JD Irons knows that confidence in your ability to both ride waves and survive Mother Nature’s lashings is crucial on the North Shore, and requires a physical investment on land as well as in the water.
Although the act of actually riding waves is obviously the best thing for your surfing, there are a myriad of different exercise routines practiced by surfers in an effort to step up their game in the water.
To find out what works for those placing themselves in some of the most physically demanding surf on the North Shore, we spoke with Kauai-native-turned-Oahu-transplant JD Irons:
Within the past year we’ve started a pretty solid workout routine at the Volcom House. KaiBorg leads the workout and there’s usually between eight and 16 people in the group. It’s basically a CrossFit routine that we do about three times a week. It’s a high-intensity workout that utilizes your own body weight to get you fit. So there’s a lot of sprinting, push-ups, sit-ups, stuff like that. The point is to get your heart rate up and keep it there while you’re working out. The whole routine should only take about 40 to 45 minutes.
Here’s a sample workout that we do four sets of, with little or no break between exercises:
- 100 jump ropes
- 100 jumping jacks
- 30 pushups
- 30 situps
- 15 step-ups
- 10 burpies
- ¼-mile run
The routine is pretty brutal in the beginning and it takes about a week or two for your body to get used to it and not be ridiculously sore. To help my body recover a lot quicker, I make sure I’m constantly drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. I also stretch a lot each every day. Nothing too over the top—I don’t do yoga or anything—but I spend about 15 minutes every day just getting loose. When my body is really sore, I make sure I massage my muscles with a foam roller to try and remove some of the lactic acid that built up.
The physical part is really only half of it. So much of it is eating properly. I don’t eat three big meals a day, but about five or six small meals to keep myself going. That way, I’m never really too hungry or full and I’m constantly keeping my metabolism going.
As far as what I eat goes, I make a point of only eating fresh foods. For the most part, don’t eat anything that’s processed or frozen and I eat a lot of fruit. In the mornings, I’ll have an acai bowl with spirulina. A bit later on in the day, I’ll eat some more fruit like a banana or an apple. By lunchtime, I’ll eat a big salad and then some more fruit or trail mix later on in the day. Most dinners for me are pretty straightforward. I’ll have a salad and some lean protein like fish or chicken. I don’t eat any red meat because it’s pretty hard for your body to digest it. It seems like it just sits in you.
Since I started working out like this and taking care of my body, I’ve seen a lot of really positive results. I feel a lot stronger and I’m more confident in the lineup and with my surfing. I feel like I have a much stronger foundation for everything I do. A good workout routine isn’t just good for your body, but it’s good for your head too.