Sally is a remarkable role model for anyone chasing their dreams
– Layne Beachley, 7-time ASP World Champion
Sally Fitzgibbons is one of, if not THE fittest surfer on the women’s professional surf tour. She has been a fierce competitor and thriving athlete since a young age, playing a number of sports including athletics, soccer and cross-country running to a high junior level. She even has a mobile app coming out called ‘Train Like Sally’ to guide you through her fitness and workout routines.
Not only known for her fitness, Sally is recognised but that golden smile and her dominance within the ‘top 4’ women on the world surf tour. Her interest in fitness and diet has seen her transcend the surfing stage to appear in women’s health magazines across the globe.
With women’s surfing seeing an injection of funding, a growing global audience and an influx of fierce new talent, the level has increased ten-fold. The women on tour today have to step it up with vigorous fitness and training routines and following strict diets that allow them to perform at their optimum.
Sally Fitzgibbons is one surfer on tour that attributes her fitness and training to much of her success. She is a powerhouse both in and out of the water. Fellow surfers, competition commentators and event organisers repeatedly comment on her drive and determination. One day they hope, she will clinch the title of the world number one, female surfer.
I guess training day in, day out, to try and clinch the world title, keeps me in good shape…It’s all about making exercise a daily routine that you don’t think twice about in the end, you just attack and go do it!…You work your butt off and keep that smile on your face while you’re doing it
– Sally on her motivation to be world number 1 from an interview with She Surfs
In 2014, Sally shared her fitness and diet secrets in her first book “Live Like Sally’. More of an instruction manual then biography, Sally worked with surf journalist Lucas Townsend to discuss her beauty, fitness, diet and health tips. Up at 4am to get a cardio workout before her dawn surf when most of us are struggling to get out of bed, it is impossible not to regard Sally as huge health and fitness inspiration to women everywhere, whether you surf or you are trying to kick start a healthier lifestyle.
I love taking care of my health and wellbeing; it breeds positivity and happiness, inside and out
– Sally from ‘Live Like Sally’
A constant inspiration to us at Still Stoked, we had a look at the fitness, training and diet habits of the two time Bell’s Beach champion, hoping for ideas and tips to incorporate into our own lives and fitness routines.
Live your passion and never give up
– Sally Fitzgibbons
The early bird catches the worm:
Sally is an early riser. How else would you cram that much into a day? She formed this habit when she was 10 years old, so naturally it’s now part of her routine. It is not always easy when changing time zones or operating on very little sleep but she keeps her eye on the prize and reminds herself what her focus and goals are. In a telling interview with Yahoo Sports she spoke of the drive the gets her out of bed. It’s the big dream; the ultimate goal; the prize she hasn’t yet won that drives her day-in and day-out:
It’s all about training yourself and to go no matter what when you hear that alarm go—no excuses. Motivate yourself with an ultimate goal. For me it is doing everything I possibly can to win a world title.
What is Sally Fitzgibbons’ workout?:
Sally trains REALLY hard both in and out of the surf. It’s going that extra mile with her fitness and training that enables her to power through on competition day when she may have to surf 3 or 4 separate 30-minute heats.
She is always searching for that extra one percent to set her apart from her competitors, driven by the dream to one day take home that elusive world title that has just been out of her reach on three occasions (Sally came runner up to the title in 2010, 2011 and 2012). That’s what gets her up in the morning. That’s what makes her push that little bit harder then most. And that is what will make her a world champion one day. She wants it and she is willing to work hard for it.
While running is her go to work out, she mixes her training up with a variety of different cardio activities including biking, swimming, long open-ocean paddles and skating. She will do a heavy cardio session early morning and late evening. Running she describes as her main form of meditation out of the water:
Everything makes sense to me out on the road. It’s a mediative state and a sense of freedom
– Sally Fitzgibbons on running in her book “Live Like Sally”
Strength, conditioning and balance work are an important aspect of her training. This helps to injury-proof her body and prepare it for the beating that the ocean can serve when you wipe out. Yoga, pilates and weight-training in the gym, as well as mobility training with spiked massage balls and foam rollers compliment the huge amounts of cardio that she does.
Your mind will tell you to quit but you have to overcome those thoughts and smash out those burpees, because your body will love you for it and your mind will, too. I always try and smile while I’m doing the hard stuff; it tricks myself into thinking it doesn’t hurt.
Traveling all the time can be hard on your training routine and keeping up with fitness commitments you have made to yourself. In her book “Live Like Sally” she mentions always traveling with a swiss ball, a foam roller and a spiky massage ball, ensuring she has what she needs to stretch or maintain optimum mobility on the road. I
n an interview with Cooler magazine, she spoke of the best exercise advice ever given to her was by from 18-time women’s tennis grand slam champion, none other then Martina Navratilova. Martina said: “Champions always find a way to adjust and adapt to their surroundings”, and this is something that has stuck with Sally. When travelling, she knows she has to change her exercise routine and find ways to incorporate her surroundings into her training. If there is a far off point in the distance, why not run there and explore at the same time? She is mentions getting creative with her workouts and looking for opportunities in her new surroundings to motivate her in keeping her workouts fresh and different.
Sally smashing the gym then smashing the Bells Beach bowl:
What you didn’t know about Sally Fitzbibbons’ workout:
She doesn’t listen to music when training!
I don’t listen to music when I’m training outdoors or before my heats. I like to tune into my environment and give my brain a bit of break from constant stimulation. I use phones, computers and watch TV so it’s a good time to take a break and enjoy my environment.
– A surprising fact about Sally mentioned in her interview with Cooler Magazine
Sally takes us through her surfing warm up and stretch down:
Sally Fitzgibbons’ Diet:
I put the best into my body to get the best out of it
– Sally on her simple approach to healthy living, taken from her book “Live like Sally”
The cardio-heavy, early morning workouts that Sally starts her day with, dictate the types of food she eats first thing after waking up. Her body needs a strong source of protein so she can sustain the lengthy workouts or surfing sessions that kick-start her day. On rising, she fuels her body with fruit and eggs. Mid-morning she enjoys some of her mum’s homemade chicken soup (if at home, her mum makes a big batch that will last the whole week, full of veggies, chicken and stock). Check out our delicious healthy recipe for a clean, protein filled chicken soup. She discovered she was lactose intolerant in her late teens so keeps away from dairy products.
Toast with cooked banana, a little honey and scrambled eggs on top. Or a bowl of homemade chicken soup with loads of chunky veggies, with some grains in it too; barley, quinoa or soup mix and with a nice slice of wholemeal bread with avo on it.”
– Sally on her breakfast staples.
Snacking will always be on things ‘that last’, giving a slow release of energy. Nuts and fruit are her go-to snack of choice … and muesli bars.
I rise at five am for training and just grab some fruit for a quick snack before I get going.
Dinner is largely made up of “a huge serving of seasonal vegetables” with different “quality varieties of proteins” rotated over the week: chicken, red meat or fish (very similar to Kelly Slater’s diet). Rice or sweet potato are added to tie it all together. She confesses in her book that she hasn’t had a chip or french fry since she was 10 years old when she made a bet with her brother Si, that she couldn’t go a week without one. She is 24 and still hasn’t had one… a beautiful example of the willpower, drive and determination that will one day, most likely make her a world champion surfer.
Make Sally’s go-to fruit smoothie after a training session – originally published on Roxy Australia’s blog:
- 2 cups seedless watermelon, diced
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 1/2 cup strawberries, diced
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 tablespoon mint, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, chopped
Combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend on high until you have a smooth consistency. Enjoy!
How to “Live Like Sally”:
The way that Sally Fitzgibbons lives her life and chases her dream is a huge inspiration to anyone with goals, focus and drive. All men and women, surfers and non-surfers can take inspiration from her approach to fitness, diet and how she structures her life around reaching her goals. She has been dedicated to sport since she was a little girl and has found a way to keep that motivation through to her twenties, with huge success. Obviously the dream of a world title provides the fuel to Sally’s fire, however she is always motivated to be the best she can be. While she can not control what waves the ocean serves her in those crucial closing minutes of a heat, what she can control is her strength, her fitness and her attitude. Going that extra mile in the gym or being disciplined with what goes into her body, is what will one day set her apart from the rest. Distancing herself from her competitors and moving one step closer to lifting that world title that she is constantly striving towards.
#GoSally… You ROCK. We are all routing for you!!!
A smile will take you the mile. Love what you do and make the most of every moment!
– The mantra of Sally Fitzgibbons
Find out more about Sally Fitz and follow her on her path to that world title on the links below. Make sure you also pick up a copy of her book “Live Like Sally”, available at all leading book stores.
For more surf athlete inspiration, check out our article on Kelly Slater and his diet, fitness and approach to sustainable living. If you’re after running shoes, check out a huge range and reviews at Runnerclick.com