What to Eat for Early Morning Hockey

We often get asked what hockey players should be eating when they’ve got a 9, 8 or even 7 am hockey game or practice.

It’s a great question because, whether it’s a tournament game or a practice, we always want to be performing at our best on the ice.

Let’s take a look at what hockey players can eat for those early games when they are only awake for maybe an hour or two before hitting the ice.

Pre-Game Nutrition Rules

Whenever we are choosing which meals or supplements we should be consuming around the peri-game window (pre, intra, and post-game) — we always have to keep the four rules of game day nutrition at the forefront of our thinking:

  1. You should always have a steady flow of glucose in the bloodstream.
  2. You should always have a steady flow of amino acids in the bloodstream.
  3. You should always have optimal hydration.
  4. You need to accomplish goals 1-3 while minimizing all G.I. distress symptoms.

If you can lock those four down, you’re doing a great job.

For those of you who are interested in the science behind those where those four rules came from and why they are optimal for hockey performance, I wrote extensively about them here, and here.

Phase Review

If you’re new to HockeyTraining.com, you may not be familiar with the phasic structure that I set up the game day nutrition with here to maximize performance and recovery, here’s how it looks to refresh your memory and give you an idea on what you should be doing:

Phase 1: 1-3 Hours Prior To Game

  • 1-1.5 : 1 ratio of low glycemic index carbohydrates to protein
  • Example for men: 1-1.5 cups of brown rice, 6oz chicken breast, 1 cup of vegetables
  • Example for women: ½-1 cup of brown rice, 4oz chicken breast, 1 cup of vegetables

Phase 2: 30-45 Mins Prior To Game

  • Optional phase if you want to take supplementation that meets the specific energy and endurance demands to support hockey performance
  • Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine are excellent stimulant-free options
  • Caffeine + L-theanine is an excellent stimulant-based combination

Phase 3: During Hockey Game

  • 20-40g of carbohydrate powder + 10-15g of whey protein isolate (or) 20-40g of carbohydrate powder + 5-10g of free form amino acids
  • Women stick to the lower end of the ranges, men stick to the middle/high end
  • Mix solution with plenty of water

Phase 4: Immediately Post-Game

  • 1g/kg of body weight of carbohydrate powder + 0.5g/kg of body weight of whey isolate
  • Example: 80kg (176lbs) body weight would consume 80g post-game carbohydrates + 40g whey isolate
  • During playoffs and tournaments, add 5-10g of L-Glutamine to this post-game shake

What to Eat for Early Morning Hockey

When it comes to early morning hockey, we need need to always follow the four rules of game day nutrition, but now it gets a little tricky with the phase management because we need:

a) Something quick and easy
b) Something that won’t sit in our gut like a normal Phase 1 meal would

The solution?

Mimic the Phase 1 ideology but utilize food/supplementation sources that create a very low G.I. distress during exercise (this means you need to be choosing options that are both low fiber and low fat) and also ones that metabolize fast so they can still hit the bloodstream (to ensure rules 1 and 2 are followed) before you step out onto the ice.

Essentially, create a meal that mimics Phase 1 but consume it in the Phase 2 window and choose the appropriate foods within that window to ensure performance does not suffer.

Example Early Morning Hockey Meals

Consume one of these options with plenty of fluids 30-45 minutes before a game.

Example Meal #1

  • 30g Whey Isolate
  • ½ cup of oats (measured dry)

Example Meal #2

  • 1 cup of egg whites
  • 1 banana

Example Meal #3

  • 1 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Final Thoughts

The above three example meals are all very quick-to-make options that are easy to digest first thing in the morning so that you can still cover all of your performance/recovery bases even on those early hockey days.

For more information on hockey nutrition, be sure to check out the hockey nutrition guide here, and if you’re interested in becoming the best hockey player you can be and get access to all of the best information and programs here at HockeyTraining.com — make sure you check out the VIP Program today.

Written by
Dan Garner
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