Nutrition & Hydration: post-game snack or drink

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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Keeping up with carbohydrates and protein replenishment is a constant factor in maintaining athletic performance.


High intensity game play uses stored carbohydrates from the muscles and liver. It is important to get carbohydrates into the muscles and liver after a game to prepare for the next game, practice, or workout. An optimal time to do so is right after a game – there is an optimal 3-hour window actually.  The post-game snack or drink should have carbohydrates and protein.

Physiology of a post-game snack

During a game, carbohydrates and blood sugar are used to provide energy to the muscles (and brain) for fast, high intensity muscle contractions. Even if proper 24-hour, and 3-4 hour pre-game meals have been eaten, the stored carbohydrates and blood sugar get decreased because of high intensity work during the game. Although the carbohydrates and blood sugar are not completely depleted, they are reduced to the point of needing to get “filled up” again.

Keeping up with carbohydrates and protein replenishment is a constant factor in maintaining athletic performance . . .



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