A Day in the Life of a Varsity Athlete

Christie Honor Dartmouth Women's Hockey

Christie Honor Dartmouth Women's Hockey

Finding time for exercise can be challenging. We get it, so we sat down with someone who knows this struggle all too well. Christie Honor is an Ivy-League varsity athlete who doubles as a Biology major, studying for med-school applications. She's a graduating senior at Dartmouth College and the starting goalie on their Women's Ice Hockey team. She’s been featured on ESPN, holds an NCAA record, and is Dartmouth's all-time leader for the number of in saves in a single season (no big deal).

Christie Honor Headshot

We sat down to learn about how she maintains her diet and training schedule for peak performance all season (and all school-year) long. Take it away, Christie:

A Day in the Life

For most students, life revolves around your academic responsibilities – you can go out with your friends if you've got your schoolwork under control. But when you’re a varsity athlete, your life revolves around your sport. Games, practices, gym sessions, and team meetings are the ‘deal-breakers’ that you have to fit your life around. And outside of these commitments, you’ve also got to take your nutrition seriously, so you're always feeling your best at game time.

Dartmouth Women's Hockey Poster Signing

Hockey's a Lot of Work, Eh?

The ice hockey season is very long compared to other college sports. We start in September and can continue playing until April. Nutrition, training, and adequate recovery are crucial if you want to make it through the long haul.

During the season, we focus primarily on strength maintenance, speed & skill development, and on-ice practice. We have four 2-hour practices a week (Monday - Thursday). Before and after each session, we have an off-ice warmup and cool-down. This helps prevent injuries and expedite recovery.

In addition to our on-ice work, we also have full-body lifts twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) to maintain strength. We lift as a team, and our training usually consists of a mixture of upper and lower body exercises. There’s nothing worse than playing with sore muscles, so we make sure to give ourselves enough time to recover and never exceed 80% of our pre-determined 1 rep-max.

Here’s an example of a typical in-season lift:

Trapbar Deadlift (for speed): 6 sets x 3 reps
Band Resisted Broad Jump: 4 sets x 3 reps
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press: 3 sets x 5 reps

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row: 3 sets x 6 reps
Lateral Shoulder Raise: 3 sets x 8 reps
Elevated Side Plank: 3 x 40 sec

Lunge Matrix: 3 x 2 of each (Reverse, Lateral, Rotational)
Eccentric Pallof Press: 3 sets x 5 reps

Toronto, ON

Game Day Meals

Fridays and Saturdays are our game days, where the hard work we put in all week pays off. Games are intense and usually go for 2.5 hours. As a team, we eat a pre-game meal 4 hours before a game, and a post-game meal 30 minutes after we get off the ice.

My go-to pre-game meal is grilled salmon with rice and broccoli, and a garden salad on the side. I also make sure to drink LOTS of water all day long. My post-game meal is typically a burrito bowl with steak, rice, veggies, guac, cheese, and more water. The team eats this together.

Sundays are our much-needed off-days. They’re usually spent catching up on rest, doing homework, and tending to any injuries (pucks will do that to you).

A Typical Day

This is what a typical weekday looks like during the season:

7:00 AM
Hit the gym for a team lift
8:00 AM

Post workout smoothie (strawberries, mango, peach, almond milk, greek yogurt & Suppy vanilla protein)
8:30 AM
Breakfast time (oatmeal with cinnamon & almond milk)
9:00 AM
12:05 PM
Snack time (usually a protein bar)
12:10 PM
More Class...
2:30 PM
Grab a quick lunch at 'FOCO' (salad with grilled chicken and maybe an apple with peanut butter)
4:00 PM
On-Ice Practice
7:00 PM
Back to 'FOCO' for dinner (stirfry with veggies, chicken/steak/tofu/shrimp & rice)
9:00 PM
Study snack (greek yogurt with fruit)
9:10 PM
Homework, rest, repeat

Most days during the season feel pretty similar, and it’s easy to fall into a routine as an athlete. But, it’s hard to be bored with a timetable this packed, and the ritual keeps me busy and in shape. Certainly, the student-athlete schedule is demanding, and the struggle is definitely real, but the chance to play a sport you love, with teammates you care about, makes it all worth it.