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Protein shakes and pasta the order of the day for Rio-bound rowers

 

Rowing

Protein shakes and pasta the order of the day for Rio-bound rowers

03 July 2016 / 11:53

For those fans of the infamous no guilt ’see food’ diet, there’s a sport for you … rowing.

This power-endurance sport requires athletes to push their bodies to the limits on a daily basis - either on the water or in the gym.

Their commitment to the cause is legendary and so is the size of their appetites.

After all, four-time Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent famously used to cook 500g of pasta for lunch.

John Collins and Jonny Walton are part of a powerful Team GB rowing squad in Rio, and will make their Olympic Games debuts in the men’s double sculls event.

Some live to eat but they eat to train and according to Walton, on a big volume week they consume 6,000 or 7,000 calories a day, nearly three times the recommended daily level for non-Olympian mere mortals.

“It’s about sheer volume sometimes,” admits Collins.

“I don’t really like eating first thing in the morning, so I tend to grab a bowl of cereal and a protein shake before I leave the house.

“Then I have a second breakfast after training, not always a full English but usually not too far off because I’m starving. It’s about high-quality protein and refuelling, getting all the right stuff back into your system.

“Then it’s more training and lunch, which can be pretty substantial, certainly more than the average person would eat!

“Then after our third session of the day we have what we call ‘afternoon tea’, which isn’t scones and jam.

“By the end of the day, I’m exhausted, so I’ve been known to just bang a pizza in the oven. You have to eat well but it’s also about making up for calories because you really burn through them.

“Obviously we can’t just pack in all the naughty stuff because you do have to be a bit thoughtful about what you put in your body. But, with what we do, we do afford ourselves a bit of flexibility.”

But after all that eating, what do they look forward to after competition?

“I think I’ll be first in the queue for a burger and a beer,” says Walton.

Sportsbeat 2016