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The surfer’s diet: a healthy nutrition and hydration plan – SurferToday

Posted: May 23, 2021 at 1:50 am

Water sports enthusiasts, in general, need lots of stamina to keep up, and it's important to know what your body needs.

Being an athlete requires good nutrition to keep your energy levels optimal - especially when training and performing in a competition.

The following guide features healthy food recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and ideas and tips to keep surfing all day and healthy all week.

Drinking water is a crucial aspect of physical fitness, and no section on nutrition would be complete without an honorable mention.

When you're dehydrated, you don't perform well - you get tired faster, and the risk of heat stroke increases.

So how much fluid is enough?


Here's a basic water intake guideline. It varies from surfer to surfer:

4 hours before training: drink 300-500 ml of water; 2 hours before training: drink 150-350 ml of water; 20 mins while training: drink 130-250 ml of water; If you train again within 12 hours: drink at least 1.5 liters of water;

Adding sodium to foods or fluids can help you retain fluid and maintain plasma electrolyte balance.

That's not hard, right? As you can see, it doesn't take much.

So how do you know if you have had enough? Here's a simple way of monitoring your hydration levels - check your urine:

If your pee is light-colored, you're well-hydrated; If you can only squeeze out a little, and it's darkish color - drink up;

Are you surfing in the heat? This probably applies to 80 percent of surfers, but you will dehydrate faster if you're not used to it.

If you are going to a competition in a temperature you're not used to, acclimatize yourself before competing:

Train in a similar environment before competing; Go to the site at least a week before game day and practice;

Easy access to water will also increase consumption:

Keep fluids close and accessible; Keep water chilled; Add a little flavor; Sodium can enhance taste and encourage the desire to drink;

Are you tired of drinking water? Make your own sports drink. You can quickly make a fluid replacement drink by mixing:

500 ml of unsweetened orange juice; 500 ml of water; 1.25-1.75 ml of salt;


Smoothies are probably the best way to get all the nutrients your body needs before and after physical exercise or training.

The benefits include:

Quickly and easily digestible, meaning fast energy and quick recovery; Do not have to be broken down, like solid foods; Hydration; Simple and convenient; Easily consumable even if you're not hungry; One smoothie can contain all the essential nutrients your body needs for training, before and/or after;

The best smoothies will be fluid blends that are:

High in carbs; Moderate in protein; Low in fat and fiber; Have just a dash of electrolytes (sodium and potassium);

Here's a super easy smoothie recipe:

One 355 ml can of frozen orange juice (not thawed); Two 355 ml cans of 1 percent milk or skim milk (use empty juice can for measuring); One pinch of salt;

Blend everything in a blender, and it'll make four servings.


The effects of caffeine are still not completely understood. However, consensus says that the benefits of caffeine are:

Stimulation of the central nervous system; Reduces perceived effort of exercise; Enhances muscle fiber contraction;

If taken an hour before exercise, just a small amount of caffeine (70-150 mg) can enhance reaction time, concentration, and alertness and improve performance for both endurance and short, high-intensity actions.

Several beverages containing caffeine. Drip coffee, brewed coffee, instant coffee, espresso, brewed tea, cola, etc., are examples.

Other good and natural sources of caffeine are:

Guarana seeds; Kola nut; Yerba mate;

The possible adverse side effects of caffeine are as follows:

Insomnia; Headache; Nervousness; Anxiety; Inability to focus; Arrhythmia; Tachycardia; Hypertension; Lightheadedness; Irritability; Nausea; Gastrointestinal distress;

You are always the best judge of your body and your comfort intake levels.

Caffeine takes time to work through your system. Take it sparingly and in small doses. Give it about 30 to 60 for effects before having more.

Know which to food to ingest before, during, and after surfing.


Contrary to popular belief, carbs are good for you, and you will need them when training and performing.

Carbohydrates are stored in your muscles - where you need the energy - so you can go harder, longer.

People often get confused about carbohydrates.

Some are not so good, such as simple carbs found in lots of processed foods, and then there are the good ones, the ones you need, found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and yogurt.

The other misconception is how many carbs to consume, which varieties, and when.

Because surfing is such an endurance watersport, loading up on carbs while riding waves for long periods of time will significantly increase your performance.

It's great to load up while training.

Come competition day, though, and it is better to decrease the percentage of carbohydrates from fiber and stick to lighter, easily absorbed ones like fruits and veggies.

Due to the nature of competitions, with all the stop-and-go activities, if you load up with too much protein and fiber, you may find yourself feeling bloated and heavy.

Too many carbs, like anything, of course, is not good. It's best to load up 1-4 days while training before a competition.

Otherwise, you'll just be putting on extra weight that's not going anywhere if you're not training.

Here are a few examples of sources of good carbohydrates:

1 large bagel = 60 g1 small banana = 15 g1 cup/250 ml cooked pasta = 30 g cup/175 ml cooked oatmeal = 15 g1 cup/250 ml flaky unsweetened cereal = 30 g1 cup/250 ml cooked rice = 45 g1 medium potato = 30 g1 cup/250 ml milk = 15 g1 cup/250 ml cooked corn = 30 g1 cup/250 ml fruit yogurt = 30-40 g2 cups/500 ml sport drink = 30 g

Now, memorize the following tips:

Your body needs carbs to burn for energy, or you'll get tired fast; Load up 1-4 days while training before a competition, so you have lots stored; Come game day, stick to lighter foods, so you don't feel heavy or bloated; Don't load up on carbs when you're not training - you need to burn off those consumed carbs, or you'll put on extra weight;


Chances are, if you're eating enough quantity from a wide variety of food sources, you are getting enough minerals.

Minerals are also uber important for sports nutrition and energy.

So if you're not sure if you're getting enough or if you're feeling tired or exhausted, here's a list of excellent mineral sources:

Iron: green leafy vegetables, beans, tofu, cabbage, millet; Calcium: almonds, soya milk, broccoli, spinach, watercress; Zinc: lentils, whole grains, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds; Iodine: asparagus, kelp; Magnesium: soya beans, avocado, bananas, apples, nuts; Selenium, phosphorous and potassium: strawberries, tomatoes, chickpeas, and yeast extract;

Are you entering a surf contest? Prior to competing, generally allow:

3-4 hours to partially digest a big meal; 2-3 hours for a moderate-sized meal; Less than 2 hours for a pre-event snack;

Where it comes to hydration, remember the following:

Drink 500 ml of fluid 2 hours before your event; Drink 250-500 ml 45 to 30 minutes before your event; Drink 150-350 ml every 15 to 20 minutes during your event;

Less than 90 minutes between events or heats, choose mostly carbohydrates with ample fluids.

For example, water, sports drinks, sports nutrition bars, fruit, unsweetened juices, bagels, low-fat muffins, cereal bars, granola bars, trail mix, fruit leather, or nuts.

Ifyou've got more than 90 minutes between events or heats, have a mini-mealwith ample fluids like water, juice, or milk.

For instance, a half-to-full sandwich, peanut butter and crackers, or low-fat muffin and cheese.

Spend energy to get energy - very true.

But you need to re-pay that spent energy back to your body, and the body isn't a very patient loan shark.

The sooner you replenish with the right nutrients, the better your body will respond and recover.

Exercise is hard on the body, and within just two hours, you may have used up all stored carbohydrate energy, start breaking down various muscle and red blood cells and lost over two liters of water (sweat).

The body's cells are most receptive to re-nourishment in the first 30 minutes after intense activity - this is stage 1. Within 1-2 hours after, it is considered stage 2.

There are four main nutrients necessary for these critical recovery stages:

Carbohydrates; Protein; Fluid/Sodium; Antioxidants (especially vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene);

So, what's a good example of a post-exercise, sports nutrition recovery meal plan?

Stage 1

For stage 1, within 30 minutes after exercise, your body will need:

Banana, yogurt, or juice; Peanut butter sandwich, strawberries, milk, or juice; Flavored milk, granola bar, apple, and water; Sports drink, cheese strings, grapes, juice, or water; Low-fat muffin or bagel, homemade smoothie (blend milk, yogurt, fruit, juice, and ice); Protein bar, orange, pretzels, and juice or water; Meal replacement drink, carbohydrate sports bar, apple, or water;

Stage 2

For stage 2, 1-2 hours after exercise, your body should get:

Meat or cheese sandwich loaded with veggies and milk or juice; Chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice, and milk, juice, or water; Whole wheat pasta with meatballs, vegetable salad, and milk, juice, or water; Grilled salmon, quinoa or whole wheat couscous, raw veggies with light dip, and milk, juice, or water; Bowl of cereal with yogurt or milk, fresh fruit, and water or juice; Scrambled eggs with cheese and diced peppers, whole wheat bagel, and milk, juice, or water; Lentil soup, whole wheat bun, Greek yogurt/regular yogurt, fruit salad, and water, soy beverage, or milk; Pasta salad tossed with chopped vegetables, canned tuna or chicken breast, and milk, juice, or water; Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, fruit salad, low-fat muffin, and milk, juice, or water;

While you're out of the water, it's also essential to have healthy eat and drink habits.

Fruits and Veggies

We've all been told to eat our veggies and that they're good for us.

But in case you need more examples, here are three extra good reasons fruits and veggies are great for sports nutrition:

Fruit and veggies help maintain a stronger immune system; Fruit and veggies prevent cell damage; Fruit and veggies provide lasting energy;

Remember that it is especially important to get enough fruit, including superfruits, and veggie nutrients when training, competing or traveling because of the extra stress put on your body.

The Reds

Contain nutrients such as vitamins A and C.

Vegetables like tomatoes also contain lycopene, which is one of the phytonutrients responsible for the color red.

Vitamins A and C are essential for building strong bones.

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The surfer's diet: a healthy nutrition and hydration plan - SurferToday

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