Nutrition & Hydration: do players need extra protein to bulk up?

Mike Bracko

Mike Bracko is a skating coach, skating researcher, strength & conditioning coach, and fitness educator. He holds a Doctorate degree in Exercise Science and Biomechanics and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Coach through the NSCA. He played hockey in the AJHL, BCHL and NCAA (University of Illinois-Chicago). He does skating clinics with 300–400 hockey players every year specializing in 1-on-1, small group, and team skating with male and female players ranging in age from 8 years old to pro players.  He is also the strength & conditioning coach for the USA Men’s Deaflympic hockey team.  [email protected]

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"It is important to understand if you are thinking that protein powder from a nutrition store will help in getting stronger and bigger it is completely unnecessary if the player is eating a nutritious mixed diet of healthy food."

Many hockey players are doing strength and conditioning to “bulk up” and become stronger. Some players think if they consume a lot of protein, they will automatically increase muscle mass. The fact is the body can only use a certain amount of protein for muscle growth. If more protein is consumed than the body can use, the extra protein is stored as fat, with the rest being excreted when the athlete goes to the bathroom.

What does protein do in the body?

Protein plays important roles in the body. It is required for structure and function of the body’s tissues and organs. It helps with chemical reactions in the body. Protein regulates and maintains fluid balance. Protein helps form antibodies to fight infections. As it relates to strength and conditioning for hockey players, protein maintains and builds muscle mass, which makes muscles bigger and stronger.



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