Tag Archives: how to avoid muscle cramps

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.

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Filed under nutrition, surfing