October 2011 - Holly Corcoran is an accomplished endurance horse rider who has a great relationship with her horses. In fact, she jokes that it was one of her horses who got her on the path to fitness and weight loss by turning to her and saying, “We would do SO much better if you would just lose some weight.”
How much better? Holly, 47 years old (“that’s a good thing”) reached her peak weight of 175 pounds in mid-2009. At that time, she and her mare Tora were doing 50-mile rides in about 8 hours. In mid-2011, Holly and Tora were doing 50 miles in approximately 4 hours. While Holly gives much of the credit to Tora, it certainly helps that Holly is now 135 pounds and much stronger. Holly has also become a top finisher in 50 mile races with her horse Faveur, and in September 2011 completed her first 100 mile ride, anchoring a bronze medal effort in the North American Endurance Team Challenge in California.
And it’s not just that Holly is lighter in the saddle. “A tired, floppy person is harder on the horse,” she said, and it’s also harder on the rider. Holly’s improved core and leg strength helps her maintain her posture, absorb the concussions of downhill riding, and, in general, finish rides without being sore.
How has Holly done it? First, by making the time to get to Elevations. Then, she trains hard in cycle class and does personal training with Dawn.
“I never thought I’d have been someone to do personal training,” she said. “I thought I’d do one package with Dawn and that would be it. But then a whole world opened up. Dawn and the Elevations trainers have a world of knowledge that I don’t have, nor do I want to have it. I don’t have to think about what we’re going to do, and Dawn tailors what I do to what’s going on in my riding and how I feel.” Holly also loves her early morning cycling group. "It's so inspiring. Everyone is training for something," she said.
"I'm so proud of Holly," said Dawn. "She is one of the most determined clients I have ever worked with. Interestingly, Holly trains with me in 30-minute sessions, and she proves that you don't have to spend much time in the gym to reach your goals."
Holly has also done Weight Watchers and continues to focus on her diet. She focuses on ‘grazing’, eating small meals and lots of fruit, as well as drinking lots of water. She also is aware of her own demons. As an accountant, she says, “Chocolate can become a food group during tax season."
Holly has recently become even more focused on her workouts due to her long-term goal of competing in endurance riding internationally in the next few years. “The hardest thing for me is getting to the gym in the summer because I love to be outside. But, riding a bike outside is not the same workout that I can get in class.” So, in the summer of 2011, Holly kept coming in two days per week, and she will continue to do her regular 4 days per week in the winter.
Holly has a message to others who are hoping to lose weight and improve their quality of life. “The problem is that there are only so many hours in the day,” she says – and Holly knows that better than most people. As a single mom, business owner (Holly R. Corcoran CPA, Inc.) and active member of our community, “You can find yourself going in a hundred directions at once, but you have to believe that there is abundance in our lives. You can break bad habits. You can overcome them. Too often, we undermine ourselves.”
Thank you, Holly, for sharing your success story. We hope others are inspired by your example!