Handy hint - Avoid reverting to unhealthy eating choices by planning and organising healthy meals and snacks in advance.
Vitamins and minerals
To stay healthy and improve performance, rowers need a good intake of vitamins and minerals. All of these nutrients have different effects for the body. These guidelines do not go into depth about the different vitamins and minerals, but it is enough for rowers and parents to know that eating a variety of healthy foods (see below) will help rowers to meet their vitamin and mineral needs.
Thirst is not a good indicator of hydration. Even if they have hydrated well through a workout, a rower will most likely finish the workout with some degree of dehydration. MAGS rowers therefore need to have a large fluid intake, mostly from water. As a starting point, allow somewhere around 50 ml per kg of body weight (e.g. 3.75 litres for a 75kg rower). During rows, a rower should be drinking whenever they get the chance. In other sessions, 200ml every 20 minutes is ideal.
Moderation and balance
It is important to balance the intake of energy from food the rower eats with the energy expended through exercise. If the rower takes in too much energy it will eventually turn to fat and make them unhealthy and heavy. Rowers who take in too little energy will fail to make physical gains and have trouble recovering from workouts. In a balanced diet, about 50-55% of calories will come from carbohydrate, around 30- 33% from fat, and 11-15% from protein. However, these ratios change for growing athletes such as teenage rowers. About 2,500 extra calories are needed per week to build 500 g of muscle. MAGS rowers in training therefore need to have greater than normal daily intake of calories. This should mainly come from increased carbohydrate and protein, with fat intake being reduced to 20-25% of total calories.
MAGS Row believes that dietary supplements are largely unnecessary if a rower has a healthy and varied diet.
Junk food has zero value for the rower and inhibits physical and mental performance. Rowers usually find that the harder they train and the better they begin to feel about their health and performance, the easier it becomes to make positive food choices.
Alcohol inhibits a rower’s performance. It also turns to fat and disrupts recovery. In other words, rowers waste their recent training sessions every time they drink alcohol! Realistically it takes courage to turn down alcohol in social situations but rowers who can stick to positive, healthy nutrition and respect their bodies will benefit from better athletic performance.