Colorado Avalanche Healthful Insight | by Courtney Messenbaugh

Posted on Wed, Jan 21, 2015

We talked to several players on the team to find out what keeps them at the top of their game, asking about diet, exercise and downtime. The lesson we gleaned from these conversations is that, regardless of age, finding an eating and exercise plan that works for you and having the discipline to stick with it helps to ensure overall success.

Jarome Iginla, Colorado Avalanche

Jarome Iginla

Hobbies, and time with family and friends, also joined a healthy lifestyle in the players’ hat-trick of life. We hope that you can, within the next four pages, find some inspiration from your hometown, champion hockey team to fine-tune your own healthy lifestyle.

On diet…

For Avalanche players, food is the fuel that propels them to perform, and how their diets make them feel is crucial.

Iginla: Eats hamburgers and pizza sometimes ̶ but only in moderation.

Tanguay: Steers clear of fried foods and sugars and drinks a lot of fluids.

O’Reilly: Fuels up with fruit and sometimes oatmeal in the mornings and then has vegetables at every other meal, getting most of his protein from leafy greens. “It gives me the most energy and helps me sleep and wake up.”

Duchene: Eats a gluten- and mainly-dairy-free diet (for three years now). “My body fat has gone down. I feel better. I look better, and I’m able to perform better.”

On staying in shape…

During the season, it’s not hard for the players to keep up with their cardiovascular training.

Tanguay: Focuses on building speed and strength, particularly with sprints and plyometrics with a trainer in the summer. “We’re in the business of having quick shifts of getting our heartrates to 180 beats per minute and then needing to quickly get it down again to 120 bpm and ready for the next shift.”

Duchene: Works on his moves on the ice to boost efficiency and reduce risk of injury. “It’s the number one thing you can always improve on: The way you move.”

O’Reilly: Does yoga. “It gets your whole entire body ̶ the small areas, and small fibers ̶ and helps to build strength and flexibility.”

On downtime and hobbies…

In the off-season, you have a good chance of finding many of the players on the golf course.

O’Reilly: Golfs. “I think most of the guys will tell you that it’s a good game to help get away from hockey and focus on something else,” says O’Reilly, who also plays the guitar and the mandolin.

Landeskog: Golfs, socializes and focuses on family, especially during the off-season. “When you’re home, you just want to spend it with your family and friends and hang out on the couch and cook a good meal.”

Coach Patrick Roy

Coach Patrick Roy

On the coach…

Patrick Roy took the helm of the Avalanche as head coach in 2013. As a player, Roy helped the Avalanche and the Montreal Canadiens win two Stanley Cups each, taking home a record three Conn Smythe trophies (MVP in the Stanley Cup playoffs). While known for a bit of a fiery temper, Roy’s passion, his players say, is channeled into dedicated coaching, helping to return them to the playoffs last year. And this year? Who knows?

Landeskog: “To have a coach who knows what it’s like to win and knows what it takes to win is something that our group really needs. A connection is being built between coaches and players that I haven’t seen before. It’s really special. He’s very good at communicating with players and can relate to us since he’s been so long in the league and knows what it’s like.”

Duchene: “We are almost in awe of him at times because of how much he knows about the game and how he’s able to teach it. He treats us as pros. He demands a lot of us, but he helps us get it by being constructive and a kind person to us. He says we’re all in this together, and he wants to be our partner. That’s exactly what he’s been. I can’t wait to hopefully win a Stanley Cup with him.”

Did you know?

Colorado Avalanche

Matt Duchene

Matt Duchene played on the Canadian National Men’s Hockey Team that won the gold in Sochi during the 2014 Olympics. The team beat the Swedes, which included Duchene’s teammate ̶ Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog.

Fast Facts: The Burn

  • The players can burn about 2,000 calories in a single hour-long practice.
  • On game days, comprised of a morning practice and an evening game, players may burn upwards of 5,000 calories.
  • An average 160-pound person can burn about 511 calories during an hour of ice skating.

Avs trainer gives skating a thumbs’ up for boomers

Although the NHL routine of being bounced off the boards and slammed onto the ice isn’t exactly easy on the body, the Avalanche’s strength and conditioning coach, Casey Bond, labels skating a great exercise for any age.

Skating is a low-impact, easy-on-the-joints exercise, but it has all the cardiovascular benefits of a higher-impact workout, Bond says. It also helps hone balance, flexibility, quickness and agility.

Bond’s tips for newbies: Warm up before getting on the ice. Work up a light sweat, so that the joints and muscles are loose and warm, to avoid injury. Before and afterward, stretch, paying special attention to the hip flexors, groin, lower back and gluteals, he says.

It’s never too late to learn to skate

Several places throughout the Denver-metro area offer year-round adult hockey leagues and instruction as well as learn-to-skate programs:

  • YMCA of Boulder Valley, 303-664-5455, Ext. 2302,
  • University of Denver, 303-871-3904,
  • Ice Ranch in Littleton – programs for everyone, including a women’s lunchtime hockey league, 303-285-2110,
  • South Suburban Ice Arena in Centennial, 303-798-7881,
  • Big Bear Ice Arena in Denver, 303-343-1111,

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