There are few stricter diets that athletes must maintain, more so than the regime followed by a horse racing jockey. It is important to keep a low weight in the sport, as being overweight can see their runners disqualified, leading to less chances being handed to the athlete moving forward.

Jockeys are some of the most professional athletes in the world, as they must follow strict diets throughout the year due to the action on track rarely stopping on the calendar.

Therefore, regular people could follow tips from jockeys when it comes to having a healthier lifestyle, as it could have a huge impact on their physical and mental well-being. But what are some of the foods and diets that jockeys follow in order to stay in shape?

Avoid Fatty Foods

The main aim of jockeys is to avoid putting weight on between races, meaning that they typically avoid fatty foods throughout the season. Making weight is essentially important on the day of racing, meaning that many of the top professionals avoid eating large breakfasts for the risk that they will have to burn the food off quickly.

Therefore, the vast majority of the athletes at the top level will only drink black coffee or tea before taking their book of rides for a day at the track. Meanwhile, it’s rare that jockeys will have a big breakfast before the competition, with common foods eaten in the morning, including fruit.

Given that jockeys have strenuous competition throughout the day, it isn’t uncommon that they will afford themselves treats throughout the day, with sugary sweets being extremely common among the top jockeys before taking a ride in a huge race.

You can check here who are the horse jockeys currently competing for a place in the Kentucky Derby odds: 

Avoid Drastic Measures

Any diet worth following will highlight the importance of noticing the measures you’re eating. In fact, any person could get healthier by just cutting down on the size of their meals.

Jockeys live and die by the size of their measures, meaning that they can often give themselves a treat after a big day of competition by having a curry or a roast dinner.

However, neither meal size would compare to a usual person’s, as they would have a small portion of meat with extra rice to fill the meal. Losing fat is all about the portion sizes eaten, as you can lose pounds quickly by cutting down on the food you’re consuming in any meal.

Eat Plenty Of Fruit & Veg

Fruits and vegetables are very important to maintaining a healthy diet, so it’s no surprise that both are very common in jockeys’ diets.

Interestingly, jockeys eat as many as five portions of fruit or veg per day to provide the minerals and vitamins they need to fit. Fruit is also a very common option for a breakfast snack for the top jockeys, with many of the best worldwide opting to have an apple or banana to get their fuel for the day ahead.


Jockeys: In addition to fruit and vegetables, jockeys consume up to three portions of dairy , as well as fruit and vegetable products, daily. This is an integral food group for horse riders as it ensures that their bones remain strong. It is also one of the most important food groups, as jockeys with weaker bones will struggle to compete on some of the most talented horses in training, especially against rival jockeys in the world’s biggest races.

Exercise Is Vital

As well as sticking to a healthy diet, jockeys will also need to ensure that they remain in peak condition throughout the season, meaning that the exercise routines that they follow are of extra importance.

Unlike other sports, jockeys won’t be looking to put muscle mass on. Instead, they will hope to maintain the core strength they have built up throughout the season. Therefore, it’s extremely uncommon for any jockey in the world to do heavy-weight sessions on their arms and shoulders, and there will be extra attention instead of their leg muscles.

A range of exercises will be completed by jockeys before getting involved in the action on the track, with leg exercises such as squats and jump lunges being extremely popular. As well as training legs, jockeys must also ensure that their core remains strong, which is vitally important when it comes to staying on a fast-traveling horse.


This means that many jockeys will do bear crawls, flutter kicks, and sit-ups. Cardio is also vitally important, with all aspiring jockeys having to pass a bleep test before they are cleared to compete. Therefore, walking and running both conclude any exercise routine that a jockey puts together.