No problems with maintaining weight – jockey Robert HalledeenFriday, September 03, 2021
BY RUDDY ALLEN
While jockeys are required to have strength, cardiovascular fitness, and specific handling skills because of the strenuous nature of their profession, they are faced with the pressure of maintaining a low body weight in order to participate in their sport as failure to 'make weight' for a given race can lead to fines and suspensions, and even losing out on winners.
The need to keep weight low week after week has caused some jockeys to turn to extreme measures to control weight including severe dieting, laxatives, and hot baths so as to facilitate fluid loss.
Many jockeys at Caymanas Park have encountered this situation but not Robert Halledeen as the many-time Classic winning jockey said it is not a difficult task for him as he is very careful with his diet in order to manage his weight.
For jockeys, they must compete at their designated weight and 'weigh in' after each race at the set weight. There is no time after the initial weigh-out, prior to a race, in which they can consume additional food or drink. In many cases they may also have additional rides which follow at a similar or even lower weight meaning that there may be little or no food or drink consumed until racing is completed for the day.
“No. It is not difficult for me to maintain my body weight, which stands at about 112 lb. It is very important to maintain weight as to get rides rather than to lose rides and so I have a strict diet and I exercise a lot to manage my weight. I eat anything I feel for but it is the portion you have to watch when you eat,” Halledeen told The Supreme Racing Guide.
Dehydration and energy depletion may compromise concentration and coordination and decrease a jockey's ability to physically and mentally perform at their best but Halledeen said he turns to God for strength.
On race days, foods which provide maximum energy for minimum weight are ideal. Choosing the right race day plan depends on an individual jockey's lifestyle, habits, appetite, and weight.
“On race days, it is mostly a liquid diet for me, putting back what you lose in sweat and energy. Coconut water is an example of what to drink during races. After racing has finished for the day the first goal should be to ensure rehydration occurs as soon as possible,” the winner of 329 races locally said.