After completing my varsity hockey career it didn't take long for me to realize that things had changed. I appreciated the free time afforded to me with “retirement,” at least at first. Although I loved playing hockey and dedicating myself to it, when it came time to join the real world I was more than ready. I especially welcomed the break from my rigorous sport specific training program; on the ice six times a week and in the gym three.
While training for sport it was easy to justify and get away with making a few poor diet choices now and again. My body appeared to be more forgiving as these poor choices never seemed to manifest physically. I could drink the occasional beer, and was as fit as I’ve ever been and lifting as heavy as I ever have.
A few months after leaving hockey behind, around the same time I started at Groundworks, I began to notice my body was not so forgiving. I felt lethargic, less fit, and all around less satisfied with myself physically as I was living a more recreational lifestyle. I was no longer training for high performance sport, but instead training to fulfill my own personal health and fitness goals. To accomplish these goals I knew that I had to make a lifestyle change.
Luckily working at Groundworks I am surrounded by people with tremendous knowledge of health and fitness, and diet and nutrition. I was challenged to a 10 day diet overhaul which I was assured would guarantee results so long as I committed to it. I ate mostly produce and meat, avoided alcohol entirely and consumed almost 4 liters of water per day, which meant a lot of trips to the ladies room. The challenge only lasted 10 days because it was just that, a challenge for me. Eating healthy takes work. I had to learn how to grocery shop in an entirely different way, spend more time on meal preparation, bring my own food to my friends homes and order a water instead of a beer when out with friends. The first few days of the challenge were hard and long. I lacked energy as my body adapted to the changes. However, in the short span of 10 days I had lost 2% body fat and was feeling healthy and energized. This only proved to me what a huge difference diet and nutrition make when complementing a training program.
My parents came to visit on day 10 with all sorts of goodies and I indulged without feeling guilty. After seeing the results I accomplished I am a lot more conscious during my trips to the grocery store. At Groundworks I have the opportunity to try all sorts of new techniques; I am training with kettlebells, which I had never done before, loving spin classes and can almost do 1 pull-up! I am training differently, but now I am also eating differently and I am becoming more and more satisfied with myself.
In the past my only goal was to train to be the best hockey player I could be and this was my main focus. When you’re training for sport you don’t necessarily notice the different effects of diet on your body composition because your body seems to “just happen” with an intense training regime. Now my diet and fitness goals are tailored towards making sure I look and feel healthy and energized for general life.