Hey there (surfing) health nut,
When I was at school, most of my pre and post surf meals (and lets face it, much of the other meals in between) were junk food. These days however, particularly when surfing is in my schedule, I find myself thinking a bit more closely about what I will eat to ensure I have enough energy when I am in the water, and to help my body recover after surfing.
We all know that surfing is massively demanding on your body – there is a good reason we feel ‘surfed out’ after a solid session in the waves. You have to eat properly to help your body recover from exertion and ensure you’re able to make the most of the next session when the waves are pumping again.
I wont lecture you on the latest fad diet; I am a big believer in everything in moderation, and much of this is simply what I have learned over time. Below, I have listed out some dietary themes to keep in mind when choosing your meals around surf times, as well as some links to more information from those in the know (me giving you strict dietary advice would be a bit hypocritical to be perfectly honest…). Listen to your body, find out what works for you then watch your energy levels, and surfing, improve.
***Disclaimer, I am no Doctor or Dietician, so check with a professional first if you aren't sure.***
A few hours before a surf:
The goal here is to get energy that will slowly release into your body throughout the duration of your surf - think about wholegrain, complex carbohydrates like oatmeal, or wholegrain toast. Compliment it with some fresh fruit or honey and you're off to a great start.
Within an hour of a surf:
Just before you get in the water, a heavy meal is the last thing you want (remember mum telling you to wait half an hour after eating before swimming because of cramps? Yea, that). If you are grabbing a quick bite before heading out, think something relatively light that can be converted into energy quickly; a banana or yogurt would provide fats and sugars to keep you going that much longer.
Immediately after a surf, or refueling to extend the session:
Your body will be screaming out for replenishment. First stop should be some water, quickly followed by good fats for energy, as well as nutirition. Some suggestions here are a fruit smoothie, nuts like pistachios or unsalted peanuts, and an energy bar like Clif.
Dinner the evening after/before the next session:
Your body is in need of recovery food while resting, so think about proteins like fish, beans or lean meat like steak to help repair muscles, as well as some fresh vegetables for fibre & nutrients to help keep your body in tip top shape.
All the time:
Drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated – you wouldn’t ever think about going for a three hour bike ride without a bottle of water, same goes with surfing. Always have a large bottle of water in your bag when you head out surfing.
If you are after more specific, detailed advice, I recommend the following guides:
Dr Peggy’s Nutrition for Surfers ebook - a brilliant, very detailed book including lots of suggested meals
Wanna eat like pro surfers? Check out Former world surfing tour doc Doug Anderson's interview on surfer nutrition
For some quick meal and snack ideas, check this out
Happy (and healthy) eating!
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