The Surfer’s Diet Guide to Get Lean and Fit

GUEST POST  from April Becker

Surfers stay out for long hours in the ocean, exposed to the elements, with little access to food and water. Aside from the difficulty of this, surfing itself is a sport that requires excellent balance, flexibility, and endurance. Whether you surf for recreational purposes or as a competitive sport, it’s essential to build a good foundation of health and to train your body to sustain this level of strain.


But what exactly does it mean to have a good foundation of health? Well, surfers should eat healthy, whole foods to nourish their body with the nutrients it needs. Aside from this, exercise and stretch correctly even on days where you don’t surf to ensure that you are at your optimal health when you do.


Having a lean but healthy body helps surfers keep their balance when out in the sea. Once a surfer gets accustomed to how their body works with their board while surfing, they must maintain that weight by staying lean and fit. Should a surfer gain too much fat or muscle, they would have to spend some time re-adjusting how they surf.

PNG Surf Trip - Vanimo Surf Lodge pic 4

Having a lean body is essential to stay balanced. (Image Source: Unsplash)

To get a lean and fit body, it helps first to understand what body type you have and adjust your diet and out-of-water exercise to accommodate it. Once you find your body type, this will make it easier to create an individual training diet based on your specific needs.

No matter what your goals are, though, the type of food that you as a surfer should eat regularly is the same: healthy, whole foods and a well-balanced diet. So what exactly does this entail?

Healthy carbohydrates. Carbohydrates – usually glucose – are our body’s primary source of energy and are what drive our cells to function. Thus, in a healthy diet, carbs should make up to 50 to 60 percent of your daily caloric intake. When surfing for long periods, you must have enough carbohydrates in your body to give you the energy to last the entire time you’re in the water. It’s also important to eat whole carbs, like whole grains, instead of refined carbs. Whole carbs are unprocessed and contain more fiber, while refined carbs have had their natural fiber removed. Given this, the body uses refined carbs faster than it uses whole carbs. Thus, refined carbs give a short energy boost while whole carbs release energy more slowly throughout the day. Therefore, surfers need to consume more whole carbs since they’re more nutrient-dense and don’t cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall.

Protein intake is very important for muscle building. (Image Source: Unsplash)

Healthy proteins. As someone who spends a lot of their time exercising, it’s essential to consume enough protein to maintain your muscle mass and promote muscle growth after surfing. Consuming protein also helps repair your muscles after a long day of surfing. According to experts, you should aim for about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean bodyweight. Calorie-wise, around 12 to 20 percent of your intake should come from proteins. You can increase the amount of protein you consume without feeling too full by using protein powders. Consuming more protein doesn’t have to compromise your caloric intake; you might want to check out this list of protein powders that are low in calories

Healthy fat. In a healthy diet, 15 to 30 percent of your caloric intake should come from healthy fats. Fats, like carbohydrates, give your body energy. They also do much more for your body: they protect your organs, produce essential hormones, and help your body absorb nutrients. Having a fat intake of less than fifteen percent negatively impacts your performance, especially when exercising.

Fresh fruits and vegetables. Aside from the macromolecules – carbohydrates, proteins, and fat – our bodies need fresh fruits and vegetables since these provide us with vitamins and minerals necessary for our body’s growth and repair. Aside from this, fresh produce contains fiber, which helps our digestive system maintain bowel health.

Water. One would think that since surfers are surrounded by water all the time that dehydration wouldn’t be a problem. However, this isn’t true – surfers are at risk of dehydration since they spend long hours outside exposed to the sun, with few breaks. It may be easy to forget that you’re sweating since you’re surrounded by saltwater as you surf, your body is still losing water. Thus, keeping yourself hydrated is essential before, during, and after surfing. Staying hydrated is also necessary as it helps replace sweat losses as well as to delay the onset of fatigue.

And that’s it! If you want to be a surfer, you don’t have to deal with a lot of complicated diets, you just need to stay fit and aim to eat regular, balanced meals full of real, whole foods.

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