Sleep Can be your Secret Weapon in the Playoffs!!!

February 24th, 2016

How Much Sleep do you Need?

7 to 9 Hours per night is recommended.  Studies show that increasing sleep to 10 hours per night can increase performance.  To determine how much sleep you need pay attention to how long it takes you to fall asleep.  If you fall asleep with in 20 minutes of going to bed and wake up before your alarm goes off you are getting enough sleep.  However if you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow and need an alarm to wake up, you are probably sleep deprived.  Experiment with going to bed 30 minutes earlier and see if you wake up with out an alarm, or see how you feel the next day, if this works great if not keep experimenting by adding another 30 minutes.  Once you find the ideal amount of sleep be consistent with getting that much sleep each night.  If you wake before your alarm it is time to get up if you have reach at least 7 hours, going back to sleep will make you feel tired unless you can sleep for another 90 minutes.

Tips: Turn electronics off 30 minutes before bed.  Read a book before bed.  If you do not fall asleep with in 20-30 minutes of turning the lights out get up and stretch or read.

What is “Sleep Debt”?

Sleep Debt is the cumulative effect of not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis or over a week.  Important to understand that 1) You cannot build up a reserve by sleeping ahead, 2) You can only make up 2 hours max of lost sleep at a time,  3) Losing 1 hour per night for a week is equal to staying up for 1 full night, 4) You cannot make up sleep debt in large chunks by sleeping 14-16 hours be night on the weekend.

Are “Power Naps” Beneficial?

Power naps can be extremely beneficial; 1) To make up lost sleep (1.5-2 hours at a time), 2) To increase alertness and performance (15-30 minutes at a time).  Use longer naps 1.5-2 hours to catch up on lost sleep on off days only.  Use short 15-30 minutes on game days.

Tips: Drink caffeine 2-3 minutes before short power naps (15-30 minutes) and you will wake up more alert because of the effect that caffeine has on stimulating your central nervous system and it takes about 20 minutes for caffeine to kick in.  When taking longer naps set your alarm so that you do not sleep more then about 90 minutes.  All naps are most effective between 1pm – 3pm.

Closing Remarks: 1) Determine how many hours you need per night,  2) Use power naps to your benefit,  3) Do not oversleep, 4) If you have good sleep habits do not be concerned if you get one night of bad sleep (even before a game), it will not have a negative effect on performance. 


Good Luck in the Playoffs,   Looking forward to seeing you in the Premier Strength gym this summer.




Spotlight Athletes of the Week: Meet Scott Allen, Brett Cameron and Connor Hardowa

August 28th, 2015

Every year on the record board, there are three consistent names; Scott Allen, Brett Cameron and Connor Hardowa. All three pro players went the college route, playing in junior in the AJHL all for the Spruce Grove Saints. Scott and Brett played together at the University of Alaska—Anchorage for the past 5 years while Connor attended the University of New Hampshire, serving as Captain in his final year. Scals, Camz and Hardy are also some of the bigger athletes in the gym, all towering over 6’2 and weighing upwards of 210lb. Due to their training, these three have been able to become big and powerful, making them some of the most explosive and fastest athletes at Premier Strength. The three most athletic players at Premier Strength are this week’s spotlight athletes.

10th year Premier Strength athlete Scott Allen currently holds the 30m sprint record with a blistering 3.83 secs and recently overtook the zig zag drill record with an unreal 5.90s score. Scott’s easily the fastest athlete at Premier Strength, running a 2.66 20m sprint (one hundredth off of NHLer Jason Chimera’s all time record of 2.65s) consistently, rarely running slower than a 2.70. Following his season at UAA this year, Scott spent time with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL. Last year, Scott was invited to the Calgary Flames development Camp.

5th year Premier Strength athlete Brett Cameron’s name currently appears the most of any athlete on the record board. He holds the all time record for the shuttle cross and L-drill agility drills with an unreal 10.19s and 6.85 respectively. This year, Brett holds the 2015 records for pro agility, T-drill, L-drill, and the box drill. After finishing his fifth season at UAA, Brett played games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL and the Adirondack Flames of the American Hockey League.

10th year Premier Strength athlete Connor Hardowa holds the all time gym record for power cleans with a wicked 285 max clean. This summer, Connor currently holds the record for fastest defensemen zig zag drill and was nipping at Cameron’s heels this week in the 20m sprint, where he sprinted his personal best of 2.74.  Hardy is also one of two athletes to ever jump over 3 meters in the standing long jump, holding the record for several years until it was finally overtaken by 1 cm. After finishing his final year in the NCAA with the University of New Hampshire in 2013, Connor spent a season playing in the Finnish elite league before coming back to North America last season where he spent time with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL and the Texas Stars in the American Hockey League.

All three of these record breaking athletes have been constant fixtures at Premier Strength over the summers of training, bringing energy and competitiveness that pushes the other pros. These three players demonstrate on a daily basis the hard work and dedication that it takes to become an elite athlete.  Every athlete that walks through our doors should strive to carry themselves like Hardy, Scals, and Camz. Premier Strength is proud of the success that these three have had to date in their hockey careers and looks forward to continuing to be apart of their careers for many years to come!


Spotlight Athletes of the Week: Meet the Harvard Girls

August 21st, 2015

This week is a double athlete spotlight on two of Hockey Canada’s and Harvard Crimson’s young phenoms, Karly Heffernan and Emerance Maschmeyer.

Karly is by far one of the most dedicated athletes at Premier Strength, rarely missing a workout and always coming in early to shoot pucks before training. A hard worker, Karly pushes herself every workout and demands the best from herself in each set. Not known to take a day off, when not at the Shamrock, Karly is either on the ice or out for a run, constantly trying to make herself better.

On the ice Karly has emerged as one of the bright talents for Team Canada’s National Women’s Hockey program. Having won back to back gold medals with the U-18 Canadian team, she scored the game winning goal, in last year’s U-18 World Championships. This past season was Karly’s first season wearing the Harvard Crimson, finishing the year with 20 points, a Beanpot Championship and a trip to the Frozen Four. Her drive and work ethic has developed Karly into one of the top forwards in the Canadian system, and her National team future is bright.

Having trained at Premier Strength for the past four years, Emerance pushes herself to get the best out of every workout. Emerance’s strong attention to detail has helped her to develop great training technique. A hard worker in the gym and on the ice, Emerance is a tough competitor, never thinking twice before stepping in front of NHL slap shot.

Being no stranger to competing with the boys, Emerance has followed in the path of former Premier Strength athlete and two time Olympic Gold Medallist Shannon Szabados, competing in the Brick Minor Hockey Tournament, playing the AJHL and stoning our Pros in the Premier Strength summer skates. Going into her fourth year with Harvard, Emerance has emerged as one of the top goaltenders in the collegiate program. She was named to the Team Canada 4 Nations cup squad last year and this past season made her debut on the National Women’s World Championship team who won silver this past April in Sweden. In the inaugural National Women’s Hockey League draft, Emerance was selected 7th overall by the Boston Pride.

Premier Strength is very proud of the athletes the girls have become and wish them the best of luck in the final two games of their Team Canada U22 tournament against the United States this week in Lake Placid, New York!


Eight Straight for Canada!

August 17th, 2015

Huge congrats to Premier Strength athletes Dave Quenneville and Tyler Benson and the rest of Team Canada for their win at the U18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Tyler registered 5 points in 4 games and Dave registered an assist. Awesome job guys!


Spotlight Athlete of the Week: Meet Mark McNeill

August 14th, 2015

This week’s spotlight player is 6th year Premier Strength athlete Mark McNeill.

In the gym, Mark’s strength sets him apart. With a back squat over 400lbs and a monstrous 300lbs bench press, Mark is easily one of the strongest athletes at Premier Strength. Through his years of training at the Shamrock, Mark has made huge improvements in his speed and mobility, all of which have helped his transition to pro hockey at the AHL level.

Playing for the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL, Mark established himself as a hard to play against, gritty forward. Not afraid to drop the gloves, Mark cemented himself as a tough two way centre that could easily knock anyone off the puck. Despite being on one of the WHL’s worst teams, Mark still managed to put up impressive point totals and was relied upon to carry his team throughout his junior career with the Raiders. Drafted 18th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2011 NHL entry draft, Mark is one of the top prospects in the Blackhawks stacked development program and is poised to fight for a spot in the NHL this upcoming year. His size and significant strength makes him a daunting presence at centre. Throughout his career, Mark has represented Canada three times; in the U17 World Hockey Challenge, U18 World Championships and in the World Junior Tournament in 2012/13. In his 2nd year of pro with the Rockford Icehogs, Mark finished the season with 23 goals and made his first appearance in a pro all-star game, this past January, where he scored a hat trick.

Premier Strength is proud of the athlete Mark has become to this point in his career. The NHL future looks bright for Mark and we look forward to being a part of his career for years to come.


Beta-Alanine: Lactic Acid’s Nemesis!

August 13th, 2015

You know that burning feeling you experience when doing lactate rides? Well true to their name, lactate rides cause an increase in the body’s lactic acid and hydrogen levels, dropping the body’s pH, making your muscle cells more acidic. This results is a distinctive muscle soreness which can inhibit the muscle cells from contracting, causing fatigue. Any time you perform high intensity anaerobic bursts you are bound to get that familiar ache in your muscles. Thats where the amino acid Beta Alanine can help! To help the body buffer the hydrogen molecules and lactic acid building up in the muscle cell during exercise, the body requires the buffering abilities of Carnosine. Carnosine is able to buffer lactic acid, restore ATP (the body’s number one energy source) and activate enzymes responsible for muscle contractions. Beta-Alanine supplementation has been found to help the body synthesize Carnosine and ultimately increase its cellular stores. But what does this mean for athletes? From a performance standpoint, by supplementing our cells with Beta-Alanine we can increase our ability to buffer lactic acid ultimately increasing our time to fatigue during high intensity exercise.

Since hockey is an anaerobic sport, Beta-Alanine supplementation can have a huge impact in helping with recovery from high intensity, short shifts on the ice. Along with helping to buffer lactic acid, Beta-Alanine has been found to help with muscle recovery, healing and recovery of muscle contraction capabilities. This can have a huge impact in helping your recovery between shifts in a game.

The recommended dosage of Beta Alanine is to mix 1 teaspoon (3.2g) into your pre workout, juice or water twice daily to help increase your storage levels of Carnosine. Combining your Beta-Alanine with carbohydrates and taking during your pre-workout window have been suggested to allow more of the supplement to penetrate the muscle cell.

Do you want to recover quicker and last longer? Talk to Barry about adding Beta-Alanine into your in-season routine!