Playing a college sport was one of the toughest challenges I have experienced in my life. While the learning curve was large, it certainly helped prepare me for my career in professional hockey playing for the Adirondack Phantoms as part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
I attended Mercyhurst University at the age of 17 on a hockey scholarship. One of the biggest challenges I faced was managing my time between school, hockey and the everyday college lifestyle. Attending college at a young age, I was learning everything at a faster pace than in high school through my peers.
One thing that I did not learn was the importance of nutrition for an athlete. During college I found myself eating all kinds of junk foods day in and day out because of my busy schedule. While in college, I had 16% body fat and weighed in at 220 lbs.-not an ideal weight for a 6 foot tall hockey player.
Looking back I feel that having such a bad nutritional intake affected my performance on and off the ice. I only started to notice after I graduated Mercyhurst in the spring of 2010 and started my professional hockey career. I learned very quickly that being a professional hockey player was not only on the ice but also everything you do off as well-from a player’s demeanor around the community to the nutritional needs to perform at such a high level.
I began to educate myself on the different types of foods athletes should be eating as well as everyday healthy foods. One thing I noticed was that eating healthy took a lot of time as well as planning, and in pro hockey you do have a lot of time since there is a lot of travel during the regular season. With this in mind, I found myself making all kinds of snacks for long bus rides such as trail mix and a variety of fruits on the bus.
Along with every road trip I bring the travel packs of Garden of Life RAW Meal to help keep me nutritionally strong. These are perfect after games to get the right amount of carb to protein ratio, plus they are very convenient and easy to pack.
One of my favorite things to prepare for road trips is a protein ball that is easy to make and tastes good as well! Since adding Garden of Life products to my training regimen, today I am in the best shape of my life and play at a higher level than ever before.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!
Cullen Eddy’s On-The-Go Protein Balls
2 cups quick oats
1 cup almond butter
2 tbsp. coconut oil
2 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. flax seeds
2 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
Cinnamon to taste
Mix all ingredients together. Form into balls, refrigerate and enjoy!