Refrigerator Look Book: Megan Kalmoe

US Olympic rower Megan Kalmoe is set to compete in London this week, fueled by a diet of almost 6,000 calories per day.

Megan Kalmoe women's quadruple rowing“I should forewarn you that my diet and nutrition are vastly different than the other women you’ve profiled for Fridge Look Books,” said 28-year-old  Megan Kalmoe, who will compete in the Women’s Quadruple Sculls this week at the London Olympic Games.

Naturally, that intrigued us even more!

“I eat 4,500–6,000 calories per day, and a big percentage of that is carbs and fat,” the Wisconsin-native and elite athlete told us when we asked to peek in her fridge.

Kalmoe, who was also on the U.S. Olympic team in 2008, fell in love with rowing at the University of Washington in 2002 and then moved to Princeton to join the national team. Since then, she’s been training hard for six straight years, and all of that hard work requires an incredible amount of fuel.

Here’s what Kalmoe was eating while she prepped for the competition you’ll see her in this week:

Okay, 4,500–6,000 calories per day is A LOT! Is it a challenge to eat that much? Sometimes eating does become a chore, particularly toward the middle and end of the summer when training volume and intensity are at their peak. I eat three times before noon—things like whole grain muesli, poached eggs on whole grain toast, bananas, and lowfat kefir. For lunch, I’ll eat something like whole grain pasta with olive oil, roasted eggplant, fresh basil, and tomatoes, with hummus and vegetables and fresh fruit. Then, I’ll have two snacks before dinner, and dinner may be chicken sausages with roasted red potatoes, a green salad, and something sweet afterwards. I never leave home without food and snacks in my bag!

Megan KalmoeHow many of those calories do you burn? I probably average between 700-900 calories per workout. But that doesn’t include the warm up before practice, weights sessions, or the massive calories my body burns during the recovery process in between workouts.

Right now, we’re training six days per week, and we have two or three sessions per day. Usually two are rows and the third is a weights session. It varies day to day, but I end up training anywhere from four-to-six hours per day.

Checking out your fridge, I expected to see more protein in the form of meat. Do you eat it sparingly or is it maybe hiding in the freezer? Honestly, I usually only eat meat once a day, if that. And I do often buy it in bulk because it helps on the budget, so it does end up in the freezer a lot of the time. Typical meat purchases are chicken breast, chicken sausages, ground turkey, and shrimp.

On the other hand, you have lots of dairy—milk, kefir, yogurt, ricotta… I love dairy and eggs! As a female rower, it’s crucial to keep calcium intake up to prevent stress fractures in my ribs and feet. I also really like the kefir because of the probiotics and the positive impact it has on my immune system.

What’s the container next to the Greek yogurt? It’s farmer’s cheese! It’s a very mild kind of cheese that falls somewhere between cream cheese and plain yogurt, similar to ricotta. I’ve been eating it with smoked salmon, fruit, or spread on toast with a little bit of olive oil on top.

How about the 12-pack? Sparkling water. Hydration is also a huge element to my diet, and I hate drinking plain water. The bubbles encourage me to drink more fluids with my meals.

How important is your diet to your training? Out of all the people on the team, I might have one of the more relaxed approaches to diet and nutrition. I’ve found that I perform the best when I balance a really good, healthy diet with some junky stuff that I crave (fat, candy, treats, etc.). I tend to shy away from food fads and supplement trends and stick to real food, because it makes me happy to prepare and eat food that way. —Lisa Elaine Held

To cheer the Olympian on this week, visit or @megankalmoe

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