Wayne Gretzky asks: Hey Steve. I was looking over your site the other day. Great stuff man.
I’d like to try protein shakes but I’m pretty clueless. A guy I play hockey with says I should have one before the game. I’ve read your protein shakes for newbies article but what else typically goes in a shake? Anything special in particular with relation to the sport of ice hockey? Also what’s your take on drinking coffee? I never used to drink the stuff but started a few years back. Most I would have is 2 cups usually.
Steve writes: Wow, Wayne Gretzky emailed me! Not really. Alright Wayne, as far as protein shakes go, their main purpose is to pump your body full of protein when you need it quickly and cheaply. What does protein do? Help rebuild your muscles after they’ve been broken down. You don’t really get much energy out of a protein shake, but it certainly helps rebuild your muscles AFTER you’ve destroyed them. Drinking a protein shake after your hockey game might be a good idea, because your muscles are all worn out and beat up from playing hockey. Hockey is lots of sprints, so your legs will be pretty beat. This is when your muscles need protein the most. Before the hockey game (not immediately before), I’d recommend something that will give you energy – a banana and peanut butter, whole grain bagel and peanut butter, oatmeal and rasins, etc. You want something with complex carbs (whole grains) and a little bit of sugar to give you energy throughout your game.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to stay hydrated, so make sure you’re chugging water starting the day before your games. Hockey is one of those brutal sports that can really wipe you out if you’re dehydrated.
If you’re interested in drinking protein shakes after your games or after you work out, the easiest thing to do to start out is buying yourself a tub of 100% pure whey protein. They’re cheap, you can buy in bulk, and they come in different flavors; I’m a vanilla fan myself. You can mix a scoop or two (check the serving size) with just water, but most of the time those taste crappy. Instead, I’d say mix it with milk, or orange juice and frozen fruit (my new favorite mix). Adding frozen fruit is a great idea, and try to eat a few slices of wheat bread if you can too. You NEED to get carbs along with the protein so your body can use the carbs to refuel and the protein to rebuild. I’ve even heard of people throwing some oatmeal packets into the blender too, as oatmeal is loaded with complex carbs that will help your body refuel.
Get a cheap blender from Walmart or target, buy a bag of frozen fruit from the supermarket, and start mixing and matching good materials until you come out with a product you like!
I haven’t done too much research on coffee as I don’t drink it, but I know lots of people that do. I know there are some issues for some people who drink like 5 cups a day with milk and sugar and cream in it, the calories really start to add up. I’ll do some extra research into coffee and write a post about that soon because I’m curious myself.
Thanks for writing in!
Have a question? Email me at Steve@NerdFitness.com and I’ll gladly answer it.