Ugh… is this another fitness blog post? Perhaps, but hopefully this has some real world, applicable topics that everyone can implement while on a surf trip. There’s no need for this to get preachy, but the better shape you are in the better your surf sessions will be. Most surfers tend to forget this when they head on a trip, and proceed to let the beers and rest days add up. If this is your vibe all good, it’s mine as well, but remember that a quick 30 minutes in the morning or night can make a big difference in your upcoming sessions.
For this section I am going to assume that you are traveling light and are without gym equipment. If you can get even a ten pound weight you can supplement these exercises, but there really is no need. This is a great bodyweight circuit that can be done for a good full body workout every morning. I will give an easier, medium, and harder option (if possible) for each exercise, so adjust accordingly!
Knee Pushups/Pushups/Burpees x10
This is a great exercise for helping your popup muscles; mostly your core, chest, and triceps. Burpees are a fantastic variation that will allow for a greater cardio value on this exercise.
Air squats/Jump Squats/Single Leg Squats x 10-20 (per leg for single leg)
Squats are the foundation for a strong lower body. This exercise will help will strengthening your quads, glutes, and all your knee stabilizing muscles which are so vital for preventing injury when surfing. For progression to single leg squats, just try and balance on one leg, slightly bent, and close your eyes. You’ll quickly see it not so easy of a task.
Bodyweight Swimmers x20
There’s no easier/harder version of this that doesn’t require extra weight or a pull up bar. If possible substitute 5-10x pull ups for this exercise. Both are designed to built your back and core muscles which are our main engines while paddling.
Crunches/Sit-Ups/Russian Twists x 20 (Russian Twists x 40)
Finish out the circuit with some ab work. These muscles are the connectors of the lower and upper body muscular groups and keeping them as strong as the rest of your body is of vital importance, especially to surfers that need to connect that chain in order to execute any turn on the water.
Rest for 1-2 minutes (or longer if needed!) and then repeat. Do as many as you’d like/can but 3-5 is a solid number. Even doing this circuit once will help a lot on the off days!
All that is well and good, but at the end of the day, you know your own body. Do as much or as little as you’d like, mix and match with your favorite exercises, and make sure to warm up a little beforehand! You do not want your surf trip to end due to injury on an off day (oh the shame).
One of the greatest aspects of a surf trip is that surfing actually burns calories! This means that you’ll have an appetite at the end of the day to eat all the delicious local cuisine you can. Now there’s nothing, I repeat nothing, wrong with having extra sugar and fat when you’re on the trip, in fact it’s probably for the best to indulge more than you normally would to ensure your body isn’t losing too much weight/muscle.
If you are surfing or working out every day make sure to take enough greens/fats/carbohydrates/proteins to keep your body going, then move onto the pint of ice cream in the freezer. Guidelines for a successful diet are as follows: One salad a day should be enough greens. A piece of fruit or two will be great for vitamins and some simple sugars. Bread/grains to quickly replenish your blood sugar levels post surf. Meat or plant based protein to keep your muscles built up. If you are having red meat you are also going to be covered on fat, if not make sure to add olive oil or butter to some of the items above to ensure your intake is good. After that you should be good to go to add whatever you’d like on top (yes this includes alcohol)!
This is an often neglected part of fitness and health! But same as working out, 30 minutes can make a huge difference. If you are looking for something to do right after a surf or as the tropical sun is setting, try one of the following options to make your next session a whole lot better.
I cannot recommend a post surf stretch or evening yoga session enough. This will help keep your muscles loose and limber for the next big paddle and ensure that bloodflow is up to carry away the waste products of extended physical activity. No need to do anything fancy, a youtube yoga course will do more than fine.
A slightly more painful in the “Hurts so good” kind of way option. This method tends to break up tight muscle groups and in a way similar to stretching increases bloodflow to the regions rolled. It keeps the muscles loose, is a great “anti-cramper”, and will help recovery greatly. Combine it with stretching to ensure a great next day!
This is probably the most important aspect of recovery. If you are dehydrated none of the above suggestions will work, including the nutrition and working out sections. Drink about 2 liters a day if you are doing any physical activity. You might be going to the bathroom more than your 90 year old grandfather, but your body will thank you.
At the end of the day, there’s no need to take all this too seriously. Do as much or as little as you see fit and hopefully you will see some rewards in your surf sessions! At the end of the day it all boils down to being able to maximize your time in the water while on your once in a lifetime trip. Yeeew!