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Article: How HANAH Hero Mark Abma prepares for winter

How HANAH Hero Mark Abma prepares for winter

Mark Abma professional skiier tells us how he prepares his body for the winter season.

Snowsports athletes put their body through the ringer in winter. Living life on the road chasing snow, hucking (and hopefully landing) cliffs, waking up for dawn patrols, spending long days on the skin track, and fitting in an après party here and there can throw their program out of whack. Luckily HANAH is there with adaptogenic superfoods that they can easily incorporate into their routine on the road or at home.

We asked a couple HANAH Heroes how they prepare for winter so they stay healthy and strong on those long days. We’ll start with a deep dive into Mark Abma’s preseason routine and break it down into five tips you can take into winter.

The big picture

Mark Abma found freestyle skiing at a young age. That was the last time he had an official trainer before connecting with Todd Schumlick of PerformX in 2016.

Abma says he knows winter is coming when he’s consistently pulling his toque (that’s a beanie for the non-Canadians) out of the closet. He also recognizes that’s a bit too late to be training for a winter that can easily extend into May. Enter Todd’s PerformX training regime.

Mark Abma professional skiier


Abma is active year round, so when he first started working with PerformX, it wasn’t a total program shift. Little tweaks, Schumlick refers to as ‘the system,’ include implementing multiple layers of development, starting with biomechanic balancing, foundation overload, strength and power development, specialized pre-season performance, and finishing with on-season maintenance. This snow-specific program kicks into high gear three or four months before the season and can include 100 or more different exercises.

He also adds a healthy amount of cardio (Abma loves his mountain bike) with a solid dose of stretching, yoga and a couple cold-plunges a week. Specifically, Todd’s top three exercises for Abma are:

  1. Single leg squats / Single leg pull combination
  2. Leg adduction / Leg abduction combination
  3. Push-up Rows with dumbbell, focus on balancing / stimulating left and right side

Mark Abma's cold plunge pool is essential to his day to day


Nutrition plays a huge part in how Mark prepares for a successful day. Abma eats a super clean and naturally driven diet, so Todd has not made many changes to his food intake. Diet is a crucial layer and Todd mentioned Abma is “one of the most nutritionally dedicated athletes I’ve worked with.” It all starts from within. We sat down and heard from the man himself what a typical day of food choices looks like for him.

I start my day with a shot of apple cider vinegar in a big glass of water (from my creek) to increase my alkalinity. Having an alkaline body is one of the keys to help fight free radicals and helps balance out the acidity of coffee.

Next up, I brew up a bullet coffee, coffee full of healthy fats. I add HANAH ONE, Ashwagandha and Vechur Ghee along with MCT oil. This brew keeps me energized until 1 or 2 in the afternoon. Throughout the day I consume a lot of fats to help maintain my energy levels.  

For lunch I’ll either have a fruit smoothie or a veggie bowl with eggs.  In the smoothie I’ll use a variety of local berries and fruit, along with vegan protein powder, HANAH ONE and a blend of spirulina, chlorella and moringa. In the bowl I’ll have shredded beets, yams, carrot, avocado and salad greens. I’ll add a homemade sauce to give it some flavor.  This dish is super easy and quick to whip up.

I usually make dinner a big dinner a couple times a week and rock leftovers. I don’t have the time to make dinner every night, so this gives me access to quick and nutritious dinners. In my repertoire I’ll make curries (rice or quinoa), pastas (gluten free), salads, soups and every so often have a BBQ with some locally raised meat. My recipes vary, but while I’m at home I almost always eat organic. Living in Pemberton allows me to have easy access to locally and organically grown produce and meats. I primarily eat vegetables, but I’ll have organic meat in my diet a couple times a week.

What can you learn from Abma?

While a coach is a luxury for most people, there are plenty of things we can learn and adopt even without one.

  1. Purpose: Having something to train for is important. Skiing your first chute is hard, your first backflip even harder. Being on the mountain from first chair to last call is more attainable (unless you can already do backflips). Find something to motivate you leading up to ski season.
  2. Accountability: From your meals to weekly workouts, either have a partner or write down a plan heading into the season (or even during the season). Or… hire Todd Schumlick to whip you into shape. See above for three exercises on which to focus.
  3. Eat well: Do you really need chili cheese fries with chicken every lunch? Food is as important as training. Take a HANAH ONE Go-Pack for a quick boost on the hill. Make a smoothie for the parking lot while booting up. Pack some HANAH toast with you for the après + parking lot scene.
  4. Crosstrain: Bikes, running, yoga, aqua-jogging—mix up that routine. Abma spends hours on his bike in the summer, spring and fall.
  5. Take it slow: Even if you finished last season with a flurry of speed, backflips and epic confidence, it has been a good six months since you were last on your board or skis. Warm up each day on the slopes and ease back into the Go-Pro worthy skier you were last season. You may not see it in the videos, but you’ll definitely catch Abma stretching before, during and after his day on the hill.

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