Endurance Nutrition for Rowing

Standard Rowing World Championship:

Distance:
2000 m
Time:
5.5 - 7 minutes
Depending on:
boat class, weather/water conditions and experience
Requires:
technique, power and endurance


Although racing only lasts 5-7 minutes, training is intense and completed over a long period of months to cover all aspects of performance. Nutritional requirements will vary depending on weight class, however the level of importance for fuelling and recovery are equal. Due to the short race time, nutrition and hydration prior to the start line will have the greatest impact on performance.

GB Rowing using Science in Sport Endurance Nutrition Products

Importance of Carbohydrate Intake

Carbohydrate is the main energy source for moderate to high intensity exercise. Higher intake of carbohydrate is required during training months compared to the competitive season because of the duration and quantity of sessions. Reduced carbohydrate intake during competition is related to weight class, with the aim to control body weight. Low or depleted carbohydrate stores:

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  • Negatively affect performance 

  • Increase the amount of effort required at the same level of exercise intensity

  • Cause early fatigue

  • Increase overall race time

During training months when carbohydrate intake is high, the best strategy is to incorporate carbohydrate into meals (pasta, rice, bread) and add between meal snacks (SiS GO Energy Bars) or fluid alongside meals (SiS GO Energy). In training and competition it is best to consume pre exercise meals 2-4 hours before the start, this gives sufficient time for digestion yet will top up carbohydrate stores and hydrate e.g. porridge, fruit and SiS GO Hydro.

Importance of Hydration

In rowing, sweat rates (containing fluid and electrolytes) are commonly high during training and racing, reaching 1-2 litres per hour. If fluid is not replaced at an appropriate rate, dehydration can occur. This is particularly important when multiple sessions/ races take place in one day. Fluid loss as little as 2% in body mass (1.4 kg for a 70kg person) is enough to negatively impact performance by:

sis go hydro + caffeine cola flavour
  • Increasing body temperature / heart rate

  • Increasing glycogen (carbohydrate) usage at the muscles

  • Increasing perceived effort whilst working at the same exercise intensity

  • Early fatigue

Ensuring optimal hydration prior to training or racing, and when possible replacing fluid during (in training) is crucial. SiS GO Hydro is an electrolyte tablet containing appropriate amounts of sodium (0.7 g/L) for superior hydration. Alternatively, if energy and electrolytes are required, SiS GO Electrolyte is the optimal choice.

Caffeine

SiS GO Caffeine gels contain 75 mg of caffeine and can be consumed 1 hour prior to racing. Caffeine is commonly used to provide a physical and mental boost through its direct effects on the brain by improving reaction times and lowering our perception of effort for a given workload, making the exercise now seem easier.

Importance of Recovery

Recovery is a hugely important element of training and racing, especially when taking part multiple times daily. This usually requires planning ahead as cooking immediately after training or racing isn’t always practical. This is especially important as for optimal recovery this process should start within the 30 minutes post exercise. Recovery is crucial to:

Muscle recovery for endurance athletes
  • Restore carbohydrate

  • Initiate muscle recovery & adaptation 

  • Rehydrate

  • Avoid future performances being compromised

SiS REGO Rapid Recovery is a carbohydrate, protein and electrolyte blend, which is ideal for this time to initiate the overall recovery process. This should be followed by a meal when you get home.

➢ Always plan your nutrition ahead of training and racing, especially during multi day regattas. This generally involves bringing food and drinks supplies with you to ensure you will be sufficiently fuelled for the duration of the event.

References:

Cheuvront, S.N., Kenefick, R.W., Montain, S.J., & Sawka, M.N. (2010). Mechanisms of aerobic performance impairment with heat stress and dehydration. J Appl Physiol, 109, 1989-1995.

Sawka, M.N., Burke, L.M., Eichner, E.R., Maughan, R.J., Montain, S.J, & Stachenfeld, N.S. (2007). Exercise and fluid replacement. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 39, 377-390.

Steelingwerff, T., Maughan, R.J., & Burke, L.M. (2011). Nutrition for power sports: middle-distance running, track cycling, rowing, canoeing/kayaking, and swimming. J Sports Sci, 29 (1), 79-89.