As I have mentioned previously my diet is a major part of preparation. There are two main reasons that my diet is important, firstly it has to provide me with the energy to train and to assist with recovery and secondly it allows me to gain essential body mass.
The first reason is quite obvious as we all know how it feels to get hungry and fatigued from missing a meal. The second reason however may seem a little strange, especially in this day and age when most people are attempting to keep their weight down. During the row it is thought that we will burn between 10,000 and 12,000 calories each day, however we will only be consuming 6,000 to 8,000 calories through food and drink. This means we will be at a deficit each day of over 2,000, this will be made up by our body burning stored body fat. When our fat reserves run low our bodies will then slowly break down our muscles to give us the fuel to row 12 hours each day.
So now that I am about 6 weeks into my training I have the first proper progress report on my diet and it’s effect. When I started in the gym with Tom I weighted in at 67.8kg and had 13.6% body fat. This morning I weighted in at 72.6kg with 12.9% body fat. This is a gain of 4.8kg (approx 10lbs) in mass and a loss of 0.7% body fat. This is good and bad, overall the gain is positive as I have increased my muscle mass which means I am stronger, on the downside the loss of body fat means less fuel during the row. I will have to get this back up but with Christmas on the horizon it should not be too difficult.
So I hear you say ‘How did you achieve the weight gain?’ Most people think I am taking supplements or some sort of protein shakes but believe it or not it is just a good healthy diet. Back in September when I met with Tom he said there is no point in taking supplements until you have the solid foundation of a balanced diet to build on. And if with that I am not gaining weight then I should consider supplements. Below is a sample of my daily food intake, this is based on what Tom recommended.
Large bowl Muesli or Porridge, Banana, Apple and a boiled egg
Tea and biscuits or cake (not on Toms list but I need the fat)
Large hot meal, Pasta or Shepherds pie (This should be mainly carbs)
Sandwiches (4 slices of bread with ham/cheese or peanut butter)
Large hot meal
Steak or chicken with spuds and veg (This meal should be more protein based)
Tea and more cake or biscuits (Again not on Tom’s list but I like it!)
Glass of Whole milk (The protein in milk helps with recovery during sleep)
So that is it no rocket science or even a weighing scales just lots of meals, I am aiming to eat at least every 2-3 hours.
My target from day 1 was to gain 8kg before I depart on the row and so far so good. Now my focus has to be on increasing my body fat percentage. So looks like I will be hitting the local chipper a couple of times a week, I do still have to make sure and keep it healthy though so not too much saturated fat or salt, balance remains a key factor.
More on my preparation soon, now I have to go and run a table quiz.