Winnipeg Jets vs. Florida Panthers

"During the season, it's almost like you're always eating to keep recovering," said Shawn Matthias, seen here playing against the Winnipeg Jets earlier this year at the BB&T Center in Sunrise. (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images / March 8, 2013)

Shawn Matthias is entering his seventh season with the Florida Panthers, where he plays center. During the 2012-2013 season, Matthias scored 14 goals, which tied him for second place on the team.

Currently conditioning in the grueling training camp, Matthias works out hard every day with his teammates. And when the season begins on Oct. 2, he'll continue to work out daily, even after games.

To fuel his body, he eats six times a day, culminating with a late-night meal of four or five eggs and his third protein shake of the day.

As he says, "During the season, it's almost like you're always eating to keep recovering."

Q: Why do you keep fit?

A: Obviously for the team I train hard. But even if I didn't play, and when I finish, I'll still exercise. So many benefits, and you feel better about everyday life. You have more energy and are healthier. And it's nice to look good, too.

Q: What are your workouts like during training camp?

A: During camp and season, we do a lot of maintenance to keep what we've built up over the summer. In camp, we're always skating so that's cardio, but also a lot of running, sprinting and weightlifting. You're not trying to build up [muscles] anymore, just keep what you got.

Q: What about during the season?

A: Two days before a game, I'll do a 40-minute circuit of legs and some major lifts to stay lean and keep my strength up. Get a good sweat on and push yourself hard. The day before a game, I'll do an upper-body circuit and major lifts to keep my strength up. After games, I'll go for a run and try to lift at a comfortable weight if we're off the next day. If we play the next day, just stretch out.

Q: What are major lifts?

A: Squats, lunges and a lot of jumping and bouncing. A lot of agility work. For upper body, it's a lot of pull-ups, things like that.

Q: How is a hockey player's body different from other athletes' bodies?

A: We're not in the gym doing biceps curls and bench press for the chest. In hockey, you don't want a big chest but to explode up, power out and be quick. A lot of what we do focuses on that. We do a lot of back exercises. We want to be strong everywhere but mainly our core and legs, our backs and shoulders. You have to get good cardio and not get too heavy. You don't want to be built up like a body builder because you'll lose speed. Same with getting fat.

Q: Do you exercise in the off-season?

A: Every day.

Q: Do you have a personal fitness motto or philosophy?

A: Always be the hardest worker, whether in the weight room or at practice. I like to pride myself thinking I'm doing more than the next guy.

Q: Any injuries affect your playing or workouts?

A: No, knock on wood. Obviously you're beat up in the shoulders and ankles, but that's part of it. You have a personal trainer and he goes through that with you. He strengthens your weaknesses. In the summer, we work hard in the weight room but also get massages and treatments to keep our body as healthy as can be for the season.