The sun is shining down on the lower mainland as we breeze through the easiest spring in history. We’re heading for an even nicer summer, yet people are still flocking to arenas everywhere you look. But wait, it’s not just to play hockey, it’s to hit the gym, right?
Seriously, hopefully it’s a bit of both. There’s no better time than the spring to kickstart your offseason fitness regime. It doesn’t matter if you’re a junior hockey player preparing for the coming season or you’re a senior-level taxi driver (aka a parent) preparing for the coming season, it’s a great time to invest some time and energy in yourself.
But that doesn’t mean your program will magically fix everything that ails you. Here’s a few items to look for in the gym this offseason.
Committing for a rich hour of sweat and a racehorse-fast heartbeat is a lot easier when you know someone has your back. We all love a congratulatory high-5 in the gym from an instructor, but there’s a lot of value to be found with the internal high-5 as well. Encourage yourself. Praise your effort.
How do you know what to work on when you’re at the gym? It’s important to take responsibility for your training by doing exercises that are safe and helpful for you. Everyone is different. A lot of hockey players suffer from the beach workout syndrome. They concentrate exclusively on chest and biceps and then they wonder why they’re not any faster once training camp opens.
Physical hurdles are a cool way to work on your explosiveness and power, but I’m talking about hurdles in the mental sense more than anything. If a fitness program is too easy and you don’t see progress then you’re likely to fizzle out. Challenge yourself. Get two more reps in. Add five pounds on each side. Do one more exercise. You’ll be happy once it’s over and the sense of accomplishment will infuse you with a lot of mental stamina.
“I worked out hard for three weeks and I didn’t see any gains!” Sound familiar? Well, what did you eat during the program? To commit yourself to a program in the gym, you must commit yourself in the kitchen as well. There’s plenty of easy ways to get your greens in, fuel yourself with enough complex carbohydrates and grow your muscles with protein, but it’s a choice you have to be willing to make, a lifestyle to which you have to commit yourself.
Pretty soon you’ll be gasping for air and your body will scream for reprieve. It’s ok to take a break, but what’s going to bring you back for another rep, another set or another session? Why are you committing to a fitness program in the first place? For training hockey players the answer is usually simple, except when it’s not. Are you training to be a faster skater so you can play with better players? Did your coach tell you to work on your shot in the summer so you could generate more offense? Do you want your child to improve their coordination and balance?
What about you, loyal youth sport parent? Want to live longer? Want to sleep better and feel energized every day?
It’s easier for adults to keep themselves disciplined when they’re not training for a particular sport, but it’s also easier for adults to let themselves off the hook. Get started and keep your goals close to the surface this spring.
And don’t look back.