Archive for the ‘Surfing’ Category
Meet the new fitness craze that is sweeping the nation, SUP yoga. If you are bored with your normal yoga routine, or even if you aren’t, I highly recommend giving this a try. Combining SUP and yoga brings you a whole new and challenging experience. SUP yoga originated in Florida but it has spread quickly to locations where any body of water is present, be it the ocean, river, lake, bay, etc.
Top Five Reasons to Try SUP Yoga:
- Using the paddleboard as a yoga mat enhances your yoga routine as it requires extra balance and core strenth to stabalize the board.
- Not only is SUP Yoga a great workout, it also extremely meditative. Being so connected with nature it is easier to relax and practice deeper meditation.
- Great for all levels and all ages and easy to learn. As challanging as it looks after a few sessions you will be surpised with how comfortable and stable you feel essentially walking on water.
- Get your Vitamin D, aka the Sunshine Vitamin. Sunlight is the best and only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when you get your ‘D’ from sunshine your body takes what it needs, and de-metabolizes any extra. Just make sure you are also wearing sunscreen!
- It’s an enjoyable experience! The best types of workouts are the ones you actually enjoy and look forward to.
A calling. A passion. A destiny. Professional surfer Holly Beck has found the elusive and exhilarating state in which the boundaries between work and play are blurred. After years traveling the world and surfing some of the most remote and exotic beaches from the islands of Andaman in the Indian Ocean to Sao Tome off the Gulf of Guinea, Holly is continuing her adventure in Nicaragua. She’s founded a women’s surf camp, Suave Dulce, and is sharing some of her favorite things — surfing, yoga, local food, and adventure. From her commitment to improving the local Nicaraguan community, to her focus on breath in yoga, to her garden of blackberries, chard, and mint, Holly embodies the MindBodyGreen spirit and is inspiring people to lead better, healthier, and greener lives.
MindBodyGreen: How did you first come to love the ocean and surfing?
Holly Beck: I grew up in Palos Verdes, CA which is coastal but my parents aren’t beach people so it wasn’t until I started going to the beach with friends as an 11 year old that I fell in love with the ocean. We would boogie board in the shorebreak and I would stay in the water until I was blue and teeth-chattering because even though it was cold it felt so good! Around 13 I first noticed surfers and decided I wanted to be like them. My mom said, “No! Surfing is for boys and you should be sitting on the beach looking cute in your bikini not out competing with them. You’ll never get a boyfriend that way!” A year later I had saved up enough babysitting money to buy myself a surfboard and wetsuit at a garage sale and I haven’t looked back.
MBG: After spending years traveling and surfing the globe, where are some of your favorite places to surf and to visit?
HB: Australia is amazing, Bali is exciting, but I love going further off the beaten path to places like the Andaman and Seychelles islands, the tiny West African nation of Sao Tome, Taiwan, and Haiti. Going to places like that where McDonalds, Holiday Inns, and Starbucks haven’t taken over is so much more interesting. I love to explore and discover, and while the world is constantly getting smaller, there are still a few places where you can really get away and I appreciate that.
MBG: Do you have any beginners tips for someone who is looking to improve their skills on the board?
HB: The hardest part of learning to surf is learning to read the ocean. You have to learn which wave is going to be good and how to position yourself to catch that wave in the right spot then maneuver according to how the wave is changing. There’s no secret formula to learning that other than spending a lot of time in the ocean and really paying attention to the waves. Other than that fitness definitely helps, as well as self-confidence. If you believe in yourself anything is possible.
MBG: How did you become introduced to yoga? How has yoga helped you in and out of the water?
HB: I am a late convert to yoga. I grew up dancing — tap, jazz, ballet — and always had my own stretching routine. When yoga started to become popular, I thought it was just a fad. “Why do I need to pay someone to lead me in stretching?” Then a friend dragged me to a class and I realized what I’d been missing out on. Yoga is so much more than stretching! I was really surprised by how much strength is involved but my favorite part is the breathing. Being able to be calm mentally and continue to breathe while holding a difficult position is such a great skill to have in surfing and life in general. In surfing, especially in big waves, it’s really all about staying calm and breathing, and yoga is a great way to practice that mentality while also maintaining physical strength and flexibility.
MBG: You are passionate about healthy eating and organic food. How did you develop this lifestyle? What are some of your favorite healthy foods?
HB: I’m not a vegetarian. I will eat almost anything. I grew up in a family that got a dozen doughnuts every Saturday morning and had a bowl of ice cream after dinner every night. It wasn’t until I was in college that I started thinking about eating healthy and even later until I realized the importance of organics. In the last few years I’ve read Michael Pollan‘s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, as well as watched documentaries that expose our food industry and it’s attempts to separate people from how our food is made in an effort to get us to eat more processed and engineered foods, while trying to convince us that they are better for us. All of that has really opened my eyes and made me a lot more conscious of my choices at the grocery store. My boyfriend and I have a garden in our little apartment patio which grows blackberries, tomatoes, chives, green onions, romaine lettuce, chard, mint, basil and a variety of chili peppers. My garden in Nicaragua has many of the same things plus a lot of fruit trees. I know that organic, locally grown food is not only better for my body and the environment but it tastes and feels better. I can’t imagine going back to eating the way I did growing up!
MBG: You started Suave Dulce, a women’s surf, yoga, and volunteer retreat in Nicaragua. How did you get the idea to start Suave Dulce and what makes it different from other surf retreats?
HB: I love inspiring people and after spending so much time traveling the world I’ve learned a lot about what makes a trip memorable and meaningful. Sharing a love of surfing and yoga, while helping and encouraging people to improve their skills in those areas is great, but I realized that the most memorable aspects of my own travels have been the chances to interact with the locals — to meet them, see how they live, share a smile and hopefully have a positive impact on them. Nicaragua is the perfect place for this because the water is warm, the place and people are beautiful, and tourism is relatively new so it still feels pure and real. It is also the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere so there is a lot of opportunity for positive change in the lives of the average Nicaraguan. We have fed and given clothing donations to families that scavenge at the local dump and helped to build a community center that when completed will provide access to sewing machines, computers, and clean water for a village previously lacking those things. The difference for guests is that not only are they getting surfing advice or lessons from a professional surfer in warm uncrowded waves, plus yoga, healthy, locally grown food, plenty of unique adventures, but they also come away feeling good about their contribution to the place they visited and all the more grateful for everything they have at home.
MBG: What’s one thing we can all do to help keep our oceans beautiful and clean?
HB: Be mindful. Plastic in the ocean is such a huge problem. Plastic on the beach gets into the ocean, gets broken down by waves, sun, etc. into small pieces that look like food, get eaten by fish and birds, then become a part of the food chain. The ocean is becoming plasticized and as a result, so are we when we eat the fish that have eaten the plastic. Minimize your plastic consumption. Consider the packaging when you purchase anything. Never buy plastic bottled water, juice, etc. I drink filtered tap water and buy juice in glass bottles which can be recycled, and if they do find their way into the ocean are less harmful. It’s hard, but every little choice counts.
MBG: What does a typical day look like from you from a training standpoint?
HB: I’m one of those annoying people that have a really high metabolism and don’t have to workout to stay shapely. Of course, staying strong is always important. I hate the gym. I don’t like working out. I do like to play, so I try to play as often as possible! Yoga and surfing are both great for mind and body but if I can’t do those things I’ll ride my skateboard, go for a hike, take my dogs for a run on the beach. I live most of the year in Nicaragua off the grid. I have to pump a well for water which means every time i shower, do the dishes, water the garden, do laundry (by hand), even flush the toilet, I have to pump the well first. It’s great for the environment and also my body. Just living is a work out down there!
MBG: What does MindBodyGreen mean to you?
HB: MindBodyGreen is a term that reinforces the notion that everything is connected. The health and well-being of our minds, bodies, and the earth are one and the same. Ignoring one while trying to nurture the others is unsustainable. For any one to truly prosper, the health of all three is necessary.
MBG: Who or what inspires you?
HB: I’m inspired by intelligent adventurous people who live outside of normal societal expectations and find a way to pursue their passions as a career that lasts a lifetime.
MBG: What’s next for you?
HB: I’ll be spending July, August, and September in Nicaragua. Aug 30 – Sept 6 I’m co-hosting a surf, yoga, volunteering trip with a non-profit called SYRV where we will be putting the finishing touches on that community center. See SurfwithHollyBeck.com for details on that and more retreats in November/December.
The SUP Workout Routine
From hardcore athletes to inexperienced couch potatoes, paddle boarding is a sport which can benefit all types of lifestyles, in several ways! The beauty of this ultimate full-body workout is that is flexible, and able to become different types of routines… It can be treated as a hobby, as a leisure activity, used for social or meditation purposes, for a core workout, upper body workout, for a leg and butt workout, for improving performance in another sport, or simply to stay healthy. Whatever the goal is, you are free to customize your routine, and even change it up with time. You can make your work-out be whatever you want it to be, even more then one goal at once! As you may already know, the body, just like our minds, gets used to the same routine over and over again, so it is important to keep on changing it. Most people interested in this sport are most likely very creative already, however, here are some ideas on how to keep this new “relationship” alive:
You are a total lazy person who finds it very difficult to get motivated, and you want to get in shape…
You are lucky! This is a great way to begin! Unless you are not human, you won’t enjoy waking up early to go enjoy the sunrise in the middle of the water: just you and the horizon, in the peaceful ocean, or lake, or canal? An early morning light paddle for one hour might be the perfect start for you. That way you can start your day in a healthy way for your body and your mind. Treat it as a pleasure, and it will open doors to a whole new world of health, adventures, and well-being.
You may be a beginner at this sport, but are you active in another sport?
Let’s say you are looking to improve your performance in another sport or activity, this can also be a great way to do it! Regardless of what the other sport may be, this will be great to strengthen your whole body, and boost up that core, which other sports usually miss, and it is essential for performance. Most sports you are using your arms and/or legs, but this one, you are mainly using your core. Just the fact that you need to balance on the board is already a huge core workout factor, and paddleling through is all on your core. You can increase you arms strength by doing 5-7 long and powerful strokes in one side, and then change to other. If you want to strengthen those legs, you may implement some squats as you paddle, lowering the hips, with feet shoulder width apart, pretending you are sitting back on a chair as you take your stroke backwards.
You are a paddle-boarding Maniac
You eat, breath, and sleep paddle-boarding!!! Yes, your body will eventually reach a plato, where it won’t recognize the activity as challenging anymore after a while doing it…. One of the beauties of being human, is the ability to adapt, however, you may need to change up your routines in order for your workout to be effective, and in order to get better and stronger at your activity or sport. One idea is to get out there on the board with different goals every time, for example,
Monday you paddle long distance, like a nice walk along the water, with long and steady strokes, alternating one stroke each side.
Tuesday you may want to do a faster, shorter and more intense workout, maybe actually surf some waves, or just a faster rythm, alternating 3-5 fast strokes at a time. Then Wednesday you do a core routine before actually getting in the water, for example: Hold a plaque position for 2 minutes, keeping your body up on your elbows and feet, belly down, like a table. Contract all your muscles, and enjoy the burn. If you shake, its ok, just means its working! Repeat 3 times.
Another great core one is to get on a push-up position, and lower down on your elbows, then go back up on your hands, and keep on going for a whole minute. Repeat 3 times.
For the lower abs, get on a push-up position, hands on floor parallel to your shoulders, and just bring your knee in to touch the opposite elbow. Keep alternating it for a minute. Also repeat 3 times.
Wednesday you decide you will work on your upper body. So before you get in the water, do 3 sets of push-ups, with 15-25 reps. Then find a bench, or a flat higher surface, and with feet on floor, put your hands on bench and do some dips. Also 3 sets of 15 reps. If there is a pull-up bar close by, or perhaps a tree branch that can hold you, 3 sets of 15 reps it is!!!
Finally, you feel like your lower body also needs some special attention, so Thursday you do what I like to call “super-legs!” 24 forward lunges, alternating legs, then 24 lunge-jumps, meaning jumping and switching your legs up in the air, landing on the alternating leg, then 24 squats in place, and finally 12 squat-jumps. Your legs should be shaking by the end. Did I mention you are to do this circuit without rest? Then when done, rest for a minute and start over. Repeat 3 times.
Take Friday Off, your body deserves a break, maybe do some yoga, or stretching.
The weekend is here, use it to plan leisure paddles with friends, and have some fun in the sun. Do whatever you feel like!
You Paddle to socialize
You need to sign up to the paddle-boarding clubs! There are many of them out there, look them up online! The beach is where you want to be if you want to meet people, so don’t go paddle alone in canals or lakes… Great ideas are taking a picnic basket hooked up to your board with suction cups, and go to an island or another beach with friends. You can also plan full-moon paddles with a group at night, and hook up a light also with the suction cup!! There are also races and contests that go on all over, you can enter and for sure meet a lot of people with the same passion as you!
You need stress-relief and well-being
You have found the right sport! Just don’t make it a stressful situation. Mornings or evenings are perfect, when you get to see the sun-rise or sun-set, and the ocean is usually very calm during those times. Don’t go out there on a Saturday afternoon when the water is full of boats, because that will only bring you more stress! Canals and lakes are perfect for you. Take it easy, and just pretend you are walking on water! You may even take a seat if you would like, and paddle around on a seated position.
Whoever you are, and however you see this sport, you are able to customize it and make it fit into your personality! Just remember, do what makes you happy!!!
You grab your board and start the paddle out. The white water comes in faster than it looked from shore, as you fight furiously to get past it. It knocks you back; you try to duck dive but your foam beginner board wants no part of that. You continue fighting, and finally, you make it past the break and whitewash. So here you are, ready for the next swell to come in, but you are too tired from all the paddling to do much more than sit on your board staring at everyone else catching waves. This is a far too common occurence for a beginner surfer. Working hard on the exercises below will help make you a stronger swimmer, which in turn will make your surf sessions all the more enjoyable. Keep in mind there are literally hundreds of surf exercises to improve your skills. Try these 5 out then come back to Share It Fitness to meet with our surfing pro’s here to help you reach your goals.
Lie flat on the floor. Hold a medicine ball with both hands above your head. Tighten your core muscles as you slowly bring your legs and arms up simultaneously. You want your body to form a V. Keep the arms as straight as possible. See if you can make the ball touch your ankles without bending your legs. Hold for a second, then reverse the movement slowly. Aim for 3 sets of 15.
Lay your upper body on an exercise ball with your feet flat against the floor. Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell above your head in both hands. Slowly raise the weight until your arms are directly above your chest. With just a slight bend, slowly lower the weight until your hands are just slightly below your head. Repeat the movement. Aim for 3 sets of 15.
With your back flat against a bench, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you raise the weights slowly until they reach your midpoint. Lower the weights to starting position and repeat. Shoot for 3 sets of 15.
Using a bench bar, stack weights on the end closest to you. Hold the bar with two hands, bend your knees slightly, and keep your head at a 45 degree angle as not to cause a strain. Pull the bar into your chest and then very slowly back to starting position. 3 sets of 15.
Hold a barbell with an overhand grip. Keep the bar just below chin-level as you stabilize it. When you are ready, explode up, using your lower body for momentum as your thrust the bar above your head until your arms lock. Slowly bring it back to start position and repeat. 3 sets of 15.
There’s no doubt surfing takes its physical toll on your body. If you aren’t well conditioned and are in poor cardiovascular shape….good luck out there. Below is a quick surfer’s workout. It is designed to help get your body in shape for the demands that surfing brings. Even if you don’t surf, the workout is a nice way to mix up your current routine and push your body in different ways. Changing a routine every 6-8 weeks is always a good idea to keep your muscles confused and your gains increasing.
- 2 x 12 front military presses
- 2 x 12 bent over rows
- jump rope 5 minutes
- 25 squat jumps
- 2 x 12 lunges
- 2 x 12 upright rows
- jump rope 5 minutes
- 2 x 12 dumbbell bench press on stability ball
- 2 x 12 lat pulldowns on stability ball
- 2 x 12 skull crushers on stability ball
- 4 x 25 flutter kicks, crunches, bicycle crunches, leg raises
Repeat for 2 rounds.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information from our own surf pro, Scottie G.
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