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Stingers stay fit in the off-season

by Samantha Mileto August 27, 2013
Stingers stay fit in the off-season

“I play [hockey] at a recreational level with former teammates from junior,” said Youssef Kabbaj, a Stingers hockey team defenseman, who played with the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “It keeps me sharp for the start of training camp.” Photo by Keith Race

The school year is upon us and that also means a new season is set to begin for the Stingers. And, as with the start of every season, players find out just how much their work in the summer has or hasn’t paid off.

Throughout the summer, Stingers athletes have been coming up with different ways to stay in shape to help them prepare for the upcoming season. One way many athletes stay in shape is by playing their sport year-round.

“The summer can either propel [an athlete] to the next level or cripple them if they don’t work hard,” said Taylor Garner, a forward for the men’s basketball team. “I like to stay in shape by playing as many ball games as possible.”

“I play [hockey] at a recreational level with former teammates from junior,” said Youssef Kabbaj, a Stingers hockey team defenseman, who played with the Gatineau Olympiques in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. “It keeps me sharp for the start of training camp.”

Athletes also train on their own time, with some help from Stingers strength and conditioning coordinator, Lisa-Marie Breton.

“As a team, we were given a training regiment [from Breton], updated every month in order to prepare us for the upcoming season,” said Andrew Bryan, a forward for the Stingers soccer team.

“I work out at least three to four times a week,” said Garner. “For me, I prefer basketball specific exercises, ones that help with speed, footwork and cardio. As a basketball player it’s more important to be mobile than it is to be super muscular.”

“We do a lot of chin-ups, shoulder and tricep exercises [in practice] because they’re directly related to shot power and release as well as giving an edge in one-on-one battles,” said Kabbaj. “We do a lot of split squats to strengthen my stride when [we] skate.”

However some athletes have suffered injuries as a result of their off-season play, which makes it difficult to prepare for the Stingers training camps in August.

Phoebe Cullingham, a Concordia rugby player, dislocated her shoulder last summer while playing for her club team, the Halifax Tars. As a result, she chose not to play rugby this summer. However, Cullingham was still able to do strength training three to four times a week and cardio exercises three times a week.

“I think I will find [starting the Stingers season] hard because I haven’t been playing at all this summer, but I expect to make up the difference, then exceed it fairly quickly,” Cullingham added.

Shauna Zilversmit, a forward for the women’s soccer team, suffered a torn ligament in her left knee during a game for the Monteuil AAA senior and is waiting to be cleared to play.

“It can be a little tough sometimes getting back [in game shape] but keeping active throughout the summer makes it easier. However, this year I am starting off with the injury and therefore haven’t been able to train throughout the last half of the summer as much.”

Studying in university often means late-night pizza and soda because it’s cheap, quick and easy. For an athlete, it isn’t so simple.

“I have spoken to a nutritionist to understand my basic needs,” said Cullingham. “I have been a vegetarian for over 12 years, so I am very careful about my protein intake, and not to over consume carbohydrates.”

“After every workout I need to have a recovery drink so that my body isn’t sore the next day,” said Kyle Armstrong, a center for the Stingers hockey team. “I also try to get in about 50 grams of protein in the mornings by eating Greek yogurt, egg whites and peanut butter on toast. For snacks, I make sure to always grab fruit instead of a cookie or muffin.”

While every athlete has their own way to stay in shape and prepare for the season, they share the common goal of being ready for success.

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