Most people believe that to improve your paddling, all you have to do is practice. Stand up paddling requires high amounts of stamina, energy and muscle function. Without them, this can mean the difference between missing the best waves of the day and winning the competition. According to the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, nutrient deficiencies are common in today’s modern diet. Even if you follow a healthy diet, there’s still a risk of having some kind of nutrient deficiency.
One of the most important habits any athlete should keep to improve SUP performance is to make healthy food choices rather than short-term diets. They simply do not work and nothing puts more of a dampener on your surf than a quick energy crash. This means balancing quality nutrients that your body needs including proteins, carbohydrates, and fat.
Increase Protein Intake
Aim for about 1 gram per lb. of body weight. For example: If your body weight is about 190 pounds at 12% body fat, that means your lean mass weight is 168 pounds. As a result, you should consume around 168 g of protein a day.
One of the worst mistakes any paddler can make is to stay surrounded by water and have nothing to drink. Even if you don’t feel yourself sweating, our bodies tend to lose water due to physical exertion while you surf. Skip the sugary juice, sports drinks, sodas, and just drink water. If you hate the taste of drinking pure water, try adding some natural flavor by including lemon, cucumber, and frozen berries.
Eat Fat – The Healthy Kind
Athletes often tend to stay away from fat due to fear of weight gain. However, saturated fats will actually do the opposite. Use high quality saturated fats like coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, and avocados, which are all great sources of fat.
While there is no magical diet for surfers to stay energized and fit, it will all come down to focusing on proper nutrition. When available, choose organic foods like meat, eggs, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Not only as they packed with nutrients, they are also chemical-free. Always aim to eat whole foods rather than processed.
Professional SUP Surfer Sean Poynter surfing on Maui. | Photo: Starboard / John Carter
Carbohydrates are also a paddler’s best friend. Discipline is key is helping surfers get better and stronger. Pay attention to your nutrition and always stay fueled each time you hit the waves.
For more SUP Nutrition tips, click HERE.