Mike is a Registered Dietitian that likes helping clients with fat loss, building muscle, and sports specific nutrition. He enjoys helping simplify nutrition information, and to make practical recommendations.
As a hockey goalie, your performance on the ice depends on what you fuel your body with before the game. Here are six tips to help you optimize your pre-game meal and enhance your performance between the pipes.
As a rule of thumb you should try and eat 3-4 hours before a game. This will allow enough time to properly digest the food so that you can use it for energy. If you’re unable to time it properly to eat 3-4 hours prior, then closer to game time you want to decrease the amount you eat. Have a medium size meal 2-3 hours, or a small meal 1-2 hours before. Inside 1 hour, stick to a small snack (more on this in Tip #5).
Note: everyone’s digestion is slightly different, so experiment and do what works for you. Speaking of which…
2. Stick to What Works For You
Game day is not the time to experiment with new foods. You need to ensure that your stomach can handle the foods you consume. Trying new foods can lead to cramping or excessive gas, which can hinder your performance. Save the experimentation for practice days.
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Oatmeal, Potatoes, and whole grain breads, pasta, and rice should be your go-to choices. These foods are excellent sources of long-lasting energy. Carbohydrates are your body’s main fuel source, especially during intense games. Load up on these to keep your energy levels high throughout the game.
4. Pass on Pop and Candy
Large intakes of pop and/or candy are not the best options as part of a pre-game meal (3-4 hours). They are not great long-lasting fuel sources – they can cause sugar crashes, and in some lead to cramping and bloating.
5. 1 Hour Before
The main focus is hydration (more on this in tip #6), and a small snack to “top up the energy tank.” Fruit, granola bars, and sports drinks are great options.
Avoid foods high in fibre, fat, or protein. These three things slow down digestion and can make you feel sluggish or have digestive distress (cramping, burping, etc.).
Hydration is key for optimal performance. Consume plenty of water before, during, and after the game. Avoid carbonated sugary soft drinks (can cause stomach cramps and upset), and save sports drinks for 1 hour prior, during, and after the game.
By following these six tips, you’ll be able to fuel your body effectively before the game and set yourself up for success as a hockey goalie. Remember, proper nutrition plays a vital role in enhancing your performance on the ice.
If you’re looking to work with a sports dietitian and fine tune your nutrition, we’d be happy to help. Something people often don’t know: benefits often cover working with us – nutritionist/dietitian. Click here for more information.
Michael Fouts, RD
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