Game Day Nutrition for Hockey Players

November 12, 2012 | Sean Cromarty

Must See Nutrition Videos

During hockey season you probably feel like you live on the ice. However, you spend more time recovering and refueling than you do at the rink and the weight room combined. You have a structured plan for game day physicality. A proper approach to game day nutrition will only enhance what you do on the ice.

Here's everything you need to know as a hockey athlete:

Eating Guidelines

For athletes, food is not just for sustenance. It also provides fuel for energy. Break up meals into smaller portions, eating every two to three hours throughout the day. The National Academy of Sports Medicine's guidelines1 state that every athlete needs to stick to a balanced diet of 50- to 70-percent carbohydrate, 10 to 30-percent protein and 15 to 30-percent fat. (See Balancing Your Training Diet.)

Macronutrient Breakdowns Explained

  1. Protein: Composed of various amino acids, protein provides the building blocks of muscle tissue for the main function of building and repairing body tissues and structures. To help repair damage done with training, athletes need to take between 1.2 and 1.8g/kg daily. (Ask the Experts: How Much Protein Do I Need?) Exercise increases the breakdown of amino acids; therefore protein requirements increase as energy intake decreases. To combat this, protein pre-loading can help athletes feel full and energized throughout the day. This is especially important two to three hours before a game.
  2. Fats: Fats are the most densely packed nutrient for energy stores. They also preserve body heat and provide the body with cushion/protection for vital organs. The body uses fats on a 50/50 basis during exercise. The longer you continue steady exercise, the higher the percentage of fat used. Fat is an important macronutrient for energy and cellular function. Between 10 and 30 percent of your diet should come from fat. Over 30 percent will lead to a slower metabolism. (Read What Makes Food Unhealthy?)
  3. Carbohydrates: Since intense training and hockey are both anaerobic activities (meaning they take place in short, intense bursts), carbohydrates are important for energy. Intense training creates a demand in the body for glycogen. The window for carbohydrate replenishment opens within 20 minutes after you finish training. Glycogen replenishment is especially important when you follow up a session of weight training with skating. If you try to work while you are carbohydrate deprived, you will find yourself lacking in energy.

Hydration

Water is critical for athletes because it keeps the muscles full. Just a two percent drop in water weight significantly reduces muscle strength, performance and endurance. Not drinking enough water while taking part in activities that result in excessive fluid loss has a significant effect on muscle size. Furthermore, without sufficient intake of water you become dehydrated. Your body begins to retain water to protect itself, and much of this water is stored subcutaneously, which can hamper performance dramatically by making you feel sluggish and tired.

Individual Calorie Counter: So how many calories from each macronutrient do you need to perform at your best? Use the following equations to determine:

  1. Carbohydrates: (2.3g x body weight) x 4 = calories of carbohydrate to consume
  2. Protein: (1.4g x body weight) x 4 = calories of protein to consume
  3. Total Caloric Intake = carbohydrates + protein

Example: A 180 -pound athlete's diet looks like this (414g carbohydrates) + (252g protein) x 4 = 2,664 calories/day

Game Day Nutrition Timetable for Hockey Players

For meal ideas see: Pre-Game Meal Recommendations.

4:00 p.m. Game

6:00 am: Hydrate (carbohydrate + water)
7:00 am: Meal One (High carbohydrate, protein)
8:00 am: Hydrate (water)
9:00 am: Snack
10:00 am: Hydrate (water)
11:00 am: Snack
12:00 pm: Meal Two
1:00 pm: Hydrate (water)
2:00 pm: Snack
3:00 pm: Hydrate (water + electrolytes)
Post-Game: Hydrate (water + electrolytes) within 30 minutes of completion of game, Meal Three (meal replacement drink)
7:30 pm: Meal Four (High carbohydrate, protein)

8:30 p.m. Game

7:00 am: Meal One (High carbohydrate, protein)
8:00 am: Hydrate (water)
9:00 am: Snack
10:00 am: Hydrate (water)
11:00 am: Hydrate (water)
12:00 pm: Snack
1:00 pm: Hydrate (water + electrolytes)
2:00 pm: Hydrate (water)
3:00 pm: Meal Two (High protein, simple carbohydrate)
4:00 pm: Hydrate (water + electrolytes)
5:00 pm: Snack
6:00 pm: Hydrate (water)
7:00 pm: Hydrate (water + electrolytes)
Post-Game: Hydrate (water + electrolytes)/ within 30 minutes of completion of game, Meal Three (meal replacement drink)
12:00 am: Meal Four (High carbohydrate, protein)

Sources

1 NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training (Chapter 15)
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nasm-personal-trainer/id468299721?mt=8

Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 33,132,488
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Views: 548,130
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 7,921,693

Featured Videos

James Harden Resisted Euro-Step James Harden Resisted Euro-Step Views: 27,251
Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Real Workouts: Randall Cobb Views: 22,312
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,074
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,332,792
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,498,870
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 11,228,339
Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling Tobin Heath Closed-Space Dribbling
Views: 1,174,469
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 890,413

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

The Boston Cannons' Keep It Real Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons'

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

YardBarker