It is important that the girls maintain a nourishing, healthy diet throughout the rowing season. The following link has some sensible nutrition advice for rowers: http://www.nestle.co.nz/asset-library/documents/nutrition.pdf
Jen Lancaster is an expert in the science of resilience. Here are her top tips to help our young rowers master stress and build resilience.
Stress is a great motivator for performance in the short term, like just before a race or an erg test. However, long term stress, whether it is physical, mental or emotional, sabotages your performance over time, such as during long term training campaigns or competitions.
We are now at the business end of our season when we are meant to be performing at our peak. However it is often at this time in our season, that we feel tired, low energy and stressed as the build up to this point has been taxing on us.
This happens to all athletes at some point, and it’s important to acknowledge where your resilience is at at the moment. If it’s low, there are a few things you can do to build it up again. It takes a little mindfulness, a dash of awareness and maybe some outside support.
SLEEP is imperative to stress recovery. Make sure you are getting 8 hours EVERY night. This is valuable time for your body to repair and rest, as well as for your mind and emotions to reset and download. Professional athletes never miss out on sleep at this point in their campaigns. They know one hour less a night can be the difference between first and second. Make sure to give yourself 15-30 minutes before sleep to unwind with no screen time. Read a book, listen to music, meditate or just vege out.
WATER is key to rehydrate the body and flush out toxins created from hard training and stress. Drink at least 2 litres a day. Try to spread it out over the entire day. For example have a glass of water every hour from 8-4 daily.
FOOD FOR FUEL rather than for comfort. Sometimes we are eating a lot of food but still feel sluggish and low energy. This can be because we are not eating necessary vitamins and minerals to convert that food into energy. The process of turning food into a fuel our body can use called Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). One of the most important essential vitamin families for this energy conversion is the B vitamins, specifically thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), and niacin (B3). The B Vitamins are water soluble (except B12), meaning they dissolve in water and what ever isn’t used is excreted daily. Which in practical terms means we need to eat a source of vitamin B1, B2 and B3 daily!
Eating things like beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, quinoa and tuna ensures we get a daily source of thiamine (B1). Riboflavin (B2) is found in foods such as leafy green vegetables, oily fish, almonds and eggs. Niacin (B3) can be found in beef, chicken, fish and mushrooms. Grains are also a good source of these B vitamins. When we are under stress we use a lot of adrenaline. Support your adrenal function by eating plenty of potassium, magnesium and manganese found in bananas, raw nuts and broccoli.
And finally vitamins A, C and E support stress at a cellular level so eat lots of bright coloured fruits and vegetables like capsicum, blueberries, beetroot, oranges and dark leafy greens like spinach and kale.
If you feel like your diet isn’t covering the bases try supplementing with B vitamin, C vitamin and magnesium. You will notice the difference immediately. A green smoothie can be a great way to get some of these vitamins in their natural form. Try this…Blend a handful of almonds first. Then add a banana, half an avocado, 2 handfuls of spinach, coconut water and ice. If you need it sweeter add a spoonful of agave syrup or honey.
RELAX AND REST Try to find time to relax and breathe! Get a massage, have a bath and take 10 deep breaths regularly. All these things help release muscle tension, increase circulation and relax us.