No matter whether you’ve paddle boarded on the calmest of waters, or you’ve gone SUPing on adrenaline boosting downwinds, one of the questions you’ve probably asked yourself is, “what should I eat when paddleboarding?”
Being out on the water for long periods of time is exhausting. You’re working your core to the max. After facing the resistance of the water as you power yourself forward, you’re going to be hungry. More than that, you’re going to need nutrition.
Nutrition Tips for SUP
Nutrition doesn’t just happen while you’re on the water. To feel your best with every journey downwind or downstream you must eat well before, during, and after your time on your SUP.
What to Eat Before You Get on the Water
Nutrition starts before you even step foot on your paddleboard. You’ll want to have a good meal about an hour before you start your SUP journey.
A good meal before a long trip on the water must include healthy proteins and fats. These are the nutrients that will stay with you the longest. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to “carb load” for energy. Here are a few alternative meal ideas to consume before heading out on the water.
- Breakfast: Egg-white scramble with a side of avocado and whole-grain toast.
- Lunch: A salad with chicken breast, avocado, an oil-based dressing (as opposed to a cream-based dressing), and plenty of veggies.
If you’re planning an all-day event, eating breakfast is a must. Not a breakfast eater? Try drinking a protein shake and eating a spoonful of peanut butter. The combination of protein and fat will give you longer lasting energy than grabbing a donut on your way to the water.
And don’t forget the water – not coffee, juice, or tea – water. Hydrating before your board hits the water is critical. It’ll give you energy (yes, water will give you energy) and flush out any toxins that can slow you down while on your board. Drink up!
What to Eat While On the Water
What you eat while on your SUP is just as important as what you eat before. If you have any kind of lengthy journey planned, you’re going to need a snack to keep you going.
SUP is a combination sport of resistance training, endurance, and sometimes other activities, such as yoga or body weight exercises. The calories you’ll burn while on your SUP depends quite a bit on which specific activity you plan to do. You need to eat for the activity you plan to do. Consider how hard you’ll be going on your SUP and use that as a beacon for how many, and which, snacks you decide to bring.
Hydration. On top of everyone’s list of nutrition to pack should be water. Hydration is critical during any physical activity. If you plan to push your body to the limits, make sure to include electrolytes in the water you consume. Bringing along a powder to mix with your water will help keep your muscles from cramping and you from losing steam.
Quick Bites of Food. If you’re planning a medium to longer journey, plan to stop for a break to eat. Like you did with your morning meal, pack something that balances your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. This will give you the quick burst of energy you need from the carbs and the longer lasting energy from the proteins and fats. You’ll feel full for longer, which will help you stay on your board longer.
A few snack ideas include:
- Deviled eggs with a side of snap peas;
- Almonds, cheese cubes, and dried cranberries;
- Beef jerky (the nitrate free kind), a piece of dark chocolate, and a nut butter squeeze packet.
Eat Lunch on Longer Trips. The longer you’re out on the water, the more nutrients you’ll need. It makes sense. If you’re planning to be gone for several hours, be sure to pack a nutrient filled lunch. That means, avoid the kind of foods that have fake fillers, such as gluten and sugars. Eating a big salad on your board that’s topped with protein, or a sandwich filled with healthy vegetables and proteins, is far better than grabbing last night’s leftover spaghetti out of the fridge.
Keeping Your Stamina After You’re Back on Dry Land
SUP is hard work. Once you’re back on dry land, make sure you give your body the food it needs to refuel after a tough workout. Your body will be craving nutrients at that point and you want to give it what it needs so you can avoid being sore and lethargic after your excursion.
Grabbing a quick smoothie is a great way to refuel after an SUP workout. Avoid the smoothies with pure fruit sugar. Instead, choose one that has whey protein in it and greens for extra nutrition. You can also add in chia seeds, turmeric, or ginger for an extra dose of nutrition.
Ready to Head Out?
Be sure you pack your body full of nutrients just as well as you pack your SUP equipment. The better you feel on the water, the more fun you will have doing this invigorating sport.