I’ve never been a fan of working out.

Just hearing the word “cardio” makes me want to throw up.
Oh, and I hate gyms.

Throughout my life I kind of tried to train here and there, just because I was told that exercising was good. I knew it was good, we all know it’s good, but no one had ever really taught me the difference between working out and training. For me, it all just meant spending long hours in the gym going from the elliptical machine, to the step machine, and maybe lifting a couple of weights here and there. I thought that running on the treadmill for one hour would keep me fit. The only problem is; what could be more boring than running on a static surface, between four walls, while watching the very few calories that you’re burning pop up on a small screen ? No fun, no results, is it any wonder I finally decided; fuck that.

Surfing: a game-changer

Then I discovered surfing, and that changed the whole game. The ocean became my gym by default.

Surfing was the first true thing that made me push myself each time until I was completely spent. From paddling, to standing up, to riding the wave, when you’re surfing you’re always moving in different planes of motion, working your cardio and strength. Bingo! When a big set of waves emerges in front of you, you paddle like there’s no tomorrow, otherwise that beast is going to land right on your head! And when it’s your turn to catch a wave, you paddle your ass off because that wave is YOURS and you’re not letting anyone else outpaddle you for it. Every surfer knows the feeling of forever wanting “one more wave” only to paddle back out and receive an infinite number of waves on your head. By the time you paddle in you have done a full workout without even noticing it.

My greatest motivator

Surfing made me understand what it is to keep going. Even when your body is terribly sore, even when your vision gets blurry from fatigue and dehydration. I’m not saying training until you’re about to faint is a good idea. My point is that when you’re passionate about something, excuses don’t exist anymore. You wake up and the first thing you want to do is that thing that brings you the most joy. Surfing made me realise the importance of being strong and in good shape. The more strength and endurance you gain, the longer your sessions become. Then, you start paddling with purpose, instead of just petting the water and being out of breath after ten strokes.

When you live in a place far away from the surf, you spend long periods of time without surfing. If this is the case, you’ll want to train so when you go on a surfing trip, you don’t struggle just to pass the break. If you’re lucky and live somewhere where you can enjoy surf on a daily basis, working out will only help you step up your game. It will help you surf bigger waves, and have more ability and mobility to do maneuvers, improving your style while you’re at it.

It is important to note that even if you’re the fittest person, you won’t necessarily be a good surfer. Surfing is way more than being in a good shape, but I can guarantee training will help you exponentially.

What’s best when it comes to fitness?

When it comes to “fitness”, it’s easy to lose ourselves in the forever contradictory advice of what we should and should not be dong. Just like with nutrition, there are all kinds of beliefs and it can quickly get confusing. There’s always a new trend that someone ‘swears by’… from cross-fit to barre fit to running marathons. I’m not here to start a debate on what’s better. My point is that you shouldn’t restrict yourself to training a certain way just because it’s the new cool thing to do. The key is to do what feels good for you, and you’ll be one hundred times more motivated to do it.

For too long in my “past life” I was going to the gym because that was what people were doing. And the worst bit? I was mostly doing it to stay slim. I was trying to do something I hated- and for all the wrong reasons.

Whenever I did this, I tended to get mysteriously distracted after five sit-ups and was always keeping my workout for “later” or saying “I’ll go run tomorrow morning… early” knowing fully well I am NOT a morning person and I hate running. Most of the time, I was spending more time finding excuses not to work out and feeling guilty about it, than actually working out. So do yourself a favor; don’t lie to yourself. Find something that YOU like, not something that the others like. In my case, when I started surfing, I was way more motivated to train. Why? because I knew it was for the benefit of something that I truly love. Now, my thing is swimming and quick, simple workouts I can do at home, that aid in developing my surf fitness.

My introduction to training

I wanted to learn more about the fitness world so I could be sure I was training the right muscles to aid me out in the water.

Finding the proper training program was a bit of a struggle. While searching on Internet, I was mostly finding “beach-body-douche-bag” kind of programs, which are definitely not my thing. So Erika (CoFounder Salty Souls) told me about one coach with whom she had trained in the past; Max Powers. He’s a movement coach, personal trainer & Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor. Mobility and functional movement are pillars in his fitness philosophy. He taught me a new perception of the fitness world and for the first time, I was actually enjoying training. It wasn’t all about results, it was about finding the proper workout that re-energized my body and made it feel good.

Now, I want to pass the goods onto you. Together with Max Powers I have come up with a range of simple, quick and efficient workouts. They will help you with your balance, mobility and strength so that next time you hit the water, you hit it with confidence! They are something simple that you can do home, that doesn’t need a ton of equipment and most of all – doesn’t take that much time. Quick and efficient. Surf inspired workouts that will make you move through different planes of motion which is muy bueno for you and your next surfing sessions!

Photo: Israel Barona
.Marie-Christine is dressed by Maaji swimwear