Tag: training

Q&A Training & Nutrition

Question of the Day

Best athlete diet tips? Not like losing weight but like eating healthy because I’m having a hard time doing it and getting my mom to buy that type of food and stuff.

Talk to your mom. Explain to her that you’re an athlete, which hopefully she already knows, and because of that you need to be eating healthier foods. The amount of exercise you’re getting through practice, in addition to regular daily living, puts a ton of stress on your body. The only way your body can deal with that kind of stress if by ingesting foods that will help repair the damage done through exercise as well as continuing to fuel it properly so it’s got enough energy to get you through your activities. Ask to go shopping with her so you can pick out the foods you want. Educate yourself on what foods would be good to get, that way when she asked “why do you need that” you can give her a REAL answer, instead of “I donno, it looks good”. If the costs are an issue, offer to contribute $20 or $30 towards your part of the groceries. Do what you have to do to make her understand that this is important to you and you want her support in eating a healthier diet.

Eating healthy in general…

First and foremost, don’t skip breakfast. I know it’s tempting sometimes but don’t do it.

Ideally, you should try and aim for 5-6 meals a day. Try and eat a good assortment of foods throughout the day so that there’s never any point where you’re like “I’m starvinggg”.

If you get a craving for a Reeses, eat the Reeses. Don’t deprive yourself but know when to cut yourself off.

Eat a small snack before your practice(s), especially if they’re in the morning, so that you can kick start your system. After practice, have a good breakfast/lunch/dinner to replenish your body.

Remember, you are what you eat, literally. What you eat becomes your organs, skin, muscles, etc. As an athlete, think of what you want your body to be made of. What will give it the necessary nutrients it needs to allow your performance to be at it’s optimum level?

To save time, I took a screenshot of a mock training/nutrition program I had to make over the summer. This was made with collegiate athletes in mind who are training over the summer for competition, but for the purpose of sharing appropriate foods to be eating, this does the trick. Hopefully it’ll give you a good idea of some healthy foods to eat.


Bottom line is, if it’s an important to you, you’ll figure out at way to make it happen. If it’s not, you’ll find excuses. Don’t let your mom be an excuse. Have a (mature) conversation with her and help her to see where you’re coming from and why this is important to you.

How to Survive Winter Training: Passing the time with music + TV

Ergs Training & Nutrition

How to Survive Winter Training: Passing the time with music + TV

Previously: Rowers || Coxswains

Does anybody actually like erging, especially in the winter? Everyone’s always wondering what they could do to make them easier or at the very least, more bearable. To make them easier, that’s simple – get stronger, build your endurance, and turn that voice in your head that says you can’t do it off. To make them bearable, you’ve gotta get creative.

There’s no shortage of good playlists on Spotify (you can follow me here) but you can also find good ones on the rowing sub on Reddit if you just search “playlists”. Podcasts or audiobooks are another good thing to listen to if you’re into that. Another thing if you’re on your own and doing a long steady state piece is to put Netflix on and erg while you catch up on shows, movies, documentaries, etc. If you’re into sports, watch a basketball game. You can take a 20 at a few splits below your current pace whenever there’s a time out, a player gets fouled, etc. It’s up to you how you do it.

Now, as a disclaimer: not all coaches are OK with their rowers listening to music (either on the stereo or their iPods) while they’re erging at practice so most of these suggestions might be best saved for on-your-own workouts. Some think that if they’re focusing on their music then they’re not focusing on the piece or they just can’t stand your taste in music so they avoid having to listen to it by banning music altogether. All of my coaches in the past have been cool with us playing music but make sure you ask first and be cognizant of other people who might be in the boathouse – don’t have the music up all the way to the point where a trying to have a meeting with their team has to shout over the noise.

Image via // @brianrenesorenson

College Q&A Rowing Training & Nutrition

Question of the Day

I’m 5foot 7inches and I am a heavyweight right now. I weigh 155. Should I consider losing weight to be a lightweight since I’m sort of short to be a heavyweight (compared to the other girls on my college team)?

My initial thought when reading this was no, mainly because 25lbs seems like a lot of weight to lose before the spring season (assuming you mean you want to be a lightweight THIS spring). The reason I say that is because you’d have to lose around 6-8lbs/month between now and March to be at or close to 130 by the time the racing season starts. With the holidays coming up and the major overhaul you’d have to do to your diet/exercise routine, I just don’t think it’s practical. Not that it couldn’t be done, because I’m sure it could be … but like I said, it doesn’t seem practical.

If you’re actually set on doing this and have a goal to be a lightweight NEXT year, that sounds more reasonable because not only are you giving yourself a decent chunk of time to lose the weight, but you’re also giving yourself time to get used to a healthier diet (because you just cannot maintain that weight and vigorous workout regime without a healthy diet). You’ll also have a substantial amount of time to build up your muscle mass, which is critical as lightweight.

You obviously know your teammates better than I do and know what your coach looks for in the rowers so I would talk to them and see what advice they have. My guess is they’ll probably tell you to just stick it out as an openweight, which can be tough at first if it means you’ll “peak” in the 2V or 3V but your health is the biggest factor here and it all comes back to whether or not transitioning to a lightweight is a viable option.

Video of the Week

Video of the Week: Gold Fever

This video is from a BBC documentary series called “Gold Fever”. It was filmed over the course of the four years leading up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Steve Redgrave, Matthew Pinsent, Tim Foster, and James Cracknell all had personal video cameras that they used to record video diaries during those four years. You see Steve dealing with his diabetes diagnosis, Tim dealing with all his surgeries and the possibility of not making the final lineup, and many other things.

One of the things I love most about this series is how intensely they take the sport but also how vulnerable they are to the same things that HS and collegiate athletes are vulnerable to. These guys hate getting up in the morning just as much as we do sometimes, but they still get up and do what needs to be done. The way they attack those erg pieces and just fall off the ergs in exhaustion afterwards…that’s dedication.

In the end, the four ended up winning the gold and Steve Redgrave won his FIFTH straight Olympic gold medal.

High School Q&A Training & Nutrition

Question of the Day

Hi I’m a sophomore in high school and this is my second season rowing (I’ve rowed all fall and part of summer but also rowed last fall but couldn’t row in the  last spring due to an illness). I’ve fallen completely in love with rowing and my ultimate goal is to race at the Head of the Charles my senior year. My team is quite large with four varsity girls 8s and I’m on the novice team right now. Next year and my senior year I’ll be on the varsity team. My team only sends the top varsity girls 8 to the HOCR and even though it is so far away, do you think it is possible for me to meet that category even though I will have only had three years of rowing experience? Does my not rowing most of freshman year put me at a dramatic disadvantage, even though I plan to row every season until then (most people on my team don’t do summer)? Thanks!!

Given the fact that you’ve already rowed for two fall seasons plus the summer and have two fall seasons ahead of you, I think you have plenty of time to work towards making the top 8+. Missing that one season is not going to hurt you – did you know most Olympians didn’t start rowing until college? That’s FOUR YEARS of experience they missed out on and look how many of them are carrying around medals right now. If you put in the effort, which it sounds like you’re willing to do, that one season off is not even going to be noticeable.

Your dedication is evident so that makes you look pretty favorable to your coach because he/she knows that you’re willing to do the work without them telling you to. What is the “top 8+” based on? Erg scores? Seat racing? If you don’t know, I would find out. My guess is that erg scores will play a role, as will seat racing.

Here’s a few other suggestions…

Spend as much time on the water as you can during the fall, spring, and summer. Optional workouts? Go. I guarantee your competition (the other girls on your team and the crews you’ll be racing against) aren’t wasting any opportunities, so neither should you.

Work on your 5k/6k erg times. What are the times/splits that the girls in the top 8+ this year have? That should give you a good idea of what your coach is looking for. Don’t try and take 45 seconds off your time right off the bat either – the longer you do something, the less time that’s going to come off so you won’t be able to drop a ton of seconds like you did when you first started erging. Don’t be discouraged by that, just keep in mind the splits your coach is looking for and work towards them.

Set goals for yourself – short term goals (for the week), medium goals (for the month), and long term goals (for the season). Write them down and put them somewhere where you’ll see them frequently so you can remind yourself of what you’ve gotta do.

Get in the gym if you can, at least 2-3x per week. The only way you’re going to be stronger on the erg and more importantly, on the water, is if you build up your muscles. Legs, back, and arms all contribute to overall power, but having a strong core really helps your technique and to prevent injuries so don’t forget to work that too. Make sure you know how to properly perform any exercises you do before you do them in order to avoid injury, as well as knowing how much weight you can handle. In the fall you should focus more on endurance, meaning low weights, high reps.

Make sure you give yourself rest days so that your body can recover. You’re tearing muscles when you exercise and they need those off days in order to repair, adapt, and get stronger.

Cross train. Swim, bike, or run for at least 30 minutes 1-2x a week. This helps improve your cardio and prevents your body from getting bored.

On top of all that, talk to your coach after practice and spend some time asking him what he thinks you need to do over the next two seasons to eventually make it in that top 8+. Ask him where he thinks you can make some improvements and then ACTIVELY work to make those changes happen. Being coachable will work wonders for getting you what you want. Don’t get complacent either. It’s easy to forget about your goals when they’re something that’s far in the future. Take breaks every now and then and give yourself time to relax, but when it’s time to train, focus and do the work.

Ergs Novice Q&A Rowing Training & Nutrition

Question of the Day

I’m freaking out about novice tryouts. I’ve never done a 5k before and I heard we have to do one!! What should I do to prepare?

In the fall, you will do LOTS of steady state workouts – they’re part of the training for head race season but also a good way to test your overall endurance. It’s hard to prepare yourself to do well on a 5k if you only start prepping a week or two ahead of time so keep that in mind.

My suggestion is that once your coaches have taught you how to row with proper technique, just get on the erg. Start off doing a 5k piece as a baseline to see what your time is with NO preparation ahead of time. Use that number to work off of. Throughout the next 4-5 days, do some pieces that work on your endurance. Also do some core workouts and make sure you put in a rest day or two. Don’t burn yourself out before the season gets started.

Long pieces like 5ks are a totally different animal than your standard 2k. They require intense mental preparation and the ability to pace oneself. It’s easy to fly and die with any erg test but especially with 5ks. Once you hit about 4000m, you’re gonna start hitting that wall and think “I cannot physically do this anymore”. The body of long races and pieces like this are where rowers are made though – they show how mentally tough you are. Can you push yourself past that wall or are you going to let it beat you? That last 1500, start to slowly bring up the rate. Get ready to sprint. Push that split down a little bit more with each stroke. When you get to 500m left, let loose. Everything you got left goes into that 500. Find your rhythm and sustain it. Don’t back off. A 1:55 split hurts just as much as a 1:57 – the only difference is that you’re done sooner.