EJ Johnson on Pre-Race Diet, Interval Training & More

EJ Johnson appeared live and in HD on the Wake Up SUP Show with Candice Appleby and Andre Niemeyer


Ernest Johnson, also known as EJ Johnson, is one of the pioneering stand up paddle (sup) boarders who helped popularize sup racing and turn it into the competitive discipline that it is today. EJ Johnson, formerly from Dana Point and now from San Diego, California, brings a highly diversified (and fascinating!) background to the sport of stand up paddling. Counting bodybuilding and skate boarding among some of his past activities, he has a whole lot to say about fitness, health, and even fine carpentry. Johnson shares his background and introduction to the sport, as well as event highlights, race and training tips, and some diet insights. (Watch episodes with other guests.)



•    Background in body building, skate boarding, and fine carpentry
•    One of the pioneers of stand up paddle board racing
•    Paddle builder of Big Stick Paddles and Sup Rock Star
•    Tons of insights for sup racers on training and diet in and off races


As it has become tradition during the Wake Up Sup Show, Andre Niemeyer and Candice Appleby, the hosts of the show and remarkable athletes on their own right, do a recap of the latest happenings, ranging from sup surf sessions and races to parties and other gatherings. This Recap includes the Another Dam Race in Arizona, which was held in a fairly cold weather, but with a great turnout and beautiful backdrop; the Los Cabos SUP Classic organized by SUP Mexico, hitting high notes on hospitality, a great downwind, and food; and Byron Kurt’s Beer Chugging Race in Dana Point, where racers had to paddle three different board classes, each for 2 miles and chug a total of 4 beers in between the laps. (Watch episodes with other guests.)


•    Another Dam Race in Parker, Arizona
•    Los Cabos SUP Classic in Cabo San Lucas
•    Byron Kurt’s Beer Chugging Race in Dana Point, California

Guest Profile

EJ Johnson was one of the first stand up paddle boarders to be fully committed to racing and to taking this modality to the next step. When sup racing was still in its infancy, Johnson was already battling with the paddle on his sup surfboard, the only equipment available for racing at the time. Soon after cementing his status as an elite paddler, he became one of the early Ohana ambassadors and continued to rise through the ranks. His fast rise was partly due to his background in bodybuilding, skate boarding and surfing, as well as focus on health eating. Johnson became known as one of the best sprinters around, traveling to races as far as Germany and beyond. As one of the most noticeable ambassadors of the sport, due largely to his tattoos and formerly long hair, the Dana Point local, who now resides in San Diego, California with his lovely wife, Andy Johnson, continues to be a force and a voice in the sport. (Watch episodes with other guests.)


•    Bodybuilder and skate boarder in his early twenty’s
•    His health conscience and fitness helped with his quick rise in the sport
•    Traveled in the US and abroad representing stand up paddle boarding


Clinic (49:30-51:00)

As one of the pioneers of stand up paddle board racing, EJ Johnson no doubt has a lot of insights to share, from training and paddle building to hydration packs and diet. The rock star of the sup world has a very rigid diet, with absolutely no carbs and sugar other than what comes in beers. The carb and sugar free diet helps keep him in a stunning shape, giving Johnson plenty of explosion during races and a significant edge in sprint racing. Combined with that, his standup paddle racing workouts revolve largely around interval training, combining short, long and spring paddles, peaking at the day of the race. And his pre-race diet is comprised of avocado and bananas, with doses of coconut drinks. (Watch episodes with other guests.)


•    Interval training that combines short, long and sprint races climaxing at day of race
•    Lifting weights and gym circuits always maintaining high cardio to mimic sup races
•    Alternates between sets of 10 push-up and 10 pull-ups non-stop, totaling 100 each
•    Paddles with Big Stick Paddles, designed by him and made of various types of wood
•    Uses camelback with coconut drink, which has helped him prevent cramping

Health Spot (46:00 -49:30)

Looking more closely at the fuel firing all those big guns, EJ Johnson’s diet is quite inspirational and insightful. He sticks strictly to organic eating, no breads and no sugar. The only exception to this rule (call it, “The EJ Rule”) is beer. In fact, that’s the only time that Johnson will intake either carbs or sugar. Before races, his formula is very simple. Eat 2 avocados and 2 bananas with coconut water between one to two hours before the race. Also, drinking coconut water through his hydration pack during long races has helped stop muscle cramping. (Watch episodes with other guests.)



•    Stick to organic eating
•    No breads, no carbs, no sugar, except what’s found in beer
•    Have 2 avocados & 2 bananas 1-2 hours before race with coconut water
•    Drink coconut water during long races to avoid muscle cramping


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Last modified onWednesday, 28 January 2015 11:45

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