Steering through challenges: The life + diet of an aspiring Olympian

Steering through challenges: The life + diet of an aspiring Olympian

The Paris Olympics are scheduled for August with the opening ceremony involving athletes sailing down the river seine on boats past the crowds. One person who certainly wants to be on one of those boats is Ben Taylor, a rower from Canterbury who comes from good farming stock.

With his eyes firmly set on the Paris Olympics, Taylor delves into the competitive nature of the sport, particularly the relentless battle for a spot in the boat. Despite the boat's qualification, the crew selection remains open, illustrating the high stakes involved. 

He recounts his unique rivalry with fellow rower Phil Wilson, saying, "I got moved to the bow side... and then we got back this year and they kind of said, hey, we'd be keen for you to give stroke side a go, so I actually ended up being his main competitor." 

Taylor's journey is not just about physical endurance but also about balance and growth. After taking a break from rowing, he ventured into building apprenticeship and rugby, which gave him a fresh outlook. 

"Took two years off... and then was actually sitting in a cast on the couch watching some of my best mates win Olympic gold medals. So I thought maybe the time's now if I want to give it a crash."

Nutrition emerges as a central theme, with a focus on the importance of red meat in an athlete's diet. Taylor emphasises the value of protein, iron, and B vitamins that red meat provides, especially given the rigorous training schedule that can include up to 14 sessions a week.

"We train 14 times a week, so having protein on board as much as possible, and from quality meat, is a lot more important than just, you know, having the protein shake."

As the conversation winds down, George conveys a sense of national pride and support for Taylor and all Kiwi athletes as they pursue their Olympic aspirations. 

"You've got a really good story and wish you all the best. To all the rowers that go over there, the whole Olympic team actually it's always one of those great things that you know the couch potatoes that you leave back home," George shares, capturing the collective anticipation and excitement of New Zealanders cheering from afar. 

Taylor's story is a testament to the determination and resilience required to compete at the highest level, with the added complexity of maintaining a balanced diet across different culinary cultures.

Listen to the full chat between Ben Taylor and Dominic George above.

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