Eating right for SUP boarding
This issue of the Rippleton Post is dedicated to optimising your nutrition to give you a leaner, more toned SUP boarding figure. This article is directed predominately to our female readers, but the principles apply to male paddle boarders wanting to trim down too.
Firstly, let’s define toning.
Toning is looking leaner and firmer right? Well how is that ‘look’ achieved in terms of body composition? It’s very simple, it results from making your muscle tissue bigger, and your fat tissue smaller. That’s it. It’s physiologically impossible to convert fat tissue (adipose tissue) into muscle tissue as the cell types are entirely different. We may know of a once-overweight person who became very strong with training, but their muscle didn’t convert into fat. Exercise triggered their fat cells to release triglycerides and fatty acids into the blood stream, which were then taken up by their fatigued muscle cells, which used them as an energy source to grow stronger with training. They simply made their fat smaller and their muscle bigger.
So how do you burn fat tissue?
So how do you burn fat tissue? It’s simple: calories in versus calories out. Unfortunately, this can be much more difficult in practice. The good news is that SUP boarding will take care of the calories-out bit! Here are a few tips to help with the calories-in:
- Learn to read nutrition labels. You don’t need to turn into a calorie Nazi, but reading labels will help you to make wiser choices, and you’ll be amazed at the calories packed inside some foods that aren’t even that tasty!
- Download a calorie tracking app on your phone, such as My Fitness Pal. These apps estimate the calories in your food and keep track of your energy balance during the day.
- Understand that not all calories are created equal. The difference is the glycaemic index. Food that is metabolized to energy rapidly (eg processed carbohydrates) is much more likely to be converted into fat than food that is metabolized to energy slowly (eg protein, fibre).
Finally, it’s worth quickly debunking a few myths on this topic of weight loss:
- Fortunately, your genes play a relatively small role in determining your body composition. Diet and activity are dramatically more important. As a general rule, there’s no such thing as someone who’s “naturally” lean. Equally, it’s exceptionally rare to find someone who’s “genetically” overweight (a decade ago scientists discovered the ‘fat gene’ (aka leptin gene), only to find that it correlates very poorly with body size).
- Unfortunately, your genes do determine whereabouts you’ll gain fat first (which is also where you’ll lose it from last). Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to change this genetically-determined distribution of your fat tissue. The notion that you can ‘target’ fat loss in particular areas of your body by training those areas has been largely discredited.
And how do you gain muscle tissue?
Just like burning fat, gaining muscle requires two things- exercise and nutrition. Paddle Boarding is an exceptional whole-body strengthening exercise (see our article ‘Yern the Burn’). Here, we focus on the nutrition side of the equation. Here are our tips:
- Keep up the protein soldier! Working muscles need protein to repair and grow stronger. Protein is also the most satiating (‘appetite suppressing’) nutrient around- i.e. protein keeps you fuller for longer. The general rule of thumb is to eat 0.5g-1.0g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. If you’re finding it hard to get this, try adding a protein shake to your routine! These can be bought in health food shops or online, and any weigh protein concentrate product will do a fine job.
- Consider trying L-Glutamine. When your body is hungry it burns fat, but it also burns muscle. The muscle is broken down to release the amino acids glutamine and alanine, which are then converted into glucose and ketones by the liver, for use as an energy source. Consuming L-glutamine helps to protect your muscles from being broken down when you are hungry, thereby preserving your hard-worked-for strength! Have a chat with your local health food shop.
Finally, drink plenty of cold hard H20!
We should all drink a minimum of 2 liters of H2O per day, more if it is hot or we are exercising. To help you get all this, keep a PVA-free drink bottle handy and flavor with fresh lemon, mint, or cucumber! Drink with love, there is no other way…
Happy Paddle Boarding!