Sofa to Surf: Food Wisdom
Check out Rachel’s nutritional tips to improve surf, stamina and time in the water.
Originally from Newcastle, nutritionist Rachel Snow has been working for The Surf Experience in Lagos, Portugal for the last 3 years, where she provides the guests with nutritiously balanced food to aid their continual surfing progress.
Rachel started her own love affair with surfing at the age of 39 and it was during these early stages that she gained an appreciation for the physical and mental aptitude required when learning to surf. To further her abilities, Rachel headed to The Surf Experience on a holiday and not long after returned to start life as an employee, providing a more nutritionally balanced array of meals for guests.
We are lucky here to have an abundance of local produce available, from olives, figs and citrus fruits to avocados, pomegranates and many more. This gives real freedom to cook using organic produce, all of which is grown on the front doorstep. Three years on and I still love receiving daily positive feedback from the guest on their energy levels and consequently their surfing.
1. Listen to your body
Remember our bodies run like engines; the fuel you provide will determine its overall performance. Whether your a hardcore surfer or someone who enjoys splashing around in the white water once a year, nutrition is vital to maximising progress, endurance, reducing aches and injuries and providing much needed energy to maximise your fun in the water.
We have all heard it before but go for wholemeal, fresh and organic and trade white processed carbs for sweet potato, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. A personal tip is to add the good things rather than depriving yourself of the things you crave. Before you know it you are giving your body what it needs to function optimally and it stops begging you so loudly for the short term rubbish fixes.
2. BE ORGANISED
Improving your surfing abilities takes commitment and what you reap is what you sow. It’s not always easy to find the time to plan, shop and organise your meals, but it is worth the time and effort. If you are going for an early surf, the night before, prepare a container/glass jar of oats, milk, chopped nuts and honey and pop it in fridge overnight to grab in the morning. Or if oats is not you thing, boil an egg or make a wholegrain sandwich with avocado or tuna. Whether travelling or at home, go to your local market and get whatever veg and herbs that are in season, cook, cut and chuck it all in with some chickpeas or brown rice, handful of nuts and some oil vinegar dressing. A big bowl will last ¾ days in the fridge and trust me anything goes.
3. BEWARE OF OVEREATING
If surfing is imminent always go for the lighter food choice as despite the allure of the heavier option it will take forever to digest, lie heavily on your surfboard and zap your surfing energy in the digestion process. Take your time to enjoy eating and feel satisfied but not to a point where you feel stuffed.
If you’re surfing between your regular eating patterns take a snack. for example fruit, boiled egg, trail mix, avocado or a personal favourite is banana with a big spoon of peanut butter. If surfing twice in one day, as tempting and hungry as you are, try not to go crazy at lunch. Even with wholesome meals if you overeat it will sit heavy on your second session.
This is vital both before after surf. Hydration serves a number of purposes from maintaining your strength to helping control your internal temperature in the water. Don’t underestimate how much water you will lose while surfing and how important it is to replenish lost fluid.
If you don’t like plain water or it its cold, bring a flask with herbal tea or warm water with ginger, lemon mint. Experiment to see what warms you up and beware of the commercial sugary drinks.
5. SURF TOP UP
Remember only you know how hard you have worked in the water and whether your body needs the nutrients replacing. But if you do have had a solid surf then your body will need a top up and you have up to 60/90 minutes to have a guiltless replenishing time owed to you – whether it’s a smoothie, home made energy ball, nuts, protein shake or The Surf Experience regular – frozen banana, oat and honey smoothies.