DEMERS DEVELOPS DE-BODY: NUTRITION 101

Islanders Strength and Conditioning Coach Jesse Demers talks about eating right.

Wednesday, 08.11.2010 / 5:18 PM ET / News
By Dyan LeBourdais
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DEMERS DEVELOPS DE-BODY: NUTRITION 101
This is the second installation in the Islanders fitness series.

Eating right is always important, but athletes, professional or not, should really understand what kinds of foods and nutrients they put into their bodies. Jesse Demers, the Islanders Strength and Conditioning Coach, helps the players by giving them dietary guidelines which help them obtain their playing and fitness goals.

“Understanding quality food is really important,” Demers said. “We try to get our younger guys in the habit of understanding how their food is grown, how it’s processed or unprocessed and what additives are added to make the food taste the way it does.”

While he pushes a healthy lifestyle, Demers understands that the players have different goals for their bodies throughout the year. During the season, each player wants to maximize his performance on the ice, but in the off season one player may want to boost lean muscle mass while another may want to maintain their current build.

“During the season each player typically has a really high carbohydrate intake because carbohydrates provide energy for what their demands are out on the ice,” said Demers. “Complex carbohydrates help the players sustain their energy a little bit. A fast absorbing carb immediately spikes your blood sugar levels, which will give you that quick bout of energy.”

Players can use those energy spikes to their advantage during a game, but “The problem with that is as soon as that bout is over, your body will hit a wall a little bit and slows down,” Demers said. “It’s at such a high peak because your body wants to normalize itself and return to that base level. Basically, your body is going through a rollercoaster of blood sugar.”

That constant feeling of up and down isn’t good for you either, so Demers said it’s all about balance and understanding the quality of the food source. While he doesn’t recommend athletes cut carbohydrates from their diet, Demers said, “In season I don’t mind pasta, although we do stray away from processed foods where the quality of the carb is not there.”

“A lot of guys, especially athletes, are always big on carbohydrate loading,” Demers continued. “But we try to get those sources of carbohydrates from the positive sources like fruit, vegetables, and a whole wheat product.”

Even though carbohydrates are a big part of a hockey player’s diet, once the hockey season is over, each player needs to reevaluate their fitness goals to create a proper off-season nutrition plan.

“For the summer, the biggest thing is to cut out any sugary foods where the source of the sugar came from carbohydrates of the more grainy whole wheat variety. In season you can afford to have more complex carbohydrates because they can be absorbed quickly,” Demers explained.

Although Demers recommends that pasta intake is eliminated or slowed in the summer, he tries to reintroduce players to pasta and similar carbohydrates when their workouts become more intense.

“You hear a lot of guys talk about that the importance of increasing their protein intake during the summer,” Demers said. “For the beginning phases, you have to cut carbs a little bit and increase your protein a little bit to help build some muscle. It’s not that protein equals muscle, but protein helps prepare and help re-build muscle.”

Rebuilding is definitely important to any athlete. For a professional hockey player, there are 82 regular season hockey games where the body becomes tired, stressed and strained. Therefore, each athlete has the summer to get himself prepared for the following season.

“For me, the offseason and diet is really important because you’re so hard on your body that you have to replenish everything. It is really time to build the body, where in season it gets broken down so much,” Demers said. “That being said, in the off season it’s time to explore new foods, find an eating pattern that works for you and refuel the muscles.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - MTL 76 47 21 8 200 169 102
2 x - NYR 74 47 20 7 226 172 101
3 TBL 76 46 23 7 244 198 99
4 PIT 75 41 23 11 207 188 93
5 NYI 76 44 27 5 230 211 93
6 DET 74 40 22 12 216 201 92
7 WSH 75 40 25 10 218 186 90
8 BOS 75 37 25 13 199 195 87
9 OTT 74 37 25 12 216 199 86
10 FLA 75 34 26 15 186 205 83
11 PHI 76 30 29 17 198 219 77
12 CBJ 75 36 35 4 207 232 76
13 NJD 75 31 32 12 167 192 74
14 CAR 74 28 36 10 173 202 66
15 TOR 76 28 42 6 198 244 62
16 BUF 75 20 47 8 144 254 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 76 34 40 -3 74
R. Strome 75 15 32 19 47
K. Okposo 54 15 31 -10 46
F. Nielsen 75 13 28 9 41
B. Nelson 76 18 22 9 40
A. Lee 70 23 16 12 39
J. Bailey 64 15 23 4 38
J. Boychuk 66 8 25 9 33
T. Hamonic 66 5 25 16 30
N. Leddy 72 10 19 15 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 35 16 2 .915 2.39
C. Johnson 8 8 1 .889 3.08

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