Fitness Hacks and Fueling for Performance: Advice from Pro Surfer Coco Ho

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Hopeful, promising, resilient. Those are the three words that pro surfer Coco Ho uses to describe her outlook for 2021.

“I want to continue learning about health and bettering myself both as a person and as professional athlete,” she said.

Hailing from Oahu’s North Shore, Coco comes from a long line of Hawaiian surfing legends. But it’s her drive and passion for riding the waves that enabled Coco to become a legend in her own right, winning a multitude of accolades and titles, including WCT Rookie of the Year Award in 2009, 2005 Open Women's Regional Hawaii Champion, and the 2006 Open Regional Hawaiian Champion.

Her proudest moment of her illustrious career so far?

“Qualifying for the World Tour in 2008 is definitely close to the top of the list. To look back and see all I accomplished that year is remarkable nowadays. Then 11 years on tour, winning an event, winning a lot of qualifying events since – they all stand out,” she said.

We recently got the opportunity to chat with Coco and listen to her story, including what she loves most about surfing, her beach-day training and nutrition routines, and what she hopes 2021 has in store.

In the Ocean at Age Seven

Coco’s surfing career started at the early age of seven. It comes as no surprise when you consider who her family is. She is the daughter of pro surfing pioneer Michael Ho, winner of the 1982 Pipe Masters, 1983 and 1985 Hawaiian Triple Crown, and the 2000 World Masters Championships. Her uncle, Derek, was also the 1993 World Champion and a 4-time Triple Crown winner.

“I grew up in the biggest surf mecca of the world, the North Shore of Oahu, so I was destined to surf,” she said. “Having an accomplished dad and Uncle Derek certainly didn’t hurt my journey to pro surfing! Although they didn’t push me to start – there was a lot of support once I got into it.”

It was her older brother, Mason, who Coco credits as her biggest inspiration to taking to the board at such an early age.

“Growing up my big brother was my number one inspiration. I thought he was the best surfer on earth. His opinion and advice meant the world to me. He was super supportive and all I wanted to do was a better turn to get his attention or compliments,” she laughed.

Coco’s Surfing Style

Coco is described as having a fun and adventurous spirit, and it has been said her personality perfectly captures her surfing style. For her, surfing is simply about the joy of riding the waves.

“I love that every wave is different, and it keeps you coming back for more. I love being out in the ocean away from technology with friends. I love surfing with friends,” she said when asked what she loves best about surfing.

As a surfer who has seen so many of the world’s beaches, Hawaii has always been Coco’s favorite place to surf. But she is also fond of Australia and Indonesia.

“Then there are such cool countries with such rich surf culture that makes it so special, like Brazil and France,” she adds.

Fueling for Performance 

To compete at an elite level, surfers must emphasize balance, flexibility, and endurance. So how does a surfer properly fuel and train so they are ready to paddle out and perform at their peak? Here’s Coco’s advice on fueling, recovery, and rebuilding as a surfer.

“I try to start each day with some functional movements, which are perfect because they are a nice stretch and a good way to turn on your muscles for the day. Most of my workouts are considered functional training, usually nothing more than 30-pound kettle bells and a lot of focus on core strength, speed, agility, and flexibility,” Coco said.

“I will probably only workout once or twice that week. If I am not surfing a lot, then definitely 3-4 times a week. I unwind after workouts by putting a lot of focus on breathing while stretching,” she said.

Coco tries to keep each workout under an hour and a half, and then switches gears to recovery. One of her favorite recovery strategies? That’s simple. “Hydration,” she said. “Then replenishment. It is so incredibly important. I’ve learned that how to take care of yourself after a big day of training or surfing is a direct reflection of how you will feel the next day.”

When it comes to nutrition, Coco admits she does not have a specific plan outlined – which can be difficult when you’re traveling the world surfing.

“Because we travel so much, options per country always change. If I’m surfing right away when I wake up, then breakfast is usually pretty light – I love fruit and it’s usually always available in the tropical places I’m in. I don’t eat much red meat – simply by choice so I try to make sure I get the nutrients I might lack from avoiding certain foods,” she said.

To fill those nutritional gaps, Coco turns to Thorne.

“Thorne helps with my recovery, training, and performance, respectively,” she said. “I’ve learned what supplements help my energy and focus, my hydration levels, and my muscle replenishment. Truly the full package. When taking supplements, it’s so easy to not know everything you’re ingesting, and Thorne is the highest quality – for everything. I love knowing that. Their quality and wide range of products definitely helped my decision on trusting Thorne.”

A few of Coco’s favorite supplements include Memoractiv for mental focus, Magnesium Bisglycinate, an NSF Certified for Sport® powdered form of highly absorbed magnesium, and Meriva-500, a curcumin supplement for joint support.*

“The Magnesium definitely enhances my sleep, I feel like my muscles are finally at ease. I find the Meriva 500 helps with stress and with balancing my body’s inflammatory response,*” Coco said.

2021: A Year to Make Waves

With 2020 in the rearview mirror, Coco – like many of us – has high hopes for what 2021 will bring.

“I am already implementing things I lacked on my health journey in 2020,” Coco said. “I felt like I didn’t have a quick ‘replenish’ part of my regime after training or long days surfing until I implemented Thorne’s VeganPro complex.” 

For Coco, 2021 is a year of progress. Her top three goals include: 

  1. A focus on continued  growth, training, and physical health 
  2. Win Qualifying Series events 
  3. Requalify for the World Tour 

As Coco mentioned, her outlook on 2021 can be summed up as hopeful, promising, and resilient. We’ll be here to cheer her on every step of the way as she looks to make her 2021 resolutions a reality. February 4, 2021 • Jacob Terranova (THORNE)

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