Until this past summer, it had been a while since Karl Alzner had an especially lengthy offseason. That extra time, combined with the fact that he was healthy, led the 22-year-old defenseman to experiment with numerous exercise and diet techniques to find the perfect revamped system.

Alzner revealed that in the summer of 2010, he didn’t get the chance to train in the offseason because he had two herniated discs at the end of Hershey’s postseason run. While the injury didn’t have any negative impact on his play in Washington last season, Alzner never felt completely in shape, either.

“I got hurt at the end of playoffs in Hershey, where I herniated two discs in my back, and I just kept it really quiet,” Alzner said. “I didn’t lift a weight until training camp. I didn’t skate until training camp, so I kind of got out of shape. I thought I was out of shape all season, at least. So this summer, I said, ‘I really gotta buckle down here and do it.’”

With the goal of being in the best shape possible when he returned to Washington, Alzner trained in Calgary with teammate Jay Beagle, who is well known in the dressing room for his dedication to working out. (Earlier this summer, you may have seen this video of the two. H/T Capitals Outsider)

“He’s just very focused when it comes to working out and eating right, he’s incredibly focused,” Alzner said of Beagle. “It’s nice to train with a guy like that because you want to do the same thing.”

But perhaps the largest adjustment for Alzner came in the form of his diet. Alzner experimented with different types of nutrition plans, including a weightlifter’s diet in which he couldn’t have more than 30 carbohydrates per day. It lasted a week.

“I didn’t like that one. It wasn’t fun at all,” said Alzner, who added that taking the time to find the right strategy has paid off, even if it wasn’t the easiest transition to make.

Alzner said he has cut out gluten and red meat and focused on eating natural foods.

“I’m a sweet-tooth guy. I like dessert and I’ll eat dessert every single night,” Alzner said. “That’s just the way I’ve always been. So this was just about eating healthy.”