Category Archives: surfing

Will Surf for Food

Okay, I’ll admit it: in the old days, I didn’t care what I was eating, as long as I didn’t gain weight! But when I started to make the connection between what I ate and how I felt, I began an intense study of nutrition which ultimately led me to becoming certified as a nutritionist and weight and lifestyle management coach — which turned out to be a perfect complement to my yoga training.

These days, I still eat what I like — but what I like is usually what makes me feel energized, healthy and satisfied!

The bottom line when it comes to choosing food that nourishes and sustains you is to figure out how that food personally affects you.

For example, I learned that — as much as I love it — whole wheat toast gives me indigestion. These days, I enjoy rice bread instead, and my digestive system — and my taste buds — are happy.

When it comes to a pre-surf meal, you want to make sure that you’ve got something that’s easily digestible and gives you sustained energy. This will take a little trial and error on your part. I learned (very quickly!) that surfing after eating Mexican food is not a good idea. Ditto for donuts. Think about it: you want something that will give you high quality nourishment so you can surf with sustained energy!

Here’s what I usually have before my morning surf.

power smoothie photoPeg’s Power Green Smoothie

· 2 scoops rice protein powder (that’s my personal preference — it’s free of artificial ingredients and sweeteners) or 1 cup plain, low-fat yogurt

· 1 cup fruit (try frozen berries for a thicker smoothie) or 2 pieces of fruit like a banana and an apple

· 2-3 leaves of romaine lettuce (for more fiber, minerals and vitamins)

· 1-2 stalks celery or 1/2 cucumber (good for your blood pressure)

· 1 cup water (or less if using yogurt)

· 2 or 3 ice cubes if desired

Blend it all up enjoy! This usually tides me over for a good one-two hour surf session.

On colder mornings, I love a bowl of hot cream of rice cereal. I can digest it better than oatmeal, but oatmeal is a great choice, too! Then I toss in some almond butter for healthy fat and some yogurt for my protein. Nice and simple and very filling.

I recently interviewed Dr. David L. Katz, MD of Yale University for an article I wrote for Clean Eating magazine. He says that it’s okay to work out on an empty stomach, but how well your body performs in the morning depends a lot on how well you ate the day before.

Some surfers (like Tom Carroll) prefer not eating at all before dawn patrol. This is actually a fine choice, if you’re someone who can just get up and go without eating. But, please keep in mind that this approach requires that you be very well-nourished on a regular basis. If you just had pizza and a beer the night before and then get up to surf the next morning, you won’t have any high-octane fuel in your tank. Instead, enjoy a satisfying meal like roasted chicken, baked potatoes and vegetables.

So fill up on natural, wholesome healthy food that you enjoy and make the connection between what you eat and how you feel. In time, you’ll begin to intuitively select those foods that truly nourish you mind, body and spirit!


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What to Eat Before Going Surfing

Peggy Hall warming up before paddling out at State Park

Peggy Hall warming up before paddling out at State Park

Q: What should I eat before going surfing? A: Great question! What we eat directly affects our performance in the water. Just like cars, our bodies require premium fuel in order to work best.

If you’ve ever been enjoying a great session and then 30 minutes into it, your arms start to feel like lead or (gasp!) your quick pop-up is more like a slow-motion stumble, then most likely you’re running on empty.

Here’s what to do to make sure you have enough energy and endurance to surf for as long as you like.

First, even more important that what you eat is what you drink. If you start your day with anything that starts with “grande” and ends with “latte”, you’re setting yourself up for dehydration and possibly an upset stomach, irritable bowels (nice subject, I know) and early exhaustion.

It might seem like a dose of caffeine is just the thing to get you going — and one cup of coffee (about 6 ounces) isn’t going to do any harm — but, more than that and you start to fool around with your body pumping out a bunch of adrenaline, cortisol, insulin — hormones that will leave you jittery and anxious instead of energized.

Plus, you want that adrenaline to be available for when you’re paddling into the biggest wave of the set — instead of being depleted and then you hair out at the last minute. So…. if you’ve gotta have your coffee, enjoy one cup and leave out the sugar and the fake sugar, too. Add some half-n-half (actually better for you than skim milk or soy — I’ll tell you about that in another post).

Or, try going green — with green tea, that is. It will give you the lift that comes from caffeine (it has about 1/2 that of coffee) but it has other beneficial compounds that will prevent jitters and exhaustion.

Yerba Mate is another great choice — a type of “tea” that is not tea at all but a powerful herb from South America. My husband swapper out coffee for yerba mater and is addicted to that now.

I personally start each day with a cup of hot lemonade. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 an organic lemon into a cup of hot water and add a tablespoon of raw, organic honey or some stevia (natural herbal sweetener) to taste. This will give you a boost of Vitamin C to keep your immune system strong and it also cleanses your digestive tract and purifies your liver so it can burn fat and metabolize other foods more effectively.

Finally, be sure to drink up to 100 ounces of pure water every day — more if you’re a coffee drinker. This will keep you hydrated so your muscles can work and you can surf better longer. Muscle cramps usually come from dehydration, so drink several ounces of water before you paddle out and more when you come back in.

Next up: the best things to eat before and after surfing.

Get great tips like these every week! Sign up for your FREE Wellness Tips right here!


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Billabong Global Big-Wave Awards go to Garrett McNamara and Brian Conley, featured in Yoga for Surfers III: Unleashed!

When the Billabong XXL Big-Wave Awards were held on April 17, 2009 at the Grove in Anaheim, California, Garrett McNamara and Brian Conley, both featured in Yoga for Surfers III: Unleashed! were honored as two the top five surfers for “Best Ride of the Year”!


Conley showcased an amazing “inside the tube” perspective with his hand-held camera while McNamara pulled into a deep, deep, deep (did I say deep?) jaw-dropping macker at treacherous Teahupoo.

McNamara, who was also a top finalist for Best Tube Ride said, “It was the best ride of my life. I didn’t mean to do a layback, but that’s how I held my line,” the goofy-footer explained. Yeah, did you catch that? Surfing Teahupoo, backside, in one of the biggest waves ridden at that spot in all of 2008.

These guys are not just courageous, they are other-wordly. It’s no surprise, really, to find out that both Conley and G-Mac use yoga as one of their secret weapons to stay calm, cool, and laser-focused on the experience at hand.

Check out some of the Billabong Best Ride surf clips right here

In the meantime, here’s McNamara warming up in Yoga for Surfers— and get a look at the macker he rides at the end of the clip!

Here’s Brian Conley working on flexibility and focus.

Let’s give these guys the HUGE PROPS they deserve!!

Want to train like they do? Then get your own Yoga for Surfers program and bonus gifts right now!

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Get off the Sports “Drinks”

Well, I may not be too popular here with my latest advice — but please, get off the sugary sport drinks. They’re full of stuff your body does not need.

I know some surfers who drink the stuff all day long. (Bobby — are you listening?!)

Just for fun, I tracked down the ingredient label for a really popular brand. Read it and weep:

A 20-ounce bottle (the smaller size) of this popular sports drink contains:

calories: 125

sodium: 275 mg (hint: you only need 1500mg the entire day)

potassium: 75 mg

total carbs: 35 mg

sugars: 35 g (arggh! Listen to my radio show about the dangers of sugar!!)

protein: 0g

Ingredients: water, sucrose, glucose-fructose syrup, citric acid, natrual flavors, salt, mono-potassium phosphates, ester gum, yellow 5, bominater vegetable oils, yellow 6, red 40, blue 1, caramel 1.

How’s that for artificial ingredients?

The second and third ingredients are highly-refined forms of sugar, which actually accelerate aging, bone loss and muscle damage. Processed sugar also depletes your energy, due to the surge of insulin and resultng crash.

Yellow, red and blue dyes? Ester gum? Brominated vegetable oils? Not so appealing after all.

Instead, get some pure apple juice or other fruit juice and dilute it 50-50 with water. MUCH better for you !!!

Or, here’s a quick recipe for you to make your own version of a nutritious thirst-quencher:

one quart of water

one tablespoon of green powder (dried, powdered fruits, vegetables, herbs and grasses — try Trader Joe’s Daily Greens)

one tablespoon of Vitamin C powder from acerola cherries (not crystallized Vitamin C)

one tablespoon of maple syrup

Shake it all up and drink it all day long. Better for you, and better for your wallet, too!


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Is it Okay to Stretch Before Surfing?

There seems to be some debate as to whether you’re supposed to “stretch” before going surfing or not.

I actually agree with those who say you shouldn’t stretch before surfing.

Save this one for days you don't surf

Save this one for days you don't surf

What? What’s that? Don’t stretch?

I know this might seem funny coming from yours truly, the Yoga for Surfers guru — but please, hear me out.

Here’s the deal: it’s a good idea — no wait,  it’s a great idea — to warm up before you go surfing, but that is entirely different than doing deep stretches. You want to save those for after surfing.

If you’ve done the pre-surf session of Yoga for Surfers I or Yoga for Board Sports then you know that the moves I recommend are designed to get your blood flowing and your muscles warm so you’ll be able to paddle out with more energy and ease. You’ll also do some deep breathing to oxygenate your body and your muscles, creating more energy.

But perhaps most important of all is that taking a few minutes to warm up before you surf will also give you the chance to get your mental focus going so you can prepare for your best session  — every time.

Here’s a great move you can do to start getting the blood moving. This “torso sway” warms up your back, shoulders and hips and can be done anywhere, anytime. Even if it’s the only thing you do before paddling out, it will help.

Click here to watch torso sway warm-up

But if you want an even greater edge, then you owe it to yourself to the best pre-ride moves (just like the pros do). You can get your free yoga stretches for surfing right here.

And then let me know what you think!

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Foods for Flexibility

Did you know that certain foods can actually help improve your flexibility? It’s true!

You see, different foods affect us in different ways. Some foods cause an inflammatory response in the body, which can cause stiffness in the joints, muscle pain, headaches, allergies, skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis, sinus pain and congestion, sciatica, neck pain and a whole host of other ills.

What foods cause inflammation? Well, it’s what you might call the “good stuff” — coffee, sugar, flour, alcohol, red meat, dairy products (yogurt is okay), deli meats, fried foods, foods high in sodium, and most packaged, processed foods which are basically bankrupt when it comes to nutrition.

Foods for flexibility, on the other hand, are wholesome, nourishing natural foods like chicken, fish, beans, whole grains (not wheat or corn), raw, unsalted nuts and seeds, avocado, olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables. All green vegetables are considered very healing, so fill up on green beans, asparagus, broccoli, artichokes, zucchini, salad. Use lemon juice and olive oil for your dressing and stay away from any packaged food that has more than 200 mg of sodium per serving.

Too much salt can cause swelling in the joints as you body holds onto fluid in an attempt to dilute the blood and tissues.

Your best bet? Drink up to three liters (100 ounces) of pure water daily. The first few days you’ll be getting rid of the excess built-up fluid, but in a matter of days, your body will self-regulate.

Be sure to drink at least a cup of water before you go surfing and another cup or more every hour during your surf session.

If you are a coffee drinker, cut back to one or two cups a day. Green tea or Yerba Mate tea are  good replacements. If you like iced tea, just remember that it’s a diuretic, just like coffee, so add in another cup of water for every cup of coffee or tea you drink.

For your own fast-track to better health, try out my Three-Day Detox program or my High Energy Eating: Nutrition for Surfers program.



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How Taylor Knox Got Addicted to Yoga

Yoga and surfing? Taylor Knox put the two together some years ago. This amazing surfer (and all-around nice guy) wasn’t always so keen on yoga, though — but I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Click here to watch a short video clip of Taylor explaining how he got addicted to yoga

Then find out for yourself just how far you can take your own surfing!

Taylor doing crow pose

Taylor doing crow pose

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