Posts Tagged ‘post-workout nutrition’

When I’m working with any of our hockey players I always want to make sure that at minimum we accomplish two things. The first is to ensure that we have addressed any of their compensations which may be from previous injuries or simply from having repeated a poor movement pattern over and over. The second thing we always want to do is ensure that we are arming our players with the physical tools and abilities they need to succeed on the ice. By adhering to the above two criteria I am confident that everyone who steps on the ice after working with us will have minimized their potential for injury and be in a position to win battles during the course of the game.

One of the things every player needs when it comes to having the ultimate success on the ice is to have a sound nutritional strategy in place. A friend of mine who is a registered dietitian has a great saying that I have now incorporated into all of the nutritional programming that our hockey players follow. The saying is that you if you consider the dose, quality and timing of your food selections you will do a much better job of fueling your body which will translate into improved performance on the ice. Here’s what he meant by this saying.

The dose refers to how much of a food item or drink you are consuming. This is important to know. If I quiz a hockey player on what he ate before practice and he said eggs is this a good choice? Depends doesn’t it. We kind of need to know how many eggs he had. Or in the past I’ve asked some of our players that like to drink beer when they go golfing how many they will have. It makes a huge difference if it’s one each on the front and back nine or more than that.

Lastly, consider the following regarding the dose of your foods to see how this is important. A lot of people are familiar with the glycemic index. And they may select foods that have a particular rating on this index. Let’s say a player wanted to preferentially select a low glycemic food such as a cantaloupe. Well, while a cantaloupe may have a low glycemic rating for a serving of this fruit the impact on our blood sugar will obviously be different it we were eat multiple servings.

The next aspect of your nutrition to consider is the quality of the food item. It makes no sense to calculate to the exact calorie how much you should eat every day to reach or maintain your ideal weight for hockey if you ignore the quality. Let’s say your daily caloric requirement to be at your best weight for hockey is 3160 calories. It would make a huge difference if you get all of those calories through a window as opposed to preparing quality proteins and combining them with colourful and fibrous vegetables. So it’s not just how much you eat that matters but the quality of the food. Let’s look at this example one more way.

Consider again the glycemic index. Generally people with insulin resistance or those who are trying to eat more healthily will opt for foods that are lower on the glycemic index. These will have less of an impact on our blood sugar and therefore are preferred in certain situations. Well consider that peanut M&Ms have a low glycemic rating and parsnips have a high glycemic rating. Here is an obvious example of where the quality of the food item should tell us what is the better choice.

Lastly, we need to consider the timing of our nutrition. This applies to not only to our peri-workout (pre and post) nutrition but also throughout the rest of the day as well. Going back to the example of our daily caloric intake, it makes a huge difference if we were to have all of our calories in the morning, all of the calories in the evening or if we spread them out throughout the day. And it also make a difference what type of nutrients such as carbs, proteins and fats we are consuming at particular times of the day.

How we fuel our bodies when training for hockey may make the difference between adequate and exceptional performance. And when you consider the importance of hydration and electrolyte balance it can be argued that a properly fueled and hydrated hockey player is doing their best to minimize the potential for injury in the weight room and on the ice. Take some time and evaluate your nutritional plan in terms of the dose, quality and timing of your food selections and you will find ways to increase your off-ice training and improve your on-ice performance.