So it’s my junior year in college. I’m one of 2 returning members to our Varsity lightweight boat and we are out at the San Diego Crew classic for our first race of the season. We’ve trained so intensely all winter for this with everyone working extra hard for those last couple pounds since this was the first weigh-in of the season. One girl even chopped off her long hair before stepping on the scale. But in the end, we’ve all made it and with only one weigh-in for the entire weekend, we are free to eat at liberty. So off to dinner we go and I will never forget as we sat down at the table and the freshman decided to order fried mozzarella sticks. MOZZERELLA STICKS!?! We have a race in 12 hrs!!! Not only is that a poor performance enhancing choice for ANYONE, but some of these girls had really had to work to get to weight to begin with. As a result they were probably deficient in several nutrients already and now were replenishing with completely empty calories…
While this is only ONE story, I could probably come up with several more very similar to it (I can also recall a boat of eight rowers all sitting in a circle with giant Cinnabons) and I’m sure many readers could provide several of the like as well.
And so begins my quest. It has never ceased to amaze me how often rowers in general focus so much energy on lifting and training, equipment and race plans, but give very little attention to nutrition. As a result, I am hoping that the subject matter of this blog will be a great supplementary addition to the current mix of topics.
In no particular order, here’s an idea of subject matter that I plan to address:
- Caloric needs for a competitive athlete
- Processed foods
- The SUPER FOOD Alphabet – 26 or so foods guaranteed not to slow you down
- CREATIVE ways to eat nutritiously – quick & easy recipes
- Transfats, hydrogenated oils and label reading
- Electrolyte Imbalances - What happens with too much or not enough?
- The importance of dietary fat and what foods have healthy fats
- Dietary needs based on your sex
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Pre-race eating and proper hydration and recovery
- Vitamins & Supplements
- The Female Athlete triad
My goal is to make this page an interactive one though.
If readers request certain topics, I will try to address as many as feasibly possible.
Since I’m new to this blog party, I’ll share a little about myself. My name is Meg and I just completed a Master’s in Occupational Therapy. While I’ve only been rowing for 13 years, I’ve been a competitive athlete my whole life. COMPETITIVE??? Not to digress, but to give you an idea…I was the 6-yr old who actually kept track of the score of the T-ball games which naturally are ALWAYS supposed to end in a tie. Of COURSE I would ask the coach why it was a tie if our team had more runs. Fortunately for him, I was his daughter so he was able to bribe me to keep quiet with an extra ½ hour of TV and an “I’ll explain it to you later honey”.
ANYWAY, throughout my entire athletic career, I’ve always been interested in nutrition and eating for optimal performance. What I’ve learned though is that this is much easier said than done. Not only is there a lot of JUNK out there, but with a society dominated by the media, we are often lead to believe that certain foods that are so-called “HEALTHY” or “good for you” are nothing but junk and actually even visa-versa as well. In my lifetime carbo-loading, fat-free foods, energy shakes and Atkins have all been strongly encouraged as healthy forms of eating at one time or another. My goal is to assist in weeding out the myths to help everyone optimize making more educated dietary choices.
Additionally, when I became a lightweight and had to compete at a specific weight, it presented with some additional challenges as well. I’ve made A LOT of mistakes over the years, but learned something from every lesson. This past year in particular I learned several and came to discover how much of a difference certain nutrients can make with endurance, recovery and racing performance. Additionally, whether lightweight or heavyweight, competitive athletes and especially rowers have different dietary needs than the average American so following something such as the
…Oh and in case you were wondering how we did in that race after that cheesy evening. We came in third. A solid third. We lost to the same two teams just a couple weeks later as well. They continued to duke it out for the remainder of the regular season closing with even records against each other. And when IRA’s rolled around those two teams were deemed the favorites while we were not even considered to be in contention despite winning Gold at Dad Vail’s. On the eve of our final, we went out to dinner as a boat again after weigh-ins. This time though there were NO mozzarella sticks. Just salads, chicken or simple pastas. A funny thing happened the next day too. Not only did we upset both the favorites, but we went on to win the National Championship with a new course record for the event. Did our “healthy” pre-race meal make the difference? Guess we’ll never know for certain. What I do know for SURE is that our catch timing was the best that it had been all year…but whose not to say that eating right may have contributed to that? There’s no arguing though that the fried cheese back in early spring definitely provided no aid whatsoever.
Eat, Drink & Row Merry