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How to eat like an athlete


I’m Charlotte, a GB Rowing athlete and avid fresh produce consumer. I first raced for GB in 2014 as a junior and after spending a few years at the Under-23 level, became a full-time member of the Senior Olympic Team in 2018. I’m one of the youngest on the team and not the typical rowing physique, so I often turn to nutrition as an area where I can get an edge on my competitors. While I’ve been known to eat cookies and yoghurt for a second breakfast, and on camp regularly can be found at the dessert table, I’m happiest with a fresh colourful meal I’ve cooked myself.

My love of fresh produce started young, I was lucky to grow up in Herefordshire where my family grew a lot of fruit and veg in our garden and a typical day out would be to the local farmers’ markets. Growing up with this closeness to nature gave me an interest in sourcing high quality food and having fresh ingredients where possible, which is why I’m so excited to be working with pale green dot. It’s amazing to be cooking with fresh, fantastic quality produce which I know I can trust to help me perform and is a joy to relax and cook with.

How to eat like an athlete - example dish

Currently I’m training for the postponed 2020 Olympics, 2-3 sessions per day in the living room or out on the bike and using Sundays for a lighter or rest day. Training during lockdown has been a challenge: I’m used to being in a big training group, having a set timetable and getting out on the water every day. Nowadays, I walk downstairs from my bedroom, into the ex-living-room-now-home-gym and spend the majority of my time staring at the screen on the rowing machine rather than enjoying being out on the water. I’m lucky that I’ve been able to continue training without too much ill effect but I still miss the structure, vibe and close contact with friends that the national team environment brings. Training in my living room for four months does get slightly wearing (that screen and the wall behind doesn’t change much!). However, the situation isn’t all drab and dreary. I’ve (rather selfishly perhaps) come to see this situation as a huge opportunity, personally and for the team in general. We have had the best ‘trial run’ we could have hoped for. It’s been like studying for mock exams fully believing they are the real deal: now we know what mistakes we made, and how to improve. Being at home does have its upsides though, being able to finish a hard session and walk upstairs to have a lie down and being able to swiftly refuel with a good meal, rather than grabbing a snack or a shake before I commute home from training is certainly a welcome change.

How to eat like an athlete - rower clipping her feet into rowing machine

During lockdown I’ve found cooking provides variety and helps to maintain a routine. I found planning my meals for the week provided me with an aspect of the structure that I was missing and helped me to stay on track of my nutrition. I’ve always loved cooking and spending time creating meals, I especially love cooking for others and sharing food. Since I was little, meal times have always provided a break from the day, a moment of stillness and comfort in which I can talk with those closest to me. My kitchen in my flat is small and can easily get chaotic, yet after the heat and noise stops and the meal is on the table, I always find that this is one of my most contented moments of my day as I take time to talk as we eat together. The relationship I have with food and how important it is to me means I enjoy taking time when possible to create and share meals, which is one of the reasons why the source of my ingredients really matters to me.

I’ll be writing a blog every month with some recipe ideas and updates on my training and life, hopefully it’ll provide some insight into my life and some inspiration for what to do with your fruit and veg box!