Saturday, February 18, 2012

Eat, sleep, play hockey (not in that order)

I know it has been a couple weeks since I last blogged. I've been trying to recover from everything we've been doing. The amount of hours (and intensity) we were training the week our guests coaches were here was double what we did the following week. So even though we tapered the volume and demand of our training, it still took us a while to fully recover.

With a trip to Spain approaching quickly, we wanted our bodies to be recovered and ready to perform in tip-top shape. This was not an easy task. Although our coaches plan our work outs to maximize this fact, we also must maintain the levels of fitness and strength we have gained during the hard working periods. On top of that, we had to assess the levels that we have reached. So to start our "taper" week, we ran the beep test and an agility test. Doesn't that sound like fun??

Though, the most important part of all our training often times is not the training itself. I know that may sound funny, but despite the fact that doing the work on the field and in the weight room is extremely tough, doing the work off the field is where we really reap the benefits of it all. What I mean by this is sleeping, eating right, and taking care of our bodies.

I am constantly asked if we have a particular diet we adhere to and I always laugh at the question because "diets" seem silly to me. In order to perform our best, we of course must put the right things into our bodies at the right time. We must intake the right number of calories, with proper proportions of carbs, proteins, and yes, even fats. But it is not an exact science and yes, we are still allowed to eat what we want. No, this doesn't mean a cheeseburger and fries every night because we definitely burned enough calories. But it does mean that if you want to have a cookie or a piece of chocolate every now and again, that is okay. (Although we just did a skin folds test this past week and maybe they will come back and tell us we are eating a few too many M&M's! haha).

Lately, I have been in the training room a lot as well. (Along with many of my other teammates!) Fortunately, there aren't any new major injuries on the team, but we all know at this level of competition the importance of not only taking care of our bodies post-practice, but before as well. Often you will see a handful of players using heat to warm up muscles before practice. You will see people getting taped, whether its ankles that roll easily or a nagging muscle that's just a bit tight. After trainings it gets even crazier. From rehab, to ice, to stim (which is short for Electrical Muscle Stimulation), to massages, ice baths, to (what we like to call) Magic Pants (they use air to compress the muscles in your leg). If your body isn't feeling good, it's hard to perform well on the field. I have to give a big shout out here to our trainer Katie who oversees all of our recovery needs and keeps us healthy and on the field!

Finally, I think the most important part of recovery is sleeping. Your body does a lot of it's rebuilding when you are asleep. If you are not getting the adequate amount of sleep, it can be very detrimental to training. If you have a hard couple of sessions and your body doesn't get the sleep/recovery time it needs, the next hard session can be damaging to your body instead of building on top of all the hard work you've already put in. Now with that being said, I am an expert sleeper! I love sleep! I get anywhere from 8-10 a night, preferably closer to 9 or 10 hours when I can. Lately, we've all been going to bed extra early (as long as we make it past 8pm then we say it is acceptable to go to sleep!) and napping during the day as well. We just can't help it either, we're tired. I think this is a sign saying our body needs all the time ir can get to repair and rebuild itself, in turn making us stronger!

So although we train hard, we rest even harder! Sorry to say that I don't have too many exciting stories of our adventures outside of hockey in the past couple weeks... but sometimes that just the way training goes.

And I haven't forgotten to mention Valentine's Day either! My roommates and I, along with Caroline, spent a fabulous dinner at the high-end burger joint called In-N-Out (yes, it's on our "diet"!). We even dressed up, all decked out in sweatpants and sweatshirts. I would have to say we all enjoyed our evening.

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