Written on April 6, 2012 at 11:55 am , by Karla Walsh
With spring break in full swing (or already passed for many!) thoughts turn to summer and upcoming getaways. If a beach getaway is in the books, a surf session is likely on the agenda. While it’s rare to have a surf school nearby in most areas of the country, there’s plenty you can do now to hit the waves feeling strong, prepared and confident.
“Pre-training is important for excelling, keeping safe and having fun with summer water sports,” says Rob Stuart, private trainer at The Sports Club/LA in Washington, D.C. Four to six weeks before your departure, follow Stuart’s plan for a three-pronged approach at a surf-ready (and beach-ready) body:
- Cardio 15 to 20 minutes three days a week
- Total-body strength training three days a week
- Yoga and swimming to complement
To hit all the muscle groups you’ll need on the board, try these seven moves during your strength sessions. Do three sets of 12 reps of each exercise.
- Squat Push
- Deadlift with dumbbells
- Lat Raise Combo
- Modified T Push-Up (Make it harder: Do this move on your toes.)
- Triceps Extension (No machine? Try this with a resistance band or swap in the Triceps Sit.)
- Roll and Curl
Now tell us: Are you planning a spring or summer getaway? If so, do you change your exercise routine beforehand?
Written on July 26, 2011 at 10:01 am , by Jenna Autuori
A few weeks ago I hit the waves on the beautiful island of O’ahu Hawaii, right off the famous Waikiki beach strip. In our July/August issue of the magazine I mentioned that surfing was a bucket list dream of mine, and something that I honestly never thought I’d do (just like our digital director Christie!), but the opportunity arose and I had to do this if I was going to be in Hawaii.
For me, taking the first step and signing up for surf lessons was the most difficult part. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m terrified of sharks—my imagination runs wild when I’m in any type of body of water and I swear I can see those fins all around me (how I ever did two Olympic-distance triathlons in open water is beyond me, but when my competitive bug gets going, nothing stops me). And I was psyched when I met my instructors at the Ty Gurney Surf School (look them up, they’re famous for their surfing dog Gracie—yep she really does surf!). Our instructors, Mike and Matt, had that amazing easygoing surfer vibe and the gave me and my husband, Dino, each one-on-one demonstrations. We found out all that we need to know to surf, which surprisingly wasn’t really all that much! The instructions are pretty simple, it’s practice that makes perfect in this sport.
My nerves starting acting up, however, when I saw how far out into the ocean we’d be going to catch those waves. Had the water not been shallow, I probably would have ran from the scene! But my instructor was by my side the entire time and I was beyond exhilarated when I caught my first wave. Let’s just say I totally get it now—I get why people like riding waves. Just like that runner’s high after you finish a race, catching a wave makes you feel like you’re on top of the world and really at one with the environment. Dino was so good at it too and didn’t fall off the board nearly as many times as I did. We even caught a few waves together (how romantic, right?). Surfing was by far the highlight of my trip to Hawaii and I can’t wait to try it again. Maybe Costa Rica next?
If you’re going surfing any time soon, follow these tips from surfing legend Ty Gurney.
- When you’re starting out. . . Use a big board. Bigger is better.
- As you’re catching that wave. . . Keep your eyes forward. Never look down or around—this will throw you off balance.
- Learn proper surfing etiquette. If there are a lot of surfers hanging around in the water waiting to catch a wave, take turns if you can so you don’t crash into each other.
- Always. . . Surf with confidence!
Now tell us: What’s on your fitness bucket list?
Written on July 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm , by Christie Griffin
In the current issue of FITNESS (July/August, with Jillian Michaels on the cover!), our Editor in Chief writes about the rewards of having an adventure and going out of your comfort zone. When she was writing her note, Betty asked some of the other staffers about their summer adventures. And at the time, I had no idea exactly how far out of my safe space I was going to go…
For me, the thought of learning to surf was on the same level as me becoming an astronaut. I just assumed it would never happen because I’m like a cat when it comes to water; I get very frazzled when submerged in the stuff. But as I was getting ready to go on vacation, I felt more and more inspired to try something totally new. The truth is that I had often fantasized about riding the waves and pretending to be a chilled-out beach babe, instead of a high-strung New Yorker. So I scheduled a lesson with Baja Outback in San Jose del Cabo, and before I knew it, I was wearing a rash guard and looking out at the ocean.
My instructors had taught me the basics (in the sand, of course!) and one pro, Jorge, was going to stick by my side the whole time. I told him I was nervous, but I left out just how nervous…and decided to go with the flow, literally. “You have to challenge yourself, see what you can do! It’s the only way to live,” one of the Baja Outback people had said. So that’s what I did.
And would you believe it? I actually managed to get up on my surf board!
Sure it took a little bit of courage, but it also helped that the folks at Baja Outback were so supportive and talented…oh, and that the water was nice and warm! If you’ve never been surfing before and are thinking about it, take it from me: You can totally do it! A few tips I learned:
1. If you think you’re bending your knees enough, go lower. As a beginner, you’re never as low as you think you are, and my (unpublished) pictures prove it!
2. Keep your cool. You’re going to fall and you might swallow a gallon of water in the process. It’s okay.
3. Don’t think twice about who’s watching you from the shore. “It’s not about your ego,” Instructor Denise had said. “It’s just about you doing your best.”
4. Consider wearing board shorts or boy-short bikini bottoms. You are not starring in “Blue Crush” and a string bikini will not hold up when you crash into the water.
5. Don’t try to stay on your board until you get to shore; that’s where there are usually the most rocks. Go ahead and fall off about 15-20 feet out!
Any other surfing tips out there? What’s your summer adventure?
More from FITNESS: The Best 2011 Surf Gear
Written on July 1, 2011 at 10:56 am , by Karla Walsh
Stripping off a wetsuit can be a sticky situation, which is exactly why we shared tips from pro surfer and Roxy wetsuit designer Kassia Meador in the Sweatiquette column of our July/August issue. But who actually needs a wetsuit anyway?
“Anyone and everyone who wants to surf,” Kassia recommends. “Not only is it rad to rock up to the beach wearing a hot new suit, but they keep you warm and comfy in the water!”
Depending on the air and water temperature in your area, you’ll need a different type of suit. Here are Kassia’s suggestions for different surf locales.
- Hawaii/Pacific: It’s warm most of the year, so a vest or wetsuit jacket is all you’ll need.
- West: Try a medium-thick suit with full sleeves for winter, a slightly thinner suit for spring and fall and a sleeveless suit for summer.
- Northeast: You’ll have to stock up on a whole wardrobe, since the temperature changes so much from season to season. Think everything from a thick, full suit (with a hood!) to the styles fit for Hawaii.
The best suits of any style and cut are “flexible, warm, durable and of course stylish,” Kassia says. See her designs here (we’re loving the Cypher 3/2 chest zip wetsuit).
More from FITNESS: Your search is over! Check out the editor’s picks for the best surf gear around.
Written on June 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm , by Karla Walsh
Dinner was the main event in Katie Lee’s home as she grew up. Starting at age four, Katie learned to cook from her Grandma Dora and her love of food only grew—she’s now the author of two comfort food cookbooks, is The Early Show‘s contributor on all things food and even hosted the first season of Top Chef.
But when Katie stumbled upon hard times, she decided to take up a new sport: surfing. The experience (she researched while surfing in Mexico) helped to inspire her first novel, Groundswell, which was released today! We spoke with Katie to learn about her new hobby and how she stays so fit while around so many tempting treats.
How did you make the transition from chef to novelist?
I have wanted to write a novel for years, but I never could find the right story to inspire me. I tried so many times, but I always thought the story had to involve food and I just couldn’t get it right. I guess writing is kind of like love: If you’re looking for it, you’ll never find it. It’s when you least expect it that it sweeps you off your feet.
What inspired you to begin surfing?
I was going through a rough time in my personal life and wanted to try something completely out of character to “get out of my head.” I was always enamored with the ocean, but terrified of it at the same time. One day, I was on the beach watching the surfers and thought I’d give it a shot. I signed up for lessons and went to my local surf camp.
What have you learned about yourself from the sport?
I’ve never been particularly athletic or good at sports, so I was really surprised that I was able to surf! I’m by no means a great surfer, but I love it and the mind-body connection I experience while surfing. It gave me a new sense of confidence and achievement.
Besides surfing, how do you stay in shape?
I exercise about six days a week. I live to eat, rather than eat to live, so I have to really work out hard! I do Core Fusion, SoulCycle, yoga and run on my treadmill.
Do you watch what you eat?
I do, but don’t count calories. I try to eat a mostly plant-based diet, making my plate 70 percent vegetables and 30 percent protein. During the week, I don’t eat sugar and save my indulgences for the weekend.
Since we couldn’t talk with the Southern food connoisseur without asking for a meal suggestion, click below for one of Katie’s favorite crowd-pleasing recipes!
Written on June 6, 2011 at 9:48 am , by Karla Walsh
Tomorrow, the follow-up to the popular surfing movie Blue Crush hits stores on DVD! We were lucky enough to get a sneak peek (which made us dream to have those surf skills) and meet with the film’s stars (who seem to be great pals in real life). We asked the ladies for their best surf tips for beginners, and to top it off, we had them team up to create a killer beach playlist!
Blue Crush 2 Starter Surfing Hints
- “Be safe and have fun! Know your boundaries when it comes to the ocean, but don’t be scared to get out there and give it a go!” —Sharni Vinson, also seen in Step Up 3D (Tara in the film)
- “At first you’re going to fall a lot. But keep getting back up! And always wear your leash—never get into the water without it attached. Have fun and watch your body transform. It’s such a great workout!” —Elizabeth Mathis, also seen in Unstoppable (Pushy)
- “Relax! Even if you don’t stand up on your first try, you can still enjoy being in the ocean. A lot of surfing has to do with muscle memory, so if you are relaxed and keeping in mind how you are feeling on the board you will learn a lot faster.” —Rosy Hodge, ROXY pro surfer from South Africa (Catherine)
- “It’s very daunting and scary to go into the ocean at first, but I got the best advice from our free diving coach Hanli Prinsloo: When being tossed and turned underwater or held under, instead of being frightened, just smile and acknowledge that the ocean is ‘playing with you.’ It’s easy to feel very small and powerless when you first surf, but if you switch your mindset it changes your experience drastically.” —Sasha Jackson, also seen on One Tree Hill (Dana)
Blue Crush 2 Star’s Surf-Friendly Playlist
- “Islands,” XX
- “Land Down Under (Acoustic),” Jason Mraz
- “The Lazy Song,” Bruno Mars
- “Pure Shores,” All Saints
- “Sun is Shining,” Bob Marley & The Wailers
Now tell us: What sporty movie inspires you to get up and move?
Written on May 2, 2011 at 10:42 am , by Karla Walsh
Big wave surfing has long been a men’s sport. But 24-year-old Brazilian Maya Gabeira is out to show the men how it’s done! Maya’s fearless attitude has helped her tackle some of the biggest waves across the globe, including the one she successfully rode in 2009. The 45-foot wave near South Africa was the biggest wave ever surfed by a female! Maya has won an ESPY for Best Female Action Sport Athlete and last year, she was selected as the Billabong Girls Best Overall Performance Award for the fourth time in a row.
- “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga
- “Moment 4 Life,” Nicki Minaj (feat. Drake)
- “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys)
- Anything by Rihanna
- “Not Afraid,” Eminem
Maya’s Three Tips for Beginning Surfers:
- Never give up! “Surfing is a difficult sport to learn. Remember to have fun, relax and try not be afraid of falling. Everyone falls a lot in the beginning. It took me a month before I was able to stand on the board!”
- Show some effort. “Once you do get the basics down, it’s the most exhilarating experience. It does require time and dedication, but I’ve never heard anyone say they regretted it.”
- Get educated. “Personally, it helped me a great deal to go to surf school. Getting help from trained people who have lots of expertise and can provide an easier and more appropriate board for each person makes a big difference when you are learning!”