Whether you prefer to launch out on a river or lake, rowing requires a massive amount of energy. Over the course of the day, you’ll burn thousands of calories transporting your boat and your body over water. To adequately prepare, you’ll need to properly nourish your body. Here’s what to do the day before a big row.
Focus on carbohydrates. This will be your body’s first resource for energy. Go for the slow-digesting carbs, like oats, whole grain bread, bagels, and starchy vegetables, like corn and potatoes. If you want to eat past, hold the fatty sauces and opt for marinara or another low-fat option.
Stay away from fat. Eating fatty, processed foods before a day on the water will leave you tired and sluggish. These are best saved for after your row.
Pack what you need. Hunger will strike you at the most inconvenient time, and you’ll need to have something on-hand to get through those tough moments. Be sure to pack more food than you need; having extra will be better than starving for several hours.
On your row day, here’s what you should eat.
Have breakfast. This is an easy thing to skip if you’re getting up early to get onto the water. Your muscles and metabolism will get the energy boost they need, so eat something as soon as you wake up.
Eat throughout the day. Going for long periods of time without food—primarily carbohydrates—is a bad idea, and it will chip away at your performance. If you start to feel hungry, eat. Don’t ignore your body.
Don’t experiment with new foods. If you react poorly to a food you don’t often eat, a boat in the middle of a lake or river is the last place you’ll want to be. Use tried and true foods you know you can easily digest while rowing.
Keep it clean. Row days are not the time for fast food and processed snacks. Stick with wholesome, real food, like fruit, whole grain breads, crackers, and nut butters.