A Surfers Guide To Nutrition – How Diet Will Affect Your Surfing.
People often believe that to improve your surfing all you have to do is surf. A lot. While this rings many elements of truth, what many people fail to remember is that if you want to keep surfing more and more to improve your performance, you need to have the proper sustained energy to do so. If you push your body beyond its limits, and fail to give your body time to recover and replenish, you will end up cutting corners, getting sloppy and your technique will suffer, quite harshly.
If you want to make the most of your time in the water it really pays to have a critical look at what you are putting in to your body to ensure you can get the most out of your body.
Keep it simple, stupid.
Eating foods that come from the earth provide a simple, rich, delicious and nutrient dense base for your diet. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, herbs and spices will provide your body with what it needs to function, without adding the extra nasties that mess with your internal systems. Try and limit foods that come from factories such as muesli bars, chips, store brought pies and soda drinks. A basic rule of thumb, if you cannot understand what is on the ingredients list, don’t eat it. An excellent example of an inspiring female surfer that bases her life around natural eating is Tia Blanco. You can check out her foodie instagram here.
Drink, drink, drink.
Considering our bodies consist mainly of water, it is a bit of a “no brainer” that dehydration will limit our bodies ability to function. I could truely go on about the importance of hydration all day, but instead you can read this quick article about why surfers need to drink more water if they are wanting to perform at their best.
Pay attention to the glycemic rate of the foods you are eating
Every food has a different rate in which the energy from that food is released into your body. Foods that are quick to be released will spike your energy levels high, but as we know, what goes up must come down. Ideally if we are wanting to surf for a longer time, consuming foods that are released slowly will sustain our energy over the few hours that we are surfing. Want to know more about the body’s response to food? I also wrote about that, here.
Consider a regular intake of superfoods into your diet
What do you mean by superfoods? I mean foods that pack a punch in terms of their nutritional value. If we have a look at chia seeds, just 1 tablespoon has 15 times the magnesium of broccoli, six times more calcium than milk, and more potassium than two bananas. Easy to add to meals, and extremely beneficial for your body. Before I begin a thesis on superfoods, I will cut to the chase and suggest a personal favourite. The Acai Berry.
Acai berries are at the top of my list. Why? Well heres why…
Acai is naturally high in essential fatty acids, similar to that of olive oil. There is an incredibly strong link between these acids, heart health and a healthy nervous system.
Acai berries contain amino acids which aid the bodies energy production, muscular performance and endurance (a surfers dream combination.)
Acai berries contain ridiculous amount of vitamin C, B1, B2, ,B3 and E. They also include magnesium zinc and calcium.
In a nutshell, the acai berry is incredibly tasty, and extremely dense in the nutrients needed for optimum athletic performance. A summer necessity, I always have my cupboards stocked, my favourite brand being King Berry Acai.
Below is the recipe I use for a tasty pre surf meal.
3 tbsp King Berry Acai
5 cubes of ice
1 frozen banana
1 tbsp of maple syrup, honey or agave syrup
A small amount of water (just enough for blending)
Blend these ingredients until smooth and then…
Sprinkle on top one or more of the following
Banana, kiwifruit, strawberry, chia seeds, cacao nibs, goji berries, spirulina powder, honey, maca powder or cinnamon.
Overall, to improve your surfing efficiently, it is ideal that you are conscious about how your body is responding to what you choose to fuel it with. For an ideal recovery, stretching should be an integral part of your daily routine, just as much as your nutritional choices (keep your eye out for our upcoming “stretching for surfers” Ebook.) To get the most out of your body, be honest with yourself and look at what you are eating and simply assess how this is making you feel. Keep an open mind, educate yourself of the powerful affects of diet, and enjoy the benefits that come from the consumption of real, proper foods.