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Healthy Diet for Rowers

by Ryan Devon

About Ryan Devon

Ryan Devon is a registered dietitian with a Master of Science in nutrition and health promotion from Simmons College. He starting writing in 2010, specializing in weight management and eating-disorder science.


Rowing -- also known as crew -- is an intense sport requiring focus, stamina, strength and agility. As with any sport, rowers can consume a healthy diet to help to maximize their performance. Rowers who stick to a healthy diet can bounce back faster between training sessions, build more muscle mass and last longer during competitions.


Carbohydrates are the nutrient that fuels rowers during training and competition. According to the American Dietetic Association, carbohydrates are the most important nutrient for competitive rowers. Consuming adequate carbohydrates ensures that your muscles' primary fuel tank during exercise -- muscle glycogen stores -- are full. The American Dietetic Association advises rowers to aim for approximately 2.3 to 3.2 grams of carbohydrates for every pound of body weight. Healthy sources of carbohydrates include black beans, bananas, apples, broccoli, whole-grain bread, granola and green leafy vegetables.


Rowing is intense and puts a strain on major muscle groups, including your quadriceps, upper back and biceps. To recover, your body needs adequate protein intake in the form of healthy choices such as lean meats, low fat dairy products, tofu and nuts. Rowers should consume approximately .55 to .8 grams of dietary protein for every pound of body weight, the American Dietetic Association advises.


Dietary fat is important for athletes, as it promotes your body's production of essential hormones and is the chief fuel source used for long training sessions. Athletes who drop their dietary fat intake below 15 percent are at risk of impaired performance, the Colorado State University Extension reports. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, which may heighten your heart disease risk. Sources of "good" monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats include almonds, soybeans, extra virgin olive oil and fatty fish.


Adequate calories will ensure that you maintain a healthy body weight and muscle mass in the face of intense training. Rowers who regularly train at a high level should consume approximately 20.5 to 21.5 calories per pound of body weight. However, advanced rowers who have become more efficient in their technique burn fewer calories and have lower caloric needs than beginners, the American Dietetic Association states.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.