Crew is an intense sport, and rowers need to eat well to just survive their grueling workouts and training. I spoke to members of the Boston University crew team to find out how they prepare for a big race like Boston's famous annual Head of the Charles Regatta. You don't have to be a rower to find their favorite food tips and tricks useful, try them for your next workout.
Train mean, eat clean.
To race well, you have to train well. But to train well, you have to eat well. This means lots of protein and superfood-packed meals before practice. And of course, lots of energizing snacks like these ones. The BU crew team loves nut butters, trail mix, rice cakes, and applesauce.
Some of their other favorites come as no surprise to the already health-conscious community. "My favorite things to eat are oatmeal, peanut butter, and a banana, maybe with Greek yogurt too," said Leigh Shanor, a member of BU's crew team.
The best pre-race meals are big on protein.
A race is all about power, so it's important for rowers to fuel themselves with good foods that give them long-lasting energy. That means lots of protein, whole grains, and veggies. If animal protein isn't a rower's thing, vegetarian meals can be packed with protein to get ready for a race.
"The night before I race, I usually eat pasta with marinara sauce and chicken with a side of broccoli," Leigh Shanor told me, "or chicken, veggies, and a lot of rice."
The BU crew team also recommends quick fuel like Chia Pod or almond milk. Check out these chia seed recipes to prepare for your next breakfast and make the crew team proud.
You're done. Now what?
After a killer race, it's important to keep the good vibes going. Reward your body with nutritious foods that help speed up the muscle recovery process. The end of a race doesn't mean the end of hard work for a rower, as they still have to go to practice the next day and prepare for their next race.
Leigh Shanor likes shredded sweet potato with eggs and spinach as a recovery meal. The health benefits of sweet potatoes, the high Vitamin K content in spinach, and the protein found in eggs are all excellent for helping your body recover from a tough race.
But wait, they also get balance.
Rowers know the importance of rewarding yourself with treats that aren't quite as healthy sometimes, especially after a race. The favorite treat of BU's rowers is frozen yogurt, but cookies and gummy bears rank up there too. It's important to treat your body with the proper foods to replenish essential nutrients, but treat your soul with foods that make you smile.
Even though crew season is coming to a close, the Boston University team deserves a round of applause for their eating habits and a great season. While eating well is a great start, don't forget that you don't have to be a rower to get the most out of your workouts.