Posts Tagged ‘nutrition’

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.


One thing I find really fascinating about hockey players is their nutritional habits. They are all over the board. Some have a good understanding as what quality nutrition is and others are completely in the dark. Some may have a good understanding but for whatever reason they fail to apply this information. And then there are those that are mis-informed and make poor choices due to ignorance rather than laziness or apathy. And sometimes this makes me think of an old Seinfeld episode.
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The other day I was talking with a friend about their hockey training program. And basically what we were discussing were ways to get the most out of every single action step that is a part of training. In other words if there are certain things you have to do anyways, wouldn’t you want to make sure you get the most out of every one of your efforts?
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Did you know there is something you could do that could give you better results from your efforts with your off-season hockey training? And this something wouldn’t involve changing your workouts in any way or doing anything extra than what you’re doing already? Would you do this one thing? Of course you would. Well this one thing has to with your nutrition. Specifically it has to do with your peri-workout nutrition.

Before we go on we should define what it is we mean by ‘peri’. Peri is another way of saying around or surrounding. So in other words peri-workout nutrition means the nutrition around our workouts. Let’s take a brief look at each portion of the workout.

Before the workout we want to ensure that we have adequate nutrition to fuel our workouts. We don’t want to have excessive calories which cause us to feel sluggish nor do we want to avoid eating before training so we run out of gas part way through a training session. This pre-workout meal should be a combination of low to medium glycemic index carbs and some protein. The glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a particular carbohydrate gets into the blood stream and to working muscles. Higher glycemic carbs are digested more quickly and low glycemic carbs take longer. You want to choose the low to medium ones so that your energy levels are sustained throughout training. As for the fat and protein portions, keep your fat intake on the low side and choose a lean portion of protein. Too much fat slows digestion and results in blood being diverted away from working muscles and to the stomach.

During your workout you can ingest a carbohydrate drink to keep your energy levels up and replace any electrolytes lost through sweat. Depending on how much you sweat determines how necessary it is to replace these salts (electrolytes) in your drink. Most sports drinks have the appropriate concentration of carbohydrates in them but if you mix your own with crystals and water aim for a concentration of 6-8%. Post a comment below if you need help in figuring this amount out.

When you take a drink during a workout drink more than just a sip. Gastric emptying time simply means how long it takes something to leave the stomach and get taken up by the cells of the body. When we are training we want to have fast gastric emptying. Small sips result in slow gastric emptying whereas larger volumes of fluid get taken up more quickly. One strategy is to drink only when you complete all your sets of an exercise. At that point take a longer gulp rather than a small sip.

As soon as you complete the workout you should be drinking a recovery drink. This should have a carbohydrate to protein ratio of 4:1. So if you ingest 80 grams of carbohydrates you will partner this with 20 grams of protein. There is not a huge benefit of exceeding 20 grams of protein unless you are much larger than average size hockey player. Otherwise for most players 20 grams of protein will do. Within an hour of completing your workout you should have your post workout meal. This is similar to the pre-workout meal in that it should include a source of lean protein, some carbohydrates but now you can include some healthy fats.

Make sure that you have a plan in place for your peri-workout nutrition. Know what your pre and post workout meals look like. And have a sports drink and post workout shake ready to go every time you head out for training. This will ensure you maximize your effiorts in the gym and enhance your ability to recover after.


The Olympic hockey tournament is in full swing. And no disrepect to the women’s competition but I’m following the men’s side more closely for that reason, competition. On the men’s side Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, the Czechs and USA all are expecting to be in the run for medals. Currently the US is playing Norway and Canada is up next against Switzerland.

For many the NHL players competing in the Olympics their training is fairly consisent. Every NHL team has a strength and conditioning specialist on staff. In addition players move around as a result of trades, drafts and signings. And when a coach is fired during the off-season, the new coach is able to put together his team of assistants. So s&c coaches move around the league from time to time as well.

This results with the players from the NHL coming from a fairly common background to their hockey training. As for the European and Asian players in the tournament sometimes the training methods are still Eastern-based dependent on the background of the coach, where the players came from as well as the budget of these teams.

When it comes to the Olympic tournament it is a huge benefit to winning your pool and advancing directly to the quarter finals. Talent alone won’t guarantee you a spot in the QFs. Instead it will be a matter of which teams come together  the quickest, which ones have a goalie that gets hot as well as which ones have players that might normally be stars on their NHL teams but are prepared to accept a less glorious role for team success.

In addition to these factors are the intangibles related to training. Which team adapts to their new surroundings the best? Which teams have the best nutritional and supplemental support? Which team applies the best soft tissue management to recover most quickly between games and are at their highest level every time out?

Obviously there will be a variety of styles and philosophies applied when it comes to addresssing the above. While none of them will guarantee gold. But when the competition is that tight and so many games must be played to win gold the value of all the factors that go into training become that much more important.

Obviously my money is on Canada. What about you?