Wassup with the latest fitness craze? It’s SUP, or Stand Up Paddleboarding, the fastestgrowing water sport in the world. Athletes and fitness buffs alike are heading to the nearest river, lake or ocean to jump on the boards, while personal trainers recommend SUP because workouts burn up to 500 calories per hour and have superb cardiovascular benefits. Garden of Life® brand ambassador Karen Mirlenbrink is taking SUP workouts a step further as one of the few certified Pilates instructors in the country offering classes on the boards.
“Yoga is popular on paddleboards, but Pilates is really catching on,” she said. “SUP Pilates is great because being on the water improves balance, coordination and strengthens core muscles. There’s a need for more certified SUP Pilates instructors, so I’ve been holding workshops all over the country.”
A certified Training and Conditioning Specialist and Well Coach, Mirlenbrink started teaching yoga and Pilates classes in 2002. Growing up on the Gulf Coast in Clearwater, Florida, she was active in every water sport imaginable, but switched to paddleboarding in 2010. Soon Karen and her husband were regularly traveling the country to compete in SUP racing, and learned that YOLO Board founder Jeff Archer was looking for a “SUP Yogi” to join his team.
“YOLO produces the most high-quality and artfully designed boards around,” said Mirlenbrink. “I knew they had a SUP racing team and sponsored some of the best paddleboard racers in the world, so I was super excited when they offered me the opportunity to join them!”
Initially signing on with Team YOLO as a member of the racing team and a yoga instructor, Mirlenbrink added Pilates and started teaching classes at her studio and on the beach in Dunedin, Florida. She said the routines improve balance, coordination and abdominal strength.
“Adding Pilates exercises to the board is tricky at first because you have to work hard to get stabilized on the water,” she said. “Even simple exercises require more effort.” Mirlenbrink has held Pilates retreats globally, including Maui, Italy and Jamaica. She also advises her clients about nutrition and has been recommending Garden of Life supplements since joining Team YOLO last year.
“One of the nice perks of being a member of the YOLO race team is getting all of these great whole food supplements because Garden of Life is a sponsor,” she said. “I love so many of them—including the multivitamins, the mykind B-12 and D3 sprays, the RAW Organics™ chia and flaxseed products, Perfect Food® RAW Chocolate and RAW Organic Fit®.
And I love the Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. It’s amazing. I use it for everything!”
You can learn more about Karen Mirlenbrink by visiting her ambassador page.