Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty arrived at his team’s medical exams and fitness testing Wednesday in his usual superb shape his 6-foot-2 frame carrying 217 pounds and a tremendously lean nine per cent body fat.

With long-time personal trainer Ben Prentiss in Connecticut Pacioretty spent his off-season first rehabilitating a shoulder he separated in Game 1 of last May’s first-round playoff series against the Ottawa Senators then retooling for the season ahead.

“It was tough at first” he said of mending the shoulder. “I had a couple of setbacks. I had to get that cleaned up but I felt good after that. …

“(Rehab) was nagging for most part of the summer. I had to get a little extra attention toward the end of it but I feel confident that I’m 100 per cent now.”

To get to this point meant training ferociously five days a week sometimes twice daily; skating two to four times per week; and stretching and working with both a massage therapist and an acupuncturist.

If Pacioretty was hungry for fitness his appetite was off the charts every waking minute. But he still watched his diet closely.

“I’ve learned a lot about nutrition since I’ve been a pro” he said. “I’ve learned how to handle my body and I’ve noticed the huge impact it’s had.”

Yet for a few moments of his 20-minute chat Wednesday at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard on the eve of stepping on the ice for the first official day of training camp Pacioretty spoke about indulging.

A lot.

“During the summer even during the season I give myself one day a week to really go all out” he said through a grin. “My ‘cheat day’ makes up for the whole week.”

There’s a method to this fantastic feasting of course. This isn’t aimless gluttony just for the sake of it.

“Cheat day spikes your metabolism” Pacioretty said. “If you’re eating clean your whole life and you never eat anything bad it slows down your metabolism. So you want to spike it and get it used to having it burn calories easier and quicker.

“Literally I eat as much as I can (that one day) — desserts pizza everything.”

Pizza he said is his go-to cheat food in the off-season usually shovelled in on a weekend. Anything else that his wife Katia hasn’t nailed down or hidden is in grave danger too.

“Most cheat days I have to leave the house because there’s not enough food in it” Pacioretty joked saying there’s never more than one day of excess because “once you start that it’s like a black hole — you can’t stop.”