Have you seen that photo of Pippa Middleton paddleboarding on her honeymoon in French Polynesia? There’s just one word: ripped. Seriously, Abs. For. Days. Sadly, we can’t show you the pic as it was taken by some dodgy bush-hiding paparazzi types and we believe Pippa should be entitled to some level of privacy on her honeymoon, but trust us when we say she’s rocking the beach bod of our dreams.
So, in our ongoing attempt to channel all things Pippa, we started furiously Googling ‘paddleboarding.’ Turns out, it’s a killer workout; more effective, even, than running or swimming.
And it’s not just P-Midd who’s into Stand-Up Paddleboarding (or SUP), Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Cindy Crawford, Kendall Jenner and Kim Kardashian have all been spotted sculpting their abs on the ocean.
We grabbed Paul Hyman, director of London-based paddleboarding club Active360, to get the lowdown on SUP. Here are 7 reasons why you should try paddleboarding this summer:
1. It burns more calories than swimming and running.
A casual pootle down the river will burn up to 430 calories, according to Paul. But if you really ramp up the speed you’re looking at powering through up to 1125 calories. Compare that to running which burns 650 calories per hour and swimming which burns 840 calories an hour. “Even at the most casual level, you’re using a lot of calories,” says Paul.
2. You don’t really feel like you’re working out.
“You’re using muscles to balance on the board without really even thinking about it,” says Paul. “Your lower back muscles, for example, do a lot of work stabilizing your body, but you don’t really feel like you’re doing much until you get off the water.” Minimum effort with maximum results, why have we not been paddleboarding our whole lives?
3. You’ll get the abs of your dreams.
Paddleboarding is a great all-body workout, but the major plus of hopping on a stand-up board comes in the form of some pretty ripped abs. “There’s a move that we call ‘rotation in the stroke’ that you have to do to get the board travelling in a straight line,” Paul tells us. “Doing this twist uses the obliques on the side of your stomach, as well as the muscles on the front of your stomach.” In simple terms, pushing down on the paddle works your stomach muscles. Again, see Pippa Middleton photo for #inspo.
Video: How to get your best bum ever
4. Try a paddleboard HIIT for the best results.
The best way to get really fit is by interval training. Paul recommends doing 20 fast strokes then 10 slow strokes to really get your heart rate up. “But you don’t need to do a lot of high rate training to get a good fitness level,” says Paul. “Low level training is also useful as well.”
5. Don’t live by the sea? No problem.
While it’s alright for the likes of Jennifer Aniston to do her paddleboarding in Cabo San Lucas, for those of us who don’t live by sparkling azure seas (so everyone in the UK then), rivers, creeks, canals, docklands, basically, anywhere with flat, calm water is prime for paddleboarding. “It’s best to try paddleboarding on flat water first otherwise it can be very frustrating for a beginner,” says Paul. “A river or a canal is a really good place to start.”
6. Paddleboarding is nowhere near as hard as it looks.
“With lessons,” says Paul. “It’ll take about 5-15 minutes to pick up the technique.” Of course, you can just grab a board and give it a go, but the chances are your technique will be all off, meaning those abs won’t be getting the workout they deserve.
7. Paddling not your thing? There’s always yoga.
Doing yoga on a floating board sounds hard, and it is. “You’re adding a level of imbalance because you’re on a moving surface and have to work a little bit harder,” says Paul. “Doing a balance when the surface is moving is a little bit more complicated, but that makes it more beneficial.” SUP yoga is a big calorie-burner, an hour can use up 416-540 calories.
8. You don’t need any special kit.
Apart from the board and paddle you can wear whatever you feel comfortable in. “Just wear clothes you'd do other exercise in,” Paul suggests. “If you want to wear cycling gear, that’s fine; running gear will work too, or just shorts and a t-shirt. In colder weather your SUP club will provide wetsuits.”
Stand-up paddleboard classes start at £49 for the first 1.5hr lesson and then £20 for each 1.5 hour after that. Visit Active360 for more info.