Posts Tagged ‘pre-workout nutrition’

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.


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.