Nutritional Information

Q & A: Catherine Norton, Sports Nutritionist

This is a partial extract from a question & answer session with with sports nutritionist Catherine Norton. Please click on the link below to read the full interview

1. What should the breakdown of food in terms of fats/ carbohydrates/ protein for rowers in order to support high training volumes? What should you be eating before and after training?

The recommendation for high performance sport / those engaging in frequent high intensity training would be that the carbohydrate contribution increases to ~65%, with a lower fat contribution and a protein intake between 15 – 20%. So YES – the breakdown of macronutrients should be different to the average Joe!

In general, athletes have a higher requirement for carbohydrates relative to other macronutrients. Carbohydrate should contribute most to total daily energy intake (in some cases in excess of 50% or even 60% dependent on training demands. What this means is consuming large portions of carbohydrates at each meal as well as in snacks between meals. Carbohydrates need to be nutrient dense; don’t focus on white pastas or jelly babies, rather on unprocessed starches and fruit and vegetables.

A rower can calculate a carbohydrate target in grams, and use food tables or information on food labels to plan to meet this goal. Even better, a rower can see a Sports Dietitian for advice to further narrow this target range according to his/her specific situation, and have an individualised meal plan fitted to their needs.


Recommended Carbohydrate Intake

Daily refueling needs for training programs less than 60‐90mins per day or low intensity exercise

Daily intake of 5‐7g per kg body mass.

Daily refueling for training programs greater than 90‐120 min per day

Daily intake of 7‐10g per kg body mass.

Daily refueling for athletes undertaking extreme exercise program: 6‐8 hours per day

Daily intake of 10‐12+ g per kg body mass.

Pre‐event meal

Meal eaten 1‐4 hrs pre‐competition 1‐4g per kg body mass.

Carbohydrate intake during training sessions and competition events greater than 1 hour

1g per minute, or 60g per hour

Rapid Recovery after training session or multi event competition, especially when there is less than 8 hrs until the next session

Intake of 1g per kg body mass in the first 30 min after exercise, repeated every 1‐2 hrs until regular meal patterns are resumed

Following endurance training, carbohydrates should be the focus of a recovery meal. However, in a training phase where the emphasis may be on increasing muscle mass, protein amounts and types should be given greater consideration in recovery.
Fat is a nutrient that all athletes need to make every effort to keep to a minimum at all eating occasion, but especially before engaging in activity.

2. What would you recommend eating before, during and after racing?

3. How would you recommend rowers manage during competition?

4. In terms of nutritional supplements, what is unnecessary and what would you recommend?

5. Any particular food items/ products you would discourage rowers from eating and why?

6. Could you recommend any further reading?

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