If the holiday season kicking off early for me last Thursday with my in-laws coming in wasn’t enough, this weekend saw me in NH for my son Matt’s hockey tournament. For those of you not familiar with hockey culture, the tournament is as much for the kids as it is for the adults. Its one of the few times us hockey parents can step out of the grind. We can get a block of hotel rooms, let the kids loose with all the other hockey teams, and kick back with food, drinks, and late night socializing. This is a three day party.
Now, if you are hotel staff used to hosting hockey teams, then this is not an issue, you know what you are in for. For guests that are not with any of the hockey teams staying at your chosen hotel – sorry. We do try to keep the kids from running through the halls and carrying on. We do reserve function rooms for them to play knee hockey. We do take them to the pool – but you don’t want to be there then. We do book at least one night where we take the party to a restaurant for several hours. But, invariably, we do take over. Advice, grab a beer and join the hockey parents.
Anyway, believe it or not, staying healthy during this weekend of early mornings, late nights, and running to and from the rink and pool is harder than a holiday routine. I’m guaranteed meals of hamburgers, pizza, chicken fingers, fries, pasta casseroles and junk food.
The only saving grace is that our tournament was up at Waterville Valley where they have a full athletic center. And, when the cold and wind weren’t beating us into submission, it was not a bad walk from the lodge to the “town” and rink. So, I was able to hit the gym when I pulled in on Friday then again on Saturday morning for a run and the weight room. And any walking about easily got me between 16K and 20K steps.
My meal strategy was a crazy mix. I packed a bag with oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, butternut squash soup, my cauliflower broccoli pilaf, granola, wheat crackers, Babybel cheese and homemade pate. I also grabbed some turkey and tuna at the local grocer. Breakfasts and lunches were at least in line so that even as I packed in the junk food for dinner and over drinks, it could have been a lot worse.
I tried, really I tried. But when you’ve had a first drink the inhibitions already start to kick in. When the table in front of you is filled with corn chips, guacamole and caramel corn, that is going to go in my mouth. At our team dinner, the healthiest things on the buffet were cesar salad and eggplant lasagna. While I grabbed both, two meatballs came along for the ride as well as a piece of garlic toast. I can’t really blame that meal choice on having a drink though. I stuck to soda with a splash of cranberry and lime. No, it was all me!
In the end, I did fine. My weigh-in was 109.1 this morning. Just where I need to be. What made the difference?
Hockey Tournament Parent Survival Guide For Healthy Living
- Keep room for one meal cheat. My group meals were the killers even with portion control and a tight grip on the alcohol (no more than 2). They accounted for more than half my daily intake. But, keeping my other meals healthy and under calorie gave me wiggle room. A large Americano gave me enough caffeine to curb my hunger and avoid snacking.
- Just exercise. I took my own advise from my travel tips. After 2 1/2 hour driving in the car it was as bad as sitting on the plane. Even though everyone had gathered already when I got to the hotel, I still got in my running gear and ran. I also made sure I got in a good weekend workout at the gym. Sunday was a day of rest because of schedule, but I still had put in 6 days of exercise.
- Keep tracking. It’s sobering when you continually track all you meals and can see the calories add up. By tracking after each meal, it kept me mindful even when the bad stuff was in front of me. Watching my activity level along side my eating also made me aware of keeping calories in and calories out in balance.
- Get inspired by the hockey. Watching 14 year old boys skate hard and battle it out over the puck and on the boards makes you very aware of your own age and fitness. Could I do that today? No. But, it sure looked fun and I would love to play. Add to the fact that we were at a ski resort and my ski passion kept me motivated to stay fit and get my exercise in.
- Wear Team USA exercise gear. Okay, this is really dorky and to some a waste of money. But, I got a Nike Team USA track and field jacket at a deep discount at TJMaxx a couple weeks back. Of course I’m not a professional or Olympian. The thought of a marathon kills me. Yet, there is something amazingly awesome about pulling on that jacket that makes me feel like one and inspires me to just run!
- Its about the distance, not the day. When I got back home I immediately started to get back on the program by cooking up healthy food that I can grab and go. I don’t have to think about cooking and what I’ll eat, I can easily cleanse my systems of all that horrible, but so good, junk food.
It was all worth going up. They won! (There’s my Matt on the right – he’s the goalie)