Dallas Stars Tyler Seguin on balancing hard-core training with the occasional beer
This is an extended version of a story that appears in ESPN The Magazine's March 17 Conspiracy Issue. Subscribe today!
NOW IN HIS fourth season in the NHL, Stars center Tyler Seguin, 22, has made a name for himself as one of the league's most consistent and most consistently hardworking players. Through the Olympic break, he had 24 goals and 32 assists, putting him among the few point-per-game players, and, as he told The Mag, every home game ends with a workout. We chatted with the former NHL All-Star and Stanley Cup champ about his work ethic on and off the ice.
Craig Custance: What do you do during the season to maintain your physique?
Tyler Seguin: We practice pretty much every day, so there's only so much training you can do during the season. But after every home game, I work out. It's not an overbearing workout: a couple squats, a bit of core, activation of the glutes, some situps, a little upper body. It's toning, so every muscle gets burned.
Custance: Have you always been that diligent after games?
Seguin: When I was a rookie in Boston, it was mandatory, and I just stuck with it. The best time to work your muscles is when you're tired. Plus, after home games, you're not rushing to get on the bus or the plane.
Custance: What did you think of Jaromir Jagr's legendary postgame workouts when you both were in Boston?
Seguin: Pretty crazy. He did a lot of things that seemed odd to me, but I never judged anything he did -- he's still playing at his age for a reason. Same with [Zdeno] Chara -- he's in another world with his training.
Custance: How so?
Seguin: He is just a machine: in the weight room nonstop, every day, every night. I couldn't believe a guy could train that much. I called him a mutant. I'm 6-1, 195 pounds -- not the heaviest guy in the world -- so I always do well at pullups, around 26 or 27. Z went up and did 30.
Custance: What is the most important body part for a hockey player?
Seguin: I would say your core. Core helps your speed, helps you battle in the corners, helps your general strength. That's the focus of my offseason.
Custance: What do you do to strengthen your core?
Seguin: The most obvious and vital things are situps and pushups.
Custance: How many situps can you do in one sitting?
Seguin: I'm not sure. I never really do just one thing. But in juniors, when I was 16, I could do 70 to 90. That was a little harder; it was done to ticking as part of our testing. You have to go up on one tick, down on one tick, for as long as you can.
Custance: That sounds like the NHL draft combine. What was the toughest part about that?
Seguin: Probably the VO2 max bike test. It's only 30 seconds, but you bike as hard as you can with increasing weight. And there's a lady yelling in your ear. After I did it, I chugged a Gatorade and puked five seconds later. Then I just lay down and fell asleep for like eight minutes.
Custance: Wait. You fell asleep at the combine?
Seguin: I thought I would just close my eyes before the next test. I know I lay down, closed my eyes, and then I remember jolting up.
Custance: That's crazy! Okay, let's get back on track here. What is your favorite part of your body?
Seguin: My arms would be my favorite, because of my tattoos. Tattoos are an entertaining hobby of mine. I have a full sleeve on my left arm, and I have Stanley Cup writing and the date on my left ribs. I'm just starting my new sleeve on the right.
Custance: How do you decide what to get?
Seguin: I like to put something that's important to me together with art. I have a guy in Boston who does all my tattoos. I give him ideas, he'll sketch stuff from those ideas, and we'll go over it. I would never bring in a picture and say, 'Hey, do this.'
Custance: How about your least favorite body part?
Seguin: When I shaved my head, guys in Boston liked to call me Dumbo because of my big ears. Also, I have massive feet. My skates are 12 1/2. The guys always say the only reason I'm fast is because of my feet.
Custance: What about your body would surprise readers?
Seguin: [Laughs] My toes. They're so long, I can pinch someone harder with my toes than if I pinched them with my fingers. Isn't that odd? I can hurt someone with my toes.
Custance: What is the best advice you can give about training?
Seguin: I go into training thinking about what a guy my age playing hockey would be doing right now. 'What am I doing more than the next person to be the best?' Then I ask myself, 'What better food can I put in my body?' That's an important part of it. You can kill yourself in workouts, but if you have pizza after, it doesn't make any sense.
Custance: But you're not afraid to have a beer.
Seguin: I'm an easygoing guy. I'll have a beer and relax. Hockey is my passion, my job and my career. But there's still more to life than hockey.