Hockey requires tremendous feats of strength, speed, power and endurance. In one shift, you may need to sprint up and down the ice, deliver a crushing body check and battle in the corner for the puck. Naturally, you want to give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. (Check out Duncan Keith on Nutrition.)
Like other athletes, hockey players often turn to sports supplements to get an edge. Some products offer tempting results that are almost too difficult to refuse, but I caution you against them. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Below, I list three supplements that safely and effectively help hockey players improve their game. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it can serve as a guide to help you choose from the hundreds of options available.
Dark Matter by MHP
By the end of a game, a hockey player's muscles are fatigued and broken down. So, it's essential to take in some protein and carbs.
Athletes I've worked with have had great success with Dark Matter by MHP. It contains fast-absorbing protein and waxy maize, which is a carbohydrate that helps shuttle nutrients into your muscles so they can repair themselves to fortify strength gains. (Learn why carbs are important after a workout.)
For years, there were questions about the side effects of creatine. However, countless studies have confirmed that the supplement is safe and effective for athletes. (Learn more about the benefits of creatine.)
Creatine is particularly advantageous for hockey players because of its potential energy implications. It helps replenish ATP stores, which supply the muscle fuel needed for extra quick bursts of speed during a shift.
A word of caution: be careful of creatine blends. They often include fillers that cause bloating. Stick to simple creatine monohydrate.
If you are feeling groggy or tired before a game, caffeine is always an option. When taken in moderation, it can improve athletic performance by increasing focus and fending off fatigue.
Limit your caffeine intake to a single cup of coffee before a game—250 to 300 milligrams per day as advised by the American Dietetic Association. Avoid caffeine pills and energy drinks, because they may contain a concentrated dose that can cause jitters and an energy crash in the middle of a game. (Read: The Scoop on Energy Drinks.)
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