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Glass Talks Diet, Training and his Unique Warmup

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Tanner Glass has earned a reputation among fans for his gritty, hard-nosed style of play and willingness to sacrifice the body, especially on the penalty kill.

But what fans may not know is that Glass is just as dedicated off the ice when it comes to what he eats and how he trains.

“It’s definitely been a work in progress,” Glass said of his approach to health and fitness. “I’m so much more knowledgeable now than I was even two or three years ago. I’ve always been interested in it, but it’s something I enjoy. So it doesn’t feel like work when I’m cooking or warming up or cooling down or anything like that.”

Glass was kind enough to share his overall thoughts on his lifestyle below…

The 30-year-old winger averages just under 12 minutes a contest playing grinding third- and fourth-line shifts, with several intense shorthanded shifts in the mix as well.

“It’s funny, my training’s evolved over the years,” he said. “Now it’s about getting the body moving properly. In college and coming out of college, I worked a lot on getting bigger and stronger. But now, it’s about having the muscle mass on and I’m pretty much at the weight I’m going to be, so it’s about fine-tuning and getting my body moving properly and kind of the path of least resistance.

“You skate all season long and you get strong on the outsides of your legs and your glutes, and you develop the same muscles over and over, so in the summertime a lot of it is kind of balancing the body back out and making sure you’re moving in the proper way.”

Glass continues to implement that same philosophy of keeping things balanced throughout the season, primarily in his postgame workouts.

“You skate all game, you get sore,” he said. “Your hip flexors will get tight, and your glutes. So you try to counter (that). Whatever muscles work in the game, you try to do the opposite, the inverse side of it. (If you’re) skating pretty hard for a few days in a row, your hip flexors get tight. So you want to work the glutes to make sure your pelvis is in the right place and kind of keep your body in balance. That’s the main thing throughout the season, is to keep in balance and just keep the activation going. Keep the right muscles firing.”

Before Glass gets on the ice for games and even practices it’s all about activating the muscles he’s going to use the most. He goes through the same warm-up routine before every skate, and a lot of effort went into crafting it specifically for the winger and his needs.

A lot of guys will either just stretch, lift some weights or maybe play some pregame soccer, whereas Glass has incorporated a treadmill, foam roller, medicine ball and some unique, crazy-looking exercises into his routine (WATCH THE WORKOUT ABOVE).

“This routine was given to me by my trainer,” Glass said. “His name is Brad Watson. He’s actually a chiropractor (currently located in San Jose). We just kind of work together throughout the season via email and videos sharing back and forth. Just kind of come up with this program based on my needs, what’s tight on my body, what I use to get around the ice. Because everyone’s different. I tend to be really quad-dominant, so my big focus is getting the posterior chain activated. The glutes, hamstrings, calves, things like that.”

Glass clearly puts a lot of thought, effort and energy into crafting his training regimens, and the same goes for his diet. But if he had to boil his outlook down to a few words, it’s that he tries to eat as fresh as possible.

“Nothing’s that’s been processed. Preservative-free,” he said. “When I go to the grocery store, I just try to stop by the meat counter and the fruits and vegetables section. Those are my main stops. I eat a little bit of granola and greens, but mainly I try to eat as fresh as I can. Aside from that, I try to keep it organic and prepare at home as much as I can.”

Here’s a few examples of how Glass implements that philosophy into what he eats every day…

“In the morning, I have a protein shake. That’s fruit and veggies, protein powder and coconut milk, oils. Fat’s really important. My diet’s probably 75 percent fat and protein and 25 percent carbs. It’s kind of tough to get that protein if you’re not used to it.”

“I’m making kind of what you would think of as a dinner for lunch. It’s usually my biggest meal of the day, and is right after practice. It’s steak, lamb chops, chicken, salmon, fish - a big portion of protein - and then usually beans or asparagus, green veggies, and a little bit of rice, cous cous, and things like that. Greens.”

“I try to keep the bad stuff out of the house, because if it’s there I eat it. So I try to snack on granola. I've got some pretty good granola bars and protein bars I like that taste good, with a little bit of cocoa or chocolate in them if you’re feeling a sweet tooth. I try to get my sweets from fruit and veggies and eat them later in the day, because they’re usually high-glycemic. Lots of sugar in them, so you don’t want to be spiking your blood sugars throughout the day.”

A few weeks ago, the NHLPA posted a video on their YouTube page of Glass sharing healthy juicing tips (with moral support from his infant son Sawyer, strapped to his dad in a baby Bjorn while he made a glass of green stuff with a bunch of assembled ingredients).

Glass says his parents are the ones who got him into juicing, which he uses to supplement his diet.

“They watched a documentary a few weeks ago about this guy who had this autoimmune disease,” Glass said. “He was really sick and really overweight, and he just decided to start juicing. He went on a 60-day juice cleanse and it’s amazing how many veggies go into a glass of juice. You could never eat as many veggies as you can put in a glass of juice, all the micronutrients and all that. We’ve just started in the last few weeks here. (Juice is) our drink with our meal.”

Apart from Glass’ trainer Watson, there are two guys who have helped him develop these healthy habits. One of them is Andy O’Brien, who was the strength and conditioning coach for the Florida Panthers when Glass first broke into the league back in 2007. But O’Brien is probably better known for being Sidney Crosby’s trainer since the Penguins captain was a teenager growing up in Nova Scotia.

The other is Penguins athletic trainer Curtis Bell, who was hired by the team at the beginning of last season. Glass said Bell has been “really, really good” at helping him figure out what he should be eating.

Bell introduced Glass to something called ‘metabolic type testing,’ which determines what a person’s body wants to burn as far as calories go. And to Glass’ surprise, it wasn’t carbs. Most athletes tend to eat a lot of carbs because of the energy they provide. Ask any hockey player what’s in their pregame meal, and they’ll likely say pasta. But that’s not the case anymore for Glass.

“For me, my body wants to burn fat and protein over carbs where some guys might need a lot of carbs,” Glass said. “So even game days, I barely eat any carbs at all. I’m eating a lot of fat and protein - putting oil on everything, putting butter on things. So it’s not what you would normally think, but it’s been really good for me, actually. It’s helped me become leaner.”

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