Indoor Sport Services Training Guide
Our Indoor Rowing Training Guide is the ultimate training resource for the Indoor Rower. Written by top education and coaching specialists, it includes information on technique and training, with programmes on cross-training, 2,000m and marathon race training, weight management and keep fit. There are guest chapters written by top names such as Jurgen Grobler and Chris Shambrook as well as dedicated sections on psychology, nutrition and weight training.
Nutrition and Weight Management - Gearoid Towey and Tony O'Connor<< Losing Weight Without Losing StrengthTom Kay >>
Gearoid Towey and Tony O'Connor were the 2001 Lightweight Pairs World Champions. They have set out below the strategy that they employ when coming down to weight for a competition.
Gearoid has been an international lightweight oarsman since 1995, representing Ireland in almost every boat class. He raced the lightweight coxless four at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Tony has been an international lightweight since 1993 and has represented Ireland in sweep rowing at nine World Championships. He has raced the lightweight coxless four at two Olympics and has five medals from World Championships.
"In the winter we allow ourselves to get up to 76kg but no higher if at all possible. From Christmas onwards we become more conscious of what we eat and try to cut out fatty foods, for example only using skimmed milk. This allows us to come down to 73kg without much difficulty. When we start to come down to weight it is important not only what we eat but when. Normally, after a long distance or a high energy usage session, we would try to eat within 20 to 30 minutes something high in simple carbohydrates. After a weights session we try to have a high protein intake in the first 20 minutes, for example a pint of milk. Whenever possible we avoid eating immediately before bed and preferably eat before 8pm. About three weeks before the first weigh-in we begin to be very careful about what we eat, avoiding crisps, chocolate and other luxuries whilst maintaining a low fat but high energy diet.
On the week of the race we aim to be a maximum of 1.5kg overweight; we then control these last 1.5 kg with food and drink intake. In the last two days the most important thing is how much the food and drink you consume weighs, so we tend to eat pastas and cereal bars in small quantities. Lots of lightweights eat salad in the week before the race but this actually retains water and means that it is then harder to get down to weight. We feel it is much better to eat small amounts of higher energy foods that prepare you better for your race.
The night before the race we aim to be 1kg over weight. Of this it is normally possible to lose 0.6kg overnight whilst sleeping and lose the remaining 0.4kg in the warm up paddle.
It is important to be well prepared at the weigh-in. We normally take two bottles of sports drink each and three bread rolls with jam. This means that as soon as we have weighed in we can replace as much energy and fluids as early before the race as possible. We try and eat these slowly as if you bolt them down you often feel sick. We then sip water right up until we boat and take a waterbottle with us. During the two hours between weigh-in and racing we normally consume about 1.5 litres of water each. During the last two days it may be necessary to become slightly dehydrated, this is preferable to not eating as you can replace lost fluids in the two hours after weigh-in but cannot make up for days of insufficient energy intake."
When asked whether they do weight training in the lead up to a regatta Gearoid and Tony commented:
"As lightweights we never aim to gain weight through doing weight training because we do not tend to do the eight to 15 reps weights and so do not put on much muscle bulk. We tend to do weights right up to six days before an international regatta and three days before a domestic regatta. These are either power weights of six or seven repetitions at 50 to 60% of maximum or maximal lifts weights, one to three reps."
When you are tapering, do you change your sleep patterns?
"People get tied up with oversleeping etc before a big regatta. This actually decreases metabolic rate and hence affects your performance. Sleep patterns should be kept as normal as possible as the decrease in workload should allow you to feel as rested as possible."