Most popular nutrition questions I got this summer.

Can you believe we are heading straight into the Labour Day weekend?  Wow, did that ever go fast!  It is such an exciting time for us though because our athletes get to head back to their teams and show the results of their hard work on the ice.  We get emails and tweets from excited athletes who increased their vertical by 3 inches or dominated the shuttle runs that they could not even finish during their teams prospect camp in June.  It is awesome!

Here is the annual HockeySTRONG Training Group Video for 2013 – enjoy!

If you cannot see the video in the player above, just click on the link below: – the video may not play on your cell phone, I think maybe because of the music.

Top Three Nutrition Questions From Hockey Players

As you know I traveled to a few camps this summer and I always get asked about nutrition.  My philosophy on this is very simple – get an athlete eating well first and then we can start to monkey around with supplements, special (fad) diets, etc.

When I was at the National Strength and Conditioning Association conference in July one of the speakers was talking about recovery strategies to reduce the risk of over training.  Here were the shocking results – get enough calories, stay hydrated and get enough sleep.  Not shocking to any of you is it?

What is shocking is the number of hockey players who are failing miserably on at least two of the three.

Here are the three most popular nutrition questions I got this summer….

1. What should I eat before a game or practice?

The best thing to eat before a game is something that will sit in your stomach without upsetting it, that is the priority.  All things being equal, have something that is relatively low in fat (fat will slow your digestion), have something that is not too high on the glycemic index (like regular sport drinks), since that will trigger an insulin response and have your cells absorb the ‘sugar’ energy in your blood, which you are going to need shortly, so you do not want to start from an energy deficit.

Include a lean protein, a carbohydrate and water.

Here are some examples:

Chicken stir fry with fresh veggies and brown rice.  Glass of water.

Pork tenderloin, sweet potato broccoli. Glass of water.

Turkey sandwich with mustard, tomatoes, lettuce.  Glass of water.

2. If my ‘friend’ were going to drink booze, is vodka and water the best?

I love the hypothetical ‘friend’ questions.  Now, I am not an expert on booze, so I do not know if vodka and water is actually better for you than anything else.  The argument I get from players is that you are ‘rehydrating while you drink’.  I don’t find that a very acceptable rational.  Basically booze is booze and it has almost as many calories as fat per gram, just because it is clear like water – doesn’t mean it is the same 🙂

So to me this question is like asking, can I eat 3 gallons of creamy salad dressing as long as it is on salad.  Putting crap on or in something healthy, does not make it healthy.  Make sense?

Now, I enjoy a nice pint of beer as much as (maybe more) than the next person, but moderation is the key.  It is one of the things I like about Guinness – it is tough to get carried away and drink 6-pints of Guinness (your belly will explode).  Guinness actually is one of the lighter beers out there (126 calories at 4% alcohol), less alcohol and fewer calories than Budweiser.  There is your beer fact for the day.

So the bottom line is booze is booze – if you want to make the most of your training gains, then be moderate.  Have fun, but choose your moments.  A lot of stupid things can happen when you get into the hooch, so be smart.

3. What do I think of L-Carnitine (or some other individual amino acid)?

My answer to this typically starts with “what did you have for breakfast today?” and the answer is usually something between staring at the floor, a grunt followed by a shrug.

Get the big blocks first – get enough calories, stay hydrated, get enough sleep.

Then take Omega 3 Fish Oil, find a good protein and carbohydrate shake to have immediately after you workouts.  Then you may want to consider creatine which I believe is a safe and effective ergogenic aid.  Then and only then do you need to start looking at the minutia.

Healthy Condiments For Your Labour Day BBQs

As you know, it is often the hidden  calories that get us into trouble – like condiments that are laced with sugar.  So I went to my colleague Dr. John Berardi’s Precision Nutrition website for some healthy condiments,  that taste great by the way, that you can try this weekend.  You see what they are and get some great recipes here – Healthy Condiments Are HERE.

If you are a coach or trainer looking to learn more about helping your clients or athletes achieve better nutrition, you might want to check out Dr. Berardi’s free 5-Day nutrition course like I did.  It was really well presented with great info.  Now, be warned, you will end up on his email list and be sent emails about nutrition until you decide to unsubscribe, so see if it is something you are really interested in first – you can find out more HERE.

Have a great one! Cheers,

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