Posts Tagged ‘fitness’

There’s a common conception among people that hockey players are wild party animals. To an extent we are. You might’ve heard the stories of the Bruins’ epic Stanley Cup party bar tap, or other legendary tales from within the game. Or just recently how the NHL has a rising number of players allegedly using cocaine. For me, having a good time is part of the game, but for me, the parties are more or less a thing of the past.  Boring old fart? Let me explain this

I’m not saying I’m teetotal, or that I don’t drink at all during the season. I usually have a beer after the game in the pub, but I very rarely get to a stage where I would be classed as drunk. For me, hockey is about setting guidelines and being disciplined in your day-to-day life, both in-season and off-season. Perhaps that is what fascinates me in the game so much – the personal discipline that is required. I usually schedule four times into the year when I allow myself to let loose a little bit; Cup Final (providing we win), Conference championship, Play-off championship (Providing we win) and end of season party. Last season I let loose three times out of the four. Anything else to me is excess and one thing I’m trying to cut out is excess. Of any kind. If we don’t achieve any of the big wins, then there’s no partying either. 

I’m all for blowing out a little steam. We all need to do it and it is a very human thing to do. Some people like to go out, some people like to relax at home, go to the cinema and so forth. For me, going out during the season, or the reason why I go out so rarely is a conscious decision that has reasons behind it.  

blog1The first one is that if I go out, I know I will miss a workout that I have scheduled for that day and invariably, the day after will be a total write off too. If we didn’t take into account the above criterion when I allow myself to let loose and assuming that you go out every week it would mean that I would miss 104 workouts per year. That is 104 chances of making yourself a better player and a better person through hard work. In those 104 days, someone else will be pounding the streets and lifting the weight that I should be lifting to get better, stronger and faster. I would cheat myself and my team if I allowed myself to slack that much during the year.

Second reason is that I enjoy having clarity of thought. When I was straight edge, it was one of the things that I really enjoyed was that my thinking wasn’t cloudy (or impaired) and that I could rationalise all my actions to myself and be accountable for what I did and didn’t do. Now, if I for some reason skip a workout, that is on me and trust me, it will eat away at me like it does when we lose a game. No matter how well I reason the decision to myself, be it an injury or if I just need to sleep. Being hungover or drunk is a piss poor excuse to me. Sure you could train hungover, but the quality of your work output would be so diminished you might as well not do it.

Thirdly, like I mentioned, I’m trying to cut out excess and drinking would – in my mind – ruin the work that I have already done Blog2during the week. Hangover is a state, where effectively, your body eats itself as it is trying to get rid of all the toxins. That’s not to say that I only eat kale and that my body is chiselled from stone. Far fucking from it. I’m a human being, not an antique Greek god statue.

Fourth reason being – and I’m going to be showing my age here – I just do not see the point of going out. When I was a teenager and through university, I partied… I partied hard. I think I got all the ‘crazy’ out of my system.


Photo courtesy of Flyfifer Photography.

Fifth reason is that I simply cannot cope with my hangovers. They are brutal and they last for days. After the end of season party, it took me three days to feel ‘normal’ again.

Hockey is a sport where nothing is given to you. You need to take everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. You need to be able to take possession of the puck by checking opponents, you need to create space for yourself and your line mates, you need to be able to take space away from opponents, you need to take your place in the roster and so on. The only way to do that is to be in good enough condition strength and fitness wise that you are able to take everything that is needed. Nothing is given to you and it is therefore so important that you are able to put in the work off the ice, so that life on the ice is that much easier.

This is in no way saying that everyone should adhere to my school of thought. Because that is what it is. It is my school of thought and I’m not going to be pressing my views on anyone else to say that “this is the way you should do things”. I’m not judging guys who go out (except if they turn up drunk or hungover for a game). It is a way that works for me and what I have found gives me the greatest focus. It is frustrating as hell sometimes and there are times that I just want to grab the bottle and drink it all away, but then, I tell myself that I’m being a fucking idiot.

Your shelf life as an athlete – and especially as a hockey player – is limited. Your career could end every time you step on the ice. The way I look at it, I want to enjoy every minute of the game and when – inevitably – the time comes to walk away from the game, I can look back and look at myself in the mirror that I did everything I could. I pushed myself above and beyond my limits and I left it all on the ice. No compromises.

I only wish that I would’ve realised all of this when I was younger, but I am happy that I HAVE realised it. This journey in hockey, fitness and self discovery has been truly amazing and long may it continue.

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Monkey Nutrition was a relatively unknown commodity to me. I had not heard of the company before and hadn’t seen it on the shelves of the typical supplement stores you might expect to find on the high-street.

About the product:

The product I have been testing is Monkey Nutrition’s Moodulator. It has been designed to calm pre-event, or in our case, pre-game jitters. Usually, in a hockey situation, the pre-game jitters are a good thing and can be used for extra energy and adrenaline on the ice, but there are cases where they can get so bad that the jitters and the anxiety actually hampers your performance.

Moodulator contains natural ingredients, including Chamomile, calcium, vitamins B1, B2 and B6. It comes in a capsule form and it is easily added to your morning supplementation/vitamin intake. I have been taking it in the mornings with our other supplements and our morning water in-take.

Side effects:

I did notice a slight side effect from taking the Moodulator, in that I experienced a very slight case of vertigo for about two days after taking the product, but this soon subsided and it wasn’t something that debilitated or affected day-to-day life.

Other than that, there were no negative side effects from taking the product.


After about a week or so of taking the product, I noticed that our sleeping patterns were getting more pronounced and the quality of sleep was a lot better and deeper, which was a positive sign as rest was in a key role during the test.

Moodulator has been effective in calming nerves both in a semi-professional athlete life as in life at home. The product has been more than beneficial to personal life as well. My mood has been calmer at home and in the office and I have found additional confidence in all aspects of day-to-day life. It has also effectively reduce other anxieties, apart from sports related anxieties.


Overall, I have been positively impressed with the results of the Moodulator. I have been more relaxed at training and on the ice and have not experienced pre-game jitters. Prior to trying Moodulator, during a big game, I was a complete nervous wreck, but after that I was able to exert myself better and not worry about nerves.

The Moodulator has had a positive impact on other aspects as well. As mentioned, sleeping patterns and sleep quality has gotten better and having woken up more energised in the mornings has been a positive. Additionally, the effects have been seen elsewhere. In an office environment the Moodulator has calmed nerves to the point where delivering presentations has not been affected and the confidence in speaking in-front of chief executives has felt natural.

At the gym, I haven’t noticed the Moodulator having much of an impact on weight lifting. This is down to the training programme I was undertaking during the review period. The programme was a maintenance one that also focussed on explosive strength for play-offs.  Also during this time I was rehabbing a sports related injury, so I wasn’t going after big lifts.


Moodulator does an effective job of calming any pre-game nerves. It is, however, recommended that you start using the supplement well before a competition for it to have an effect. I did experience slight vertigo at the start of using the product, but this subsided in a few days. It effectively calmed nerves for big games. Where the Moodulator has a positive impact on your mood as well, I would recommend that you do not use it to treat burgeoning symptoms of depression, if you suffer from those. Additionally the packaging states that you should not use the product if you are on anti-depressants or medication that treats Bipolar disorder.

I would recommend Moodulator to anyone who suffers from pre-event jitters and to those who are about to deliver a presentation or any other work related stressors that cause anxiety. So, if you are a hockey player who struggles with pre-game anxiety, I would recommend you try Moodulator as you will be positively impressed with the results. As long as you start taking it in advance of a game and not start it on a game day. As always, before embarking on any fitness journey and supplementation you are thinking of using, if in doubt, speak to your practitioner.

For more information about Monkey Nutrition and the Moodulator, check out

The British Journal of Sports Medicine recently published a story to say that unhealthy eating is a key cause to obesity. I’m surprised that it has taken this long for doctors to come out and say it. The study dispels the fact that as long as you exercise you can eat whatever you want, which to be honest sounded like total bullshit when it was first announced. The main gripe I have with the study, or rather the way it was reported, was that the headlines lead you to believe that  just by eating healthy, you could get away with doing no exercise.

The eating habits of people in general are bad and are too marketing driven. It is every day that we are bombarded with different marketing messages from producers that proclaim that their product is the healthiest thing going, or some athlete peddling overpriced sugar water to us, with the promise that if you drink it, you will be a shit hot athlete.

Where I actually welcome the findings of this study, the scientific community has to take some blame in the way that we are eating, simply because we have been exposed to a number of ‘scientific’ reports to say that you should eat XYZ foods, whilst the studies are often sponsored by parties with a vested interest in their outcomes.

As I mentioned in my previous blog post where I was venting about the crap that we eat, I don’t claim to be a nutritionist, but I pay more attention to what I put in my body and try to avoid processed foods as much as I can. My main weakness is energy drinks, which in honesty are probably the worst things to hit the shelves of the supermarket and in my honest opinion should carry a health warning the same as cigarettes. (Then again all fast food should as well. I’m looking at you McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC etc).

The only thing I disagree with the study is that I think that healthy diet and exercise are core fundamentals of a healthy lifestyle. Just eating healthy doesn’t mean that you are going to be able to shed weight as fast as you can if you exercise AND eat healthy.

Eating healthy is sometimes challenging, well it isn’t if you’re willing to make small adjustments, but given the modern lifestyle, it is easier to go to the nearest store /café to get your lunch. Where I do want to support smaller, independent businesses and café owners, the fact of the matter is that the lunch options at supermarkets are inherently bad for you. You have sandwiches filled with sugar laden sauces and with a meal deal you get a fizzy sugary drink, a bag of crisps and/or a Mars/Snickers bar. If you work in a sedentary environment where the only physical exercise you get is the walk to the store, or worse yet, you drive. Do this for a full year, with all the vending machine snacks, the pounds are bound to start piling on. Then if you rely on your lunch from places like Costa or one of the other million Starbucks stores, your choices of a decent meal are pretty slim. There are advertised ‘healthy options’ such as salads, which on their own are fine, but add in the sauce that is included with the salad, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself another sugary meal. Also, the sandwich options often leave something to be desired for.

Like I said in my previous post about food, I’m not a nutritionist and everything I know about it is purely trial and error and finding what works for me. Due to the sport that I play, I try and eat a high protein and low carb diet during the off season and then increase the amount of carbs for game days during the season. From my personal view, I try and make sure I eat plenty of greens, lean meats and try and avoid the bad things in life, but I am only human and I do allow myself a treat every now and again.

I think what the food industry has done over the years is that it has lobbed us to eat wrong. Not a day goes by that we aren’t reading about this and that food being bad for you or increasing your risk of serious diseases. We’re being told on one hand that green tea is good for you and then on the other that it can increase your risk of cancer. What is often left out in the reports such as these is the amounts you would need to consume for it to have effect, but a headline of “FOOD X GIVES YOU CANCER” will drive more clicks to your website than a reasonable “Consuming too much of food X is bad for you” headline.

I feel that supermarkets are not in it to promote the healthy lifestyle as much as they should and still too often promote products that should not be part of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, a lot of the ‘healthy’ range of products are something that I wouldn’t put in my mouth. If you look at it from a political point of view, it being the election and all, there’s even greater threat to the food supply if the powers that be push through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which would potentially allow genetically modified foods to enter the supermarket shelves.

In either case, what I guess I’m trying to say is, eat healthy. Cut down on the sugary foods you have at home. Make sure you teach your kids about food and involve them in cooking. Do the exercise. Yes I know the gym isn’t for everyone, but you don’t have to necessarily go to the gym to be healthy as there are other ways to get fit.

Past couple of times I’ve been at the gym there’s been a few things that have seriously fucked me off. Firstly, before going any further, let me make sure to iterate that the following doesn’t apply to all gym goers, but to a small minority who can just make the whole experience really, really shit.

1). Laughing at people: I’ve seen this happen to a few guys, mainly those who are overweight. Don’t laugh at someone who is working out. Do you seriously think that the overweight person is likely to come back and continue with their fitness regimen if there’s some snot nosed punk laughing behind their back? No! Similar to those kids who have just started hitting the gym. Do you think they’ll come back if there’s some meat head there laughing at them if they can’t curl more than 5kg?

At least they have taken the effort to go to the gym and improve their overall well being and physique. Just because you’ve developed delts and biceps as big as your head doesn’t give you the right to laugh at someone who is trying to better themselves. Remember how hard you had to work to get your body? Other people are working just as hard to get theirs, so when you come to the gym, leave your clown attitude at home.

2). Leering at girls: similar to the above. Do you think all girls at the gym go there so you can check out their asses? If you want to look at girls asses in yoga pants google it or go on Instagram, place is full of shit like that. Let the girls workout the same as the guys. They don’t care if you’ve got the biggest guns in the gym so don’t try and flex your muscles or show off like a peacock.

3). Attitude: walking around the gym looking like you’ve shit your pants or like you’ve eaten a wasp doesn’t make people think you’re hard or that you’re an UFC all-star. There’s no need to carry that attitude or look at people through the mirror with that kinda look. Just let people work out and worry about your workout. No one there is looking to take you on.

Additionally to that point, if you see someone doing a move you’ve never seen before, don’t just stand there and look at the person like they’re from mars or something. If you’re really that interested in it, ask them about it, I’m sure they won’t mind telling you about it.

4). Taking slefies: OK I admit, I’ve done this a few times and I hate myself for doing it, but taking slefies at the gym is not cool. What’s less cool is if you whip off your shirt to pose in front of the mirror and take pictures. Or even worse, strip off and have your friend take pics for you. Wait till you’re home and then take the pics.

Similarly, don’t use the mirrors to check your hair. You’re not Justin Bieber or a spunk trumpet from one direction who has to have the perfect haircut or otherwise their day is ruined. Just fucking workout and get a sweat going. You’re not in a fashion show.

5). Keep your clothes on: yeah, yeah I can see that you’re benching 150kg, but do keep a shirt on you shit-head.

Speaking of clothes; it’s a gym. Wear comfortable workout clothes, whether its compression or lose stuff. What ever is your thing, but just as above, it’s not a fucking fashion show. You working out in the latest designer gear doesn’t make least bit difference to your performance, if anything you’ve been an idiot for buying some expensive brand shit that will get sweaty and smelly. Quick!

That’s my rant over. As I said, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but there are some right old gym idiots who can ruin the experience for someone else. I genuinely love working out and going to the gym, but sometimes people’s behaviour in these places just puzzles me. It’s almost like going back to school where if you don’t have x,y or z, you Don’t really belong.

So in essence, when you’re at the gym, whether its by yourself or with friends, just work out and let other people do the same without any laughing behind backs, attitude or other shit.

The 2012-2013 season has now wrapped up. It has been a season like no other where as a player I put in more mileage to games than during any other season before. As a team we visited all of the rinks in the league and then had our ‘home’ at either Swindon, Basingstoke, Solihull or Oxford. What a weird ride.



All gear and sweats washed for the summer

As a team we achieved some great things against the adversity we faced, going 11-straight without a loss is a great streak that is rarely seen in any level of sport. Unfortunately it was not quite enough as Oxford City Stars claimed the league title. My personal feeling has a hint of disappointment in it as the league only has one trophy and when that trophy isn’t in yours or your teammates’ hands, well, it’s a bit disappointing. But our fourth place finish is certainly a great achievement given what we have had to go through.


On a personal level, I’m extremely mixed up whether or not to be happy or not. As a player, in terms of my position, I feel that I have taken great strides and – despite some mistakes along the way – I can now play in my position better than ever before. However, I wanted to beat my points tally from last season, but I fell painfully, PAINFULLY, short. I don’t know what it is as I know I am capable of more, but for some reason I didn’t get the bounces and didn’t get going. Why this frustrates me is because, well, as I said, I can play better than that and I know I can contribute offensively.


So what’s in store for me now?  I eluded to doing something a bit different this off season. While I am taking a week off to recover (I got a bad case of man-flu from the last game), I am going to be starting to work out with the help of Brandan Schieppati from Raise Above Fitness. Some of you might know Brandan from his career in music with bands like 18 Visions and more notably Bleeding Through, but he’s also a personal trainer who cut his teeth drilling hockey players.


My previous off-season workouts were adequate, but I wanted something to push me a bit further and harder, both in terms of in the gym. One of the biggest aides that Brandan has already done is a tailored diet plan, which is something I’ve struggled with in the past.


I will be blogging about the progress of the project and keep you all up to date with the crazy workouts that I’ll be doing, I can tell you that the programmes are more intense than anything I’ve done before, which is something I feel will help me find that extra level in my game.


You can check out Brandan’s website for training tips and contact info at:



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Device: Nike+ FuelBand

Price: £129

Retailer: Apple stores and


ImageThis high-end fitness gadget has been a topic of many-a-debate. Is it actually a useful training aid, or just an expensive time vampire? That’s the question we have been trying to find an answer for.

The Nike+ FuelBand has a feel of a really high end gadget from the way that it is packaged and how the actual product is designed. It oozes panache and is likely to appeal to the techy crowd rather than the hard-core body builder (more about that later).

What’s in the box:

In the box, you’ll get your Nike+ FuelBand, a USB connector cable, an extension piece to Imageensure best fit and a tool to insert/take out the existing  piece. What is also supposed to come in the box is a USB dock, which would make the FuelBand stand up nicely when it’s hooked up to your laptop, but alas, there was not one included in our box.

You get an instruction booklet to get you started, though it isn’t really rocket science to get the bracelet up and running.


Getting started:

First off, you need to download the app to your Mac or PC from Nike (address is in the booklet), connect your FuelBand via the USB cable after you’ve installed everything and customise the device for yourself and create your Nike+ account. This shouldn’t take you forever to do.

You then need to let the FuelBand fully charge, which takes up-to an hour via the USB lead. There is also an app available for your smartphone if you want to track your progress on the phone as well, but it isn’t a necessity to get going.

I actually found that the phone app took longer to set up than the one on the computer and at times felt a bit frustrating.


After all this you are ready to go and start hitting your goals, which you can set for yourself, or go with the pre-determined goals that suit your activities. Ther

So does it actually work?

Well, apart from looking shnazzy, the Nike FuelBand gives you an idea of the steps and calories burned. The reason I say “an idea”, is because I don’t think the readings are entirely accurate, but do give you a good idea. The device measures your body’s move through an intricate set of features built into the band.


However, what we discovered is that it is easy to “cheat” the FuelBand. We discovered that if you wave your arm around whilst standing stationary, the FuelBand actually measures the swings of your arm as your steps and “burned” calories. Though having said that, I don’t think anyone would just sit there and wave their arm to reach their daily goal that is in the thousands of Nike Fuel.


The other way where the Nike FuelBand has a shortfall is in the gym. It doesn’t measure all of the activities you do i.e. squats or leg press. Additionally, it is harder to accumulate the fuel points, when you are doing exercises that involve free weights. Additionally, the FuelBand has a hard time picking up movement from push ups or sit ups, mainly down to the fact that your arms (wrists) are mainly static.


When it comes to cardio vascular exercise, the Nike+ FuelBand comes to its own.


ImageWhat compliments your daily fitness goals are pretty cool videos when you hit achievements, which make the FuelBand a fun experience to use. 


On the ice

ImageHaving used the FuelBand in trainings and games, it does pick up the moves and does give you a good idea of how many calories you burn during a game. As with running or plyometric exercises, the FuelBand picks up the motions and tracks your progress.


It is relatively un-intrusive in the glove and doesn’t interfere with stick handling or add anything that would hinder your performance. However, be sure that you don’t spend your shift staring at your wrist tracking how far you are off your goal.


The FuelBand has added an extra edge in terms of performance. As the FuelBand gives you more fuel points the faster you move, so both on and off the ice, it has improved the way in which I push myself, be it on the ice or when my feet are pounding the road.


What the FuelBand has helped out with, is definitely in the motivation. The daily goals do become a bit of an obsession and make you do more, which is great. Though there are some shortcomings, the FuelBand does add a new level to your fitness regimen and makes challenging yourself more fun and a bit of a game at the same time.



The Nike+ FuelBand is a decent fitness aid, however it does have some shortcomings. It is in its element when you are doing cardiovascular exercise, like running, cross trainers or hockey, but if your main form of exercise is body building or weight training, it might seem like a waste of money.

Once you get accustomed to wearing it, you are more obsessed about hitting your goals, which means that you are looking at doing more exercise to reach your targets, which I’ve noticed as being a great help.

The graphics and charts that the FuelBand provides either on the phone or the computer, do give you a good idea of when you are most active and helps you to identify times of the day when you could be doing a little bit more.

If you are a goal oriented person and wants an additional challenge to your fitness regimen, I’d recommend the Nike+ FuelBand. However, if your fitness routines revolve around free weights, I’d say that your money would be spent better elsewhere.




  • Well designed and fashionable gadget
  • Good set of features
  • Complimented well with online and mobile features
  • Great motivator tool
  • Water resistant
  • Great for cardio vascular exercise
  • Great for goal oriented people
  • Helps identify times of day when you can do more
  • Pushes you to do more



  • Device can be cheated
  • Does not work too well on weight and power training exercises
  • Doesn’t pick up moves from push-ups
  • Box came with no stand for dock.
  • Calorie and step counts might not be that accurate

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Hockey player A: “When does your season start?”

Hockey player B: “Mine starts on 15th of September.”


That is a conversation that you could hear between hockey players across the globe for the next couple of weeks.


Players usually answer it by giving the date of our first game, but the truth is, the season started much, much earlier.


Sure the first game is the first time the fans might see the team in proper competition and in a game that actually matters, but for a player the season doesn’t start there (or it shouldn’t start there).


“When does your season start?”


The more appropriate question would be “When did your season start?” Well mine started in late March after physio’s had confirmed I was fit enough to train after my car accident in January (sustained a small tear in my rotator cuff, suffered from whiplash and concussion). I remember having started my off-season workouts the week before our official season ending party.


Since then it has been constant work, trying to figure out ways to make myself a faster, stronger and better player and executing those plans to the best of my ability. This might sound corny, but the start to the hockey season has been fun. For the first time in four years I have been able to train hard and stay healthy throughout. I have not had to heal too many injuries carried on from the end of the season (apart from the car accident) and I did not pick up any new ones during the training. Also a good sign was that neurologists gave me a clean bill of health.


It may sound cliché, but in many ways, getting to game play and playing is the easy part of the sport. It is everything else that is demanding. I’m not saying that the games are a breeze, because they’re not, but in many ways the work that has been done makes them easier. Playing and being on the ice is the fun part of hockey, but to be able to play at a competitive level and ensure you can outskate the opponent, you need to put in the work that is not as fun. As a coach once told me “hockey is similar to an (office) career. You want to get ahead in your career and you work hard to achieve those objectives. Hockey is no different.”


The off season has asked a lot, but it has given a lot back. I feel fitter, healthier and mentally stronger. There’s just something in running on a cold April morning in the rain that gives you a certain amount of grit. Or the fact that despite being on the verge of throwing up and deciding that another 100m sprint with a speed chute is “not a big deal”.


Now on the ice, it’s been a bit different. It’s been getting used to proper drills again from summer league shinny. It’s been about finding your feet and sorting out how all the work you did translates to the ice and to your skating. One thing I have noticed is that no matter how much you do off the ice in terms of strength and other conditioning exercises, there’s nothing quite like skating. The motion is different, and the muscles are used in a different way.

But at least there’s time till the first game to work all that out and get game-ready.

For a fan it’s a bit different. There’s the anticipation of news of player signings, what the team is going to look like, discussions around the water cooler about who will win the championship this year, who are the teams and players to look out for and sorting out the social life around the hockey schedule (Though the last applies to players as well).


When did your season start?