As we near the end of February, hockey players are pushing their bodies to the limits by trying to stay on top of their game for the playoffs. These players are physically and mentally exhausted from grinding it out all season long to get their team to where they are now. With the typical hockey season starting in September, training should really a be a year-long ordeal to keep up with the physical demands of the sport - but we will leave that topic for another post! That's why we're sharing these 5 ways hockey players can stay in the game during this stressful time!
The 5 ways Hockey Players (and all athletes) can "Stay In The Game":
1. Proper Nutrition
Proper Nutrition plays a crucial part in a hockey players performance on and off the ice. Not eating properly can work your body into the ground and can be tough to recover from. This starts with the most important meal of the day, Breakfast.
Eating a sizeable breakfast first thing in the morning is very important as your body likely hasn't gotten any food since your dinner the night before. But don't dive into the Frosted Flakes or Corn Pops just yet, your body is in need of a variety of foods containing proteins, carbohydrates and fats to restore your body and prepare you for the day ahead. And let's not forget about water, a good bench mark to figure out how much water you might need is to take your bodyweight, divide by 2 and that will be approximately your daily intake in ounces. For example: 180lbs / 2 = 80oz daily water intake.
80oz = about 2.4 liters. When it's game day, you will likely be consuming around 4 liters per day.
Below is a breakfast example that will give you the nutrition you need for your day:
1 Slice of whole wheat rye toast
After your game and/or workout, don't forget to have a serving of protein powder. Protein powder comes in many forms, and the most common 3 are whey, soy, and casein. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein (That will also be a future post!)
Click here for a chocolate peanut butter protein bar recipe!
Getting enough sleep every single night is a very important part of a healthy lifestyle, let alone for a hockey player.
Aim for a solid 8 hours every night if possible and try your best to get into a routine of heading to bed around the same time every night. If that isn't possible, consider incorporating short naps throughout your day when you can, a 15-minute snooze can give you a great boost when you need it!
Everybody hears that stretching is important, but time and time again it gets neglected and pushed aside leaving an athlete tight and sore. Doing a full body stretch each day is very important for overall health, it will improve your performance in all physical activities you perform throughout the day. Stretching will also decrease your risk of injuries, help your joints move properly and enable your muscles to perform effectively.
Click here for stretches made for hockey players after a game or practice.
One thing that often gets overlooked is the importance of listening to a podcast. Podcasts are very popular, and they aren't slowing down anytime soon! First of all, podcasts are free to listen to and are packed full of knowledge, there are many hockey related podcasts out there; Jay and Dan, The Sportsnet Hockey PDOcast, Breakaway, the OMHA Podcast, to name a few. There are also podcasts on motivation, Tony Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk have a very respectable daily podcast that revolves around motivation. If there are any issues you are working through in your life, there is a podcast that can help! Here are some benefits to listening to podcasts. Gain new interests, become a better listener, learn new things and allow yourself to see the world from many different perspectives and hear thoughts from different voices
5. Maintaining your body
This point is very important, proper maintenance of your body throughout the season will pay off huge come playoff time.
A full hockey game takes a lot out of a player mentally and physically, the major muscle group that a hockey player uses is, of course, their legs. Now, the game of hockey revolves around short bursts of super high-intensity bursts on the ice. So why would a hockey player be doing 5-10 km runs? Doesn't make sense. Hockey players should switch their focus from long duration workouts and focus on short high-intensity exercises because that's what you'll be doing on the ice.
By switching to short-burst exercises, it will also leave extra time for your muscles to recover from training which is very important.
Here is an example of a total body High-Intensity Interval Training that can be done on our Truf Area at Nexus!
(Do as a superset)
120-Foot sled pushes
10 Reps of two arm medicine ball slams
20 Bodyweight reverse lunges
If you follow these 5 steps, you will perform much better on and off the ice!
Thank you for reading, and we hope to see you soon at Nexus!
Co-Owner and Founder of Nexus Health and Training Inc.