Row, Row, Row Your Boat…Sports Nutrition Tips for Rowers


It’s been a long winter, but the sun is getting warm and there are signs of spring here and there.  Time to think about getting back on the water!! Today I met with some teen rowers and their parents to go over sports nutrition tips for rowers.

·         Eat a generally well-balanced diet with plenty of carbohydrates for fuel.  Rowers need 5-7 grams of carbohydrate for each kilogram (kg) of body weight.  (Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kg.)

·         Be sure to eat enough calories to support your rowing  – it is a sport with a high energy demand.

·         Eat enough protein to keep your muscles fit. (1.2 – 1.7 g protein daily per kg of body weight.)

·         Stay hydrated!  You don’t always notice how much you are sweating if it is breezy and cool on the water.  Monitor the color of your urine to be sure you are staying hydrated.  It should be a pale color, like lemonade.  Check out this handy chart to assess your hydration level!

Regatta days can be challenging because of multiple heats and events. You won’t have much control over the timing of when you can eat.  Also, you don’t want to have a lot of heavy food in your stomach.  Fiber and fat slow down digestion, so for a race day choose leaner, lower fiber foods.  Here are some tips:

·         Use easily digested carbohydrates for energy.  Examples include pretzels, saltines, graham crackers, clear fruit juices, or applesauce. 

·         Choose lower fat proteins like yogurt, part skim cheese sticks, or tuna.

·         If competition makes your stomach jittery, try a liquid meal replacement like Instant Breakfast instead of a solid meal.

·         Experiment with a variety of foods during your training sessions so that when a regatta day comes you know what will keep you fueled and satisfied without any negative effects.

©2015 Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN

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