The most valuable lesson that I've learned is that there is no price tag that you can put on feeling good. You've got one of these vehicles - your body - your whole life, and if the vehicle is busted, it's not a fun ride.
- Danny Way
a skateboarder's quarantine survival guide.
We’re in crazy times in the world right now, people all over the world are stuck at home in quarantine. Where I live in Barcelona we’ve all been locked away for the last 2 weeks and things don’t look like they’re changing any time soon. For me, the worst thing about being stuck at home is the fact that I can’t skate, and I’m sure for a lot of skaters that’s their main problem too, along with the fear that when they get back to skating they’re going to have extreme jelly legs and lost all their tricks.
So with this in mind I wanted to make a little quarantine survival guide with 5 tips that will not only keep you feel as fresh as possible for when you get back on your board but if you keep doing them on top of them you'll stay fresh way off into the future too.
Even though we might not be able to physically skate, there are still a lot of things we can do to improve our skating.
1. take time to recover.
So number 1 is to think of this time off your board as a time to recover. A lot of skaters I know complain about regular aches and pains and low energy levels from skating so much without making an effort to recover well. A lot of people don’t realise it’s when you’re recovering, not skating, that your body grows and adapts to handle more skating; it’s when your brain processes the new tricks you’ve been trying and locks them in. If you recover good, you’ll get better at skating much faster.
So think of this time off your board as an opportunity to allow your body to recover and reset. Think of yourself as a large squirrel going into hibernation, preparing to be so on point for when you get out that you could pick up even the hottest squirrel in your neighbourhood.
A solid place to start is with sleep, as it’s the number 1 most effective and practical recovery tool we have. I’ve been going alarmless this quarantine and sleeping almost 9 hours a night, just to get that extra blast of recovery. Reducing stress is also key for recovery so make an effort to chill hard, maybe avoid the news so you don't get caught up in all the fear mongering. Also make an effort to put into practice the other things I’m going to be going over in this article, and if you stay on top of your recovery game when you actually get back on your board, you’ll not only maintain a much higher level of skating and health when you get back on your board, but the chances of falling back into that endless loop of aches and pains into the future will diminish too.
For those who are injured I want to say take time to go hard on your rehab game, do it right, no injury recovers best from complete rest. The hardest thing about rehabbing properly is the fact that you’re just dying to skate and you can’t, so take this opportunity when most people aren’t skating to do the exercises your physio gave you, or if you never saw a physio but you'd like to, check out the SkateHealth Search Engine where you can find physios that skate that do online consultations or get their Instagram links where a lot of them post advice and exercises for different injuries
2. exercise regularly.
If you’re lucky enough to have a space to keep skating then keep doing it. If you’ve got nowhere to skate then keep it in mind that going from regularly skating to no skating at all for weeks is going to give you an extreme case of jelly legs when you get back on your board. It’s not like 4 weeks off your board is going to destroy your skating but doing certain exercises is going to help you maintain the freshness much more than doing nothing.
With that in mind I’ve made a little weekly exercise program that you can razz during quarantine using a blend of some of the different exercise videos I’ve done before.
There’s also a lot of research showing that your injury risk increases after a period of inactivity (or reduction in total training time), so this means when we actually get back skating, we’re gunna be at a higher risk of injury. One way we can reduce the risk is by doing something like the exercise program I made, and another is to progressively get back into skating when all of this is over. So not just going straight back into the same length and same intensity sessions as you had before, but starting off with more chilled ones and gradually building back up to normal. Yeh, I know this is gunna be hard, I’m not good at limiting the intensity of my sessions, and even less after the hype meter has been throbbing like crazy from all this time off my board. So this tip might be hard to put into practice, but we’ve all been warned!
3. enhance your nutrition.
Next up is working on your nutrition game. Nutrition has a huge effect on how you skate and it’s a huge part of recovery and staying healthy in general. With everyone hoarding food from the supermarkets it can be easy to grab a load of pre-made processed foods, but instead I want you to take this time to improve how you eat and work on your nutrition. If you don’t know how to cook, learn some basic cooking skills that you can hold onto for when you get back to normal life. Having some quick meals you can cook up and bring on long sessions so you’re not forced to eat shit is essential for staying energised.
If you already eat good then keep killing it, if your diet sucks then I’m going to set you a challenge – you’ve got to add in 5 whole foods that you don’t usually eat into your weekly diet. If you’ve got no ideas then you can either check a recipe video I did or Johnny Lozano’s website - Salad Grinds and Bean Plants, aka the guy that put about 100 recipe articles up on The Berrics and the master of food related puns (you'll get what I mean after checking his site). Johnny selected 10 of his recipes ranging from basic to a little more fancy for those with extra time on their hands (a lot of us right now), which are linked in the box below.
Johnny's 10 hand-picked recipes:
As we’re moving much less during quarantine, it's also highly possible that you start putting on extra weight. If this is the case you need to reduce the amount of total food you’re eating. You can keep eating the same amount of protein and just reduce the amount of carbohydrates and fats you're eating.
For more information around nutrition and eating around your session check the extra tips below and the skate-nutrition section.
extra nutrition hacks:
Eat a variety of different coloured fruits and veggies
Cut back on processed foods and replace them with whole foods
Eat some protein at almost every meal: fish, tofu, chicken, eggs, grains & legumes (combining increases the quality of the protein).
Replace refined carbohydrates with nutrient dense carbohydrates: sweet potato, potato, brown rice, quinoa, legumes, plantain
Replace refined fats with healthy fats: extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, avocado oil, coconut oil, omega-3s from fish/algae.
4. get enough vitamin D.
Tip number 4 is making sure getting enough vitamin D. Old mate vitamin D is essential for immune function, good health, recovery, and how you skate. Most people are vitamin D deficient regardless of whether they’re locked up at home or not, so this one is essential to keep on top of after quarantine too.
The sun is by far the best source of vitamin D so if you’re lucky enough to have a spot in your house that gets sun, make sure you’re getting direct sunlight on your skin for at least 20 mins a day. If you live in a cave or an apartment block that gets no sun then you might be best off taking a supplement. You can get vitamin D from certain foods, like fish and brown mushrooms, but it can be hard to hit the recommended amount of up to 4000 IU every day. So in my opinion the choice is between sun or supplement.
5. move regularly.
The last one is make sure you keep moving throughout the day. Don’t just do the exercises above and then shrivel up on the sofa and turn into a rotting slug fetus. Keep moving regularly throughout the day so you limit the accumulation of stiffness, keep your body oiled up, and stay sane. Do anything you want, some foam rolling, mobility work, stretching, yoga, or just random movements throughout the day.
One bonus thing I want to add as well is practising visualisation, there are studies showing that you can improve at a physical skill, increase confidence, and lock in new tricks by just by using your imagination! So if you’re gagging for a skate you could always just practice it in your head...
Alright that’s it for the Skateboarder's Quarantine Survival Guide. My thinking behind these tips were just to motivate you to use this time productively instead of just rotting away. Even though we might not be physically skating we can still spend time working on things that will improve our skating, and all the things I spoke about in this article are essential for staying fresh when life is back to normal too. If you get on top of these things now and manage to maintain them when you’re back skating you’ll stay fresher and skate better than ever! We are in control of our health and how we feel, if someone tells you overwise, run.