Eating Like A Rower by Danika Kelly

Row17 Blog

So, you’ve decided to start rowing. 

-Sorry about that grocery bill.

We’ve all been there… that time you decided to eat before a rowing workout and regretted it with your whole soul… and then that next time you decided to not eat anything before your rowing workout…. and regretted it with your whole soul.

Rowing is a calorie intensive undertaking. Participants with heart rate monitors and fancy watches in my class regularly report burning in excess of 1100 calories.

Nope, I’m not joking.

Yes, I know that the average adult woman has a BMR of 1400 calories.

Remember that time I apologized about your grocery bill?

Learning how to not just manage but thrive in the intensity of a rowing workout takes practice and preparation… which includes taking the time to learn how to manage your food for pre- and post- workout.

So, here are some quick and dirty tips on how to manage your food:

  1. If you’re doing an early morning workout there are some concrete rowing traditions you can rely on for support…Just eat a banana, or if you’re a wimp like me, eat half a banana. Bananas are the bomb before a rowing workout and you can eat them relatively close to a workout… because no one is getting up extra early for a 6am class to cook a proper breakfast. Nope, nope, nope.
  2. Eat second breakfast. A banana (about 100 calories) is not a match for the workout you just did. Don’t fall into the trap of considering first breakfast the end of breakfasts. After your early morning row, you eat second breakfast like a proper hobbit would… and then elevensies… because you’ll definitely be hungry again.
  3. If you belong to the more sane group of humans who don’t get up incredibly early to row, congratulations on your sanity. Typically, it’s safe to eat about 90 minutes out from your rowing workout. What you eat depends on you! Be conscious of what you eat before your workout and how it impacts your performance in the studio. Over time you’ll discover fun things like: French fries feel like rocks in my stomach when I row, tomatoes feel like acid threatening to come up my esophagus, and apples are never, ever, ever allowed in my kitchen again. Fun!
  4. What’s my biggest piece of unsolicited advice? Eat food. Eat real, heavy, yummy, fun, nutritious food. A common second breakfast can look like: oats with chia seeds, hemp hearts, fresh berries, maple syrup and a splash of your (non)dairy of choice! Eat seasonal, fresh fruits and vegetables, as many as you want. Mitigate any oxidative stress from busting your peach in class with an increase in berries and other antioxidant rich foods… you’re welcome; I just justified that $6 blueberry pint purchase. Just make sure that you eat enough.
  5. Bonus tip: I’m so sorry to burst any bubbles with this tip… but I promise, it’s useful. You don’t need as much protein at a time as you think you do. No seriously. According to recent research, your body is going to efficiently uptake as much as 10 grams at a time, so spread out your desired daily intake and make it worth your body’s time. Eat delicious things.

Written for Row17 by crew member Danika Kelly