Our bodies need energy to perform our daily activities, we all know that. We also know that when we practice physical activities, there will be a higher demand of energy. Surfers are no different, even if you are a surf beginner it is good to know what you should eat and drink before, during and after a surf session.
Surfers may be considered a laid-back group of athletes, but surfing is an intense workout. Paddling your board works your entire body, from your shoulders to your core to your legs, and requires good cardiovascular conditioning. Like any athlete, if you want to perform your best, you need to eat right.
What to eat when surfing: Proteins, Carbs or Fat?
When you are going to a surf day camp (if you are a beginner) or a surf session (if you already know how to surf), a good meal plan for surfers needs a healthy mix of carbs, protein and fat. As the primary source of fuel for paddling, most of your calories should come from healthy carbs such as whole-grain breads and cereals, fruit, vegetables and milk. Protein is also important to maintain and repair hard-working muscles and should provide 10 percent to 12 percent of your calorie needs. Healthy sources include lean meat, poultry, seafood, nuts and beans. You may want to look good in your swimwear, but don’t skimp on the fat. Getting less than 15 percent of your calories from fat can hamper your surfing performance. Healthy fats include oils, avocados, nuts and seeds.
There are a few important and interesting things you should know about surf food. Experts believe you should adapt a meal or snack to the level of physical effort you are about to undertake. So, if that last meal you ate was three hours ago, it’s better to boost your body with something that will support paddling, standing up and carving. Avoid hot or too-cold liquids and snacks. Never drink alcohol before sports activities. Bananas and water are excellent to fight cramps.
Sports dietitians say surfers should recover their bodies after surfing by choosing food rich in carbohydrates, protein and salt. If you’ve just been surfing for three hours you might have used 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour between the needs of your brain and body, so it’s time to refuel your engine.
If you like to catch the early-morning waves, you need to eat one to three hours before you leave home A good pre-surf meal for the early risers should be low in fat and fiber to help prevent gastrointestinal distress and might include a container of low-fat yogurt with a banana or two slices of toast topped with peanut butter and all-fruit jam. If you surf a little later in the day, eat a high-carb breakfast such as a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and chopped walnuts with a cup of low-fat yogurt and a glass of orange juice.
At lunch, continue to focus on the carbs. If you plan on hitting the waves soon, eat a light lunch such as a cup of pasta mixed with 2 ounces of shrimp and 1/2 cup of cooked veggies with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. If you’re done for the day or plan on surfing before the sun sets, fuel up with a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce and tomatoes, a side salad with dressing, fresh pineapple and a glass of low-fat milk.
You’ll need to eat a high-carb dinner to refuel your muscles for your next day’s swim. A healthy dinner meal for surfers might include broiled salmon with roasted red potatoes tossed with olive oil and garlic, steamed broccoli, a whole-grain roll and a glass of low-fat milk. Or try a whole-wheat tortilla stuffed with black beans, rice and low-fat cheese, served with corn on the cob and a glass of orange juice.
What to eat and drink before surfing:
- Breakfast cereal, reduced fat milk and fruit;
- Porridge, reduced fat milk, fruit juice;
- Toasted muffins or crumpets, honey/jam/syrup;
- Toast with honey/jam/marmalade/vegemite, peanut butter;
- Low fat creamed rice, tinned fruit;
- Pasta topped with low fat tomato based sauce;
- Low fat cereal bar/muesli bar/sports bar, banana;
- Roll or sandwich with banana and honey;
- Fresh fruit salad, low fat yoghurt or low fat dairy dessert;
- Smoothie with reduced fat milk, low fat yoghurt, any fruit;
- Soy smoothies with soy drink, blended fruit
What to eat and drink during a three-hour surfing session:
- 1/2 liter of sports drink or water;
- 1 sports bar or 1.5 cereal bars or 1 sports gel pack
- 1 large banana + a table spoon of honey
What to eat and drink after surfing:
- Sports drinks;
- Fruit juice and water;
- Banana sandwich fresh fruit, canned fruit;
- Sports bar
- Fruit smoothie (low-fat milk, banana, yoghurt);
- Liquid meal supplement;
- Breakfast cereal, milk and fruit sandwich or roll including meat/cheese/chicken in filling;
- Baked potato, baked beans, grated cheese
So, remember: keep your body hydrated and well fed. You don’t want to suffer of lack of energy or dizziness while surfing. Pay attention on how your body responds to the things you ate and adapt your meals if something you makes doesn’t feel good.
If you have any doubts, the best thing, go talk to a nutritionist.