Elite level rowers will typically train on the water between 1-2 times per day, plus aim to include strength and conditioning sessions at least 3 times per week, on top of additional indoor ergometer rowing and often road cycling. Consequently, the consumption of enough food is as much an issue as the overall composition and timing. Given the need for calories, often reported to be in excess of 4000 kcal, consuming 5/6 meals per day might be more advisable than the typical 3 meals.
The predominant macronutrient within a rower’s diet should be carbohydrate. The energy demands of regular rowing results in most energy being sourced from glycogen stores within the muscles and liver. High-energy, carbohydrate dense meals are crucial to a rower’s performance and maintenance of fuel stores.
As the demands of rowing can be significant, protein takes on a greater importance. Ensuring a positive protein balance and suitable recovery between training sessions, protein should be consumed throughout the day with all meals and snacks. Ideally, each protein serving would provide ~20-25g of protein.
Maintaining a state of hydration is important during training due to the volume completed. Drinking little and often is the standard recommendation, whilst the colour of urine (pee) is used to monitor hydration during the day. Urine colour should be pale/clear in colour; if it is yellow/dark then it is likely exercise will begin dehydrated which can adversely affect performance. All rowers should carry a water bottle around with them during the day.
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