To call Zach Parise's training intense is an understatement. The 33-year-old Minnesota Wild winger's workouts are borderline torture.
If you were to stumble upon one of his offseason sessions, you might see Parise hold a squat position for five straight minutes as his legs quiver in agony. All the while, multiple electrodes attached to his body send shockwaves through his muscles. "It's so different than the traditional style of training," Parise told STACK.
The system is the brainchild of Jay Schroeder, a kinesiologist and the owner of EVO UltraFit. Just how difficult are the workouts Schroeder's created? Fellow NHL player T.J. Oshie nearly quit the system after his first two weeks due to the brutal intensity. The aforementioned electrodes are one reason the training is so difficult, as Parise keeps them attached to his body (albeit on different muscle groups) for nearly the entire duration of the workout.
"It's very noticeable. There's different frequencies and pulses and intensities," Parise says. "For example, while you're holding a Squat or a Lunge or a Wall Sit, this machine is also contracting your quads and your hamstrings at a really intense level. It makes it really, really hard."
But all that grueling work would go to waste if Parise overlooked recovery. That's why he reaches for chocolate milk after every workout, game and practice. Low-fat chocolate milk contains the right mix of protein and carbs to support recovery after tough workouts. A surprising amount of research supports chocolate milk as a highly effective recovery beverage.
"It's become my go-to recovery drink after practices or games or training," Parise says. "You're always looking for something—any type of edge you can get—in sports. And it's so important after training or after a game or practice to be able to bounce back for the next day. It's not just something that tastes good, it's got the science behind it. It's got all the important nutrients you need to help you recover and be on top of your game the next day."
Parise always aims to down chocolate milk within 15 minutes after he completes an activity, as that allows him to reap the full benefits of the protein-packed beverage. "I have a 15-minute window to maximize recovery and make sure I'm ready to play at my top level," Parise says. The combination of ferocious training and smart recovery is working wonders for Parise, who believes he's found the right formula for overcoming the grind of an 82-game NHL season.
"I'm a big believer in what we're doing. I feel fresh and it's game 75. I feel like it's game 10," Parise says. His numbers back that sentiment up, as he tallied 14 points over his final 17 games last season (including the playoffs). Parise has helped the Wild make the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, tied for the fifth-longest active streak in the NHL. However, he's no longer satisfied with simply making it into the postseason.
"The ultimate for us as a team would be to win the championship," Parise says."At the end of the year, to be the last team, that's what everyone's striving for. For Minnesota, it would be incredible. Hockey is such a part of the culture."