Bodyboard Fitness – Training For A Bodyboard Holiday


How to prepare physically for a Bodyboard Holiday. Get your bodyboard fitness up to scratch!

If I got a pound each time a Bodyboard Holidays’ client bemoaned their level of fitness or regretted not training before the boogie trip …well let’s just say I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

It’s normally around day 3 or 4 of the bodyboarding holiday that riders begin deploring their lack of match fitness and see their sessions shorten and wave count deteriorate.

On our recent Portugal Bodyboard Holiday we were joined by Joe Brigham a passionate fitness coach, nutrition geek and keen bodyboarder of 20 years.

I caught up with Joe between two epic surf sessions at Praia das Macas to find out how one could really improve their fitness prior to attending a bodyboard holiday, and so as to make the most of their water time.

Bodyboard Fitness TrainingSo Joe, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I am a strength and conditioning coach for sports as well as a Personal trainer, and crossfit coach. I am currently based at where I coach obstacle course skills.

In my free time I love to bodyboard, and in recent years I have been fascinated by the concept of creating an exercise programme specific to bodyboard fitness.

In your opinion, what sports are most suitable in preparation for a bodyboarding holiday?

I would say swimming should be your absolute priority, as it will help make you safer in the water and give you the relevant cardio fitness for the paddle. Biomechanical relevancy is important here too, so if your local pool allows, practice swimming lengths in your fins.

What stretches / exercises would help in preparing for a week of bodyboarding?

Yoga is an excellent complimentary exercise because helps give the hip, trunk, and spinal mobility necessary for keeping good posture and applying directional force.  Using lightweights such as a medicine ball and performing twisting movements will help with force production for all manoeuvres, and all body dumbbell routines are good for your conditioning and keeping you robust. Aim for 15 reps for 2 to 3 sets. This will give you a good starting point per exercise.

Bodyboard Fitness TrainingWhen should one start their preparation and how intense should the training be?

The longer run up you can give to a training program for a specific event or period the better, but with dedication and the right training you could notice an increase in your conditioning in as little as 6 weeks. However if you know you have a trip planned in, for example, 6 months and start training with relevancy and consistency, the difference in fitness will be considerable.

What food / drink should we be eating during a bodyboarding holiday?

When you first wake up in the morning hydration should be a big priority (especially in warmer climates) – getting around a pint to litre when you wake up will help kick start that process. Squeeze half a lemon in your water and gain even greater hydration benefits.

A breakfast of easy to digest proteins, carbs for fuel, and healthy fats will help fuel your session. Bananas and avocados are rich in potassium and will help stave off cramping. I eat flapjack bars made of oats, chia seeds, coconut oil, and sea salt flakes upon getting out of the water to refuel my energy and electrolytes. A source of magnesium such as ZMA will help your recovery, sleep, and ease off muscle soreness.

What would be the best 5 min warm up stretches before bodyboarding?

Learn the popular yoga flow known as the Sun salutation as soon as your ready to get in the water – this will loosen you up and activate your core ready for your session. Pay special attention to your calves and hamstrings, as these are your paddling powerhouses. 3 to 5 minutes of light jogging, swimming, or paddling on your board will help raise your heart rate ready for you to catch some waves!

You can find out more about me at or enquire about my fitness services/training plans at [email protected].

And for those of you interested in physical prep for a bodyboard holiday, then watch this space, I am creating for a 6-week bodyboarding specific program to get you in shape for your surf adventure.