Big Wave Surfer
Laird Hamilton was born in San Francisco and grew up in Hawaii. As a young child, he became fast friends with big wave surfer Bill Hamilton. He introduced Bill to his mother, the two later married and Bill adopted Laird. Laird Hamilton was always physically active. He started surfing at a young age and he was always a risk-taker, doing things like jumping off 60-foot cliffs when he was only 7 years old. When he was 17, Hamilton was discovered by a photographer in Kauai, and this turned into a modeling contract. He was also an accomplished surfer by this time, although he was never crazy about the professional circuit and eventually rejected it. Hamilton appeared in a few movies, including North Shore and Moving Target. He was also Kevin Costner’s stunt double in Waterworld. Hamilton was a co-innovator of the technique of towing a surfboard to huge waves. He holds many surfing records, and some of his feats have been recorded in the documentary films, Riding Giants and Take Every Wave. He has also experimented with the foilboard, he popularized kitesurfing and he is a proponent of stand-up paddle surfing, calling it a return to the traditional Hawaiian way. Hamilton is the co-creator and co-founder of XPT Life, a training program to improve athletic performance. He has also written or co-authored a couple of books, Force of Nature and Liferider, about his life, resilience, diet and relationships. Hamilton has hundreds of thousands of followers on social media. He is married to professional volleyball player and model, Gabby Reece.Hamilton is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs about 172 lbs.
Laird Hamilton’s Diet
Hamilton is open to trying new things whether in his diet or in life more generally. He keeps what works and pitching the rest. Hamilton used to follow an alkaline diet which is based on the idea that the foods we eat influence the pH balance in the body, but he has since changed his approach and eats more fats, including from animal sources. He mostly avoids sugar, including sugar from fruit, although he will use a little honey. Hamilton has his own line of supplements called Laird Superfood, which includes things like ‘creamers’ that are said to take your morning coffee to the next level with ingredients like coconut oil, red marine algae, and turmeric. Other supplements include hydration formulas, instant fuel, and performance mushrooms.
- Medium Carb 30% 30%
- Medium Fat 40% 40%
- Medium Protein 40% 40%
Hamilton sometimes starts his day with baking soda dissolved in water, which is meant to prevent the build-up of lactic acid in muscles. Throughout the day, Hamilton will have kombucha and a drink made from apple cider vinegar and turmeric, both of which are high in antioxidants.
Maximize Your Coffee
Hamilton says we all love our morning coffee because it makes us alert, but you may not be getting the most out of it unless you add some fats in the form of grass-fed butter, MCT oil or red palm oil. Hamilton puts in all three, and sells nutrient-boosting coffee creamers in flavors like turmeric, chocolate mint and everything in between.
Bring On the Bacon
After his morning workout, Hamilton will refuel with some form of protein. Sometimes it’s bacon and eggs, or if he’s in the mood for something lighter, it might be quinoa oatmeal, yogurt and nuts.
Meat & Two Veg
Hamilton’s meals are straightforward, even old-fashioned. Lunch might be fish with a salad and another side vegetable such as roasted cauliflower. Dinner could be beef stew with veggies.
What to Eat
Red palm oil
Apple cider vinegar
What to Avoid
Fruit (small quantities only)
Hamilton on Breakfast
‘It blows my mind that people skip breakfast.’
Hamilton on his Approach to Diet Trends
‘When things don’t have an effect, I stop using them.’
Hamilton on Going Overboard with Restrictions
If you eat cake and Ho Hos, and that’s all you eat, that’s what your body uses to regenerate cells, that’s what your body uses to grow. All of your tissue is eventually going to be made out of evervything you eat.
Laird Hamilton’s Fitness Routine
Weekly Workout Routine
Hamilton does a killer circuit workout that lasts 1.5-2 hours, 3 days per week.
Get Out Into the Great Outdoors
Hamilton isn’t a gym rat and spends a significant amount of time exercising outside.
Mad About Biking
Hamilton may seem like he’s part fish, but he loves to hit the hills with his mountain bike.
Rest Day, Sort Of
Saturday is Hamilton’s rest day, unless the waves are breaking nicely, in which case he grabs his surfboard. He’s also a fan of ice baths for recovery, or at least cold ones.
Hamilton’s circuit training routine is extensive. He’ll work the whole body, picking some 20 different exercises and does enough sets to get 100+ reps in.
Hamilton regularly does a 2+ hour mountain bike ride. A short ride for him is one that lasts less than 2 hours.
Sand & Sea
After his bike ride, Hamilton will hit the beach and do sand training, followed by a water activity, whether it be regular surfing, kite surfing, wind surfing or something else he’s dreamed up.
Hamilton says learning proper breathing techniques can really enhance performance. It also puts you in a meditative state.
A Laird Hamilton Routine
Circuit training: 1.5-2 hours
Mountain bike: 2 hours
Sand training: lunges, sprints, log pulls, etc.
Water activity: surf, stand-up paddle board, etc.
Circuit training: 1.5-2 hours
Bike: 1.5 hours
Thursday: 2.5 hours
Circuit training: 1.5-2 hours
Bike: 1.5 hours
Rest unless the waves are calling.
Bike: 2.5 hours
Hamilton on Quitting
‘Quitting: easy. Daring to triumph: hard.’
Hamilton on Why He Lives in Hawaii
‘You lie in your bed and try to sleep but you can feel the waves building. When an 80-footer breaks, the foundation of the house trembles. That’s why I live on Maui: the waves comes to you. It’s my job to be ready for them.’
Hamilton on Peaking
‘It’s not a point, but a plateau. Your peak isn’t really a product of your body, but of your enthusiasm. I intend to live on that plateau for a long, long time.’
Hamilton on Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
It’s the best core workout. It’s also good for balance and flexibility.’
Laird Hamilton’s Supplements
Hamilton adds medium-chain triglycerides to his am coffee. MCTs are easier to digest making them readily available for energy and can help with weight loss, amongst other benefits.
Coconut oil contains a lot of MCTs, and other nutrients that tame the appetite, promote fat-burning and kill harmful microorganisms. Hamilton puts coconut oil in his morning coffee.
Red Palm Oil
For those who are allergic to coconut, red palm oil is another good source of medium-chain triglycerides. Hamilton uses a blend of oils in his morning coffee.
Hamilton is a fan of mushrooms and has his own blend of Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga and Maitake to increase mental sharpness, energy and immunity.
Hamilton is a fan ofand has his own blend of Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Chaga and Maitake to increase mental sharpness, energy and immunity.
Although he’s moved on to his version of bulletproof coffee for his am fuel-up, Hamilton was once a big fan of the alkaline diet and used to always make a shake with organic green powder that is rich in antioxidants, probiotics, phytonutrients and fiber.
Along with his organic greens, Hamilton would add an antioxidant-rich vitamin C powder that fights viruses, damage from free radicals and supports collagen production for more youthful skin and connective tissues.
Muscle Milk is a protein meal-replacement that also contains vitamins. Athletes like Hamilton drink it to help recover from intense workouts and to burn fat.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Hamilton drinks a decoction of apple cider vinegar most days. Apple cider vinegar offers many health benefits, from killing harmful bacteria to lowering blood sugar and protecting against cancer.
Turmeric offers powerful health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, improved brain function, and a reduced risk of heart disease and many more.
Omega-3, -6 and -9s are all important fats that support the healthy function of the brain, heart, and metabolism amongst many other things.
Laird Hamilton’s Lifestyle
Shoot for Seven
Hamilton recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night to support recovery from intensive exercise. He himself needs about 9 to be at peak performance. Hamilton uses a chilling pad under his sheets and drinks chaga mushroom tea to help reduce inflammation.
Hamilton says you shouldn’t avoid things you’re not good add because you’ll always be limited by your biggest weakness.
Find Your Tribe
Hamilton says the company you keep is one of your biggest assets—or liabilities. Make friends with people who prioritize healthy habits.
Release That Adrenaline
Hamilton is obviously a big fan of adrenaline, but he says we also need to release it or else it undermines your health. His recommendation is to do something that scares you.
Hamilton once saved the life of a fellow surfer by using his shorts to make a tourniquet for a friend who had gashed his leg while being towed out to a wave.
In a storm in Hawaii that caused severe flooding and mudslides in 2018, Hamilton spent days using his boat to rescue over 75 people. He would get up at 4 am and work until sundown.
Laird on Life
‘If you can look at one of these waves and you don’t believe that there’s something greater than we are, then you’ve got some serious analyzing to do and you should go sit under a tree for a very long time.’
Laird on Maximizing
‘I think the key to happiness is maximizing each day. So if you’re unhappy, here’s a simple prescription: live harder.’
Laird on Self-Sabotage
‘Make sure your worst enemy doesn’t live between your own two ears.’
Laird on Finding Your Way
‘Your path is yours alone. And if it’s the path less traveled, that’s absolutely fine. The world doesn’t need more conformists.’
Laird on Imagination
‘Don’t be afraid to really use your imagination. Let it run wild. It’s one of the most powerful tools you’ve got.’
Force of Nature
Extreme Performance Training (XPT Life)
Catie’s Organic Greens
Catie’s Vitamin C Plus
Muscle Milk protein powder
Udo’s Oil 3-6-9 Blend