Ice Hockey Nutrition: Fueling Your Body for Peak Performance

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ice hockey nutrition
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Hockey is a physically demanding sport, requiring players to be at their physical peak. We look at ice hockey nutrition and its role in an athlete’s optimal performance.

Many athletes are talented and skilled at their respective sports, but the great ones are those who take proper care of their bodies. At a certain level of competition, an athlete must be at their physical peak, and nutrition plays an important role. This article looks at the most important nutritional tips and tricks to fuel an athlete’s body for peak performance.  

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

It sounds obvious, but we can’t overestimate the importance of drinking water. The average man requires over 15 cups of water daily to stay healthy, while women should consume about 11 cups a day. However, during physical exercise, a person’s water requirement goes up. For high-intensity workouts, athletes need to drink around one cup of water for every 15 minutes they work out. For an athlete, though, this is more than just keeping a base level of hydration.

An athlete’s ability to train endurance, speed and agility diminishes without proper hydration. Proper hydration allows athletes to sustain their energy levels throughout the game. For a hockey player, think about the final minutes of their final shift in the final period. A hockey player must endure the pressure and the pain, continue skating and pushing, and ultimately help their team win. 


Water is the most fundamental human need, and athletes surely drink water every day without a second thought. However, athletes need to be drinking more water than the average person. Every hockey player must take their hydration seriously if they want to compete at a higher level, hoping to be a player that people make ice hockey betting picks on in the future.

Athlete’s Daily Diet for Ice Hockey Nutrition

When athletes take their nutrition seriously, the first thing they often think about are supplements. They buy some whey protein, drink a protein shake each day, do some pre-workout before their official workout, and call it a good routine. But that isn’t enough. It’s their entire daily diet—not just the additional protein, but the range of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and unprocessed protein athletes eat during breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

So, the first step to an improved diet is to monitor how many calories they consume, along with how much protein, fat, and carbs each day. Studies suggest an athlete’s daily intake should be 45–65% carbs, 15–25% protein and 20–35% fat. Athletes struggling to gain weight often feel like they are eating more than they actually are. However, once they track their daily intake, they don’t actually eat as much as they think they do or eat the wrong things to achieve their goal. 

As a hockey player, establishing a robust daily dietary routine is crucial. Eat at least three healthful meals per day and a snack in between each meal. Don’t miss meals, don’t miss a workout, focus on the day-to-day before trying to add more.

Timing is Everything

Not all meals are created equal. To get the most out of their diet and make it go further, a hockey player needs to eat the right foods at the correct times. Once an athlete has their daily intake tracked and is on a healthy sports nutrition program, they can move into nutrition timing. 

For instance, on training days athletes should consume more carbs, while on non-training days they should consume more healthy fats. On workout days, athletes should eat a snack 30–60 minutes before a workout. They should schedule their protein supplements to align with their workouts, drinking a protein shake within two hours of completing a session. Drinking protein supplements within this window helps to repair any muscle tissue damaged from the workout. Further, studies have shown that this two-hour window is when muscles absorb the most protein. 


No athlete is the same, so meal plans aren’t one-size-fits-all. An athlete looking to gain weight may have different schedules than one who is trying to improve their speed on the ice. However, to get the most out of meals, athletes should ensure they are eating before and after their workouts, consuming more carbs and proteins on those days while adding healthy fats on rest days.

Taking the Next Step

Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can refocus on supplements. Protein supplements help build and strengthen muscle. Elite athletes need 0.02–0.04 ounces of protein per pound of body weight each day. If top athletes aren’t getting enough protein from their diet to perform at their best, protein supplements can help meet their requirements. Protein supplements fill the gap between daily meal intake and the leftover necessary protein. However, athletes must use protein supplements correctly to have the greatest impact. 

A supplement supports the nutrients an athlete gets from their daily diet with additional healthy vitamins, proteins and minerals. Supplements can never replace a healthy diet. There are days when athletes won’t always have time for breakfast, and the only option is a protein shake. However, those days need to be few and far between. 

The Bottom Line

Hockey players participate in one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet. There are many great players with immense talent, but to become an elite player, athletes must eat healthy and work towards the physical requirements of the sport. If you take care of your body, strengthen it correctly and follow the ice hockey nutrition advice, it will pay off for you.

The information provided above is for informational purposes only. Consult a healthcare provider before undertaking any nutritional or training program.

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