I often get asked about my training and whether I train with a personal trainer or not, or whether I have a ‘gym partner’. Different people have different preferences, but my preference is individual training. I’ve been training with people in the past and have found it great as it was a great way to unwind and basically just chew shit or talk about the NHL season.
But at the moment, my training is something that I try and use as an exercise to enhance my mental preparedness and toughness. There’s no greater challenge, in my mind, than trying to push more weight than you were able to the previous time. When I was last at home and talking about training with my cousin, who has for all intents and purposes been somewhat of an idol to me, he told me that training at the gym was some of the most intense he had experienced in any sport. That combined with the requirements of hockey and you have the perfect athlete.
My cousin said that while you’re working out it is the one place where you can find out what you really are about. It’s that mentality that I take with me to the gym every time. I know I’m not the biggest guy there, nor do I intend to be, but the way I train is always geared with very specific goals in mind. Examples are such as “if I use 40kg weight for my jump squats how will it improve my explosiveness compared to using a lighter weight.” I know it sounds awfully meatheadish, but it is something that I use to push myself.
Another thing that training does it increases your tolerance for pain. It’s a well known fact that hockey is a tough contact sport and that to move some form of weight can often be a painful experience.
Hockey is a great sport because to be truly successful at it, it requires total dedication. Whatever you do off the ice has to reflect back to how it will benefit you on the ice. To make that commitment takes a lot of character and sacrifice. I know of times when I could’ve had the chance to go out and enjoy myself and have a few beers, but I opted to stay in and avoid a hangover just because I knew that I could get a better workout done the next day.
The major drawback about all of this is that often, especially this level, is that the life of a hockey player can be a awfully solitary. Sure your family is there, but you want that part of your life to be completely separate from hockey and training, though you have to be accommodating about the schedule and fit everything around games and training.
But the truth is, this is the path that I’ve chosen and there is no way that I would voluntarily give it up. It requires dedication, determination, grit and passion to put up with simple things as putting up with shit weather conditions to get to the gym. Though at times I think I should’ve done what my coach did and build my own gym in a shed somewhere.