A Hawke's Bay hockey star heading to the Olympics is preparing for the high Tokyo temperatures by acclimatising at EIT's Heat Training Facility.
While most of the Black Sticks squad are training together in Auckland before travelling to Japan to take part in the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, midfielder Shea McAleese has stayed put in his home region.
But, wanting to acclimatise to the local weather, the 36-year-old has been undertaking temperature training at the EIT Institute of Sport and Health's Heat Training Facility for the previous two months.
McAleese said the squad experienced an average temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and 80 per cent humidity when playing at a tournament in Tokyo in 2019.
"All the guys up in Auckland are doing heat chamber testing and training, so it has been a bit of a game-changer for me, to be honest," he said.
McAleese said the weekly heat stimulus training had paid dividends after passing recent fitness tests with flying colours.
"There is a cycling station in there and I really try to make it quite hard by wearing a thermal, hoodie, beanie and a jacket so that I can really open up my body with heat," he said.
"It's definitely hard but sometimes you need to put yourself in a bit of a deep, dark hole. When you are flying over to Japan, it will become really hot, and you still have to think clearly in those environments."
The two-time Commonwealth Games medallist said he had completed seven sessions at the Heat Training Facility so far.
McAleese said he and his team-mates would normally have spent the build-up to the Olympics in Malaysia. This was halted by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
EIT assistant head of school for health and sport science Kirsten Westwood said the services the site offers "will surprise you".
"The facility that we offer in Hawke's Bay is state-of-the-art and to attract someone of Shea's calibre shows us that we can support people who really need to improve their performance," she said.
McAleese thanked EIT and said he'd be "at a loss without it".
He said while the Black Sticks recently suffered a 4-0 series defeat to Australia, the squad had not played a test for 18 months.
The final Olympic squad is set to be named tomorrow, before travelling to Perth on June 21 and onto Tokyo on July 18.