“Its about being disciplined beyond comprehension with what I put in my body” Kelly Slater
Surfing takes a lot of energy, nothing wipes you out more than a pulsing 3 hr session in the sun. Surfing is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, and good pre and post nutrition is essential. Replacing the energy used during a surf by ingesting calories is only a small part of the picture.
Yes you have depleted your body of ‘energy’, but you have also fatigued your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight or surf). We need to switch on our para-sympathetic nervous system (rest & digest) so the sympathetic nervous system can recover and our food can be digested properly. Most of the time we do this instinctively, chill, watch the waves etc, but the food you choose can either add to the total stress or allow digestion and recovery to be optimized.
SERF Sit, Eat Real Food. Sit down, chill, get dry and warm, get out of the sun, relax. Eat real food. Processed foods are hard to digest and cause inflammation, digestive stress and sharp insulin spikes from processed foods inhibit optimum recovery. Choose real food, relax and chew it properly. For more advise on what to eat check out theses principles
Hydrate first. Drink your water as soon as you get to the car/beach. Wait at least 5mins before eating as water can dilute digestive enzymes. Your body will be dehydrated and will soak up the water pretty quick. Not redbull, water. Fresh raw organic coconut water is even better.
How much? This depends on how long you plan to sit and wait. If you are pressed for time and plan to go straight back out then a swig of water and a banana will be plenty for another hour at least. A half hour rest is enough time for some good recovery and to digest some food, go snack size. ie, banana + avocado + 10 almonds. If you plan to wait for an hour or more then a small meal is perfect. i.e. Leftover roast + salad. Save the big meal for the end of the day.
If you are planning to surf all day and want the end of your 3rd surf to be as ‘alive’ as the begining or your first then recovery time is even more important. The nervous system must be balanced so relaxed breaks between surfs to rest and digest are essential. Balance is even more important if you are on a surf trip and plan to surf as much as possible for 2 weeks.
Breakfast or not. If your not hungry and don’t plan to stay out too long for the dawny then breakfast can wait. Make sure you hydrate though. 7-8hrs sleep depletes the body of 1/2 litre of water. Drink 1/2 litre of water everyday as soon as you wake. I like to keep breakfast light, fruit is a good choice. Stay away from cereals and breads (not real food). If its going to be bit of a drive before I hit the water then a larger breakfast is in order, i’ll have fish and salad for breakfast, or some leftover dinner, bacon and eggs even.
Tips for engaging the para-sympathetic (rest and digest):
5mins of conscious relaxation and slow deep breathing can speed recovery. Naps and meditation will speed recovery also.
Remember food can aid recovery (not just replace calories) so choose your food wisely.
Dehydration can add to stress so keep hydrated, your urine should never be darker than pale straw.
Chew your food properly for optimal digestion, chill, relax, recover.
Clean, natural ‘live’ foods are anti-inflammatory and aid recovery, processed foods like breads and sugar are inflammatory and inhibit recovery.
Consider your health when choosing food.