 2 gyms I wouldn’t train there for about a year because I was too nervous to train in front of the other trainers in case people thought what I was doing was wrong or silly, that’s not something I worry about anymore but it’s something I had to deal with for a long time. Now I have that confidence in what I am doing and I tend to normally work with a coach as well so that I have focus and someone else’s opinion and direction I train 3-4 times a week in the gym and it’s just now something I do every day because I love it.

The focus these days is to train to be my best for competition performance whether that’s a triathlon or something like Britain’s fattest farmer which I have coming up later in the year and to be as strong & fit as I possibly can for everything I want to do from training, riding, farm life and feel my best!

So what do I actually do day to day as a coach?

This is a question I get asked quite often and even though most people know what online coaching or online fitness programmes entail they don’t actually know exactly how it works or what a coach does day to day!

It’s a variety of being a business owner, a fitness coach, a mentor, the head of marketing and many other job roles! So at the start of every day, I have to think about what hat I am wearing. The most important part of my coaching programme is my client communication so every Monday and Friday I spend the day checking in with clients following their week or weekend and we go through what’s going well, what they need to be working on and what could be done better. The process of this weekly check-in is to make sure my riders have what they need, are making the correct rate of progress, have my support and if things need changing we do so to make sure they're continually progressing!

As well as check ins I provide clients with feedback on every workout, I answer any messages or questions they have through the week and give them video feedback on things like food diaries and exercise videos so if they want to check their technique or movement we do that too.

My whole ethos & coaching values are about educating my clients so they are empowered with knowledge, know what their doing & have the confidence to go away & do this for themselves in the long term.

Alongside that, I have to be proactive in putting the feelers out for new clients on a regular basis as most riders will get to a point in their journey where they feel they can go it alone and that is the whole point of my coaching process! I want to provide riders with the knowledge and confidence that after a few weeks or months of the programme they know they can go and do it alone and actually sustain it once and for all. So talking to new riders, posting on social media, and spreading the word are all things I do on the daily as well!

I love coaching and helping riders be the best versions of themselves they can be and the client communication part is definitely my favourite role of the job. Checking in with everybody at the end of every week and hearing their wins is something I absolutely love to do & see them celebrating their successes!

Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of who I am, what I do, how I got into my fitness, why I became a coach and how my coaching programme works. I like to work with people who are like-minded and a good match on energy and vibe so if you potentially think I might be a good fit for you as your coach feel free to drop me a message.

I hope that’s useful to know and any questions let me know! Good luck on your journeys & for the rest of the season.


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