Pre-Season Training

Printed in Apex Matters October 2017

If you are like me, you think of autumn as the gateway into winter. You spend much of your time getting geared up for ski season & begin the ritualistic prayers to the snow gods. With all this excitement of the first snowfall brings on preseason training.

Some things to keep in mind while you get your body fit for the hill are:


Hydration. Drinking water is as important now as ever. Focus on proper hydration before, during and after workouts. Ditch those electrolyte drinks. They are filled with sugar. The Canadian Pediatric Society has denounced the use of sport drinks since most kids don’t benefit from them & don’t need the added sugar.  An alternative to sports drinks, if you must, is coconut water or pineapple juice with a dash of salt.

Stretch. Get your muscles warmed up prior to exercise and don’t forget to cool them down post. Stretching can reduce muscle tension, improve range of motion in your joints & improve coordination. The more coordinated you are, the less likely you are to injure yourself even riding the bumps. A great time to incorporate yoga into your routine

Switch it Up. Change up your exercise routine. Include some endurance along with strength training.  The best cross training routine will use a wide variety of activities, to work different muscle groups.

Nutrition. Fuel your body so that it can perform well for you, as you would your car. Pre-workout fuel should be food that is easy to digest. This is where smoothies can come into play. Bring along some dried fruit (dates, apples, mango, peaches) to snack on for workout fuel. Eat right after your workout, focusing on protein to prevent muscle wasting. Overall your body will perform best on nutrient dense whole foods. Balance it all out – with carbs, protein and healthy fats.


Magnesium. Muscles can benefit greatly from magnesium. This mineral gets easily depleted post exercise. It is needed for forming ATP, think energy, in the engine of every cell.  Sufficient magnesium will reduce muscle cramping.

Get in those Fish Oils. Essential fatty acids, found in fish and algae oil, pushes the anti-inflammatory pathway, aiding in recovery. Just think that if the Norwegian skiers are using upwards of 10 grams of fish oil per day, a couple of capsules per day would help us Canadian recreational alpine skiers.

MEAT. If you do injure yourself preseason, follow the MEAT acronym and not the well- known RICE acronym. MEAT stands for Movement, Elevation, Analgesic and Treatment. Research shows that following these 4 simple measures early after an injury will greatly improve healing.

Through all of this preseason training you might even find a new passion that can make autumn more fun. 

Dr Deirdre O’Neill, Naturopathic Physician, has an expertise in prolotherapy and platelet rich plasma. She practices in Penticton. You can also find her on the hill as part of the volunteer Canadian Ski Patrol.


Bohl, Caroline & Stella Volpe. (2002) Magnesium and Exercise. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 42(6).

Ronson, O et al. (1999). Supplement use and nutritional habits in Norwegian elite athletes. Scand J Med Sports. Feb 9(1) 28-35.