As many of our fans and followers know, Garden of Life sponsors a team of Stand Up Paddle Boarders from YOLO Board based in Miramar Beach, FL.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding has its roots in Hawaiian surfing, and in the past decade has found itself going from the Hawaiian surf to almost any type of waterway worldwide. On our Florida beaches and waterways, you can see many paddle board enthusiasts year-around.
I have been lucky to be able to participate in a local Cross SUP class located in Madeira Beach at NRG Salt Stand Up Fitness. Each class is a series of workouts that mimic the motions SUP racers use while competing when they cannot actually get out on their boards due to weather factors or other reasons.
Being new to SUP and a stranger to exercise classes for many years, I was a bit nervous going in. Thankfully, the Cross SUP approach to fitness is as laid back, easy going and agreeable as the paddle boarders themselves. I was told to go at my own pace and to strive to do more at each class, but not to the point where I did not want to come back. I was overjoyed that there was no pressure and no pushing -- just gentle encouragement to ease this out-of-shape novice into feeling energized and refreshed after each class.
With our unpredictable summertime Florida weather, sometimes classes have to be held indoors due to rain. Rotating in a circuit, participants can be found doing planks, “Jane Fonda’s” aka pelvic lifts, crunches or “Hansel and Gretel’s”: following the “crumbs” and doing planks, crunches and/or Jane’s again.
Classes on the beach are great! You get to breathe in the amazing salty air while doing a series of exercises just like on some shows you see on TV, including tire flips (heavy tire flips!), farmer carries (carrying weights in each hand, shoulders rotated back and just walking forward and back), bosu ball balances and heavy rope training (where you wave the ropes with each hand) and occasionally we get on the water and climb on a paddle board.
In a recent class I got on a paddle board for the first time. I learned to balance and find my equilibrium on the board and feel the flow of the waves. Paddling out while laying on my belly and then turning around and paddling back a few times in each rotation gave me a deeper understanding of the strength and power required for this sport. I also have a much deeper respect for the SUP racers of all ages who can paddle for up to 20 miles in a single race!
I highly encourage everyone to check into Stand Up Paddle Board lessons. Also, if you are lucky enough to live in an area where SUP exercise classes are held, definitely sign up for a class or two and see what you think! You will work hard, sweat, and may even question why you agreed to do this in the first place, but eventually that feeling of strength, power and energy will get you hooked! Best of all, your waistline will thank you for it!
Check out that sunset-can't beat that at the end of a good workout!