Stoked and Sweaty
By Courtney Haile, Photos by Stephanie Allen
I live on the wave-tastic Central Coast and surfing is still on my to-do list. Before I hang ten (I have no idea what that means), I thought I would experience how some of our local surfers stay in shape.
A small group training program run out of Studio Fitness in Morro Bay, Surf Strong Fitness is where gym rats and surfers meet. My group of about twelve included dudes in casual shorts and tees who seemed right off the beach—alongside ladies in Spandex who’ve seen a gym or two.
Off the bat you should know this is a super friendly and approachable group. The vibe starts from the top with trainer and program creator Greg Finch who seems to know each of his trainees personally. Finch connects with clients outside of the studio and considers this the most important aspect of success for a client.
The workout begins with a warm-up that includes yoga, abdominal exercises, and breath work. Relaxing on our backs, we inhaled deeply and held our breath for 30 seconds—or for as long as we could within that timeframe. I fought the good fight, but, being among surfers was probably the first to exhale. We completed this pretty intense process a few times; and repeated the cycle at the end of class once fatigued. This was my first time doing this kind of breath work in a fitness class because most classes aren’t geared towards surfers, dude!
Post warm-up, Greg put us in groups of three and we began the multi-faceted strength and cardio circuit. As with all circuits, we rotated—each member of the group performing three exercises before moving on. We planked, jumped, lifted, pushed, pulled, balanced, kicked, hung, and every now and then we rested. When he said “rest” it felt like discovering a swimming hole in Death Valley.
The workout is tough, fun, and rewarding; and you’ll get encouragement to push but also permission to pull back. The final sprint to the finish includes pushing weights across AstroTurf as fast as you can, running in place, and much more. The cool down felt great and included a rad surf forecast.
Within days I received a follow up email from Finch, checking in about next day fatigue level and any body or joint soreness. At Surf Strong Fitness you will find the camaraderie of a group with personalized attention from your instructor—even if you don’t have a photographer in tow. Learn more at surfstrongfitness.com.