"What are the best hockey supplements I should take??"
It's ALWAYS the skinny weaklings who ask me this question.
All 17 years of age, these guys obsess over supplements.
Because they have ZERO knowledge of how to train and eat for strength or muscle mass.
They think the world is collectively hiding a magic potion behind its back, and if only they could get their hands on some of that magic, they would gain 20 pounds of muscle overnight while skating around their opponents like Connor McDavid.
I'm now going to share a fact that's going to rock your world.
Some of the best hockey players on the planet don't take any supplements.
No protein shakes. No mass gainers. No pre-workouts. Not even creatine.
How do I know this?
Because I work with many of those players.
Yet, my athletes are known for packing on strength and muscle, fast.
Here's New Jersey Devils forward Aarne Talvitie trap bar deadlifting 250 kg / 550 pounds at age 18.
You don't NEED supplements to make the kind of gym progress your teammates would kill for.
Anyone who tries to argue otherwise is either a fool or hell-bent on selling you something.
In either case, you shouldn't be taking advice from them. You can't trust anything they say.
To give you an example:
There's a guy who runs a popular hockey training blog.
Mind you, this is someone who has NEVER produced a single D1 college or professional hockey player...
Yet, he portrays himself as a hockey training goo-roo on the internet, writing articles and producing videos as if he were an expert.
In one article, he listed carbohydrate powder and beta-alanine as his top supplements for hockey players looking to elevate their performance in the gym.
Gimme a friggin' break!
Progress with weights comes down to training, nutrition, sleep, and hard work.
Those make up 99% of your results. Supplements contribute maybe 1%, if even that.
So, unless you...
1) Follow a world-class strength program designed by a top strength coach
2) Sleep at least 9 hours every night
3) Follow a high-performance diet where calories and macros are optimized for your body type and training goals, and
4) Lift balls to the wall and set personal bests for YEARS...
"Performance-enhancing hockey supplements" like beta-alanine or carb powder won't even move the needle.
When you rock a skinny-fat dad bod and can't do a single weighted chin-up with an extra 100 pounds hanging from your waist, you're just pissing your money away on that nonsense!
Here's a picture of me from a recent photoshoot:
Guess which supplements I used to build muscle and get ripped?
1-2 months before the shoot, I hit lifetime bests in the deadlift and weighted dip.
Then, I put strength on the back burner while leaning down for the camera.
In case I didn't make myself clear the first time...
You don't NEED supplements to post major PRs and look great naked.
Health > Performance Supplements
Having said all that, there are a handful of hockey supplements I prescribe to all my clients.
These are vitamins and minerals the modern Western diet is lacking.
By supplementing with them, you avoid deficiency, which can lead to a whole array of nasty diseases – from cancer to heart attack.
More than anything else, these are HEALTH supplements.
Why do I tell athletes to take them?
Because you won't enjoy great sports performance when your health is in the sewer.
Now, before I reveal my top list of hockey supplements, let me shine a light on something you probably didn't know:
The dietary supplement industry is a $30+ billion (with a "B") behemoth filled with endless promises and outright lies whose only purpose is to separate you from your money.
I laugh at the bogus claims supplement manufacturers peddle -- "Gain 30 pounds of muscle in 3 months on Mutant Mass™!"
I don't know what's worse:
Companies that can lie to the public with impunity the as they rake in massive profits...
Or the naive idiots who fall for deceptive marketing, wasting $300 per month on overpriced junk masquerading as muscle building pills.
But what I do know is that the only thing growing from that is the bank account of dubious pill pushers.
My Top 5 Hockey Supplements
Now that you know where I'm coming from, let's talk about essential supplements.
These are the top five compounds I put all my clients on – hockey pros and gen pop members.
(If you prefer video over text, watch the clip below.)
#5: Creatine Monohydrate
Most people have heard of creatine. Many have used it. But few know what it really is and what it does.
Creatine is naturally produced in the human body.
Supplemental creatine helps your ability to perform strength and power based activities, and results in increased strength, power and muscle mass when used consistently.
When I talk about creatine, I'm referring to creatine monohydrate. It’s the most tried and true, affordable, and effective version out there.
Other variants are either not as good or they cost more without giving any additional benefit.
Recommended dosage: 5 grams per day.
Later in the FAQ section, I talk about the drawbacks of creatine.
Not a sexy supplement by any stretch of the imagination, zinc is an essential mineral for brain function and supporting the immune system.
It’s often taken to reduce the frequency of illness and to support optimal levels of testosterone.
Any athletic male who wants to build strength and size should pop some zinc.
Recommended dosage: 20-40 milligrams per day.
Another essential dietary mineral, magnesium, plays a role in over 300 biochemical reactions in the human body.
It’s vital for bone mineral density, insulin sensitivity, proper blood lipid levels, prevention of cardiovascular disease, to name a few.
If you’re deficient, like 85% of Americans, your health and athletic performance WILL suffer.
Pay strict attention to the type of magnesium you consume, they’re not all the same.
Most products on the market contain magnesium oxide – a cheap, inferior version that does more harm than good.
Your body doesn’t absorb magnesium oxide well, which causes bloating and diarrhea.
Never take magnesium oxide. Make sure your magnesium contains high-quality ingredients such as magnesium taurate or glycinate.
Recommended dosage: 200-400 milligrams per day.
#2: Fish Oil
Fish oil contains essential omega-3 fatty acids called EPA and DHA which are highly beneficial to your health. They...
* Reduce symptoms of depression
* Reduce triglycerides
* Decrease blood pressure
* Improve brain function
While you can get all these same benefits from eating fish, how many of us really do so often enough?
The typical Western man eats fish maybe once or twice a month.
That’s nowhere near enough, so you have to get those omega-3s elsewhere.
Recommended dosage: This depends entirely on how concentrated in EPA/DHA your fish oil is.
Typical daily doses include 15 ml, but highly concentrated solutions may require intakes of just 5 ml.
#1: Vitamin D
Vitamin D packs a host of health benefits – from bone health to better mood, increased brain function, and improved general well-being.
So you'd be an idiot not to take it.
Practically everyone who lives in a country where winters get dark and cold is going to be deficient in vitamin D (hello Finnish, Swedish, Canadian, Russian, and US hockey players!), so you have to take it in pill or liquid form.
Otherwise, you run the risk of getting ill or feeling seasonally depressed between October and March.
Recommended dosage: The official recommended daily allowance of 50 micrograms is pathetically low. You’re not going to see any difference from that.
Take at least 100 micrograms for vitamin D to be effective.
You can take up to 250 micrograms per day without any issues.
Also, make sure you're supplementing with vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is useless for humans.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Creatine Help With Hockey?
Yes, creatine can help you build more strength and muscle, which helps you skate faster and protect the puck in board battles.
But here's the inconvenient, hushed-up truth:
The effects of creatine are overblown.
Some people get so much creatine from a meat-heavy diet that external supplementation doesn't add anything to their lifts.
These are what you'd call creatine "non-responders". I'm one of them.
No matter how many times I've tried, I don't get any advantage from creatine. Whether I'm "on" or not, makes no difference in my gym performance.
Even those who do experience a performance boost from it rarely benefit beyond an extra rep or two.
It's progress, I'll give you that.
But it's nothing to throw your cowboy hat in the air for, and certainly can't match the results an optimized diet and training plan produces.
Watch this video for more details:
What Vitamins Should A Hockey Player Take?
Vitamins are typically classified into two categories:
1) Water-soluble vitamins B and C
2) Fat-soluble A, D, E and K
Below is a short list of the foods containing each vitamin and the health benefits they provide.
* Vitamin A: Plays a critical role in maintaining healthy eyes and vision, neurological function, healthy skin and hormonal/reproductive health.
Where to get it: Liver, kale, carrot, spinach, sweet potato.
* Vitamin B: Bolsters metabolism, maintains healthy skin and muscle tone, enhances immune and nervous system functions.
Where to get it: Liver, grass-fed beef, avocado, banana, beans.
* Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant, it works to improve everything from skin health to immune function and just about everything in between.
Where to get it: Kiwi, orange, strawberry, bell pepper, broccoli.
* Vitamin D3: Boosts bone strength, improves immune function and enhances mental health.
Where to get it: Sunlight, cod liver oil, wild-caught salmon, mackerel.
* Vitamin E: Prevents disease development, repairs damaged skin, thickens hair and balances hormones.
Where to get it: Almond, hazelnut, sunflower seeds, wheat germ.
* Vitamin K: Plays a role in everything from bone metabolism to blood sugar control.
Where to get it: Liver, kale, spinach, kiwi, cabbage.
For optimal health and sports performance, eat a nutritious diet based around meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
This gives you the best shot at hitting your vitamin intake targets.
Then supplement with the ones you can't get enough from real food.
Should I Drink A Protein Shake Before Hockey?
If you are getting enough protein from your diet, protein shakes won't do jack for you.
Their major benefit lies in speed and convenience. You can whip up a tasty, liquid meal in 30 seconds by mixing protein powder in water or milk.
But that's where the advantages stop. Protein drinks don't build any more muscle or torch any extra body fat.
The supplement industry has done a FANTASTIC job brainwashing people into thinking you need a constant stream of amino acids – and, unless you pound protein 24/7/365, you'll shrivel into Christian Bale in The Machinist.
It's rare for an athlete to have to resort to protein shakes when your diet is on point.
The only exception I can think of?
Young, undersized guys who must pound down 4,000+ calories a day to grow.
That's a metric ton of food and trying to ingest it all from solid meals turns into a battle that, even if you win, can leave you nauseous.
Whipping up a protein smoothie is an easy way to chug down an extra 500-1,000 calories without throwing up.
For anyone else, I don't recommend going down that road.
At best, you'll get the same amount of protein as you would from a steak or chicken breast without the all-important nutrients real food includes.
At worst, the lactose and sugar alcohol (such as sorbitol or mannitol) many whey powders contain turn you into a lethal protein fart bomber – earning you the awkward, but nevertheless fitting nickname "Stinky".
This video walks you through the top five natural protein sources I recommend to build your diet around:
It pisses me off to see teenagers and guys in their early-20s waste $ on bunk.
Then these duds complain how they are too broke to invest in a legit strength program that can change their physique, performance, and life.
With natural testosterone levels at their peak, you are primed to make the best gains of your life.
Don't fall for "biceps in a bottle" marketing.
Lift hard, sleep a ton, eat real food, and add the five hockey supplements listed above to your diet.
That's all you need to make sick gains.