Kayak for fitness

So how many of you use your kayaks for fitness as well as pleasure. I am a long time cyclist and have conditioned myself over the years to squeeze as much fitness benefit from my activities as possible. Not in an obnoxious way but why not take advantage of an opportunity, huh? Those of you who do like the fitness aspect of paddling, do you use a GPS to keep track of your outings and do you tend to want to better your last outing? Is there a preferred GPS for paddling? I use a Garmin on the bike and LOOOOOVE it.

I am really thinking about adding paddling to my fitness regimen. I paddle a P&H Sirius that I have had for 5-6 years and am thinking of adding a Cetus or something similar as I prefer a boat with a bigger cockpit. I had a Current Designs Solstice that I sold as it seemed a little too sedate to me. I would like something with some speed an agility but with a cockpit that will accomodate my 6’2 200lb frame.


I fitness paddle some…
but I mostly bike for my fitness. I went through a phase where I fitnessed paddled and raced a bit. To tell you the truth, I just loved cycling more as a weekly fitness routine then fitness paddling.

I did buy an epic 18x for fitness paddling and I love the boat. It is a great boat for kayak camping trips because it holds a ton of gear. Plus, it is lightweight and fast. I took the 18x out this past Sunday for a 5 mile fitness paddle. I raced some cyclocross this Fall so I was looking for something different to do.

I have a garmin forerunner that I use to clock my speed.

There are others on the forum that do a lot more fitness paddling and racing that could better advise you.

I sure
do. I actually started kayaking as a non lower body form of workout after I broke my leg. Prior to that I was a long distance runner…who after sitting around a bit noticed the fat appearing and needed to do something!

I always have my garmin etrek on. I made the custom page to show distance,avg speed,max speed etc. I record every km on a log as well. I try to convince my wife that I paid only 20 cents a km for my LAST kayak to be able to buy a new one!

I have also used my garmin forerunner.

I went from all pleasure paddling
to probably 80% paddling for fitness. I find it hard to go slow these days. I take a big flat fishing kayak and pole when I want to slow down or else next thing I know I am cranking out the power. I often hook my wife up on the tow rope and just tow her kayak around. That way I can go much farther without her complaining about the distance. When we get to location, I disconnect and we paddle around and look at birds. Then I hook her up and drag her home at a pace much faster than she would go if left on her own.

I use a GPS when out for race practice. Ideally, I should be pushing myself to best my last session on a known course. I tend to go different places and different routes to keep practice fun. Not a good way to chart progress I know, but I am not practicing for Olympics, just practicing hard. One goal I have is to try to set a new top speed each time out. I usually throw in several sprint sessions once warmed up. I rarely succeed, but occassionally set a new high number for each boat. Highest ever on totally flat water is 7.74MPH. Good racers are laughing out loud now. I do my aerobic work after the sprints.

Solstice was sedate?
The solstice is the fastest boat I’ve owned to date. at 21.5 inches wide and 17.5 feet long with a straight hull I figured it was one of the fast ones?

Depends on how much “fitness”
your shooting for. I’m almost exactly your size I do triathlons with kayak legs so I bike, run, and paddle. If I were starting out paddling and wanted a fast stable boat I’d go Epic 18X or if your really serious I’d go V10 Sport. I have one they aren’t that much harder to learn on. Plus you can get a deal on them now used. I started out not liking the paddling leg, now it’s my favorite sport. I have a V12 now that’s alot of fun. And talking pleasure or fitness paddle, I think maybe 1 time I went out this year without some sort of a goal toward racing. And I think that was taking a new guy out to try out boats. Nothing wrong with going out and just enjoying the water for sure, just seems like I enjoys it more when it’s going by much faster. Whatever you choose enjoy it. Chaz

So, getting fit equals going fast?

How about paddling hard to get fit?

Get a Pun-GO! Big cockpit!

but having fun going fast motivates
I’ve heard the same argument about using a big heavy bike. But for many going fast is fun and seeing your speed become competitive with racers is rewarding and keeps you motivated. Still, I find that even if I paddle until totally exhausted I don’t get as much of an aerobic workout as I do with cycling I guess because cycling more fully uses the larger leg muscles. So best bet is to mix other sports along with paddling. But whatever gets you off the sofa is good.

That’s not totally true.
I"m still a better biker than paddler and as my form got better so did the workout. If you get a “race” boat and a wing paddle and start using proper form you’ll be just as shot from a hard paddle as hard bike. I’ve bonked kayaking just as bad as biking. With Paddling it just takes time to get good form and be able to stay upright. If you have money you can buy the best bike avalible and ride it same day. Without seat time you go out and buy the fastest boat you can afford and you’ll be doing as much swim training as paddle training. I learned the hard way. Jumped too soon to a tippy boat. Form and fun suffered. Chaz

not competivive
I’m 6’3’’ and about 195 (last time I checked) and use my Nordkapp LV for all around coastal paddling… I also do a lot of solo paddling to go at my own speed… I have a GPS but I pretty much know how fast I’m going… sometimes I still take it along to check on speed and distance…

I also run or ride a bike and participated in a kayak, bike, run sprint triathlon a few months ago and got 4th place in kayak and 12th over all, which is good for me.

The guy who won finished 12th in kayak leg.

If you are into it the really long racing kayaks were the only ones considerably faster.

When I first began fitness paddling
I found my body would burn out way before I could get my heart rate sustained. Just about the time I get the blood pumping, my torso and arms and shoulders were shot. So, I could not get the aerobic excercise I had hoped for. I am basically a body builder with not much endurance training. It took a whole season of paddling longer times to get where I could sustain the effort. So, it must work something different as I was fairly good condition from weight training. It helps me become a much more rounded athlete. Well actually, it is helping me become less round and that is good. But I hate aerobics, but love paddling, so this takes the drudgery out of that type of training for me. Much prettier chasin eagles than watching the tube on a stair climber.

Always have
If I’m paddling solo or with my better half, we average about 15-17 miles during the warm months.

I’ve found that the go-fast boats make fitness paddling harder to really accomplish, because they’re so efficient. If I want to work on endurance and burn calories, I take my Anas Acuta, and paddle her 20 miles, and try to keep up a normal cruising pace. Now THAT’S a workout! If I were to do the same paddle in my Recluse, I’d burn significantly fewer calories, but go faster.

I’d rather go faster further
and burn the same. If I wanted to go nowhere and burn the same calories I would chain myself in the bathtub and paddle till my heart exploded.

It was an accident
I didn’t mean to get fit…really. I set out to kayak just for pleasure. Then I found that the better shape I was in, the longer I could kayak and the more pleasurable it became. I find it much more pleasurable when it is easier. The more I did it, the easier it got.

Next thing I know…I’m FIT!

I HATE it when it does that.

boat recommendation
I paddle my sea kayak with a wing paddle for speed and fitness regularly, but i’m considering getting a more racing oriented design with a cockpit that allows for a knees up and together posture. My current boat’s cockpit is too short and narrow to get into that leg pumping posture and i feel it holds me back a bit.

You might want to consider that.

The difference is
when the seas kick up, the folks in the go-fast boats’ eyes often get as big as dinner plates and they head for shore as fast as they can, while my grin gets even bigger, and I head out for some fun and a great workout. Seen it happen many times (Though sometimes folks impress the hell out of me in them racing boats when things get interesting).

If a calorie burn is my goal, I go with the most inefficent boat in my quiver. If I want to cover distance or just go fast, I go with the most efficient. And if the waves are big, I go with one that shines in that environment. YMMV.

Sort of
I paddle a touring kayak. There’s a sub-group of us road bikers that got into the kayak thing. Luckily no one has purchased a surfski and started an all out arms race. We paddle touring kayaks. Tempest 165 for two of us and a QCC 700 for another guy. Sometimes we go easy and sometimes it breaks into a race. Sometimes we try to go very far in a day… 33 to 36 miles in the NC sounds.

I really like the Garmin MAP76. It’s waterproof. No need to keep it in some kind of bag. Added map detail is great for the coast.

For me, the kayak doesn’t give the workout that a competitive bike ride does but it’s a lot of fun. (I’m getting ready to bike right now)

Good stuff here

All my paddling increases fitness,
because I’m so out of condition to start with. Most of this last year, I spent most of my time zigging and zagging, rather than going straight for speed, following shorlines and exploring the maneuverability of my boats. I always felt worn out afterwards. The boats felt much heavier afterward. I didn’t use a GPS one time last season.

If you want fitness, then a rec boat…
Get the cheapest, widest, shortest, heazviest rec kayak you can find. Fitness is the goal correct?

Bill G.

Mt. Pleasant, SC