New Zealand’s Rowing Team has a proud history of doing exceptionally well on the world stage and with the 2016 Rio Olympics fast approaching they are working extremely hard to ensure that they continue to succeed. Right now they are currently taking part in the World Cup series in Europe where they hope to qualify all Olympic boats for the Olympic Games next year.
Ashlee Rowe is one of the talented rowers in the NZ team and has her sights set on racing in the womens eight at the Rio Olympics. She knows that this means a huge amount of hard work and grueling training but is 100% committed to her goal. Maintaining a healthy diet is fundamental to Ashlee’s training as it helps to fuel her long training sessions as well as help keep her exercise-induced asthma under control.
We asked Ashlee to share with us a bit about her training schedule; her food philosophy as well as her favourite smoothie recipe!
Q: Can you please tell us a bit about your training schedule?
Usually we train twice a day (sometimes 3) and train 13-15 times per week. Rowing relies on a lot of endurance so we spend many hours on the water each week!
Q: How do you deal with the mental challenges of competing at such a high level?
Taking things one step at a time, really! It's a tough environment with new selections each year, no one’s spot is guaranteed in the team. There is always the big picture and the big goals. But I like to break it all down and focus on what's important at the present. What do I need to do now to get me to the next step?
Q: What are your top 3 tips for someone wanting to excel in their chosen sport?
1. It sounds cliché, but hard work! Think of your competitors who may be on the other side of the globe – am I working harder than them? Every little thing counts, and you will get out what you put in!
2. Dealing with setbacks/obstacles. Sometimes you may be faced with setbacks (such as injury). How you overcome these obstacles and learn from them is important. Don't lose sight of the bigger picture!
3. Enjoyment! Remember why you love competing in your sport and what drives you!
Q: Can you please tell us about your food philosophy?
Rowers can generally get away with eating LOTS due to our high energy expenditure. It doesn't mean we can get away with eating badly though! Because we train our bodies so rigorously and frequently, I believe fueling your body with good quality fuels will help in recovery and quality of training. This means having lots of natural foods for the body to easily digest and lots of vegetables included for nutrients to help in recovery and training.
Q: What does a typical day’s diet look like for you?
Pre training – 1 egg on gluten free toast
Post training – recovery smoothie (that includes about 70g carbs and 20g protein + extra powders or supplements for added goodness!)
Lunch/Brunch – poached eggs, spinach, pesto, on stacks of veggies or GF toast
Post afternoon training – Tuna/chicken/hummus on rice crackers or GF bread
Dinner – Kumara, rice, or quinoa beetroot/broccoli/carrot salad with a good quality meat! Steaks, chicken or homemade rissoles are favourites!
Q: What are your top 3 health foods? And why?
1. Coconut Water – It's great for replenishing electrolytes. Especially in summer when we lose a great deal of fluid through sweating.
2. Cacao Powder – I use it lots in smoothies as it tastes amazing! Apart from being delicious it's also a good source of magnesium and antioxidants. Be careful having it too close to bedtime though as its also a stimulant.
3. Chia seeds – Another one I use quite often. Chia seeds are very nutrient rich and they also have a bit of protein in them. I usually soak mine overnight for overnight oats or smoothies.
Q: How do you maintain a balanced lifestyle?
Rowing does take up most of my time but I'm 2 years through a 3 year Bachelor of Science degree (Sport, Exercise & Health) which I have really been enjoying so far. I'm also interested in starting a massage course if time permits after this international season!
Can you please share your favourite smoothie recipe with us?
BANANA, COCONUT, FIG & MACA SMOOTHIE
3 dried figs
2 scoops of Vanilla Protein Powder
1/4C frozen coconut cream
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Tablespoon Maca root powder
Blend all ingredients together and serve in your favourite glass.