Smash Out Gym Time, Surf Your Ass Off, or Get Zen?
Primary Rule: If there is surf…….. then get your ass in the water and surf!
To progress at this completely awesome sport/lifestyle.. surfing.. you’ve essentially got to be pretty damned fit, and just spend as much time in the water as possible. So when there’s some swell, get into the water, and relish the actual participation of surfing, trying new moves, pushing your limits, and just enjoying the hell out of it.
As for the other aspect of being a great surfer… fitness. In my eyes, if you really want to excel at surfing, remain injury free, and surf for as long as you’re alive, you need to be doing some surf training or surf oriented exercise. It comes down to the simple matter of keeping your body prepared and capable for what the ocean, swell, and surfing demands from it…. so get into some surf fitness.
Surfing vs. Surf Exercise
This is a question that comes up often with clients. They want to know what days to train, how many days per week, how long for a workout. All completely relevant questions, but understand this: as important as quality exercise and surf training is to keep you in the sport and improving your performance, the gym time and surf exercises take a back seat to actual water time. That is if you aren’t dealing with an injury or issue that requires you to address that first before getting back into some swell. Water-time over gym-time is important for not only the actual practice, but the blatant fact that hard surfing and hard training is simply too much stress, and too much fatigue on the body. That shit will wear you out, stress connective tissue, wear out hormonal systems, and can really mess up some crucial bodily functions.
But When To Train? How To Incorporate Surf Exercise Into Your Life
Again, The Primary Rule… If there’s surf, then surf.
You’ve got to practice, practice, practice. No gym time can ever simulate the actual experience and demands of surfing. So when there is an opportunity to surf, postpone the surf training and surf workouts, and get into some pits!
It’s not a great idea to surf hard, and then train hard in the same day.
My view of exercise has changed rather dramatically over the last few years. With multiple injuries, some added years of experience and understanding, and some bizarre hormonal and systemic issues I’ve had, my consideration of proper training and its benefit has taken on new approaches. No longer am I trying to get into the gym to sweat out a hangover, or go with the “no pain no gain” gimmick that you hear from the meatheads. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m absolutely all for pushing your limits and lifting some damn heavy weights, but I’m absolutely against damaging the body for the sake of ego.) I view exercise, and well structured exercise to be a vital and necessary component of my life, and movement of some type to be essential for anyone walking around and existing within a human body. However, exercise must be approached with the understanding that it is a Stress on the body, and there are times when the additional stress of exercise is beneficial, and other times when the additional stress of exercise can be highly detrimental.
Lots of Surfing Lately?
If you’ve been surfing hard, then focus on some stretching, mobility work, good sleep, and quality food. The important word here is RECOVERY! You want your body to recover as quickly and effectively as possible. Give your body everything it needs to rebuild and restore itself. When heavy swell is around, wouldn’t you rather get some pits than bang out some deadlifts? I sure would, and I love me some heavy deadlifting!
Not Much Swell?
If there isn’t much swell around, then that is the perfect time to keep up your surf-fitness levels, and get yourself into some quality surf exercises. Train your weaknesses, strengthen aching joints, work on soft-tissue problems, build endurance, and get strong. Train to build your body and keep it fully prepared to take advantage of every opportunity you have to get in the water. There are plenty of workout ideas on this blog, so dive in to some of this wickedly awesome information I put out there for you to reap the benefits. Understand that with Quality surf workouts, and a well designed Surf Training program, you can keep your body in a physical state that is constantly prepared for hard, heavy surfing, helps to keep you injury free, keeps you fit and healthy, and allows you to stay physically active in life!
Time To Get Zen?
Like I mentioned earlier, surfing, workout out, getting yelled at by your lady-friend, or worrying about finances… it’s all a stress that accumulates on the body. Your body doesn’t differentiate between stresses, it is all compiled and the cognitive, hormonal, and other bodily systems then have to cope with it, and keep you functioning. If you’re under a lot of stress, then you likely wouldn’t benefit from hard-ass surf training. You would benefit from some restorative movements… Qi-gong, Tai chi, restorative yoga, breathing exercises, stretching. These modalities move the body, generating blood flow and systemic energy. All good, good stuff! Just start listening to your own body and become aware if it feels physically capable of some hard training. Obviously if it’s pumping, then you gotta get into the surf…. I know I would. But rest up afterwards, and eat some good food. remember, RECOVERY.
To finish up, it’s the Primary Rule.. If there’s swell, then surf!
If there’s no swell, then get into some good surf training or movement. Work to keep your body in top surf shape, or it’s really only a matter of time before things begin to become problematic, and start keeping you out of the surf. BUMMER.
If you’re under lots of stress…. then get Zen. Do something you find rewarding and that makes you happy. Read, take a nice walk on the beach, some tai-chi, some stretching…… Zen!
Help your body, heal your body, strengthen your body and mind………. and SURF!