Every 4 years, rowers from around the world compete in a 50- to 60-day transAtlantic rowing challenge. These ultra-distance rowers require a diet that provides adequate calories, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fluids so they can perform well day after day, minimize fatigue, and stay healthy. Yet, the rowers are confronted with menu planning challenges. The food needs to be lightweight, compact, sturdy, non-spoiling in tropical temperatures, calorie dense, easy to prepare, quick to cook, and good tasting. Financial concerns commonly add another menu planning challenge. The purpose of this case study is to summarize the rowers’ food experiences and to provide guidance for sports nutrition professionals who work with ultra-endurance athletes embarking on a physical challenge with similar food requirements. The article provides food and nutrition recommendations as well as practical considerations for ultra-distance athletes. We describe an 8,000 calorie per day menu planning model that uses food exchanges based on familiar, tasty, and reasonably priced supermarket foods that provide the required nutrients and help contain financial costs.
Contact Information: N. Clark is the Director of Nutrition Services, SportsMedicine Associates, 830 Boylston Street Suite 205, Brookline MA 02467. C. Coleman is with the National Institute for Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease, Bethesda, MD 20892-2560. K. Figure is with the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston MA 02115. T. Mailhot is a rower from Essex, MA. J. Zeigler is a rower from River Edge, NJ.