Adam Gaudette of the Blackhawks is a changed player: faster, stronger and (most importantly) vegan
Adam Gaudette notices the difference in his training and skating sessions. He notices it during meals. He notices it when he wakes up.
The 24-year-old Blackhawks forward, locked up with a one-year contract extension in July, will arrive at training camp this fall with hands down the best he’s ever had in his NHL career.
He weighs 20 pounds more and is counting – almost at his target weight, well. He’s stronger, faster, smoother on his skates and harder to knock down pucks.
And he’s almost completely vegan, which he credits to the source of it all.
“It changed who I am as a player,” he said, “and gave me a lot of confidence.”
Finally, weight gain
During a promising seven-game audition with the Hawks in April and May, Gaudette opened up about her candidiasis issues.
For years with the Canucks – and even going back to his college hockey at Northeastern University – he struggled with digestion, vomiting stomach bile most mornings, developing nausea from the simple smell of certain foods. and hardly ever hungry.
A blood test eventually revealed that the amount of Candida – a type of naturally occurring yeast – in her stomach was 250% above normal. A two-week antibiotic cycle in November and another in February resolved the immediate problem.
But until then, Gaudette – 6-1 with a square frame – not only suffered from daily discomfort and confusion, but also played perpetually underweight. Each season he lost 10 pounds or more.
“An 82-game season is taxing on the body, and I wasn’t getting enough calories and nutrients to repair the muscles that were working so hard,” he said.
“In 2019-2020 I weighed 185 pounds and felt really good [about that]. Two months later I’m 177. And last year was tough because I had a tough offseason, got sick, and then COVID hit. I jumped on the scales one day and saw it in the 160’s, and I thought “Jesus” to myself. “
It’s a different story now. He noticed that his weight started to increase in the first two weeks of this offseason, while he and his wife were on vacation in the Caribbean. This continued once he returned home to Massachusetts and started his regular summer workout routine.
He now weighs 190 and hopes to reach 195 or 200 by the start of the season.
“Every week I just felt the weight go up and up,” he said. “I didn’t gain any fat at all; I put all the muscle. My body fat [percentage] remains the same. I feel much more flexible, more energetic.
“This way of eating works”
Gaudette believes that the key to maintaining her new health is her diet.
What started out as an effort to simply eliminate sugary, processed foods and drinks has grown into almost full-fledged veganism. He does not eat meat, dairy or other animal products outside of a few permitted “cheat days”.
“I tried a ton of new foods this summer – a ton of new recipes, different types of veg that I never thought I would like, but it tasted really good,” he said. “This way of eating works. “
A quick follow-up question on these recipes sends Gaudette on an enthusiastic search for her new cookbook.
One of her favorite dishes is an Asian-style bowl with chickpeas, edamame beans, quinoa, broccolini, sweet potatoes, cabbage, and kale. Another is a wrap with “faux bacon”, tofu, avocado, spinach and vegan cheese. Tuesday night he devoured fried tofu, carrots and veggie dumplings.
“It was difficult to change. . . but it is really worth it, ”he said. “As I did more and more, it just got easier.”
While most vegan converts tout the benefits of weight loss, Gaudette is one of the few vegans to try to gain weight – and does so while maintaining professional-level fitness.
The key is huge food intake. He burns about 3,000 calories a day, so he tries to eat 4,000 to 4,500, which requires constant effort. In addition to sprawling lunches and dinners, he nibbles on peanuts and cashews all afternoon and adds protein-rich beans to whatever he can.
“I have this breakfast bar that has 350 calories,” he said. “I have two for breakfast on the way to workout, and it’s already 700 calories. Then I come home and eat a full meal after training. I try to keep track of my calories, and these little bars and nuts help me because they add up.
Soon in Chicago
On the ice, Gaudette’s progress is obvious. Northeast Sports Performance Director Dan Boothby, who has worked with Gaudette every summer since 2015, can say it better than anyone.
“There’s really no secret to that – he just worked really hard this summer,” said Boothby, who runs 8am workouts for a group that includes Gaudette, her brothers and her colleague. of the Hawks, Mike Hardman.
“I felt bad for him as he worked as hard as before and still struggled to gain weight. To solve this problem, to put the weight it has this year to build on this frame, and [to see] his efficiency and his quality movements, I am enthusiastic about him.
Gaudette’s old 82-flex poles have been put aside; they started to feel too “wiffy”. Instead, he now uses 87-flex poles with resistance to match his weight.
He sets new personal bests in every weight room exercise, from bench presses to pull-ups. And he does all of this without facing hip flexor or groin injuries, which has plagued him in previous summers.
“I feel more powerful, faster coming out of a corner,” he said. “What I didn’t really expect is that I also feel smoother and smoother, [because before] sometimes I felt like I was tripping over my own feet.
He plans to drive to Chicago and move into an untraceable apartment at the end of the month, giving him plenty of time to settle in before camp begins.
And then he expects Hawks (and Canucks) coaches, management and fans to see a very different Adam Gaudette than they’ve seen before.
“I don’t think I need to change the way I play,” he said. “Some things are going to be a little easier. I won’t get knocked down so easily by the pucks, and I will be able to win more stick battles or go in goal or be better defensively by containing the guys.
“It’s going to be 20 more pounds that someone has to fight against.” Play 170 [and] going up against a guy who is 210 years old is a lot of work you have to do to try and win this battle. Being 190 or 195, these things will come a little easier, and I’ll be able to get out of these battles a lot more. “