Posts Tagged ‘water’

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.