The internet is filled with plenty of advice about nutrition. There’s plenty to debate about who’s right and who’s wrong, who knows best, but the trick is understanding there’s no one size fits all way to nourish your body. Here is a simple guide about what you can (and sometimes should) eat before and after a surf session.
My main goal here is to help you eat in a way that allows you to feel energized before surfing while making sure your body can recover afterwards. If you know enough about what you are eating to not over or under eat, you are already on a better track than 80% of the surfers at your break.
Note: Your overall nutrition can get a lot more sophisticated, but this is a good 101.
“How much should I eat before surfing?”
How much you should eat depends on your weight, physical conditions, and how hard you are planning to go in your surf session. Here are some good guidelines:
-Eat at least 1 hour before your session.
-A 110 lb /50 kg woman should eat 15-18g of carbohydrates (60-70 calories) for each hour she plans to spend in the water.
-A 176/80 kg man should eat from 20 up to 25g of carbohydrates (80-100 calories) for each hour you plan to spend in the water.
Here are some examples for surfer’s breakfast that you can grab easily near any beach:
-1 medium banana (7″ to 7-7/8″ long) (118 g): 27g carbs, calories 89
-Fruit salad (1 cup (249 g): 32g carbs, 124 calories
-Avocado Toast, 1/2 Avocado, 1 Slice Multigrain Bread> 250 calories, 28g carbs
-Low fat cereal bar (check the label, as these may be full of sugar!) Here is an example for Publix Brand – Low Fat Fruit & -Grain Cereal Bar, Strawberry), 130 calories, 24g carbs
-Smoothie with milk: similar to fruit salad in calories and carbs.
“Do I count calories and measure portions?”
You can find food info on something as accessible and simple as a free mobile app like MyFitnessPal. I use their app to log my food intake. You don’t need to be obsessed with calorie and carb counting but if you use an app to look up data like calories, you will start to get a feel for your regular portions. If you have a digital scale at home you can measure a few plates of food before you eat and look up their nutritional info to get a better feel of how your intake.
“How much should I eat after surfing?”
As with any type of exercise, you will need to replenish your energy and recover your muscles after surfing. Try eating 20-60 minutes after getting out of the water for ideal recovery. Typically, you will need to eat a full plate of food that contains carbs, protein, and vegetables. What you eat can vary, but here is an idea of how much carbs and protein you can look for:
A 110 lbs /50 kg female should eat:
-44.00 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to maintain body shape)
-Up to 77.00 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to gain weight)
A 176 lbs/80 kg male should eat:
-70.40 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to maintain body shape)
-Up to 123.20 grams of carbohydrates (if you want to gain weight)
You should eat 0.25g of protein for each kg you weigh, so a 176 lbs/80 kg surfer should eat 20g of protein (80×0.25g) to recover / rebuild muscles and energy system after your surf session.
Protein: Steak, grilled chicken, fish: these are great protein sources and one serving typically contains 10-15g of protein.
Carbs: Your carb intake will highly depend on what kind of side dish you order.
-Rice: Serving Size: 100 g, Calories: 152, Fat: 3g, Carbs: 78g
-Roasted Sweet Potato: Serving Size: 0.5 cup, Calories: 112.2, Fat: 4.5g, Carbs: 17g
Note: I’m working on a simple calculator that you can use on your mobile to help you with this. Drop me an email if you want to try it out.