Posts Tagged ‘hydration’

So with the Rangers-Devils series the media keeps brining up the question about fatigue.

And John Tortorella keeps dismissing this as an issue.

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t. Tortorella is answering the question the only way possible. By denying that fatigue is an issue for his players.

But the fact remains that players on both sides are feeling the cummulative effects of playing nine months already. Well everyone except Ranger call-up Chris Kreider.

So what goes on in between games to off-set the effects of fatigue? What are players on both sides, as well as the Western Conference, doing to enhance their recovery?

Below are 8 examples going on behind the scenes to get ready for the next game.

And the cool thing is these are all things you can apply to your training to feel better, move better and achieve better results.

Recovery Tip #1Nutrition

The key to applying this tip to its full potential is timing. Post workout you need to be drinking back a recovery shake with a 3-4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein. The protein source could be 20 grams of whey, 6 grams of branch chain amino acids or 2 grams of leucine. All will get the job done.

But keep in mind that this needs to happen right away. As soon as you step off the ice. Not 30 or 45 minutes later. The sooner the better.

A few years I stopped in to check in with the Avs in Denver. After their game the strength & conditioning coach had their shakes on a ledge in the dressing room with their names written on tape. He started preparing these in the 3rd period so they were all ready immediately after the game.

Recovery Tip #2- Hydration

After training or playing you will lose water. As little as 2% dehydration will lead to a decrement in performance. And it prolong and minize your recovery.

It is important that you weigh yourself pre and post to track your water loss. Just make sure this is done with only a towel on so wet clothing is not factored into post-training weighing. You will  need to drink 2 glasses of water for every pound you’ve lost.

Recovery Tip #3Myofascial Release

Whether you are playing pro and make access to a massage therapist or use a roller of some type you can facilitate your recovery with myofascial release. Myo simply leans muscle and fascia is the tissue that links all of the muscles in the body.

Foam rolling is one way to increase blood flow and extensibility of the tissue. This helps speed up the recovery process and allows for your best performance next time on the ice.

Recovery Tip #4Sleep

Too often players consider sleep only the night before a game. However regular, quality sleep is similar to your nutrition. You can’t wake up Saturday morning for an evening game and simply try and eat the best food possible.

These are habits that need to be established months and years ahead of time. The more regular your sleep is and the better quality it is the more benefit you’ll get from your sleep.

And the extra benefit is you’ll have more of a reserve to draw on for games that run into overtime. Or for travel that goes through the night. You will feel the effects of these types of scenarios less when you have your sleep already in order.

Recovery Tip #5Parasympathetic Activities

Are you familiar with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems?

If not there’s an easy way to remember which is which. The sympathetic has to do with ‘flight or fight’. And the parasympathetic has to do with ‘rest and digest’.

Coming off the ice after a game the sympathetic system is ramped up. Cortisol, lactic acid, lactate and other waste products are all flowing through the vascular system. And these put the brakes on recovery and feel loose, fresh and ready to go.

On way to reverse this is to ramp up the parasympathetic nervous system. This is done by doing what you enjoy. If I played in the NHL I’d be watching Dumb & Dumber and going to comedy clubs. I love to laugh and it’s my favourite way to blow off steam.

For everyone it’s going to be different. Figure out what you enjoy doing then do this to take your mind off the competition, to relax and enhance your recovery.

Recovery Tips #6, 7, 8 – ???

I mentioned there are 8 tips to enhance your recovery.

Want the next three tips?

And want more specifics on the above 5 tips? More specifics on the nutritional and hydration guidelines?

Pick up a copy of and you’ll get these plus everything else you need for your off-season training.

If you have any questions post them in the comments section below.


Hockey players are getting better and better at making healthy choices.

I mean you have to go back quite a ways to picture Guy Lafleur or a similar vintage player smoking.

Ok maybe you don’t have to go that far back but you get the idea.

For the most part hockey players are making a better effort at training in the off-season, getting adequate rest and trying to eat as healthily as possible.

But is this what they should be doing? Maybe not. There are certain instances where what would be recommended as healthy for the general population would be ill-advised for hockey players.

Let take  look at a few examples.

#1 – Only Drink Water

There’s an ad on tv that shows a kids soccer team drinking sports drinks during a break in the game. And one of the players asks the coach if they are drinking to replace the water they have lost. When the coach says ‘yes’ then the player asks ‘so how come we don’t just drink water’.

Now the answer to this seems obvious but here’s the greater problem. Drinking water when you are exercising intensely deals with the issue of thirst but does not address the problem of hydration.

In fact drinking water instead of a sports drink magnifies the dehydration issue. Not to get into all the science behind this but it has to do with something called osmolarity which refers to how many particles of a solid are in a given liquid.

When the osmolarity of the blood increases this serves as a trigger to rehydrate. Drinking water quenches thirst but does not address the issue of hydration and thus athletic performance suffers.

#2 Intermittent Fasting

This is something we all currently follow but just at different degrees. We all stop eating at a certain point in the evening and resume eating the following morning. So there is a period of fasting.

Now for the weight loss crowd intermittent fasting is gaining some traction as something that may be fairly effective if your goal is to lose a few around the midsection.

However when it comes to athletic performance I am not convinced the scientific evidence supports delaying or avoiding meals. I have questions as to how this impacts muscle glycogen, recovery abilities, hydration status, mental focus and fatigue levels during competition and therefore would hold off on incorporating this into your plan.

#3 – Cut Your Carbs

The average person would be well advised to reduce their carb intake. This includes not only all the refined sugar they consume but many of the starches and fruits.

A quick scan at the book store will show the popularity of this nutritional approach to improving health.

But improving health via reduced weight, increased insulin sensitivity or carb control doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as on ice perfomance for hockey.

Take for example the pre-game meal for hockey. This should consist of a minimum 60% carbohydrates and for some as high as 75%. But if you were to follow the advice for the average person this is way too high. The recommendation could be as low as 20 or 30% of the calories as carbs.

This would mean the difference then becomes proteins and fats. Here’s what you’ll feel like it you ate 80% of your pre-game calories as protein and fat.

I’ll leave it at that for now. There are many more examples in terms of how the average person and the hockey player need to be different in how they eat. The key point is to recognize these differences and to eat for performance rather than what is recommended for the general population.


Recently there was a situation down in Oregon where a high school football team was preparing for the upcoming season. A number of the players, 24 actually, were admitted to hospital complaining of arm pain.
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