My Weekly Workout: Anna Jerstrom

What gets the hardcore surfer and bathing suit designer out of bed at 5:30 a.m.—besides chasing swells? Read on.

When Los Angeles-based surfer Anna Jerstrom created Calavera, her line of sexy, wave-ready swimwear, she was thinking about women who live for the water—specifically, herself.

And while pro surfers have fallen hard for won’t-fall-off suits for years, others are just catching on to their appeal—from SUP devotees to beach boot camp lovers, and even lazy sunbathers—which means Jerstrom’s been busy expanding the line and its reach. This fall, she launched a fabulous one-piece collection and started launching in surf-centric countries like Australia.

Of course, making swimsuits that function in the water means spending a lot of time testing them out on a board. Jerstrom prepares for the task with running and high intensity interval training. But in the end, it’s mother nature that really puts her to the test. “Surfing during a swell is probably one of the hardest workouts you can put your body and mind through,” she says. “[I train] so that I can perform in the water and get my moments of pure bliss dancing on the wave.”

Here’s what a typical workout week looks like for the early-rising, wave-riding designer. —Lisa Elaine Held

Monday, 5:30 a.m.: The surf has been flat for what feels like forever, but there is finally a big swell on its way. Time to start preparing for Friday’s predicted eight-foot waves with some cardio. My normal running route is five miles with five hills to climb, but I’ve had a cold, so I only make it a little more than half way…oh well.

Tuesday, 5:30 a.m.: WaveShape time! Adam Rosante, the Calavera girls’ trainer, created this workout to make sure we’re keeping our bodies and minds ready for the next swell, and while I curse him during the 25 minutes of high intensity circuit training, WaveShape has done the trick—I seem to have kicked my cold!

Wednesday, noon: It might sound weird, but I’ve never been a strong swimmer or learned how to properly freestyle swim; I default to the ol’ head-above-water breaststroke. So Calavera ambassador and competitive swimmer, Kim Menaste, gave me a lesson a few days ago, and now I am loving laps on my own! It turns out that when you do it right, it’s a challenging way to cross train on flat days.

Thursday: I’m giving myself a rest day to make sure I am in tip-top shape tomorrow. Eight-foot waves are no joke, and I haven’t surfed in over a month. I used to live in Costa Rica and trained four hours a day, but I got so exhausted my body would shut down. That’s how I learned the importance of rest and recovery. Today is a day of good food, a good book, and good sleep.

Friday, 5:30 a.m.: It’s hard to explain the feeling you get as a surfer when a swell arrives. It is like being 6 years old and having Christmas and your birthday all in the same day…while a horror movie is playing in the background. There’s intense excitement and anticipation, with a dash of apprehension and fear. I surf today for as long as my arms and legs will carry me!

Saturday, 5:30 a.m.: The swell is still pumping, so I try to minimize use of my (extremely sore) arms while getting prepared to paddle out for another session. But once I hit that water all soreness dissolves. How amazing is it that I can get the most incredible workout and attain the most incredible sense of joy at the same time? After two hours in the water my body is desperate for fluids and food (and warmth), and I know I have about 30 minutes to replenish before the adrenaline leaves my body and renders me completely incapable of moving. A really good surf session is always followed by a really good nap!

Sunday, 5:30 a.m.: Is there any part of my body that isn’t sore? Unfortunately for my taxed muscles, but fortunately for me, there’s still some swell left, so Scrappy (my favorite surfboard) gets packed up along with my trusty suit and off we go to the beach. I send a thankful thought to Adam for “forcing” me through WaveShape—the endurance I build in those sessions means I’m able to keep paddling out and performing in the water. I really rely on my body to do what I so deeply love, both in and out of the water. A strong body equals a strong mind!

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