Gary Roberts
Launched the Nike Lunar TR1 shoe tonight with the help of #Stammer! As you can see @Nike was on top of their game! #training #niketraining #nike #hockey

Launched the Nike Lunar TR1 shoe tonight with the help of #Stammer! As you can see @Nike was on top of their game! #training #niketraining #nike #hockey

On-ice Conditioning day - the boys got buried by Tara McKay. #hockey #training #ice #conditioning #suckingwind

On-ice Conditioning day - the boys got buried by Tara McKay. #hockey #training #ice #conditioning #suckingwind

Little on ice fun at the end of a good skate! #breakaways #youngguns #saves #hockey

Influence started 12 years ago ;)

Influence started 12 years ago ;)

Off-Season Training, Nutrition and Recovery

Off-season training is where we can see big gains in strength, power and speed to prepare us for the next season.  There are three critical aspects required for a successful off-season: training, refueling and recovering. Let’s dive right in!

Off- Season training programs should include multiple phases in order to optimize gains. These phases should include:

1)     Foundation & Corrective Phase - This is where we focus on rehabilitation for an injury, correcting major imbalances and working on proper movement patterns. This phase will help prepare our bodies for work in the following phases.

2)     Strength & Power Phase - Once we have a strong foundation we can build on it by focusing on strength exercises specific to hockey players. Since hockey is an explosive sport, it is also important to consider power and explosiveness. This phase is where the bulk of our strength gains are made in the summer months.

3)     Strength Maintenance & Energy System Development - This is where we want to maximize the gains we have made in the summer and get ready for a strong showing at camp.  Hockey is mostly an anaerobic sport, which means that is uses a lot of energy in a very short period of time without the use of oxygen; weight lifting is also anaerobic. Inversely, the aerobic system requires oxygen and longer bouts of cardiovascular exercises. Both anaerobic and aerobic training are important in hockey. The anaerobic system is used in those initial strides on the ice and the aerobic system is used in our recovery in between shifts. In this phase we want to maintain the strength that we built up during the summer while maximizing on our power output and aerobic capacity.

The second part of our three-part equation to optimal performance is refueling. You guessed it, the food! Without proper refueling during an intense off-season, gains will be minimal.  What you eat before, after and in-between workouts will determine how well your body is going to respond to the training.  Although there are a lot of aspects to refueling properly, it is important to look at a balance of proper nutrients. Let’s take a look at the main areas to focus on:

1)     Complex Carbohydrates are your primary energy source. When you work out you are using your glycogen stores (sugar) to produce energy and if you do not have enough long lasting energy from complex carbohydrates you will essentially run out of gas.  Some of my favourite sources of complex carbohydrates are vegetables, brown rice, oatmeal, sweet potato, and quinoa.

2)     Protein is our primary building block, which is especially important in the off-season because this is when we are building muscle and increasing strength. Protein can come from a number of sources and we want to get as much variety as possible with our food choices for balance in nutrients. Some of my favourite animal sources of protein are eggs, chicken, turkey and fish. When you think of protein you might think of animal sources but not plant-based protein sources, which are also important to incorporate into our nutrition plans. Some of my favourite plant- based proteins are quinoa, legumes, beans and nuts/seeds.

3)     Healthy fats are also very important in this balance of proper nutrition. Fats have gotten a really bad name over the years but not all fats are bad! Good sources of fats will actually help with reducing inflammation and are used as an important energy source (two very important components for hockey players). The fats that we do want to exclude from our diet are trans-fats, which will be found in fried foods, commercial baked goods and highly processed foods. When choosing oils we want to stay away from vegetables oils, margarines and other highly processed (hydrogenated) oils. Instead we want to be choosing flax oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic butter and coconut oil.

And last but not least, the recovery! I can’t stress enough the importance of proper recovery in the off-season. Our bodies can only take so much physical work without proper recovery to accompany it. A big concern for us is overtraining (training too intensely without recovering well) which can actually make our strength, power and speed decrease if we are not careful.  Here are some strategies I use for recovery; to help to give my body a boost between training sessions (aside from proper nutrition of course):

1)     Adequate Sleep - This may sound easy for some of you but proper sleep is essential. Turn off your cell phones when in bed.  Try to get to bed before midnight for a restful sleep.

2)     Stretching & Yoga - Make sure to loosen up those tight areas in-between workouts. One of my favourite ways to do this is through Yoga.

3)     Stay hydrated all day (8 glasses plus 1 litre for every hour of exercise on top of that). Stay away from the sugary sports drinks and stick to the basics.

4)     Foam Rolling is a great way to recover before, after and in-between workouts. Foam rolling will help to break down the fascia allowing for optimal lengthening and strengthening of your muscles.

Train, Refuel, Recover…Perform.  Make a plan for the Off-Season that will address each of these three components in order to optimize your performance next season. 

Best meal of the year so far: roasted Ontario rainbow trout with side of sweet potato mash with Baby kale and Ontario slaw of local carrots cabbage beets and peppers. #unreal #refuel (at gary roberts high performance centre)

Best meal of the year so far: roasted Ontario rainbow trout with side of sweet potato mash with Baby kale and Ontario slaw of local carrots cabbage beets and peppers. #unreal #refuel (at gary roberts high performance centre)

Single leg glute bridge is key for hockey players and other athletes alike. #gluteactivation #training #performance

Young guns are rocking it. #form #technique #foundations #slowandsteady #correct #posture #movement #training #phase1

One of my favourite body weight exercises. Works on Strength and Flexibility. #yogapushups #GRTip

Refuel lunch: handmade super protein vegetarian nut free soy free gluten-free burger with asparagus zucchini hempseed salad.

Refuel lunch: handmade super protein vegetarian nut free soy free gluten-free burger with asparagus zucchini hempseed salad.

This is what a weeks supply of @biosteelsports looks like at the  GRHPC. #floortoceiling #drinkthepink #refuel

This is what a weeks supply of @biosteelsports looks like at the GRHPC. #floortoceiling #drinkthepink #refuel

Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 3 L of spring water per day.  Our athletes use Goccia due it’s pH and mineral content. #hydration #water #GRtip #training #hockey #performance

Make sure you’re getting a minimum of 3 L of spring water per day. Our athletes use Goccia due it’s pH and mineral content. #hydration #water #GRtip #training #hockey #performance

Shoulder strengthening/mobility is crucial for recovery and prevention of injuries in hockey players. #train

Shoulder strengthening/mobility is crucial for recovery and prevention of injuries in hockey players. #train

Post workout meal for Brad May this morning. Egg yolks are soft poached = better nutrition. Kamut bread with Roasted zucchini & Beet salad on the side. #wheatfree #refuel

Post workout meal for Brad May this morning. Egg yolks are soft poached = better nutrition. Kamut bread with Roasted zucchini & Beet salad on the side. #wheatfree #refuel

Young guns working hard on their work capacity day! #training #hockey #offseason #strength #conditioning #power #endurance #phase1