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Use NHL star P.K. Subban’s mental checklist to start your day right

He’s got tips for ending your day right, too.

Use NHL star P.K. Subban’s mental checklist to start your day right
[Photo: Ben Sklar]

Editor’s Note: This story is part of our feature, “Secrets of 13 of the most productive people.” See the complete 2018 list here.

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The [82-game NHL] season can be tiring, with the travel and the physicality of the sport. But I’m not complaining. I wake up every morning [thinking], “I don’t want to waste this day. How can I use this day to be better for tomorrow?”

The night before a big game, I start to visualize the next day. I go through my checklist of things I need to do–not so much on the ice, but I’ll think: “I gotta wake up at 8. I gotta have my breakfast at 8:30. I need to make sure that I get my 6 liters of water.” You don’t want to forget those things or it’ll mess you up–mentally more than physically. At one point, when I was about 20, I used to drink nine espresso shots before a game. Now I have less than a quarter cup of coffee.

I usually get to the game three hours before, and I’ll go through my structural warm-up, get my equipment set up, and start my balance and [muscle] activation exercises. Then we have our meetings. I’ll do a little bit of foam rolling. Then it’s more of an active warm-up, and then I go out and do my sprints and stuff to get ready.

On the ice, my warm-up routine can be tweaked based on how I feel. Sometimes you get out there and your body is feeling great, and you don’t have to push it. Sometimes you get out there and your legs feel like they’re 80 pounds apiece, and you gotta do a little extra.

Everyone needs a break once in a while. Sometimes I just want to be in a room by myself, not even have the TV on. I just want to relax, lie down, and not hear anything. When I moved to Nashville, I surprised a lot of people. I was single at the time, and most of the single guys lived downtown. I went and got a house in a suburb, in a gated community on a golf course. But that’s what I love. When I go home, it’s quiet, and no one bothers me. As I’ve gotten older, I realize how important that is.

[Last year] I pledged $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. People knew that I loved to give back, and they were always asking me to go to this or that event. I learned that you can’t just give yourself all the time. I thought, “If I want to extend myself beyond my profession, I want to be organized.” That’s when I decided to make the pledge. Today, I barely have bad days. No matter how bad it gets, I know I helped a lot of people.

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Time he gets up

“Between 7:45 and 8:30 when we’re in season. During the off-season, I get up a lot earlier: 5 or 5:30 a.m. to start working out.”

First thing he does in the morning

“Check my phone to see if my girlfriend [pro skier Lindsey Vonn] has messaged me, and to make sure everyone in my life is okay.”

Mantra

“It’s not my dad’s quote, but he would always say this to me: ‘The rent we pay on earth is our service to others.’ If you live your life putting people first, you get a lot more out of it.”

Last thing he does at night

“Call my girlfriend.”

Time he goes to bed

“When I’m with [Vonn], I’m in bed by 8:30 or 9. When I’m not, it’s more like 10:30 or 11.”

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