How to master your flow state and score more waves

Karma and energy. Could these two dominating aspects of existence have anything to do with being in the right place, at the right time, for that one perfect wave that stays in your memory for a lifetime? Of course there’s such thing as fluking, but I think that there’s something bigger at play.

I mention the point because I’ve noticed that when I sacrifice time to give back to others, I’m always rewarded with an unmistakeable magic session. I’m not saying immediately after time spent giving back, but at any near time in the future.

When I find myself scoring that session, my instinct tells me it’s because I’ve carried out surf paddlegood deeds. Of course that’s not the motivating factor behind any type of volunteering, or labours of love, to expect something in return. But it’s nice to know that someone is watching over me, and sending gifts relevant to my greatest passion. I have a feeling that Huey and other universal figures are responsible.

And what about energy? I’m sure you’ve noticed that one guy in the water that lets out an aggressive grunt, when he can’t paddle onto a wave. He’s likely carried negative energy from his day into the water, and placed high expectations of washing that frustration away. He’s also the one that hands out disposable death stares, to all the guys scoring the best waves. If you’ve tried to surf when you’re angry, you’ll know the impossibility of the task.

Of course a much more rewarding state of mind to harness, when in the line-up, is when you find yourself in the flow. On land, you’ll recognize this state by a series of events or situations, sometimes even the occurrence of miracles. You’ve probably noticed a flow state as:

  • Doors keep opening for you.
  • The multiple occurrence of events that send shivers up your spine (described as the touch of spirit).
  • Vibrant people seem to keep coming into your life- even a stranger crossing your path that captivates you with their high energy.
  • That feeling of déjà vu is rampant. I’ve heard that’s a little sign from the universe that you’re exactly where you need to be in life. That feeling that you’ve been there before shouldn’t be written off as cliché.
  • All those little coincidences that are actually meaningful synchronicities or signs (a term first coined by the great Carl Jung) and better described in “Catching the bug of synchronicity”.

Basically you attract all the best that life has to offer.ocean beauty

Just with events on land, there’s no forcing things to happen, as it starts to become unnatural. And it’s exactly the same in the water. You have to bring a special kind of mindset with you.

This is where you really start to enjoy any conditions you paddle out into.

If you’re reminding yourself how much you love to be caressed by the warm waters of a vast ocean, watching pods of dolphins frolic in the deep waters, that feeling of a moving wave under your feet, and just being there without any expectations, then you’re going to withhold a high energy through gratitude.

Comparatively if the conditions are terrible, and you haven’t managed to catch any waves at all, you might ask yourself why you even bothered to paddle out in the first place.

Instead, look through a different lens. Know that your surfing improves with every paddle stroke. Master those junky waves, so you can truly appreciate the flawless ones. womens surfingMany of the world’s top aerial surfers crave onshore conditions to improve their airs.

Even if you’re just sitting there, you might be surrounded by one of the best sunsets or a passing thunderstorm. These moments from nature can even be missed, when you’re so caught up in needing waves, or tactically keeping on the inside of another surfer.

When you drop the neediness, and the high expectations, or any expectations at all, then you’ll feel that flow state that you’re after. You’ll be rewarded in the surf when you dedicate time to others on land. Keep in mind that Huey always watches your efforts. If you drove for three hours and didn’t score. He’s watching. If you paddled out every day of the month just because your passion is that high, he sees that too. So where’s your karma and energy sitting at?

 

 

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Passion lives here

What if you lifted all the pressure off yourself to perform in the blank areas of your life where your passion does not live and focused on the aspects you could never get enough of? Being a great lover. A great surfer. An adventurer and a free-spirit whose soul couldsurf lifestyle never be touched by anyone that comes into your space.

I’m not saying that blank areas are small and meaningless segments of your life. Quite the opposite. Your job for instance. How many truly love their 9-5? Sure it’s great if you do but luckily not all of our minds are created equally. I truly believe a life without passion is not much of a life at all and you’ve been taught, or even promised, to find it bountifully in all the wrong places.

Get a degree, work your way to the top, crush all below. How many of your passions are left untouched, collecting cobwebs amidst the chaos of chasing a career or a car or a house? tropicsDecades fly by. What if you so strongly felt in your heart of hearts that you’re put on this earth to just love. To just surf. To give others love. To give your kids your all. None of that has any monetary value yet all are ultimately priceless.

If you’ve found your passion in a very particular area of your life then that’s what gets your fire burning. Your vibration lifted. Take that energy and let it spill to those blank areas because you already found your purpose with so much certainty.

Think of finding passion as akin to being truly, madly, deeply in love. Your world just lights up.

Your underlying resistance that was once unexplainable vanishes. Things flow with ease and grace. You give more and can receive more. Stop wasting moments worrying about aspects and spaces that will never hold any value to you and only you. I’m not sure why, but things just start to make sense when you find your passion.

What you were looking for might already be in front of your very eyes.

Understanding Carbs

Are you looking at improving your overall energy and vitality? Do you want to surf for carbohydrates for healthlonger periods especially when you have back to back consistent swell? Whichever your needs and goals are, it’s important to understand the pivotal role that carbohydrates play within the body as carbs are your primary source of energy throughout the day.

Carbohydrates assist in the proper function of your nervous system, metabolism, brain function & clarity and muscle repair & growth.  When you consume  carbohydrates, the body then breaks it down into simple sugars and is absorbed through your bloodstream. The pancreas in turn releases insulin which is needed to transport the sugars from the bloodstream into your cells. It’s important to understand the difference between the two main types of digestible carbohydrates:

Simple Carbohydrates

  • Only contain one or two sugar molecules strung together.
  • Fuel the body for a short period of time, much like a sugar high. This can lead to subsequent consumption of takeaway foods or packaged foods as you are left unfulfilled.
  • Are often heavily processed such as candy, soft drink and cereals but are also naturally occurring in many fruits (the obvious healthier option!).

Complex carbohydrates

  • Contain complex and multiple chains of sugar molecules strung together.
  • Fuel the body for a longer period of time and are therefore the preferable type of carbohydrate to consume as you will be less likely to overindulge in other unhealthy foods.
  • Examples of foods which contain complex carbs are whole grain breads, nuts, legumes, nutritious vegetables, yoghurts and dairy products.

Why carbs are vital for high performance surfingwomens surfing

If you engage in high energy workouts or surf a lot, you probably are more habitual than most in monitoring your intake of carbs as you understand this to be a vital aspect of your training regime. This is particularly true if you wish to gain muscle or lose excess fat.

A diet which is moderate to high in complex carbs provides the energy to get through a workout. A bodybuilder’s diet in particular might combine a high intake of protein to assist in optimal muscle growth and recovery post workout. The higher your energy output, the more fuel (carbs) required.

Carbs and their link to weight loss

As a culture we are slowly beginning to understand that there is no “one size fits all diet” as our bodies are all unique, with different fitness goals and energy outputs, not to mention incredibly vast genetic structures. In saying that, it’s widely know that a diet high in carbohydrates combined with a lifestyle that is largely sedentary is closely linked to weight gain. This is also due to a high intake of fats, sugars and far too many refined foods

stripped of any trace of nutrient. Believe it or not, the Japanese have one of the highest intake of carbs globally, however still remain slender due to their low intake of saturated fats, sugars and refined products and a particular focus on complex carbs rather than simple carbs.

Often those that follow fad low carb diets for weight loss, find themselves low on energy. With careful observation of specific energy needs, it’s possible to reach a fine balance of just the right amount of carbs. We can all learn from the eating habits of Japanese as they have been touted to be one of the healthiest cultures in the world.

Is there an ideal time of the day to consume carbs?

Carbs are either used for energy or stored in the body, therefore you want to ensure everywomens surfing gram of carb you put into your body is going to be used. Consuming carbs late at night is often linked to weight gain for this very reason. The ideal time to consume carbs is at breakfast or lunch time in order for your body to burn through the carbs. However if you engage in high energy sports like surfing, you know to replenish your energy needs pre and post surf, regardless of the time of the day.

The main thing to remember is you don’t need to avoid carbs completely but rather to select nutrient dense, complex carbohydrates and to use them according to your energy output.

Every bite counts

This past week I’ve had an almost endless supply of energy where I’ve been able to wake at 5am every morning ready for a surf, a run, yoga or workout session before work. That energy just keeps coming as the day goes on and I’m able to commit another couple of hours after work to another session of any of the above.

Prolonged energy through food 

It didn’t take me long to figure out why I’ve felt so overly energetic. I’ve literally gone the whole week without eating anything “bad” as in heavily processed, high in fat or sugar or anything that you might consider to be junk food. I can’t remember the last time I was so health well behaved for an entire week as I usually follow an 80/20 rule when it comes to eating healthy vs eating average. By average I mean most of the products sold in the supermarket in packages. This week every time I thought to buy a pizza or something greasy I just thought why would I have that when I can extend my energy even further.

I’m not avoiding junk food because I’ll put on weight, my metabolism is lightning fast but rather I’m eating healthy food because I know the difference in the way my body and mind react to eating great food which is predominately raw and from nature rather than from a packet.

Foods attributable to this week’s energy

Fruits

I forgot how many amazing tropical fruits come out in summer in Australia. I’ve made a dramatic increase in my fruit intake including mango, pineapple, watermelon, apple and banana. Through eating more fresh fruit I’ve found my sugar cravings are a lot lower than
normal. Lately I’ve been inspired by FullyRawKristina who has eaten nothing but raw foods for over a decade. While I could never be fully raw it’s great to take small parts of her diet and integrate it into mine. I’ve also been inspired to make lots of fresh fruit smoothies and take a lot of recipes from GreenBlender. organic gardening

Fresh Salads

My salads are becoming a lot more of a mix of fruit and greens with watermelon and apple as the base fruits and shaved fresh broccoli, carrot, feta, tomato, roast veges and fresh corn as the bulk. I then add leafy greens like spinach, baby pak choi or Chinese kale fresh from my vege garden (organic) along with a selection of herbs, radish and cucumber (soon
to be tomatoes!).

In my Daily Habits article I talk about the importance of establishing what your golden meal is. This is the meal that you know makes you feel good inside and out and that yousalad can rely on for an energy hit. Mine is salad as I’ve used it in a mini detox as my main meals (lunch and dinner) for three days straight. I recognised a massive spike in energy, clear mind and overall wellbeing even after the first day. Most of my main meals this week have been salad on its own or with smoked salmon on the side.

Adding carbs

Morning

My breakfast is usually the meal with the most carbs as I know I can easily burn that healthy breakfast
energy during the day. Rolled oats are a great way to start the day as they are rich in fibre, carbohydrates and protein and contain a large array of minerals including manganese, zinc and selenium. On warmer days I’ve been enjoying them uncooked with a couple of tablespoons of greek yoghurt, a dash of honey and a sprinkle of muesli clusters or frozen berries. Eggs prepared in any way are also a great option as they are such a complete protein (contain all 9 essential amino acids needed for proper function) and contain many beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

Because my main meals (lunch and dinner) are low in carbs and protein I try to find other ways to fit them into my day and eat every few hours rather than three massive meals a day. There’s a great dried cracker/nut mix by Bhuja which is free of nasty flavouring & MSG as they use classic spices such as paprika, fennel seeds, cumin and chilli to flavour their mixes. They’re very addictive and I’m regularly snacking on them throughout the day. I love them because they’re high in protein-around 48g per 200g bag and carbs are around 88g per 200g bag. Occasionally I will use protein powders or bars if I’m on-the-go or the surfs pumping and I can’t wait to get out there, however I prefer to find more complete protein sources.

Evening 

My eating backs right off in the evening as I generally have a very early bedtime in order to organic saladrise early. It’s always good to listen to your body and if you’re not feeling overly hungry then there’s no need to prepare a main meal just because it’s ‘dinner time’. I know my body doesn’t like to have a high carb meal at night as I’m not burning any of those carbs and find I wake up feeling sluggish the next morning. If you don’t have the quickest metabolism then you need to watch your carb intake at night otherwise you can very easily put on weight as your body stores those carbs for future use.

Food as medicine

These past few years I have been drawn to the idea more and more so that food absolutely is medicine. I struggle to watch people suffer with many chronic diseases which are so painstakingly linked to diet but just aren’t being taught that by their GP’s. That’s not surprising given doctors are practitioners of medicine not nutrition. Of course they are great at what they do in so many aspects of their role, but there certainly is a huge gap healthy women when they simply write a prescription to blanket symptoms of a disease rather than look at the reasons why the patient is in that state in the first place. Sure they are successful in curing the symptoms, until the patient returns four weeks later asking for a further script.

One of my clients was a qualified pharmacist who suffered greatly from an auto-immune disease which doctors explained was “incurable” and that he had to live with for the rest of his life. He was prescribed medication that only induced more pain by way of crippling side effects. It wasn’t until he carried out his own research into a more natural approach where he began to experiment with adding and subtracting different types of foods and supplements in his diet that he saw astonishing results whereby he eventually cured his own disease.

He took what he had learnt back to his clinic and started sharing his wealth of knowledge healthy livingwith his patients and instead of writing a prescription for medication, wrote a shopping list for the patient to take to their local supermarket. The outcome was remarkable and patients would present weeks later totally cured of their disease that they had suffered from for years. Guess what happened to the pharmacist? He was made redundant as that particular pharmacy saw a huge loss of profits as he was sending all the patients to the fresh produce section of the supermarket! You can find more of his story here- www.therenegadepharmacist.com.

It’s not about a ‘perfect’ diet

It’s great to be on top of your diet and know what it takes to feel full of energy through the foods that you eat, but I also think you need to give some leniency for being misbehaved. When you do have a high focus on what you’re putting in your body then it’s a great thing to have a guilt free pig out on pizza and chocolate. It’s all about balance and moderation. I do however challenge you to go a whole day without putting any junk food in your body and feel the difference in your energy levels.

Improved surfing with creatine

Creatine is one of the top selling workout supplements on the market today and it’s one that I’ve only personally discovered in recent times. I find it to be a highly efficient addition to my training regime, in particular my paddle fitness, strength and endurance in other workout activities. There does however seem to be many heated debates about whether creatine should be used by women as it has been known to increase bloating and water retention.

Creatine for women

As with most things I do believe it needs to be trialed personally before you make a decision about whether creatine is right for your workout regime or not. I did find mild bloating but compared to the other positive effects and what I’m getting out of creatine, fitneit’s really not a big issue for me.

One thing I do believe needs to be monitored in particular with women, is that we generally need to be gentler with our bodies when it comes to recovery.

Creatine really makes you push harder with your workouts, therefore you need to ensure you’re getting more rest time, than you would otherwise without it.  Stretching is also very important, due to how much harder you are pushing your muscles.

How it actually works

Within your body there is a very important molecule called Adenosine Tri Phosphate (ATP) which is the source of energy for every muscle and cell in your body. ATP is stored within your cells and is used for almost every move you make.

However the levels that can be used straight away for high intensity activity is quite low and only lasts a very short time-a few seconds. Creatine helps to increase the time in which your body can perform at that creatine for womenoptimal level and therefore allows you to push harder in your workouts.

What I found quite unique about creatine is that I actually feel a physical change in whichever muscle I am working out at the time, almost like a light burn or fuzzy effect! I guess this is the same as when you take a pain killer, science has made it so that it targets the key points of pain.

How much and when to take

The trick to creatine is that it requires loading and maintenance. Unfortunately it’s not something you can just take sporadically before any given surf while skipping days at a time. Take the dosage (1tsp) per day at the same time if you can, for five to six weeks, along with generous servings of carbs and protein to enable your body to store more creatine in your muscles. Any longer than a five to six week period, you might notice that you’re more lethargic than usual. This is when you know your body’s having trouble absorbing it.

Give yourself a rest for 4 weeks and repeat. It’s interesting to note that vegetarians naturally have  much lower levels of creatine in their bodies than meat eaters.

Why it’s perfect for surfers 

When you’ve been out in the surf for a couple of hours you usually get to the point where you feel fatigue in your muscles and thus you need to replenish by food (high carb) and thoroughly re-hydrate before you can get out for another session. Creatine works to increase your body’s capacity to perform at an optimal level and therefore assists in the building of greater muscle and increases your performance.

This is ideal for the days when it’s pumping and you want to stay out for as long as you can push your body. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the WQS competitors have cottoned onto creatine! I certainly notice a positive change in my paddling strength and feel a little like superwoman when I can rapidly paddle and duck dive back into the lineup with much less fatigue.

Aside from the above effects there are also many scientific studies carried out that prove creatine can enhance brain function, improve recovery time and even healing of bones. There is a great write up about these particular effects here > www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson181.htm

If you’re looking to increase strength and cardio fitness, lose weight or tone down then it’s certainly worth adding creatine to your supplement list. I find in other activities such as running, that I’m able to push myself much harder than I otherwise would. I think it’s a fantastic supplement for surfers as we engage in a very high cardiovascular sport where we continually need short bursts of energy and is great for increasing performance out in the water.

Graph courtesy of www.muscleandfitness.com