In order to become an elite hockey player, not only do you have to put in hard work on the ice, but off the ice as well. Aside from off-ice workouts, weight training and skill development, the hockey player needs to have a keen understanding of nutrition. Nutrition is fuel for the body and essential to building muscle, burning fat and remaining an elite player.
Without proper nutrition the body cannot function. When I say the body cannot function, I am referring to the performance at the cellular level. Nutrition is more than building muscle and burning fat. Nutrition involves fueling every single cell in every system of the body. Nutrition doesn’t differentiate between which muscles, cells and organs it effects.
The body is made up of many different cells within systems, each designed to perform a specific function. Skill development requires muscle memory, physical coordination and mental strength. There are many different systems and thousands of cells that have to be working in conjunction to build and develop even the minutest of skills.
Stop and think about that briefly, then ask yourself the following question: How does the food I eat affect my body?
Every gram of food you intake is broken up into a protein, carb or fat. From a McDonald’s hamburger to and grass-fed beef patty on a lettuce bun, your body only recognizes three categories of food. Protein is often considered ‘the building blocks of life.’ Protein the substance that creates more cells and helps the body perform, function and grow. Carbs and fat are energy sources for protein synthesis. In other words protein is the car and carbs and fat are the fuel.
The amount of protein you intake is vital to building and repairing muscle. Especially for an elite hockey player and one who is looking to get bigger, stronger and faster, an adequate level of protein is needed. I suggest anywhere from 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Therefore a 150 pound hockey player should be consuming roughly 150-225 grams of protein per day.
The source of protein is also important. Oscar Meyer hotdogs are not the same source of protein as a free range chicken breast. Obviously the hotdogs are processed and have additives, whereas the chicken breast is quality lean meat. I am not saying that your protein has to come from the most organic source possible, however, the choice is clear between a chicken breast and a hotdog.
In my next blog post, I am going to cover fats and carbs. I feel strongly that people are often mislead about these two categories and are confused about what to think. Some of the things I say may shock you and have you questioning my theories, but I believe it’s pretty cut-and-dry. As for now, especially you players looking for that added edge, think not of supplements, steroids or other alternatives, really think about what you are consuming and how it is affecting you on a cellular level.