The Biggest Misconceptions About Learning to Surf

learn to surf

Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/ @SeeFromTheSky

Good surf is here! Well it has been for a few weeks but I’ve been doing that and not on the blog.

Anyways, I was changing out of my wetsuit the other day and something got me thinking. Two women were walking by and from the vibe I got, one was visiting while the other lived here. The visitor turned to her friend and said, “you should learn to surf.”

The other woman agreed and they continued on.

I couldn’t help but laugh because they made it sound like it was a cup of coffee you could just go pick up without a second thought. Spoiler alert: It’s not easy and telling someone they should learn to do it is pretty damn annoying.

While we’re on the subject, here are some common misconceptions about surfing that I’d like to clear up.

It’s just a sport

A photo posted by Ellen Wright (@pacificpolished) on

Surfing is way more than a sport. It’s a lifestyle, it’s a set of rules and it’s an amazing feeling. Learning to surf requires way more than physical know how. You have to learn surf etiquette, which involves knowing how to interact with other surfers. You need to be comfortable in the ocean and when to stay out of it. On days that are double overhead, I know that I have no business being out so I don’t go! You obviously have to know how to swim and what to do with your surfboard when a big set is coming.

It’s something you can learn on vacation

Hate to burst your bubble but it takes A LOT of time. I’ve been surfing for 17ish years and I still think I suck. Mind you everyone has good and bad days but it’s not something you can learn to do on a week long vacation. Learning the ins and outs of the tides and wave breaks etc… takes lots of staring at the ocean and being at the beach. Also, it’s the only sport where your forced to compete with people that are amazing. There are a limited number of beach breaks which means people have to surf together. Learn your place in the line up and try to avoid getting in people’s way.

It’s an amazing work out

Learn to Surf

Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Matt Asthoff

Sure, it can be. But often times, you’ll wind up sitting for the majority of the session waiting for sets to come through. When you’re just learning it is an amazing work out but once you’re good enough at surfing, chances are you’ll need to add in some cardio into your routine to really get a great work out. It is a great work out for your shoulders and arms, though so that part is true. It’s also great for your mental health since you’re spending time outdoors away from the stresses of daily life.

Surfers are all beach bums

Mehhhh, they can be BUT the wide majority of surfers have respectable jobs and are valuable contributors to society. After all, the surf is usually the best in the morning or evening thanks to calmer winds which means people can surf before or after work.

If you’re serious about learning to surf, be on the lookout for some more blog posts on how!

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How to Run in the Dark

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How to run in the dark


Photo: Courtesy of Unsplash/Ryan Hafey

Welp, I don’t know about you all but I have a hard time adjusting to winter, especially with the time change. It’s dark at about 4:30 p.m. here in San Diego and 8 p.m. feels like midnight.

The new sunset time really throws off my fitness game since it’s so much easier to just curl up on the couch when it’s dark outside.

However, this year I’ve been running in the dark and it’s a very different experience than a morning run. First of all, you’re more tuned into what’s directly in front of you because you have to be. I found my thoughts were quieted down because I was just focused on avoiding a pot hole, or fending off crazy people which I imagine lurk behind every bush (spoiler alert: they don’t).

If you, like me, feel the need to stretch your legs after an 8 hour workday, here are some great tips to run in the dark.

Headlamps are key

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash/ Stefan Stefancik

Photo Courtesy of Unsplash/ Stefan Stefancik

A headlamp is great because, well, it provides a light for your run! Since your head doesn’t bob much, the light is relatively stationary which is helpful. Plus, it alerts drivers of your presence long in advance. The one draw back is if you live in an area with lots of bugs, they could be drawn to it and nothing kills a run faster than a bunch of bugs literally aiming for your head.

Reflective gear will save you

Running in the dark can be magical but it can also be dangerous. Make yourself as visible as possible by wearing super bright protective gear. This will make your run more enjoyable since you won’t constantly wonder if drivers can see you. Without it, it’s safe to guess drivers CAN’T see you.

It may take a few tries to find the right route

Running in the dark presents it’s own unique challenges compared to day time running. You might find you don’t love your tried and true running route during the nighttime. Don’t let that stop you completely. Try and find a route that is well-lit and ideally not completely removed from civilization. I find comfort in seeing a lot of other humans when it’s dark out, just in case something happens. Plus, the more traffic/people there are, the less likely you’ll be a victim of a crime of opportunity.

Buddy up!

There’s never a better time to run with friends then when it’s dark out. Strength in number people! You’ll likely feel safer and be more visible. Plus, it’s way healthier than hitting your local happy hour. You can always grab a drink afterwards!

So there you go, a few actionable tips to keep up your fitness routine in the winter time.

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Is it a good idea to work out when you’re sick?

Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

Photo: Courtesy of Christopher Campbell/Unsplash

I just spent an amazing week in Italy which was great to re-charge. However, 12 hours on a plane with re-circulated air and 300 people means germs galore.

Not surprisingly, I now have my first cold of the season. You know the drill, itchy throat, feelings of fatigue, grogginess and just generally feeling blah.

After spending a week straight gorging on pizza and gelato, now is not the time for me to take a break from fitness BUT there is no way to get better by exhausting myself.

If you’re struggling with the same dilemma on deciding whether to work out or not, here is a quick guide to help you and obviously I’m no doctor so if you have serious medical issues, it should go without saying that you should talk to your practitioner ASAP.

Listen to your body

Sometimes, the only symptoms you may have are some light sniffles. If your energy levels feel normal, by all means work out like you normally would. However, if after the workout you find your energy levels extremely zapped, lay off for a while. Rest is necessary for a speedy recovery. Often, you’ll just know if it’s a bad idea to work out. Listen to that instinct since ignoring it will mean you’ll be sicker longer, which nobody wants.

This isn’t a time to push yourself

Don't shoot for a PR when you're sick. Photo: Courtesy of Crew/Unsplash

Don’t shoot for a PR when you’re sick.
Photo: Courtesy of Crew/Unsplash

If you do feel well enough to exercise, this is not the time to go for personal bests. Working out is healthy and you may feel like you’re “sweating out” whatever bug you caught but don’t overdo it. Either stick with an easy routine or even cut your normal routine in half. It does feel great to get the blood flowing but wearing yourself down isn’t going to kick the flu anytime sooner.

Avoid the gym

Do everyone else a favor by keeping your bugs to yourself. Nothing irritates me more than hearing someone at the gym talk about how they’re getting over a nasty cold. I don’t want that nasty cold! Keep it to YO SELF. Ok, rant aside, there are tons of workouts to do at home. Try some light yoga or go on an easy jog around your neighborhood. I like to just search on YouTube for a quick yoga class that is my level.


Replenish your vitamins with some O.J. Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay User Stevepb

Replenish your vitamins with some O.J. Photo: Courtesy of Pixabay User Stevepb

You’ve probably heard it a million times, rest and drink lots of water. That’s the best way to kick a cold. If you’re working out, be sure to drink way more water than you normally would. It’s more important than ever to replace electrolytes that are lost during exercise. Mix in some O.J. to your post-workout smoothie or drink some tea. Orange juice is packed with much needed Vitamin C which will help out your immune system and green tea has free-radical fighting anti-oxidants. Plus, adding a dollop of honey will help out a sore throat.

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Is it time to visit your local running store?

running store
The chances are, if you’re reading this, it’s more than likely time to retire your running shoes and get to your local running store.

I kid!

But seriously, I am so guilty of out running the lifespan of my kicks because they can be just so darn expensive!

One of the best indicators to find out when it’s time to buy a new pair is your body.

I notice personally that when I start having hip pains, it’s high time to buy a new pair of shoes.

If you are experiencing any nagging pain, or injuring yourself more than usual, it’s likely time to buy a new pair of running shoes.

Here are a few of my favorite places to buy new running shoes:

Road Runner Sports

If you’re willing to spend the big bucks, Road Runner has really helpful staff and they have a great return policy. If you’re part of the Road Runner VIP club, you can take back your shoes within 90 days, no matter how much you’ve ran in them! I have used the crap out of that policy to find my perfect pair of running shoes. Also, being part of the club gives you a discount on all shoes.

Local Discount Stores

Tj Maxx, Marshalls and outlet stores like Nike or Adidas all have killer deals on new kicks. This is a great place to go if you’re strapped for cash. To get the best pair, go for a little jog in the store to test how they feel. You may look slightly ridiculous but it’s totally worth it to get the best pair for a good deal.

Local running stores

Check out Yelp for some good recommendations on local running shoe stores. A lot of places hire really qualified people who will have you run to find out whether or not you need correction. I have purchased some awesome shoes this way and it’s a good way to support your local community.

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Not so common sense safety tips for running

Well it’s here! Spring has sprung! The later sunset means more opportunity to get outside which is my favorite thing about the seasonal change.

A recent conversation with a friend got me thinking about safety when running. Some things I thought were common sense were news to her so I though I’d share some super simple tips with ya’ll!

Here are some easy ways to stay safe, whether you’re trail running or in the city.

Always run against traffic

This is super important to do AT ALL TIMES. Running against traffic gives you the chance to jump out of the way if a driver isn’t paying attention. I see people on their phones all the time when I’m running, which makes this tip probably the most important of all.

Try and make eye contact with drivers when crossing the street

Bringing it back to the whole distracted driving thing, humans aren’t perfect. When going to cross the street, ALWAYS make sure drivers are aware of your presence. Just because you have the green light, doesn’t mean you won’t get hit. If you can see the driver, the driver can see you and hopefully won’t want to run you over.

Always have at least one ear bud out

I don’t even run with ear buds in just because they wind up distracting me but I know a lot of people love exercising with music. So if you don’t want to give it up, at least have one ear bud out. It makes you much more aware of your surroundings and less likely to be taken by surprise. This is especially important in secluded areas, like mountain trails or solitary beaches. I know it sounds paranoid but it could be the difference between hearing something or someone sketchy or being completely oblivious.

Have fun!

These tips aren’t meant to freak you out or anything, they’re just some simple ways to be a little safer outside. Running against traffic is the most important hands down so if you take anything from this, I hope it’s that.

But get out there and have fun! Take advantage of that extra hour of sunlight!

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Make your next vacation an outdoor adventure

Surf Destination
In the typical American work world, vacation days aren’t exactly plentiful. Most people start out with two weeks off and work up from there.

I like to make the most out of those precious vacation days, coming back to work totally refreshed. An active vacation doesn’t have to mean no relaxation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

By using your vacation days exploring the outdoors, whether it be skiing, surfing or hiking, you totally reenergize your brain and recharge your body.

Here are some tips to make your next vacation – even if it’s a short work trip- super energizing and memorable.

Book a unique rental instead of a hotel

Airbnb Rental

There is literally nothing better than a nap in a hammock after a long day surfing or snorkeling. Photo: Courtesy of Airbnb

I’m a huge fan of Airbnb since you get to live like a local while still paying about the same price as a hotel. Most cities have them all over, meaning you can book a place close to a ski slope, beach or even a small park for exercising. Also, there are tons of super rad spots, like this private island or this treehouse, with adventure built in.

Find a way to get outdoors no matter what

Assuming your in a safe place to do so, skip the rental car or public transit for a day and go on a run or walk around the city. Even if you manage to sneak in a run before important work meetings, running around a new city is one of my favorite ways to experience a town. You can stop and go at your own pace and check out something that sparked your interest.

Try unique guided-experiences

SUP Hawaii
Depending on the locale, some places have great guided activities. Think camel-riding in Morocco or standup paddling the Hawaiian coastline. Each city usually has a distinct flavor for things to do and you may wind up finding a sport you love to do that you can start practicing at home (probably not camel riding…).

Travel with friends more knowledgable than you

Use your network of friends to plan a trip unlike anything you’ve done before. If your friends’ brother is super into rock climbing but you’ve never tried it, see if he’s going soon and make a weekend of it! Granted, some people may not want to be responsible for a beginner but it never hurts to ask! Every sport (except for running) I’ve learned from someone close to me.

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What I learned from 30 days sober

Alcohol, sobriety

Photo: Courtesy of Angelo Amboldi/ Flickr

Right around the New Year, you may have noticed a ton of different articles about sober Januaray or Dry-uary. The concept is simple, give up booze for the month of January.

Well, I just did that for February. I would consider myself a moderate drinker, maybe about two to three glasses of wine on a weekend night (usually more on special occasions… and sometimes not so special occasions).

Anyways, it sounded kind of daunting at first but it really wasn’t! This is what I took away from it.

I still had a ton of fun

My idea of fun is being super active, so I surfed a lot, skied and got in a lot of early morning workouts. I must admit that I do not miss hangovers one bit. I was in bed early most nights, just because I didn’t go out to grab drinks later in the night.

Contrary to popular belief, I was not annoyed by people drinking

In one article I read about dry January the author said he couldn’t stand his friends who were drinking and their conversation was dull and gossipy. If you can’t hang out with your friends sober, you need new friends.

I still saw my friends a good bit, but we did active stuff, like hiking and skiing. I went out for dinner and movie nights but avoided booze. Plus, there was never any question of who was driving or whether we needed an Uber so that’s an added benefit!

In the beginning I was a little more emotional than usual

sobriety, alcohol

Photo: Courtesy of Chris Costes/ Flickr

I definitely shed some more tears than I think I normally do over little stuff. I rarely cry at movies but Selma totally got me (it is pretty inspiring people!) and I think my emotions were just generally heightened. That wore off after week two or three though, and it’s probably because alcohol numbs emotions so when you quit it, you feel more than you have in a while.

I didn’t lose ANY weight

It’s true! I didn’t lose a single pound although I did not measure my waistline either, so it is possible I still slimmed down and just gained muscle. I haven’t felt bloated all month. In a way, it’s kind of nice because when I do go back to drinking, I won’t feel guilty about the empty calories. Also, I was not eating more or less than usual so I was a little surprised.

My skin looked really good

This was about the only noticeable difference to my appearance. It probably helped that I was getting the best sleep of my life and was super hydrated. Also, I wasn’t falling asleep without taking off my makeup so that helped!

So will I continue?

That’s a tough question. I’ve felt so good that I don’t see why not. Realistically though, I’m sure I’ll have some wine when out with friends but I think I’ll skip it with dinner or watching a movie at home since it feels great to wake up hydrated and ready for the day. Also, I saved a lot of money so that is a huge added benefit!

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Easy Tips to Start Spin Class

While I’m all about getting outdoors, I do supplement my outdoor workouts with one gym workout, spin class.

The workout takes place on a stationary bike and I just couldn’t get the same, sweat-drenching workout as I could on a bike outdoors. There are way too many stoplights and obstacles.

Spin torches calories (about 450 in a 45 minute session) and tones your butt and thighs like a sculpt workout.

The other reason I love it so much is because it’s a low-impact way to get in great cardio so I tend to get in more spin when I’m recovering from a running injury.

There are so many great workouts online to find a spin class or go to your local gym. I recommend trying out a few different teachers, because a good one will make the time fly by.

Here are a few beginner tips to help with possible intimidation.

Spin Class

See… look how much fun they’re having!! Hahah ok, maybe not, but I swear it is fun when you find the right instructor. Photo: Courtesy of Nottingham Trent University/ Flickr

Come early

For your first class, get there at least five minutes early to have the instructor help you set up. They’ll help you find the perfect position on the bike to make for a smooth ride and to prevent injuries.

Most instructors get there early for this very reason so don’t be shy. It’s better to sort it out before class starts rather than to be approached mid-way through class, or even worse, called out. It’s happened…

Start by finding your flat road

The flat road on the bike is the gear at which you feel like you could ride along without much effort. There is a tiny bit of resistance, but really not much at all. You don’t want your legs to be bouncing around or feel too lose.

The flat road is your base at which you will pretty much always go higher than so don’t start off too high.

Take it easy your first class

Spin class is really hard. There is a reason insanely peppy music is blaring out of the speakers. It’s to distract you from the discomfort.

Although I don’t want to scare you. At the end, it’s extremely gratifying to have finished a class but don’t ride too hard for your first one since you want to be able to come back.

Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate

Come with a full water bottle since you’ll be sweating… a lot. Seriously, I never get as thirsty as I do during a spin class. Just thinking about how thirsty I get is making me want some more water.

So there you have it, a few great tips to hopefully encourage you to try out a class or get back into it.

Have fun out there!

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Outdoor Fitness BloggerI love running.

I crave it… I notice a mood change when I skip it a few days and treasure the time I get to myself without the stresses of daily life.

It wasn’t always that way for me though. In my early teens, I did it simply to lose weight and I dreaded running.

I didn’t look forward to slapping on my tennis shoes and slogging through the neighborhood. However, after doing it for so long, something changed.

I got better at it and I wasn’t super sore every time I went. Eventually, I started going farther and farther and now I am completely obsessed with it.

Why am I telling you this?

Outdoor Fitness

Sometimes all it takes to get moving is a workout outfit you love!

If you’re serious about fitness I think it’s really important to have at least one fitness routine you enjoy. Whether it be surfing, standup paddling, running, yoga or even brisk walking, it’s great to have something that doesn’t feel like a chore and instead feels like a reward.

However, my case may be different and I definitely don’t recommend doing something over and over again in the hopes that you eventually like it.

I gave hot yoga a few tries and know without a doubt that it is not for me (nearly passing out every time I switch poses? No thank you!).

It’s just great to try new things, get out of your comfort zone and find something that suits your schedule and personality.

If you’re nervous, ask a friend to take you along or try a fitness class at a nearby gym.

Or check out my fitness section for some ideas and have fun!

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Outdoor date ideas for Valentine’s Day

It’s finally starting to warm up around here in San Diego (I know, sounds like a joke but it was in the 30’s!) and February is the perfect time to thaw out and get back into outdoor adventuring.

As far as Valentine’s Day goes, I prefer to skip expensive and crowded restaurants because they’re tough to get reservations a week in advance, which is usually how far ahead I plan things.

Instead, I like to spend some serious quality time with my boo thang in the great outdoors.

Being active together and spending time in nature are two things that will ensure time well spent so here are some date ideas to do with your significant other or your BFF.

Zip Lining

Valentine's Outdoor date ideas

How fun does this look?! Photo: Courtesy of La Jolla Zip Zoom

If you want a memorable date, try and find the nearest zip line. It’s an adrenaline rush that’ll leave you whirring through the trees and breathless. The longest zip line in California recently opened in the La Jolla Indian Reservation if you’re local to San Diego.

You won’t be able to stop talking about the rush over post zip-line drinks.


Outdoor date ideas Valentines day

Kayaking builds teamwork and some serious arm strength. Photo: Courtesy of Everyday California

If you’re near water, nothing builds teamwork like paddling a kayak together. Be sure to dress appropriately and if you’re new or don’t own a kayak (which is pretty much everyone) sign up for a guided tour. The guides will make sure you have an experience that matches your skill level to avoid possible catastrophe and bickering.

Plus, since it’s whale watching season is in full swing, chances are great you’ll see the gentle giants if you take a trip in the Pacific Ocean.

Go Camping

Vday camping

Snuggling up with this view beats a crowded restaurant any day. Photo: Twenty20

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on the Sunday of a long weekend making it the perfect time to escape for a weekend escapade.

Go somewhere tried and true or take off to a place that has been on your bucket list. There isn’t much that’s more romantic than roasting marshmallows by the fire and snuggling up to stay warm.

Try a new sport or do what you already love

Outdoor date ideas Valentines Day

Sharing a new experience can be really rewarding. Photo: Courtesy of Margaret River/ Flickr

If your dude is into something that takes up a ton of his time and you’ve never tried it, ask him to show you the ropes! You may surprise yourself and find out you too enjoy it.

Whether it’s surfing, snowboarding, skiing or even fishing, trying something new and sharing the experience with your loved one is a guarunteed bonding experience.

Side note, my boyfriend did teach me to fish and the first time I caught one, it was an awesome feeling!

If you both already share an interest in the same sport, the long weekend is a great time to indulge in your passion.

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