Ice hockey is a quick sport that requires dynamic changes in speed, direction, and frequent physical contact. Players tend to take turns of 30-80 seconds with a 4–5-minute break between them, spending up to 20 minutes of each hour-long game on ice.
It’s essential then for a hockey player to be in their top shape, with the body filled with energy and properly hydrated. It’s therefore important to understand the fundamentals of a hockey diet, and which supplements can give competitive hockey players an edge.
So, what does it take to stay healthy, energized and performing well?
Step 1. Protein
Each day should have you eating around 0.8-1g of protein for each pound of your weight, regardless of training status. This ensures you’ve got enough for muscle growth.
Space out your protein portions evenly throughout the day. Our bodies undergo a process called protein turnover – which is when proteins are broken down and new proteins are made. Muscle growth does not only occur for a few hours straight after a workout, in fact, it is a process that can last up to 48 hours. It’s therefore important to provide our body with enough protein to ensure that the rate of breaking down muscle is never greater than the rate of making new muscle.
Stick to whole foods, like chicken, fish, tofu, or legumes when meeting your protein goals. When relying on protein shakes, choose protein powders with high amounts of leucine, as it promotes muscle growth.
For a great protein supplement, look no further than Maxler’s range of protein powders.
For instance, Ultra Whey provides 22 g of protein per serving, with 8 g of leucine per 100 g. It comes in fabulous flavors like vanilla ice cream or white chocolate & raspberry, which will make your protein shakes something to look forward to.
Step 2. Carbohydrates
Hockey players can consume up to 4g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. Consume 0.5-1g per pound on non-training days, 2g per pound if you’re training, and more than 2g per pound on extreme training days, or with multiple sessions in one day.
Carbohydrates are essential and get used for energy preferentially. Carbohydrates get digested into glucose, part of which is used for current needs, and the rest gets made into glycogen. When we exercise, glycogen provides fuel to our muscles.
Therefore, getting enough carbohydrates will help peak your performance. Choose low GI sources like beans, pasta, porridge for long-lasting sources.
Ensure to top up during long workouts and have some carbs after training to recover between workouts by recovering glycogen stores.
Step 3. The fats
Fats are essential for a healthy lifestyle and athletic performance. Aim to get around 15-25% of overall calories from them when you’re training and increase it to 25-40% on resting days.
Fats partake in the production of testosterone, which helps grow muscle and improve performance.
You should get about the same amounts of the different kinds of fats. Saturated fats come from animal sources and are things like butter and meat. Mono and polyunsaturated fats come from oils, like olive or walnut oil.
Step 4. Keep hydrated
Dehydration decreases how well you play, so aim to get anywhere from 6-12 oz of water every 15-20 minutes of exercise.
This is key as not getting enough water increases how tired you feel and makes you worse at controlling body temperature. If you play overtime, try adding a carb source in your drink.
We all sweat different amounts, so try weighing yourself before and after a training session to make sure you’re drinking enough – if your weight didn’t decrease, you’re doing well. If you find you’ve lost some weight, multiply the amount you lost by 16 and then to 1.5 to get the amount of liquid you need to drink in fluid oz.
As you sweat, electrolytes, or the charged minerals in water leave your body. Ensure to replenish them, as you’re likely to cramp up if you’re low on sodium. To rehydrate properly, make a drink consisting of 6-8% of electrolytes and carbohydrates – it will also make you feel less tired.
Maxler Max Motion is a vitamin and mineral complex used for the isotonic drink preparation. It comes in a convenient powder form – perfect on the ice.
Eating on match days
For matches, you need to pay extra attention to hydration and proper fueling.
Your pre-match meal should happen 1-3 hours before a game. Start off with a meal containing equal amounts of carbs and protein, and choose those that have a low GI, such as foods like white rice or white bread. If you’re eating a fatty protein such as steak, eat it earlier than later. If you’re planning on a longer workout or game, double the amount of carbs.
If for any reason, that is not possible, take a mix of protein and carbs in the form of a shake 20-45 minutes pre-game. If you had a meal, opt for performance enhancing supplements like caffeine at this point instead.
During a match, aim to rely on protein and carbs in a liquid form. Combine high GI carbs, whey isolate and electrolytes in a 6-8% drink to help decrease tiredness.
Focus on getting carbs and protein straight after a match, whether in a shake or as a snack so your body can get a head start on restoring your glycogen.
Boosting your performance
It’s important to get an edge over the competitors in a match, so consider using supplements not only to meet your nutritional goals, but to enhance your game.
Key supplements which can increase performance in hockey include:
- Caffeine. It enhances exercise performance and physicality during scrimmages in ice hockey. The correct dosage is around 3-6mg/kg of body mass. Try Maxler Guarana 2000 Shots for a dose of 200mg of caffeine in a single liquid serving to harness the power of caffeine.
- Creatine. It boosts sprints and helps play at high intensities. Maxler Creatine Monohydrate provides 3g of creatine monohydrate in an easily digestible form.
- Beta-alanine. It is used to create carnosine, which helps to reduce accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles. This helps to reduce fatigue. Consider giving Maxler Beta Alanine Powder, which packs 5g of beta-alanine per serving, a try to improve your endurance.
Players should also stay on top of their micronutrient requirements. Besides the obvious vitamin D3, calcium and iron, certain micronutrients like vitamin B1, B2, biotin, and zinc, help convert glucose into energy, therefore it’s essential to consume enough of them.
Maxler Balance for Men and Balance for Women are vitamin complexes which provide all your daily vitamin and mineral needs with an additional complex of beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, to ensure the needs of active players are met.
Ensure to get enough omega-3s, as they may boost how quickly your muscle grows. For a great omega-3 supplement, look no further than Maxler Omega-3 Gold, which provides 300mg of omega-3s in a single softgel capsule.