Hockey Training for Females and How Harry Potter Made Me Barf (almost).

Hope your week is going well – I am sending the rare Wednesday email today because Paul and I are on holiday for the next few days so I am a little out of my routine. Turns out Paul does not like it if I jump out of bed at 5:00am to start sending emails when we are on holiday – go figure!

Anyway, we are having a great time – photos will follow when I get back – we are in Orlando, FL right now and tomorrow we will drive to Destin, FL to visit Paul’s parents for a few days before heading home.

We came to Orlando so I could go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – yes, this is true.  I will be sure to feature my sweet Harry Potter wand and Griffyndor toque (that’s a winter hat for the folks south of the border) in a future email!  We did drink Butterbeer (which tastes like cream soda with caramel flavour) – it is very good, but VERY sweet.  After the Butterbeer we went on a ride that takes you through Hogwarts and you get to be in a virtual Quidditch match and get chased by Dementors…or so Paul said anyway.

It was one of those virtual rides that basically shakes you around like a someone is trying to scramble an egg in the shell – and after about 30 seconds I thought I was going to barf my Butterbeer everywhere – so I closed my eyes to remove the visual and just focused on getting shaken to death while keeping my lunch down.

The effects were amazing, the castle was so cool, the village was outstanding – I am just a sissy on rides.  Okay, more on the adventures in another post, on to the business of the day…off-ice training for female hockey players.

I get this from female athletes in all sports, but I seem to have been hearing it more from female hockey players lately.  It goes something like this, “I saw your workout recommended doing 3 sets of 8 reps for exercise XYZ, but I am a female player and I don’t want my muscles to get huge.  I don’t want to look like those female bodybuilders you see on TV!”

Okay, some of those women do look very scary, so I don’t blame you for being a little worried.  I don’t think I am giving away any trade secrets if I tell you that ‘some’ of the male professional bodybuilders use steroids to look that way (it is not the raw eggs they drink in the morning J) and you know what – – the ladies do the same thing, they take male hormones that stimulate testosterone production which does result in a more manly physique, voice and facial hair – yikes!

I bet you did not know that women do naturally produce their own testosterone, just much, much less then the men.  This is why we do not build muscle bulk the same way men do.

Bodybuilding is not my activity of choice – I would rather be evaluated for what I can do rather than how I look, but for some that is their passion.  Individuals who build an impressive physique do work hard at it.  They train in the gym for hours per day, they are very careful about what they eat and many at the professional level have a little home chemistry set that helps them enhance the training effect shall we say.

Let’s compare and contrast that to you, the female hockey player.  You are not cranking extra testosterone into your system a syringe full at a time and you do not go to the gym for a 90-minute session of biceps curls; at least I hope you don’t!  You are doing a balanced program where you train each body part 2-3 times per week performing compound (functional) exercises rather than machine based isolation exercises.  You add to that some energy system training in the form of power training or agility training and you can see how there is a big difference in the training stimulus.

In my entire career so far (17 years) I have seen one female athlete who did add quite a bit of muscle bulk and we did lower her volume a bit to keep her size down because she was in a jumping sport and she just felt better when she was a little smaller – still she did not look anything like a amazon woman, she was just a little bigger than she wanted to be.

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I just wish I were a little more ‘toned’”  Well what you were just saying is female speak is I wish I had more muscle hypertrophy.  Trainers use this term to try and keep women from running out of their facility, never to return.  It is a bit of a lie to say, okay, well we will just work on adding some ‘tone’ – no such thing.  Women say ‘toned’ and guys say ‘jacked’ – both the same thing, just that women do not have the testosterone to get huge muscles so what they get is firmer muscles that actually have some shape rather than flab decorating the skeleton.

Final point here and then I will stop spewing about it – you are an athlete, you goal is to be as strong and powerful as you can be to have an impact on the ice.  The reason you train is to become a better hockey player, training for performance will add definition to your physique, you will look healthy and fit AND you will dominate on the ice.  Win:Win!