Nutrition and Fitness Key in New NHL



I expect you to report in good condition not more than seven pounds over your playing weight and not more than seven pounds over your playing weight I expect you to report in good condition not more than seven pounds over your playing weight with a minimum of being able to do 20 push-ups 20 sit-ups 30 knee bends 20 push-ups 20 sa-do's and 30 maybe 20 push-ups 30 sit-ups and 13 events so that were the test for the Calgary Flames in 1984 I would have passed them what looks like a John Tortorella training camp that sounds like a house leg here now but unfortunately I failed them summer used to mean the same thing to all hockey players sitting by the lake catching up over beers with your buddies and eating whatever was put in front of you after all it was the offseason hope it gets a bit we'll catch some fish about the big picture hundred that's good skate by those wheels has to be playing the lake my how times have changed on a gorgeous summer's day in Aurora Ontario 14 NHL and 18 junior and minor league hockey players spend their free time working not lounging o OG their first goal of the week under the guidance of former NHL er Gary Roberts these players use their summer to not just play but to stay in the league with the emphasis on nutrition and proper training I'd say preparation for the summer and the information that's available for young players to prepare obviously my passion has become preparation it was for their the last 13 years of my career once I had that second opportunity to play and it continues now to be my passion helping young players prepare and hopefully helping them avoid some of the challenges that I had times has changed obviously that the game has taken a drastic change in the way guys prepare for games the way it's more or less at 12 months of the year job now and you know when I got started with Gary I think it was five summers ago now that's when you really you see the hard work and the correlation now of the good players in the game and work ethic so if you don't come to shape or if you don't come to camp in shape now you'll be you'll be packing pretty quick the old days they went to camp and that's when they got in shape now you know we're peaking and getting coming in at full force and being ready for camp so it's changed but guys are younger now bigger stronger it's a different different game out there Roberts embraces the opportunity to teach players the importance of not only staying fit during the season but preparing your body in the summer it's a luxury he never had himself in his early playing days I was always a hard worker but with not really a plan my longtime strength coach LaRon Goldenberg was my strength coach in Ottawa as a junior a hockey player used to give me a lot of information that I never used probably because I never paid for it and I reached out through Lauren to a strength coach that was in Calgary Charles polycon and I started paying this guy $250 an hour for information and that's when it registered in my opinion what I did at 30 years old to give myself a second chance to play in the NHL was a pretty wise investment costs me a lot of money from one year of education I was with Charles Pollock in every day for almost ten months and made a comeback and played almost 13 more years dedication to nutrition and fitness wasn't always a part of Roberts life in 1996 after too serious neck injuries he was forced into early retirement after a few months away from the game Roberts began to reflect then regroup with a different plan to prepare his mind and body for the daily rigors of NHL life looked at myself in the mirror had been haven't really trained since April at the time I was a canal no big deal I won't work out anymore I'll just play golf and and relax and remember look myself in November and saying wow I don't like the way I look I don't like the way I feel and came back basically changed my lifestyle I came back to Calgary hired Charles and then just started eating better training smarter my lifestyle of choices making smarter lifestyle choices but I remember the day Charles polkan said to me and in February we had to leave Calgary went Arizona because I was in the gym and Calgary every day twice a day and we was going to get note that I was looking like I was making a comeback so I just didn't want to be bothered every day in the gym with it so I went to Arizona with him and got a place and we trained twice a day down there he looked at me in the gym one day and he said he said you're gonna play again and I can say for me still emotional emotional time for me that day he said that I I was shocked but I I felt pretty good about where I was going to be fair Roberts was just one of many NHL players who didn't put much emphasis on nutrition and fitness a lot of guys didn't exactly eat healthier stay fit all year round instead relying more on their talent than their physique Wayne Gretzky and I lived together for a couple years in the early 80s and so whenever for a holding game we used to put all never forget we would have a t-bone steak we would have french fries we would have mac and cheese and we'd have homemade pierogies from a lady down the street and you know that that's that stuff's just unheard of now guys athletes afterwards they they have protein shakes or the the supplement shakes immediately after the game they're training in the dressing room and then they're having a full meal before they even consider perhaps having a beer afterwards we joke around about it I would have liked to play in the eighties a lot better where you could just booze and get drunk every night during the summer and show up the camp again shape but definitely not the case and there's wait way too much money on the line too to be sitting at home and at the bars drinking all week was a time that players went to training camp to start training for the season and to get in shape and then those days are long gone everybody's training now everybody's fit these days with so much more on the line they understand being an NHL player is a 12 months a year job it is a dedication and discipline they have to have to compete at the highest level my second or third year in the league I think you know it started to get a lot more important than I became a 24-hour 365 day your job instead of you know 10 months a year I think the players these days really start early you know I can see that from from watching players skate and watching the development and how young they are and how good of skaters and you know how strong they're so I could tell that the game has evolved and changed until I really I came to Gary I never really learned about the nutritional aspect of it you know you can go out and run and do push-ups and sit-ups as much do you want when you go have crispy chicken burger at McDonald's you know I think you're you're being healthy it kind of negates the benefits so Gary's really opened up a lot of our eyes in terms of what is really really healthy some of those things that I've learned with Gary as far as the types of things to eat and kind of stuff you pick up along the way it's helping a lot especially at the end of my career kind of being able to manage a weight and a nutrition in a fitness level that's I need to do at this stage of my career with more and more athletes buying into Roberts philosophy of nutrition and fitness NHL players are only going to get bigger stronger faster and better the power output that these guys are generating every day and the calories are burning every day they need a carbohydrate based diet in July and August and the players that buy into the whole program they make the biggest gains there's no question about it I've seen it for five years now since I've retired you're your top players our top players for visa not just because they're skilled but because they're doing everything we can away from the gym and the rink to be the best players they could be

7 thoughts on “Nutrition and Fitness Key in New NHL

  1. Charles Poliqun is the man. On another note, many players of the late 70’s and early 80’s had to pull down a second job in the off season as salaries were very modest for the average nhl’er

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