After spending the weekend celebrating the 4th of July, a holiday that drives unthinkable spikes in hot dog sales, I thought it’d be an appropriate time for another guest post from my friend Brian St. Pierre, who wrote the Nutrition Guide for my new program Ultimate Hockey Transformation.

As a quick reminder, you can get ~50% off almost all of my products until Friday using these links:

  1. Ultimate Hockey Training ($35.95 $19.95)
  2. Ultimate Hockey Transformation (Pro: $147 $77 Elite: $117 $57)
  3. Optimizing Movement ($97 $47)

Enjoy!

-KN

Tip #7 – Drink Mostly Calorie-Free Beverages by Brian St. Pierre

Water is one of the most important aspects of exercise nutrition. In fact, your muscles are over 70% water!

If you don’t drink enough of it, and you end up even a little dehydrated, you will suffer. Your performance will decline, your health will diminish and your body composition will worsen.

Not drinking enough water will especially hurt your performance.

Lose anything more than 1% of your body water – which you can do exercising for just one hour in the heat – your endurance drops, strength and power disappear, and your heart starts racing during relatively easy activities.

This is why it is critical you drink enough. It strongly affects everything you may want to improve – how you look, how you feel, and how you perform. Being dehydrated prevents any of the other nutrition strategies I’ve covered from providing you as much benefit.

So, how much water should you drink?

As a hard-training athlete, you should aim for 12-16 cups (3-4 liters) every day.

Of course, this is easier said than done. Here is an easy 3-step process that I’ve borrowed from my colleague, Dr. John Berardi, for drinking enough:

Step 1: fill a 1-liter bottle and drink it during workouts and practices

Step 2: fill another 1 liter bottle and drink it right after workouts and practices

Step 3: each time you eat a meal, drink another 1-2 cups of water

Now, your beverage choices are not limited to just water. But you would be best served by consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, including water. I will go over some of the best ones. Even with these other options available to you, it would be best if water still made up at least half of your total fluid intake.

Black coffee

Coffee is a somewhat controversial beverage, but it really shouldn’t be.

Black Coffee
 

Some people metabolize caffeine poorly, or feel jittery from caffeine. If this is you, minimize your coffee consumption. But for everyone else, 1-3 cups of black coffee can provided a nice dose of health benefits:

  1. Improved athletic performance
  2. Decreased risk of some cancers
  3. Decreased risk of neurological diseases
  4. And more.

Tea

Tea is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. It is loaded with antioxidants and powerful nutrients. A few cups per day has been shown to:

  1. Calm nerves
  2. Decrease risk of some cancers
  3. Boost immune system function
  4. And more.

Drinks to minimize

With the focus on consuming mostly calorie-free beverages, that means there are other drinks you should aim to minimize. These drinks usually just provide lots of unnecessary sugar and calories, and don’t provide much value to the body.

These drinks include:

  1. soda
  2. energy drinks
  3. fruit juice
  4. alcohol

Note, that this doesn’t mean you should never drink these beverages. An occasional soda or juice is not a problem. It is what you do consistently that matters, not what you do on occasion.

Sports drinks

There can be a time and a place for sports drinks too (Biosteel, Gatorade, Powerade, etc.), such as during extended exercise, being active in intense heat, or during competition. But for general hydration purposes, water is your best choice.

In the end, it is critically important that you consume adequate amounts of fluid every day. If you’re working out or competing, and start feeling a little confused, get a headache, feel tired too quickly, get dizzy, get light-headed when standing up, or feel really moody, these are early warning signs; you need to start drinking water immediately.

-Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD, CSCS, CISSN, PN1

P.S. For more information on how to get a copy of Brian’s incredible hockey nutrition manual, click here: Ultimate Hockey Transformation

Brian is a Registered Dietitian and received his Bachelor’s in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Maine, where he also received his Master’s in Food Science and Human Nutrition. He is a Certified Sports Nutritionist as well as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Brian worked for three years at Cressey Performance as the head Sports Nutritionist and as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, working with hundreds of athletes and recreational exercisers of all types. During this time, he also authored the High Performance Handbook Nutrition Guide, Show and Go Nutrition Guide, Ultimate Hockey Nutrition and dozens of articles for publication.

Nowadays, he works closely with Dr. John Berardi as a full-time coach and a nutrition educator at Precision Nutrition. In particular, working closely with our elite athletes and fitness professionals. As part of the Precision Nutrition mission, he helps to deliver life-changing, research-driven nutrition coaching for everyone.

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

Get Ultimate Hockey Transformation Now!

Year-round age-specific hockey training programs complete with a comprehensive instructional video database!

Ultimate Hockey Transformation Pro Package-small

Get access to your game-changing program now >> Ultimate Hockey Transformation

“Kevin Neeld is one of the top 5-6 strength and conditioning coaches in the ice hockey world.”
– Mike Boyle, Head S&C Coach, US Women’s Olympic Team

“…if you want to be the best, Kevin is the one you have to train with”
– Brijesh Patel, Head S&C Coach, Quinnipiac University

A couple weeks ago Seth Bronheim and Varun Sriram, the Director of Nutrition & Fitness and Digital Marketing Manager, respectively, of Generation UCAN were in the Philadelphia area for an endurance event and had a chance to stop by Endeavor to check the facility out. While they were in town, we did a quick interview discussing how we’ve been recommending our athletes and general fitness clientele use Generation UCAN’s products, and what types of responses we’ve seen/heard. As you likely know, I’ve been a big proponent of UCAN since being introduced to the company several years ago at the annual BSMPG seminar in Boston.

Save 10% on all UCAN Products using the code “competehard”

If you’re interested in learning more about UCAN, check out these posts:

  1. Revolutionary Hockey Nutrition
  2. The Death of Gatorade?
  3. UCAN Break Carbohydrate Dependence
  4. UCAN Perform, Look, and Feel Better

While UCAN is a young company, they’ve already gained popularity across many elite level athletic domains, including ice hockey, football, and endurance events. Anecdotally, we’ve had many players that felt like their legs crashed on them somewhere in the range of the middle of the 2nd to middle of the 3rd period and say they feel amazing through the whole game when drinking one of UCAN’s sports drinks immediately before the game or sipping it throughout. I’d encourage you to learn more about it, as it’s a much healthier alternative to many of the more commonly used sports drinks.

The video below is what I believe to be the first of several that they’re creating using some of the interview footage from our meeting at Endeavor and that with Cassandra Forsythe, a really bright nutritionist that I had the pleasure of meeting while I was an intern at Cressey Performance. As a brief aside, you’ll have to forgive my appearance. About 8 weeks ago I spontaneously made a decision that I was going to relive my glory days as a player and let my hair grow out until November (Flowvember?). This video was taken at about week 2 of the inevitable 12-week awkward grow out period. Enjoy!

…Not quite this awkward (2010 Playoff Beard)

UCAN Optimize Performance

If you need to restock your supply, you can use the code “competehard” to save 10% on all their products here: Generation UCAN.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!

I remember the anxious anticipation I used to feel leading up to Christmas when I was younger. The holidays have come to take on a different meaning as I’ve gotten older, but then, it was all about getting new hockey stuff. Whether it was new gloves, new pants, a new jersey, or new rollerblades, I almost always strictly wanted something that would help make me a better player or replace old gear that I had bought myself. Somewhere I have a picture of me as a little porker, fully clothed, wearing my new hockey pants and flexing (a hockey strength and conditioning coach in the making); if I can dig it up I’ll throw it up on here.

Santa’s shooting technique is eerily resemblant of Mark Messier’s

One of the things I love so much about the hockey community is how passionate everyone involved is. I’ve found that, as much or more than any other sport, hockey players, parents, and coaches are always looking for ways to get better. This, in combination with the rapid growth of the sport over the last decade, has done wonders in improving the quality of the game at all levels.

With the Holiday Season upon us, you may be in a rush to finish up your shopping for the hockey enthusiasts in your life. With that in mind, here are a couple recommendations:

For the Players:

Because my focus has been primarily on the training side of things over the last few years, I don’t talk very much about skill development. Many are surprised to know that this is actually where a lot of my background originated-running on-ice power skating and puckhandling clinics. One of the most overlooked aspects of hockey training is how much improvement a player can make in his/her hands from spending some time handling a puck or ball and taking a few hundred QUALITY shots everyday. The key is to find the right equipment to do so. I’ve been really impressed with what HockeyShot has to offer. Go to the link below and check out the “Top 12 Must-Haves” under the Hot Gifts tab on the left. A good net and shooting board allow you to bring the feel of a rink anywhere you want. I also recommend picking up one of the stickhandling balls in the Stocking Stuffers section.

Click Here >> HockeyShot: Your #1 Source for Hockey Training Aids!

The thing that most consistently limits a player’s performance is how they fuel themselves. From talking to hundreds of players over the last several years, hockey players aren’t able to consistently identify any “good” foods except for chicken. Essentially, the idea of pre-, during-, and post-training/competition meals are completely lost on them. Generation UCAN has a simple, and extremely effective solution to this problem. Their SuperStarch drinks are perfect for pre- and during- training, practices, and games, and their SuperStarch/Protein drinks are prefer for afterward. I highly recommend picking up a case of each. They have a special deal right now offering 25% off all their products, but only through the link below.

Click Here >> Generation UCAN Sports Drinks

For Parents and Coaches

There are countless products out there that may appeal to you, many of which I’ve talked about in the past. Having said that, I still think the #1 thing every parent and coach should do is watch Mike Boyle’s presentation from USA Hockey’s ADM conference. It won’t cost you a dime, and will have a profound impact on what you do with your sons/daughters/players. The general feedback I’ve gotten from parents that have watched it so far is “I can’t believe how wrong of an approach I’ve taken.” This presentation address things ranging from whether or not players need to play in “prospect camps” (which many parents push their kids to play in for fear of not getting “noticed”) to what players should be doing from a training standpoint to give themselves the best chance of success (not what most coaches have their youth teams doing). You can watch the entire presentation for free here:

>> The Truth About Developing Elite Level Hockey Players <<

Strength Coaches, Trainers, and Sports Medicine Professionals

One thing I’ve noticed over the last year is that it’s easy to get busy and let continuing education stuff slip under the radar. Many strength and conditioning coaches work in excess of 10 hour days on a regular basis. In an effort to keep up with current trends in hockey training, it’s important that continuing education isn’t ignored. In an effort to maintain some semblance of a social life, it’s important that you only look to the best resources for this information. In this regard, HockeyStrengthandConditioning.com is the top resource for hockey training information on the internet. The diversity of the contributors allows for great information on new exercises and training progressions, injury prevention and rehabilitation techniques, coaching cues, nutrition and supplementation, and more. Even better, the contributors aren’t “internet gurus”; they all have real-world experience developing hockey players (many at the NCAA D1, Major Junior, Olympic, and Professional Levels)! A year-membership makes a perfect gift!

Click Here >> Hockey Strength and Conditioning


As an added bonus (and incentive), if you sign up for a 1-year membership by tonight at midnight (12/15), I’ll throw in my Ultimate Hockey Development Coaching Program as a free gift. You can listen to the 14 Coaching Calls with some of the hockey development industry’s top experts on your drive in and out of work or while you shovel! Just send me an email after you’ve registered with your name and login id and I’ll shoot you over a download link after I confirm.

That’s a wrap for today. If you have any questions about the things I’ve mentioned here, feel free to post a comment below and I’ll get back to you.

To your success,

Kevin Neeld

P.S. Forward this along to your friends, family, teammates, and coaches…and hurry, shopping time is running out!

Please enter your first name and email below to sign up for my FREE Athletic Development and Hockey Training Newsletter!