Portugal is absolutely blessed with spots to hit the waves! You may have heard of Sagres and Nazare but I know that where we are in Lagos, in the Algarve is absolutely blessed with surf spots.
My client is a kitesurfer but this info will also translate if you are a cool laid back surfer gal/guy also!
Why is it important?
Making sure you can hit the waves with everything you’ve got is important (especially in that cool Atlantic water) and what you should eat and drink pre, during and post session is something a client asked me about recently.
Obviously you want to be giving it your all to get the most out of your time on the water. You don’t want to be missing valuable time just because you feel fatigued early on. Ensuring your body has enough fuel to get you going and keep you going will be the key to progressing your hobby and also enjoying it.
Water! Water! Water!
Before I even start talking about the tasty stuff, it’s so important you aren’t dehydrated at all (especially not during but a lot of people forget about the need for pre and post water intake).
Before your session: room temperature agua (at least 1litre)
During your session: at least 1-1.5litres of water and the additional electrolyte sports drink would also be a great benefit
After your session: You guessed it….more water! Again, room temperature as to not overwork the body as it recovers. Try drink it with dinner and not too late as you’ll be up all night back and forth from the toilet, which won’t be good if you’ve got another sunrise set planned!
Pre-Surf (the night before)
So it’s all about digestable carbohydrates. Like any athlete, ensuring you have the right fuel in the body for when you need it is so important. So, for dinner the night before, we are looking at food that is easy to digest and gentle on the stomach (helping to avoid bloating, cramps and abdominal pains). You should be looking to include a healthy balance of carbohydrates, proteins and even a bit of fat.
A few ideas could be;
- Pasta topped with chicken (whole grain or quinoa ideally)
- Fish and brown rice
- Stuffed baked potatoes (salmon, tuna and chicken are great fillers)
- Oh, and don’t forget to hydrate – water! water! water!
If you’re heading out early doors to catch the sunrise what you eat the night before is hugely crucial as ideally you want to allow 3 hours or so for your morning food to digest before you hit the water.
If this is the case, top up last nights fuel load with;
- Natural yoghurt and fresh fruit
- Banana smoothie, banana over cereal or just simple old school banana
- Coffee (the caffeine boost might just give you that extra starting energy)
- Don’t forget the water 🙂
If you have time for a more structured breakfast, take your time with some of the ideas below. Don’t forget to try and allow 3 hours for your body to digest and process all the good planning.
- Toast/English muffin/bagel/crumpet topped with avocado (great source of healthy oils) or peanut butter (an amazing source of pre session protein)
- Smoothie made with natural yoghurt and real fruit
- Sandwich with banana and honey (not my thing but highly nutritional)
- Porridge, reduced fat milk, fruit juice (natural ideally)
- A coffee if you fancy it and of course, that all important water
If you’re heading out in the afternoon then lunch is all about those carbs. If you are heading out ASAP, stick to a light lunch:
- Bowl of pasta with prawns (fancy) or chicken (not so fancy) and a portion of cooked veg and sprinkled with some Parmesan cheese.
- Don’t forget a bit of water and also take a bottle with you
If you have a little more time before the sunset session don’t forget to hydrate and then a digestable carb based meal such as:
- Grilled chicken sandwich on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce and tomatoes, a small salad with dressing (add pineapple if you are feeling adventurous) and a top with a glass of low-fat milk.
Whilst on Location
So you’ve been on the water for a bit now and it’s time to keep hydrated and fuel up ready to push on.
- Water! Lots of it! Ideally a litre-litre and a half
- You could also try an electrolyte based energy drink for variation
- 1 x energy bar or 1 or 2 cereal bars. You could try a sports gel pack if you need that extra kick!
- 1 large banana (add a little bit of honey if you have a squeezy pot you can bring)
- Nuts or some flapjack would also be a great addition
- Dried meats (beef jerky etc) are a great source of protein your muscles will need
After you’ve finished is where a lot of the good work happens. What you eat and drink will help prepare your body if you are heading out again tomorrow but also in the recovery of your muscles. The protein you have either during or post session will be vital in the stimulation of muscle tissue growth and therefore recovery.
- Sports drinks (high in electrolytes)
- Fruit juice and water
- Banana sandwich fresh fruit, canned fruit
- Energy bar/protein bar
- Fruit smoothie (low-fat milk, banana, natural yoghurt)
- Liquid meal supplement (I’ve used the brand HUEL before which is pretty decent)
- Cereal, milk and fruit sandwich or sandwich including with some form of chicken, beef, pork filling
- Baked potato, baked beans, grated cheese (add tuna if you fancy it!)
However you go about planning your nutrition for your kiting/surf session, it’s all about balance and experimenting until you find a routine that suits you. In basics, pre-load your body with carbs – keep hydrated – refuel with small energy sources – aid your body recovery with proteins and carbs.
Thanks for reading.
Nathan | Fitness Coach at Active Rebel
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