Let me be clear from the outset, this is by no means a full insight to the diet of an Olympic Champion rower, but rather a reflection on Cracknell’s requirements when building a body that can beat the world’s best, and the dilemma of eating the same once retired! In an enlightening interview on '10 things no one tells you when you take up rowing’, Cracknell explains how he always had to ensure that he consumed between 5-6,000 calories a day spread between 5 meals a day in order to fuel his 6 hours of physical work every day. He describes how he no longer saw food as a sensory experience, a thing of pleasure, and instead started to treat it as fuel for his engine. He explains how he used to ‘shovel it in; burn it off; and repeat…similar to the trainers adage ‘eat; train; sleep; repeat’. Apart from losing the pleasure of eating, the main problems he incurred with this eating regime was breaking the habit of eating so much whilst not training so intensely. Consequently Cracknell gained excess body fat simply because he was taking the calories in, but not burning them off…you could say he was ‘shovelling it in’ NOT burning it off; and repeating’.
Changing the habits of a lifetime really are a difficult thing to do, especially for an athlete who made eating LOTS of food a major part of his life!
The Telegraph, (2014). 10 things no one tells you before you take up rowing. Retrieved 18th August, 2014, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/10953438/10-things-no-one-tells-you-before-you-take-up-rowing.html