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20 Elite Women Hockey Players Share How They Stay in Top Shape

Caroline Ouellette, Hilary Knight and more share their get-fit tips.

To play in the big leagues of women's hockey, you have to be skilled, fearless and strong. Some have represented their country in the Olympics, winning medals. Others play in the National Women's Hockey League. All have one thing in common: a grit and determination to win, and to not be afraid of a smash to the face. They are also all incredibly fit. (You try ice skating at whooshing speeds while people chase you with a big stick.) How do the premier women at the top of their game stay in shape? Here's how.


Hilary Knight

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Hilary Knight is the youngest person to play for Team USA. She shared her training secrets in an interview with ESPN. "Our training program is split into different phases through the summer, usually comprised of upper and lower body as well as conditioning, plyometrics, and core work everyday. For us, anything with core strength or legs is huge."


Hayley Wickenheiser

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Hayley Wickenheiser is a former hockey player for the Canadian National Team. She shared some of her workout secrets with The Globe and Mail. "Staying limber when it's cold out is really important," Wickenheiser said. "You want to get your core body temperature high enough that you're not going to pull your muscles or hurt yourself. You need to make sure the joints are oiled up and mobile."


Marie-Philip Poulin

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Marie-Philip Poulin has won two gold medals at the Olympics. She shared how she trained for the Olympics with Best Health Magazine. "To prepare for the Olympic Winter Games, my routine included working out up to three times a day. We train extremely hard, year round in order to be the best country on the ice. Our training methods as a team have evolved, we work with the best trainers and incorporate new technology in the gym. We monitor things like nutrition, body composition and raise our mental focus to new heights."


Amanda Kessel

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Amanda Kessel wants to share women's hockey with the world. "We've come a long way with women's hockey, but still, I think a lot of people [in America] don't realize that there's a women's league," she told ESPN. "I also don't think a lot of people realize most of the players are also working normal jobs. Probably 99 percent are playing hockey and have a full-time job. My roommate was a recruiter. Another [teammate] worked in the fashion industry, one was studying to be a lawyer and worked at a law firm, a few others teach hockey."


Kendall Coyne Schofield

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Kendall Coyne Schofield shared how she and her husband stayed active during the pandemic to ESPN. The other thing we've been doing is committing to biking around the town to local business and ordering takeout food to support them. It promotes exercising, and it promotes supporting local businesses during challenging times. [This weekend] we had a 7-mile ride. I have to say I'm a little more optimistic about biking than my husband is, being a 300-pound man, but he's been a trouper. We go on a bike ride, and then stay inside the rest of the day to follow guidelines with social distancing."


Meghan Duggan

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Meghan Duggan shared how she eats healthy with USADA. "Just like everyone else, I also enjoy a meal out every now and then! When I'm somewhere new, I look for restaurants that prepare foods in a healthy way, so that means minimizing the deep-fried foods or added sauces. Again, it's all about choosing things from a menu that are fresh instead of processed. Freshii is one of my favorite places to grab a meal that is energizing and quick. I'm a sucker for any restaurant that has some version of a power bowl!"


Brianna Decker

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Brianna Decker shared her approach to training with Cosmopolitan. "I'm 5-foot-4, and as a forward there are a lot of the defenders that I'm going up against who have a lot of size to them so I have to muscle through a lot of people. The stronger you are the better, but you have to be careful about how much muscle you put on so you can keep your speed up. I play a more physical game, and I have tested my game out at different weights. I didn't like how I played when I was seven pounds lighter because even though I felt a little faster, I felt I was being pushed around. I don't let 'ideal image' affect me. Plus, some guys are really into athletic girls and some guys aren't! I'm surrounded by such a mixed group of people — to us the ideal body type is being athletic and being fit."


Shannon Szabados

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Shannon Szabados was the first woman to play in the Southern Professional Hockey League. "I'm just a hockey player that loves to play hockey," she said to "If (pioneer) is the word people want to attach with it, it seems weird to me to have that kind of title. But if that's what comes along with it and maybe it opens up some doors for future generations, that's good."


Natalie Spooner

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Natalie Spooner opened up about her diet in an interview with Olympic Canada. "In January 2014, when we traveled across Alberta playing exhibition games against boys, we'd often have a pre-game meal as a team. It's standard to eat about three hours before a game, with maybe a small snack a little bit closer to the whistle. By this time, we had tapered down our training hours, but the scheduling was just as exhausting given all the travel we were doing."


Megan Agosta

ST LOUIS, MISSOURI – JANUARY 24: Meghan Agosta #2 of the Canadian All-Stars poses for a photo ahead of Elite Women's practice during the 2020 NHL All-Star weekend at Enterprise Center on January 24, 2020 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

Megan Agosta talked about returning to hockey after having her daughter to CBC. "It's not only going back to working shift work, sleeping, eating and training at different times, but I do have Chance and I have my two stepsons," she said. "That's our family. On top of that, training to try to be the best I can be every single time I put on that Canadian jersey, it hasn't been easy. Knowing myself, I've done everything I could to be at the top of my game."


Meaghan Mikkelson

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In the same CBC interview, Meaghan Mikkelson talked about playing hockey after having her kids. "I think I said to [teammate Natalie] Spooner a couple of weeks ago 'I'm 34 years old. I've been on the team for 12 years and I've had two babies and I think I'm the strongest and fittest I've ever been in my life.' I don't know if it's the mom strength kicking in. Physically, mentally I think I'm the strongest I've ever been in my career."


Rebecca Johnston

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Rebecca Johnston talked about how she got interested in hockey to The Calgary Journal. "I would say my inspiration for getting into hockey would be my dad and my siblings. I have five brothers and sisters and we all play hockey. So, it was instilled in us when we were born as a big part of our family, as we all love it. So, it's something I wanted to do."


Jennifer Wakefield

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Jennifer Wakefield shares some of her favorite workouts on Instagram. One thing she likes to do is strength train. She shared these photos of herself doing a lunge with a dumbbell and doing a twist with a band. Wakefield captioned the post, " gear is 🔥"


Kacey Bellamy

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Kacey Bellamy opened up about dealing with failure in a letter to her younger self on The Players Tribune. "You're going to get your heart broken. You're going to have sleepless nights filled with tears and emotion. You're going to think about quitting hockey for good. But you're not a quitter. You're going to use the adversity as motivation. You are going to stitch up every interior wound through work and sweat. Every 5 a.m. wake-up. Every sled push. Every shuttle run. They'll all be worth it — eventually."


Lara Stalder

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After the 2022 Olympics, Lara Stalder called for her native Switzerland to support women's hockey. "My message is to build a league in Switzerland. Make the best league in Europe. Obviously, there should be one league, like the NHL, for all of us to compete against the best players. But I think we're far away from that in Switzerland, and that needs to change."


Sarah Nurse

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Sarah Nurse opened up about not wanting to pressure herself to Fashion Magazine. "During these times I'm very careful to not pressure myself into productivity or comparing what I'm doing to what anyone else is doing. We have to respect that we all handle this changed way of living differently. Some days I may work out, clean the house, go for a walk and cook dinner while other days I may sit and watch TV all day and that is OKAY. I try to filter my news and information to stay informed and not consume an amount that will leave me with anxiety. It's important to surround myself with positivity and stay connected to the people in my life that matter the most. We're all on the same team and with some patience, discipline and love, we're going to come out of this together."


Julie Chu

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Julie Chu talked about her approach to dieting with The Huffington Post. "Nutrition is huge for us. We work with a nutritionist who is part of the U.S. Olympic Committee. She does amazing things for us, like teaching us how we can better fuel our bodies immediately before and after a workout. What we do in those time frames really makes a difference in both quick recovery or to keep our energy up. Of course, it's also about balance and moderation: I like a burger and fries like everyone else. But having a balance diet helps us perform our best."


Melodie Daoust

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Melodie Daoust opened up about being an openly queer athlete to Mombian. "We know that Hockey Canada is behind us and also is behind every player, whether they're from different nationalities or have different skin colour or who you're with in your personal life. And that makes it way easier to be who you are and open about it all."


Cassie Campbell-Pascall

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Cassie Campbell-Pascall opened up about her workout secrets with Health Insight. "I still exercise a lot but I've learned to exercise properly according to my age and my body. I have a mindset where I can always try and push myself through things, but as I mature, I also understand I have to be smarter with how I work out and make sure that I'm eating healthy and taking care of aches and pains more and more. It's taken time for me to fully understand that, as far as the way I can train, I'm not an Olympian anymore. It's been a challenge to figure that out, but I feel that I'm in my best place ever as far as fitness in the post-athletic career stage of my life."


Caroline Ouellette

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Caroline Ouellette was inducted into the Hockey Hall Of Fame in 2023. She talked about being a female hockey player in her speech. "I played with boys from 9-17 years old and all those years I was the only girl on my team. I heard about every possible name-calling. These challenges helped me develop a deeper appreciation of how lucky I was to play hockey when so many women around my age couldn't have this same opportunity."

Anna Bechtel
Anna Bechtel is a freelance writer currently based in Hamden, CT. Read more
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