Let’s look at the game of ice hockey. Ice hockey is a Stop and Go sport played in 3, 20 minute periods.
Shifts are very short, from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Defensive players may play 50% of the game where as offensive players may play 33% of the game. The goalie typically plays the entire game.
To fuel your skater’s body for optimum performance it is important to understand that there are 2 metabolic pathways at work. The anaerobic pathway and the aerobic pathway.
The anaerobic pathway uses glycogen for fuel. Glycogen is the body’s storage form of glucose and is stored in your skater’s muscles and liver. The muscles use the glycogen for physical activity, the liver shares its stored glycogen to help keep your skater’s blood sugar remain stable in between meals and snacks.
An example of an anaerobic activity is sprinting.
The aerobic pathway uses mostly fat for fuel. Aerobic activity is a less intense, longer duration activity.
An example of aerobic activity would be public skating.
Why is it important to understand these 2 pathways? It will help you understand why your skater needs a diet rich in carbohydrates.
Now that you know your skater’s body uses both anaerobic and aerobic pathways.
Did you know that 69 % of your skater’s ice hockey activity is fueled by the anaerobic pathway and 31% of activity is fueled by the aerobic pathway?
Remember the anaerobic pathway uses glycogen to fuel the quick bursts of activity in the Stop and Go sport of ice hockey, and glycogen is the body’s storage form of glucose, and glucose comes from carbohydrates.
To build muscle your skater needs the majority of their food choices each day to come from carbohydrates. Breads, cereals, grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and low fat milk (dairy milk contains carbohydrates and protein) . These carbohydrate rich foods help to power the muscles to do work. Muscles increase in size and power when they are exercised.
Think of a time you broke or sprained your leg/ankle. You couldn’t put any weight on it, what happened? Your leg muscle atrophied, or got much smaller. It wasn’t exercised.
When you create your skater’s meal plan build the meal around the carbohydrate rich foods to give their muscles fuel to do the work that is needed to grow and increase in size.
If you need help getting started I created a 2 Week’s of Hockey Strong E book to show you how to create breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks to give your skater the speed and stamina they want and need for optimum performance.
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Here’s to your skater’s success.
Great Nutrition Leads to Great Performance
Hockey Mom RD
P.S. Alex and Nathan below have used the 2 Weeks of Hockey Strong E books to add more variety to their meal plans.