Championship Wakeboarder, Larisa Morales, Shares Fitness Routine and Tips
Larisa Morales, “the girl who walks on water,” is a young wakeboarder from Mexico who recently turned pro while in the midst of attending the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Larisa began wakeboarding at the age of six thanks to her brother, Hector, who took her to her first wakeboarding session.
Larisa’s talents have won her numerous accolades at the IWWF World Cup in China (International Waterski and Wakeboard Federation World Cup), Pan American Games, and WWA Wakeboard World Championships.
Larisa shares insights on her aspiring professional career, her fitness routine, and tips for up-and-coming athletes.
Please describe your in-season and off-season fitness routines:
During competition season, I spend most of my time training in the water and get in 14 wakeboarding sets behind the boat per week. Once the sun sets, I focus on off-water training, specifically, cycling for cardio, core strengthening and mobility exercises. Before heading to bed, I try to do some yoga and stretch to avoid soreness the next morning.
In the off-season, it’s sometimes too cold to wakeboard, so I only do four sets per week. I still work on cardio, core strength and mobility, but also focus on my leg, back, and arm strength so that I won’t feel weak when the season starts.
Please share your top fitness tips for someone hoping to get in shape:
Stay active daily. Our ancestors did not need gyms to stay in shape, but they also didn’t spend all day sitting on a chair or lying in bed. I do jump squats every time I go up the stairs to my dorm room.
Plan ahead. If you leave it up to chance, you’ll end up saying no to exercise. Commit to something beforehand. Maybe agree to meet up with a friend, and don’t let that friend down.
How do you stay motivated to stick to your fitness goals, and what advice would you give others who are hoping to do the same?
I think positive reinforcement is important. The more I exercise, the more rested and energized I feel. This makes me want to keep exercising. I would recommend making your fitness routines part of your daily schedule, like going to work or class. If you start to get off track, you’ll feel tired and stressed because your body is adapting to a healthier way of living. Use that wacky feeling to get back into it!
Please describe your in-season diet?
I am currently training in a beautiful lagoon in Mexico called Xul-ha where everything is locally sourced. I start the day with water or tea and a little banana. Then, after our morning set we come in for breakfast which is eggs with spinach. Before joining my friends for their ride, I have a can of Sugarfree Red Bull. For lunch, I have a salad with lettuce, carrots and cranberries, with either meat or locally caught fish. In the afternoon, I snack on an apple with peanut butter. Dinner is light. I usually make myself a salad or eggs with ham, but somedays, I convince myself that I’ve earned one or two quesadillas.
What are your pre-competition/pre-session routine and rituals?
I try to keep it consistent for both pre-competition and pre-sessions. The more similar my competition is to my training, the more confident I feel. To warm-up, I start by doing jumps, squats and arm movements. I drink a Red Bull 30 minutes before I hit the water. The extra energy allows me to go big on my wakeboarding tricks and helps me focus in order to really bring it during the short 3 or 4 minutes that I have on the water. I also enjoy laying down at the dock, close my eyes and visualize my run.
How has your fitness routine changed since entering college?
Surprisingly, my fitness routine has improved since starting at the University of Pennsylvania. I live on campus and walk everywhere, and live on the fourth floor, so I have to take the stairs. We have several gyms on campus and in the dorms. Since it is so convenient, I spend more time working out than I used to, and the range of things I can do has expanded. Somedays I swim instead of cycle, or I trade a day at the gym for some time on the basketball court with my friends. I’m not very good at basketball, but it still makes me sweat, haha.
What athletes inspire you the most?
I had the opportunity to live with Dallas Friday, a pioneer in female wakeboarding, before I became a pro. She really is something else. Her dedication is incredibly inspiring, and I admire all she has done for wakeboarding and women in sports in general.
Rafa Ortiz is one of my favorite athletes in the world. I see him as a big brother and even though his sport, kayaking, is very different from mine, I can see he has a true love for his discipline. He is always looking for ways to inspire people to chase their dreams, even if those dreams are as crazy as he is.
Other college athletes inspire me as well. Student athletes train so hard while also attending class and maintaining good grades. Many of them train more hours a week than I do.
Please share some of your goals for 2017:
I want to represent my country well in the World Games in July. I will be traveling to Poland to compete, and I would love to see the Mexican Flag and hear the Mexican national anthem from the top of the podium.