Boathouse Ambassador Tymir Green-Ellis shares his perspective on life as a rower – From the dreaded "canoeing comparison" to the agony of watching a novice on the erg, a rower’s life is something that not everybody can understand. Here's Tymir's top 7 things most people outside of rowing culture will never get.
1) The Value of a Good Nights Sleep
Sleeping is what makes the difference between a good and bad practice or race. From experience, during my freshman year, I would stay up until 2am trying to complete my homework and projects, which caused me to do poorly at practice and not give it my all during practice. Now in my junior year I have created a system for studying that allows me to get to bed before 11pm in order to be well rested for my 6am practice inspired by a great article I recently read in World Rowing that discusses how lack of quality sleep can affect your training. Read the article and Get some sleep.
2) The Eating That Never Ends
We've all heard someone say “are you STILL eating?”, but cannot think of a good enough rebuttal instead of just saying “I’m a rower.” Typically, rowers can burn 620+ calories a day depending on the practice / training regiment and if they have double days of practicing. Before practice, I usually eat a bowl of oatmeal mixed with blueberries, strawberries, and granola, which typically last me throughout practice. After practice, I am usually at my college dining hall, which is the place that I make up for any lost carries during practice. Also, during lunch I make my own smoothies which contains strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, and a protein powder. During the day I carry “P3”, which are portable protein packs that gives me that extra amount of protein and energy I need in order to have my hunger remain low. For dinner, I meal prep different options for each week, but if I am carb loading for a race, I will usually go to the dinning hall for dinner.
3) The Language of Rowing
Multiple times I have spoken to regular people as if they were rowers, which only confuses them and allows me to notice that rowing is my life. I can recall a time my friends were helping me move into my dorm and I said, “HANDS ON!” as if we were trying to lift a boat, when it was only a large bin of clothes and which only confused the other students moving in. Also, there have been times when I tell a friend that someone caught a crab and those who overhear me give me a perplexed look and get the wrong idea.
4) The Canoeing Comparison
There is no comparison between rowing to canoeing, period. Every time someone tells me “I canoed once” while motioning a leisurely row in response to finding out I'm a rower I sigh and break out my iPhone to show a video of the national team rowing (in Boathouse unis of course!). That's not rowing, THIS is rowing (in an australian accent Crocodile Dundee style.) I can’t blame them since the sport is not the type of sport people generally know about, but there is no comparison. Two totally different planets!
5) The Pain of Watching a Non-Rower Erg
We have all walked into a gym ready to use the erg only to find the resistance fan on 10 and someone on that erg using the machine incorrectly, which is promoting them to attain a back injury. Typically, rowers keep their damper setting at a 3 – 5 and do not go beyond that limit because we focus on cardiovascular fitness, while the setting at 10 will still involve working out but is more strength training focused. For non-rowers, it is great to leave the setting between a 3 – 5 while perfecting your erg technique, but increasing past 5 is not recommended if you have poor technique. You'll thank me later.
6) The Power of a Pump-up Playlist
The playlist a person picks for their erg piece should remain consistent and find music that has some level of intensity to it that will allow them to get through their workout. My playlist is mostly rock & hip-hop because both genres of music influences me to work harder during a workout. Below is a few songs that have helped me beat my PR.
- Grandson - Blood//Water
- Lil Wayne - Let It Fly
- Travis Scott - Sicko Mode
- Beartooth – Disease
- Lil Baby – My Dawg
- The Offspring – Want you bad
- Meek Mill – Amen
- Denzel Curry – Sumo
- Linkin Park – In the end
- Meek Mill – Glow upm
- Skillet – Awake
- Meek Mill – Wins & Losses
- A$AP Ferg – The Mattress Remix
- Meek Mill – Amen
7) Always Respect Your Coxswain
A coxswain could turn into a drill sergeant from the sweetest person in a millisecond. They are always to be respected and are the most valued person on the team because they are what the team needs for an extra push as well as steering the boat. We all appreciate our coxswains for having a strategic plan during the race and helping us all beat our PR. Even though outside the rowing community coxswains are overlooked and are seen as the person in the boat that screams “ROW”, but they are the person on the team with the most important job.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.