Every sport makes its own specific demands on the bodies of the people who take part in them, from amateur to top level professional. Some require more of a focus on pure strength, some on explosive power, others on stamina or co-ordination. Whatever your sport and level, maximizing your performance in competition means getting the most out of your training sessions and this is only possible with the support of the right supplements.
One sport that makes huge physical demands on its participants, whatever level they compete at, is rowing and Sci-MX has been working with the London Rowing Club, one of the most respected rowing clubs in England, to support their rowers before, during and after training with a range of supplements that help them build the explosive power, strength and stamina they need to get through their grueling training schedule, and then recover fast. With rowers from club level through to World Champions and Olympic-level professionals, the club depends on Sci-MX to help them maintain the highest possible standards week in and week out. We talked to them as they were in the final stages of preparing for the Henley Regatta in 2011, the pinnacle of the racing calendar.
Our professional and club members put in 10-12 sessions a week, including plenty of early mornings. Our weeks include two weights sessions in the gym, three punishing ergo sessions and then the rest of our training out on the water. Rowing training is really intense for an amateur sport. I think this is what makes it so strong in the UK - the club scene is competitive and successful rowers have a great foundation when they hit professional levels. Our professional rowers train twice a day and have Sundays off. Club-level athletes are mostly in full-time work, but are still expected to meet our expectations when it comes to the high levels of training needed to perform and compete at national regattas.
• Monday night: weights
• Tuesday morning: row
• Tuesday night: weights and ergo
• Wednesday morning: row
• Thursday morning: row
• Thursday night: weights
• Friday morning: row
• Saturday: two sessions on the water
• Sunday: two sessions on the water.
Our weights sessions last for about 60 minutes and are high intensity, consisting of power lifts, squats, leg presses, bench presses, bench pulls and pull ups, sometimes with 10-20kgs strapped to the body. Sets range from 5-6 sets of 4-12 reps and we are always working towards dynamic power. After weights, we'll do an ergo session consisting of 20-30 minutes power-stroke related work, or dynamic sprints to simulate racing.
Power to weight is very important in rowing, so we're looking for tall people with long arms and legs. Height goes a long way in this sport! You need to be strong, as acceleration and drive come from your ability to use your legs, back and arms in rhythm.
Different athletes will take different approaches: our lightweight rowers have to be quite regimented to maintain their weight, whereas our heavyweight rowers prioritise replacing lost calories. Sessions can burn from 800-2000 calories. Some of these can be replaced by a normal, healthy diet covering all main food groups but Sci-MX’s range of supplements is essential to replace the rest and ensure our rowers are able to give maximum intensity in their training sessions and then recover quickly. Most of our better rowers have body fat levels below 10%, and power to weight is always at the front of their minds. The more athletic rowers perform better, it's as simple as that and Sci-MX products help all our rowers maximise their individual athletic potential by developing strength and power whilst helping control body fat levels.
They'll eat their normal breakfast of oats or similar. For a 12pm race, they may have 1/2 a serving of Lean Grow MRF shake at about 9:30am. Then, two hours before the race, they'll have their last bit of food, probably a protein bar like Protein Flapjacks. Just as they're getting ready to race, they'll sip on Endurance Fuel or X-Plode Hardcore because they'll already be warm and sweating. After a race, they'll try to replace 300-400 calories through a serving of Omni-MX or Sci-MX Recovery Fuel.
Recovery is critical for our rowers as they may have to race again within a short timeframe. That's why we like working with Sci-MX: they understand that we need to develop muscle and power, and then replace nutrients and give back all the electrolytes we lose through racing so that we can recover fast.
Our guys always take a Sci-MX shake with them when they train. Lean Grow MRF is a popular choice, with its ideal combination of protein and carbohydrates, but most importantly it contains the unique Vit-MX-Sport vitamin and mineral pack as well as Aminogen and waxymaize. These really help give our rowers the edge. We don't want to bulk up too much but it's really important that we maintain muscle and keep increasing explosive power.
Many of our athletes take Sci-MX's ZMA tablets to help prevent fatigue and maintain focus and determination after the grueling training we put them through. We can spend 15-20 minutes at threshold level during training and this undeniably strips nutrients from the body. We absolutely have to use the best quality supplements in order to sustain that level of training week after week.
First of all, the taste of Sci-MX products is great, and this really matters when you're using sports supplements so often. But it's the improvements in muscle strength and power we see which keeps us using the products. The quality shows massively in how well our athletes recover as well.
The most important thing is that you enjoy the sport. Rowing is one of the best all over body exercises to help with muscle growth and power development and if you really want to fast track your results it is essential that you use quality supplements to help you get the most from your training, whether you’re in a boat on the water or a machine in the gym.