Nutrition Questions and Answers Recap



Rowing Ireland hosted a question and answer session on our Social Media for our members today with our in-house nutritionist, Leanne Varley.

Here is a recap for anyone who missed it.

Best food to eat for in between sessions? 

This depends on the length of the break. Straight after a session, your muscles need protein and carbohydrates – Protein milk is perfect for this. After this, you should concentrate on carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. If it is a short break, go for the non-wholegrain options as you will digest this quicker.

How do I stay away from my kitchen in isolation?

You don’t have to stay away from your kitchen, just make sure that it is stocked with plenty of healthy snacks such as fruit and vegetables. Try to keep to a routine for your meals and think ahead to avoid unhealthy snacking e.g. cook extra portions in the evening for lunch the next day, or buy something which can be prepared quickly.


In their simplest form, kebabs are a flatbread filled with meat, salad or vegetables and sauce. This can be a well-balanced meal, depending on the quality of the foods and cooking methods.

What’s the best way to lose weight (in relation to macros) while training as a HP athlete? 

Nutrition should be used as a tool to allow you to train at higher intensities, not to manipulate your body composition. Making weight should only be done under the watchful eye of a registered dietitian or nutritionist, who can make sure that you aren’t putting your health at risk.

What’s a good snack to have after a session?

Straight after a session, within 30 minutes, your body needs a quick source of protein and carbohydrates. Chocolate milk, milk and a banana, chicken sandwich are all perfect options for this. 

What should I be eating now that I am not training as much?

It’s important to match your diet to your level of training while continuing to follow a healthy diet. Make sure that you include 5+ portions of fruit and veg per day, 3 portions of dairy per day and 2+ portions of fish per week.

Whats a healthy alternative for snacks for the family throughout the day?

Healthy snacks can be simple – a piece of fruit, carrot sticks and hummus, or a yoghurt. Or, more adventurous – mini egg muffins (recipe from 18th March), porridge bread or easy peasy pizza (recipe from 20th March) topped with plenty of vegetables.

Good pre/Post Snacks? 

Pre-training focus on carbohydrate –  banana sandwich, jacket potato, cereal. Post-training focus on a mix of carbohydrates and protein – chicken stir fry, tuna wrap, fruit and yoghurt.

Should we be consuming less calories now that we are not training as intensely? 

The simple answer is yes, but you still need to make sure you are consuming a healthy and balanced diet. This should be similar to what you would eat on a rest day.

Tips for meal preparation when you have limited time in between sessions and studying? 

Batch cooking – cook a large portion of stew, chilli or curry and store it in the fridge or freezer. Or, invest in a slow cooker and a timer have them do the work for you while you sleep, train or study.

What’s good to eat/drink before/in between races?

The emphasis is on carbohydrates. With a short turn-around time between races, you will need easily digestible (simple) carbohydrates such as fruit jellies, pure fruit juice or a sports gel/drink. Our partner Kinetica have a great range of sports bars!

Low fat or full-fat milk?

This depends on the rest of your diet and your goals. Fat is an important source of vitamins and if you don’t have enough of the right fats in your diet, then full fat milk is the better option. 

I’m a coeliac and train at a high level, any advice?

The best advice would be to visit a sports dietitian for a one to one consultation. They will be able to give you advice that considers both your condition and your performance goals.

What cuts and adds would you recommend for fat loss?

Add plenty of fruit and vegetables to your diet, as well as lean cuts of meat or fish (plain fillets).  Reduce fried foods and foods high in unhealthy fat. Exercise regularly.


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