Home Posts tagged "Athletic Greens"

CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast: February 2020 Q&A with Eric Cressey

For this week's podcast, in lieu of a guest, I'm going to do a Q&A on a collection of baseball training questions that were submitted by listeners.

A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • Why pitch counts are important, and how that importance relates to the SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demand) principle
    ● What coaches should consider when incorporating vertical pulling exercises with athletes who have a history of lat injury
    ● What the best exercises are for strengthening the deceleration muscles of the throwing motion
    ● What professionals should assess in an athlete when personalizing an arm care program

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Mobility Methods with Dana Santas

We're excited to welcome Dana Santas to this week's podcast to talk about how to fine-tune methods of improving mobility. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Dana first became interested in mobility through yoga and why she grew to appreciate this practice for its emphasis on breathing and the opportunity it gave her to sit in silence and relax
  • Why Dana chose to leave her job in corporate America to pursue her passion for yoga as a yoga instructor
  • How a chance meeting on a business trip opened her eyes to the lack of mobility training in professional sports
  • How Dana scrapped her original plan of opening her own yoga studio and instead turned her attention to bringing yoga to professional sports organizations
  • How she went about establishing credibility in the athletic performance industry by creating a platform for her work and marketing her expertise as a yoga instructor
  • How writing her first book and mailing individualized letters to influential players on every sports team in all major American sports got her foot in the door of professional sports
  • How Dana managed the challenges of being one of the first female coaches to work in professional sports
  • How coaching with humility, being confident in her skillset, and having “feel” allowed Dana to build impactful relationships with her athletes and fellow coaches and excel as a coach in professional sports
  • How Dana has modified her traditional yoga background to fit the movement needs of her athletic population
  • What key competencies and professional exposure do coaches and instructors need in order to develop a well rounded movement approach like Dana
  • How Gray Cook and his work gave reason and explanation to the movement value Dana saw in yoga
  • Why Dana is so cautious when prescribing stretches to her athletes and how she has found more effective methods to restore range of motion
  • What cmovement challenges Dana sees in the baseball population and how she attacks them
  • What common mistakes Dana sees individuals making as they perform yoga
  • Why having context allows yoga instructors to better prescribe exercises, challenge clients without putting them in harm's way, and more effectively lead individuals through training
  • What positions and poses yoga instructors should avoid implementing when working with clients, especially in group settings
  • Why yoga instructors shouldn’t stray far from the basics and learn to appreciate quality movement over finding the most challenging pose to try with their classes
  • What should people look for when searching to work with credible and reliable mobility experts
  • What is next for Dana professionally and what valuable projects is she currently working on
  • You can follow Dana on Twitter at @MobilityMaker and on Instagram at @MobilityMaker. And, you can check out her website at www.MobilityMaker.com.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Elite Baseball Development Podcast: Optimizing Rotational Power with Dr. Greg Rose

We're excited to welcome Dr. Greg Rose to this week's podcast to talk about evaluating and training rotational power across multiple sports. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Greg’s professional journey began as a young, aspiring engineer and how becoming involved in the world of golf persuaded him to leave engineering and become a doctor of chiropractic
  • How Greg became involved with Titleist and, in turn, the Titleist Performamce Institute
  • How Greg led the way for the incorporation of motion capture technology with athletes
  • How TPI has evolved to include other sport specific coaching tools like OnBaseU
  • How Greg’s interaction with Tom House evolved into a more comprehensive interaction with a variety of rotational athletes
  • What it really means to move efficiently as a rotational athlete
  • Why individuals need to be careful when analyzing movement from single still shot photo or snapshot of data and how professionals can apply a systematic approach for understanding and improving movement
  • How coaches can utilize all the tools in their toolbox to understand the what, how, and why a person moves a certain way
  • How collecting data should drive intervention rather than just being descriptive
  • How coaches can influence the learning experience for their athletes and how strategies like external vs internal coaching ques and random and blocked practice influence how an individual learns
  • What research says about the impact of external and internal coaching ques on performance and how coaches can better understand when to use each of these strategies with an athlete
  • How does considering a sport’s window to excel allow coaches to better prepare athletes for success
  • How to approach long term athletic development, with particular focus on critical windows for developing certain qualities
  • Why talent identification can’t be truly trusted until after a child’s growth spurt and how being a early or late bloomer influences an athletes athletic development
  • How Greg conceptualizes developing rotational skills with young athletes
  • What books anyone in the rotational sport world should read
  • You can follow Dr. Rose on Twitter at @OnBaseU and on Instagram at @OnBaseU.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

CSP Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Mike King

We're excited to welcome New York Yankees pitcher Mike King to this week's podcast. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How being a multisport athlete from RI impacted Mike’s athletic development and why he is such a big advocate for playing basketball
  • How Mike managed his time his time and training in high school in order to always be prepared for the next sport in season
  • How learning to long toss properly and stretch out the arm taught Mike to feel intent and progress his ability to throw the ball efficiently
  • Why Mike chose to attend Boston College
  • What the culture was like at BC during Mike’s tenure there, and how it contributed to making them a competitive ACC team
  • How Jim Foster - an impactful pitching coach for Mike - facilitated relationships between his catchers and his pitchers and taught Mike important lessons about reading swings, calling pitches, and communicating
  • How Mike builds rapport and a high level of trust between his catchers in pro ball
  • How Mike has adopted an analytical approach for preparing to perform, and why he dives deep into data and video prior to games to inspire confidence
  • How Mike communicates with catchers in game to refine his approach from inning to inning and sequence his game to be efficient and effective
  • How gaining weight upon entering pro ball allowed Mike to experience a velocity jump
  • What Mike’s initial experience was like playing professionally for the Miami Marlins
  • What changed about Mike’s focus and perspective on development in the minor leagues after being traded to the Yankees that allowed him to feel comfortable and find success in 2018
  • How a conversation Mike had with Max Scherzer at CSP helped him figure out his slider
  • How Mike has developed his student-of-the-game approach and learned to apply analytics, physics, and biomechanics to improve his game
  • How Mike throws his laminar two-seam fastball and what laminar flow means for the movement of his two-seam
  • How Mike has learned to manage his hypermobility and what lessons has he learned about being loose jointed
  • How Mike exploits his mobility on the mound mechanically to create a unique look for hitters

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @7kinger14 and Instagram at @officialmikeking.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 11/9/19

I hope you had a great weekend. Here's a little reading and listening material to kick off your week!

EC on the Inspiring Lives Podcast - I joined the crew at Athletic Greens on their podcast to talk coaching and business.

10 Assumptions You Should Stop Making About Your Clients - This might be my favorite blog post my business partner, Pete Dupuis, has ever written, as he covers a lot of common misconceptions of gym ownership.

Training the Hypermobile Client - I've features multiple articles about training hypermobile individuals on this site over the years, and Dean Somerset puts out some good information to complement those materials (you can find them here and here, if interested).

Top Tweet of the Week

Top Instagram Post of the Week

 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

One of the first things some individuals notice when they come to observe at @cresseysportsperformance is that we often pair “big bang” strength and power movements with lower intensity drills that might train mobility, balance, or arm care. As an example, we might pair a prone trap raise with a deadlift, or a hip mobility drill with a bench press. We call these low-intensity inclusions “fillers.” Truthfully, though, I’m not sure that this name does them justice, as “filler” seems to imply a lack of importance. In reality, I think these drills have a profound impact on improving each client/athlete’s session. Here are five reasons why.👊 . . What are some fillers you like to use and why? Please share your comments below!

A post shared by Eric Cressey (@ericcressey) on

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Blake Treinen

We're excited to welcome Oakland A's reliever Blake Treinen to this week's podcast. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • How Blake began his baseball career at a small NAIA college in Kansas and why he chose to leave to attempt to walk on at a Division 1 program
  • Why Blake was forced to take a year off from baseball and what lessons he learned from taking the time to step away from the game to train and
  • How Blake’s time away from organized baseball allowed him to add much needed size, prioritize learning to throw with intent, and understand his optimal mechanics on a trial and error basis
  • What lead Blake to walk on at South Dakota State University and how he progressed to MLB draft prospect throwing a mid-90s fastball
  • How Blake’s faith in God has propelled him to the success he has had in baseball and been a vital key to his success through the tribulations of his career
  • How being passed up by the Miami Marlins turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Blake and how he ended being drafted by the Oakland A’s the following year
  • What cues Blake has adopted to reinforce his consistent, effortless mechanics and how has learned to master creating late arm speed
  • How training at CSP helped and training functional exercise/core exercise helped Treinen become a more effortless, compact pitcher
  • How Blake approaches pitch design and developing various pitches
  • How Blake developed a cutter and the work that went in to trusting to us it in game
  • How Blake developed a one seam and how future sinker ballers can find success
  • How the evolution of the cutter has transformed the way current pitchers are attacking the launch angle evolution and attacking hitters inside
  • What the hardest adjustments were for Blake as he transitioned from starter to reliever
  • How Blake structures his daily throwing routine
  • How Blake mentally prepares for each outing

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Joe Panik

We're excited to welcome San Francisco Giants infielder Joe Panik to this week's podcast. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • Joe’s journey to MLB and the developmental years he spent in college and minor league baseball to grow into the player he is today.
  • Joe discusses the challenges of being scouted as a hitter from the Northeast and how this impacted the direction of his early career.
  • The reason he chose to attend St. John’s and honor that commitment despite enticing offers from bigger schools.
  • Joe’s response to high school scouting reports on him
  • How criticism and speculation in Joe’s early career propelled him to be meticulous in mastering his craft.
  • The fundamental focused mindset that has led Joe to become the consistent Major League player he is today.
  • How Joe has modeled his game to play to his strengths, allow him to be himself on the field, and find success at the highest level.
  • The culture of the San Francisco Giants and how coaches and veteran players can make the transition to the next level easier for young players.
  • Joe’s hitting approach and why he continues to have a low strikeout percentage when the game of baseball is trending in the opposite direction.
  • The adjustments he has made to his swing and training in preparation for the 2019 season.
  • Joe’s thoughts on characteristics of the most impactful coaches he’s had

You can follow Joe on Twitter at @JoePanik, and on Instagram at @JoePanik.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Elite Baseball Development Podcast with Corey Kluber

We're excited to welcome two-time American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to this week's podcast. A special thanks to this show's sponsor, Athletic Greens. Head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey and you'll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

Show Outline

  • Corey’s journey to MLB and the developmental years he spent in college and minor league baseball to grow into the player he is today.
  • The establishment and refinement of Corey’s process.
  • Corey’s creation of routines to inspire comfort on game day.
  • The pre-pitch routine and mental approach Corey implements when he toes the rubber.
  • Having a feel for pitches, reading hitters, and building a relationship with the catcher to have the ability to make adjustments on the fly and compete at the highest level.
  • The design of Corey’s pitching arsenal, including: developing his slider, learning to throw a 2-seam fastball, and having confidence in the changeup.
  • A discussion of the throwing and training programs Corey relies on to remain durable.
  • The entertaining story of CSP-MA pitching coordinator Christian Wonders' first day throwing with Corey.
  • What advise current Corey would give to the teenage, college, and minor league Corey Kluber

You can follow Corey on Instagram at @ckluber28, and on Twitter at @CKluber. To learn more about The Kluber Foundation's charitable initiatives, be sure to check out www.CoreyKluber.org.

Sponsor Reminder

This episode is brought to you by Athletic Greens. It’s an all-in-one superfood supplement with 75 whole-food sourced ingredients designed to support your body’s nutrition needs across 5 critical areas of health: 1) energy, 2) immunity, 3) gut health, 4) hormonal support, and 5) healthy aging. Head to www.AthleticGreens.com/cressey and claim my special offer today - 20 FREE travel packs (valued at $79) - with your first purchase. I use this product daily myself and highly recommend it to our athletes as well. I'd encourage you to give it a shot, too - especially with this great offer.

Podcast Feedback

If you like what you hear, we'd be thrilled if you'd consider subscribing to the podcast and leaving us an iTunes review. You can do so HERE.

And, we welcome your suggestions for future guests and questions. Just email elitebaseballpodcast@gmail.com.

Thank you for your continued support!

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more

Less Sickness For Better Results

Back in 2011, Posner et al. published a descriptive study called “Epidemiology of Major League Baseball Injuries”. The researchers reviewed all the injuries reported in MLB from 2002 to 2008 and classified them based on anatomical region. As expected, there was a lot of disabled list time attributed to injuries to shoulders, elbows, hamstrings, low backs, hands, and wrists – and a host of other maladies.

elbows

Interestingly, “illness” accounted for 1.1% of all “injuries.” No big deal, right? Players get the flu, food poisoning, and the occasional migraine, so this is actually surprisingly low.

Actually, it’s a very misleading number. You see, as the study authors point out in their “methods” section, “We utilized data only for those injuries that resulted in a player being placed on the disabled list.”

In other words, “illness” was only counted if it landed a player on the 15-day disabled list. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been sick enough to miss 15 days at work. Even when I got sick as a kid, I was usually back in school within two days because I got sick of watching the same episode of Sportscenter 18 times per day.

Before I digress too much, let me get to my point:

[bctt tweet="Illness is actually remarkably underreported in professional sports."]

Just because a guy is sick doesn’t mean he goes on the disabled list. As an example, take A’s pitcher Sonny Gray’s food poisoning incident in 2015, where he missed a start in the middle of the summer. In 2015, as one of the best pitchers in baseball, Gray was 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA. In the 31 starts he made, he put up a 3.7 WAR (wins above replacement) number, which equates to a WAR of 0.12 per start. According to Fangraphs, each WAR was worth $7.7 million in 2015 – so Gray’s food poisoning cost the team $924,000 – but definitely didn’t count against any disabled list time. Additionally, he was scratched from his opening day start in 2016 for the same reason – and it still wasn’t included in the man games lost total.

Moreover, just because a guy is sick doesn’t mean he even misses a game. I’ve heard plenty of stories of MLB guys praying to the porcelain gods between innings – and games where an entire team gets ravaged by the flu, but still has to go out and play.

What’s the take-home point? The individuals who manage to not get sick are the ones who make better progress over the long haul. Avoiding those 3-4 periods of sickness each year is on par with avoiding tweaking your lower back and missing a month in the gym.

[bctt tweet="The goal is consistency, and injury/sickness are big roadblocks to a consistent training effect."]

Here’s where I’ll toot my own horn a little bit. My wife and I have twin daughters who were born in November of 2014. I’ve only been sick once since they were born. And, this is with co-owning two gyms in two states on top of my normal writing, consulting, and speaking responsibilities, which includes travel at least once a month. Staying healthy while managing a life’s craziness has somehow become right in my wheelhouse. With that in mind, I think you can break down your ability to stay healthy into three big categories:

1. Sleep Quality

I came across this Tweet a few months ago, and it became one of my all-time favorites:

 

The one time I got sick was when I was really pushing my luck on sleep deprivation and trying to make up for it with extra caffeine consumption. Doing so always saps your immunity in the long run.

Interestingly, I’ve been rocking a Fitbit since back in May. And, while I don’t think it’s perfectly accurate, it does give a pretty accurate measure of when you go to bed and when you wake up. Since September 1, I’ve gone out of my way to make sure that my weekly average sleep duration is always at least seven hours per night.

It’s had a massive impact on how I’ve felt in the gym. Normally, my training is terrible in December and January when our busiest seasons in the gym are upon us. This year, I felt strong – and without any aches and pains. Sleep tracking - no matter how basic it may be - can have a dramatic impact on your immunity and, in turn, your performance.

2. Overall Stress

"Stress" means something different to everyone. As an example, I could work 18-hour days for weeks on end without feeling stressed, yet if you ask me to stand on the 4th floor of a building and look over the edge, my cortisol levels would be off the charts. I'm terrified of heights, but not long hours. Other folks are the exact opposite.

One thing we can all agree on, though, is that training is a big stressor - regardless of whether it's higher volume endurance training or higher intensity weight training. If you want to stay healthy, you have to fluctuating that training stress so that you remain in overload and overreach mode without slipping into true overtraining scenarios. I cover this in much more detail in my e-book, The Art of the Deload.

e042e-art_of_the_deload2

3. Nutritional practices.

A discussion of proper nutrition and supplementation habits to optimize immunity has been the topic of entire books, so I won't even attempt to do the topic justice in a matter of a few sentences (although this article from over a decade ago tested the waters in that regard: Invincible Immunity). 

I can speak to personal experience when I say that I feel the best when I hydrate sufficiently, get in enough total calories, and eat plenty of healthy fats and vegetables. I'm also a huge advocate of Athletic Greens, which I take religiously every single day. I use it instead of a multivitamin, and also like the fact that it includes some digestive enzymes and probiotics for gut health. Full disclosure: they're actually a podcast sponsor of ours, but only because I love the product. If you head to http://www.athleticgreens.com/cressey, you’ll receive a free 20-pack of Athletic Greens travel packets with your first order.

It's not rocket science, but that's because it doesn't have to be complex. Getting sick is about your ability to fend off stress to your system. Two of these factors - sleep quality and nutrition - are about warding off the stress. The third factor is about managing the amount of stress actually imposed to the system. Critically examine these three broad realms if you want to find ways to stay healthy! 

Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!

Name
Email
Read more

5 Strategies for Winning the Minor League Nutrition Battle – Part 2

Today, we've got part 2 of a guest post from Andrew Ferreira on the topic of nutrition in the minor leagues. In case you missed it, be sure to check out Part 1. -EC

ferreiraimage

Strategy #3: Back-load Your Carbs.

Carb back-loading simply means saving your carb intake until later on in the day. Personally, I've found it advantageous to eat most of my carbs at night, predominantly after the game. There are several reasons why I suggest you employ this strategy:

A) Maintain sympathetic dominance when it's time to work

Minor leaguers consume a LOT of energy drinks. They consume so many, in fact, that I wouldn't be surprised if our population could keep energy drink companies in business all by ourselves.

Because the majority of minor league games are played at night, we work when our bodies' natural circadian rhythm wants to unwind and relax with the setting of the sun. Sure, your biological clock can adjust, but there is a physiological ideal that your body operates most efficiently under. In a perfect world, cortisol levels are lowest during the evening, fueling relaxation and a smooth transition into restful sleep. Clearly, these are conditions that are not conducive to high performance. At a superficial level, moderate stimulant consumption is understandable.

rbindex

Unfortunately, two to three energy drinks a day doesn't quantify as moderation consumption. Stimulants are ingested at extreme levels and I think a big part of it stems from our half-haphazard approach to nutrition. Let me explain.

When we have to perform mechanical work, we want our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to be locked in. Our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) excites us and floods our blood stream with catecholamines, providing us not only with energy, but the ingredients to be locked in and focused.

When we wake up in the morning, this is our bodies' natural state. Cortisol levels are high and we're ready to take on the day. The problem is that our bodies' enthusiasm for getting stuff done all but goes out the window when you stop at Chick-Fil-A and eat a bunch of refined carbs.

Ingesting carbs causes a spike in blood glucose levels and, consequently, a rise in insulin. Glucose and insulin promote a shift from the SNS to the parasympathetic nervous system. You start to feel groggy, sluggish, and tired because your body is more concerned with digesting the food you just ate than whatever task you were focused on beforehand. So what do you do? You shotgun that Red Bull, prompting a shift back to the SNS, and consquently unneccesarily stressing the adrenals. If your pregame meal looks like anything like your first meal, then you'll again feel sluggish – prompting another energy drink.

We want to avoid this cycle.

If you back-load your carbs and focus on protein, healthy fats, and vegetables during the day, you will trigger a much smaller spike in insulin and in all likelihood stay locked in to sympathetic mode, allowing you the mental acuity to adequately handle the necessary mechanical work without disrupting the balance with the autonomic nervous system.

B) Stay Leaner.

In the minors, we're not fortunate enough to have post-game five star spreads similar to what is available to major leaguers. There's not ever going to be steak or a piece of wild caught fish waiting for us after the game. The economics of the situation simply make it impossible. What we're largely going to get is a staple of refined carbohydrates. The last team I was with had a steady rotation of pizza, fried chicken and fries, and lasagna as our three main post-game meals. Because we pay for the food out of clubhouse dues and the fact that our hunger after the game relegates any notions of health conscious behavior to the background of our minds, we're going to eat whatever we have in front of us.

pizzaboxes

Though the choices aren't going to be ideal, if we back-load our carbs, we can mitigate damage. Whatever glycogen debt we created from either training earlier that day, pre-game sprint work, or actually playing in the game will be refueled with the post-game carbs, preparing our body to be ready to go for the next day.

Further, back-loading our carbs is going to keep us leaner. I guarantee if you eat nothing but refined carbs all day, you're going to gain fat. Has not having a six-pack ever kept someone from being a major leaguer? Absolutely not. Over the short term, it's really not going to make a significant difference; yet, habits just don't go away. You'll fall into a habitual pattern of eating refined carbs and over time you're going to be a “bad body guy.” It's not a stigma you want attached to your name. I have seen a player (a top prospect, in fact) have to go to Instructional League and do nothing but work out all day because he finished the season in incredibly bad shape. It's a situation that can be easily avoided.

C) Sleep Better.

Sleep is the greatest recovery tool we have. If we want to survive the duration of the season and stay healthy, it's imperative that we sleep well. Sure, it's difficult to get quality sleep when you’re traveling on a crammed bus for eight hours overnight. That's why we must optimize sleep when we can.

sleepbaseball

Our energy drink consumption becomes most problematic in terms of sleep quality. You may be able to get to sleep after drinking that energy drink in the 4th inning, but the quality of your sleep is going to suffer. Caffeine shortens phases three and four (REM sleep and dreaming), which are the most restorative for the brain (Keenan 2014). Continually short-circuiting our bodies' ability to recover is like taking the pin out of a live grenade. Eventually, something is going to blow up.

Back-loading carb intake does a few things for our sleep quality.

First, as I mentioned earlier, glucose intake (carbs) and a rise in insulin promotes a shift to our parasympathetic nervous system. Inducing parasympathetic nervous system dominance at night is crucial to recovery and allowing for high quality digestion, absorption, and cellular uptake of nutrients.

Second, carbohydrate intake inudces a release of serotonin. Serotonin release, through a series of chemical interactions, promotes lasting, quality sleep.

By back-loading our carb intake, sympathetic dominance can be maintained while we have to train and play. When we have to turn our bodies off and relax and recover, ingesting ample amounts of carbs (healthy or not) prompts a shift to our parasympathetic nervous system, facilitating restorative sleep and optimal recovery.

Tip #4: Supplement Wisely.

In terms of in-season supplementation, inducing incredible gains in the weight room isn't priority #1. Sure, that latest pre-workout you got may be the equivalent to cocaine, but is getting a pick-me-up to power through your low volume, moderate intensity in-season lift all that necessary?

Rather than setting a new squat max in July, I want to be sure our physiology is optimized to facilitate proper recovery. I understand that I keep hammering home the importance of recovery, but it's incredibly important on a day-to-day basis.

Take a reliever, for example. Say my max velocity is 92 and another reliever's max velocity is 95. On the surface, the other guy is more valuable. Yet, overlooked is the fact that I am able to pitch at near 100% effectiveness every day while reliever B is only able to utilize his premium ability twice a week. Now who is more valuable? The answer is clear.

Enhancing one's ability to recover is our top priority in terms of in-season supplementation. There are five that I think are essential to facilitate adequate recovery.

1) Fish Oil – For reasons I mentioned above, supplementing with a high-quality fish oil is essential to fighting off inflammation.

2)
Athletic Greens (or some form of greens supplement) – Cooking vegetables is the bane of my existence. I just don't do it near as often as I should, partly because it's just not sexy or appealing to my brain's limbic system. Delayed positive effects on my testosterone levels are just not enough positive justification to cook up a batch of broccoli alongside my steak and 'taters. Athletic Greens is my nutritional insurance. It's loaded with about every health food known to man just in case your vegetable intake is as bad as mine. You'll never feel better, I promise.

athletic-greens-pack

3) Vitamin D – I know what you're thinking... the minor league season is played in the heart of summer, why the need for Vitamin D supplementation? Valid point, but for many AA and AAA leagues, you don't see the sun in April and May. You're miserably cold and I'm sure your vitamin D levels are not optimal. Additionally, once the season gets going, most guys wear sunscreen, so actual sun exposure is lower than you might think. Supplement with vitamin D until the seasons turn.

I know what you're thinking at this point - and, no, leaving the newest fad testosterone booster off my list wasn't a mistake. Stick to the basics during the season and put your focus on optimizing your body’s ability to recover when it comes to supplementation. It's bland and boring – but bland and boring works.

Tip #5: Include Super Shakes to Maintain Weight.

In order to get to “The Show,” it's all about continually producing favorable adaptations and taking steps forward. Most athletes’ off-seasons place a predominant focus on gaining quality weight: the more muscle, the better. Everything else held constant, more mass will equate to greater force production and, in all likelihood, a better athlete.

TimCollins250x_20110610

So all off-season we focus on eating BIG. Force-feeding oneself into near sickness at the dinner table and thousand calorie shakes a couple times a day become the norm. Compound these eating habits with a quality strength program and we gain 20 pounds by the time we leave for spring training. We look and feel strong as hell and because of the weight gain, our velocity experiences a nice jump.

Your body wants to continually maintain homeostasis. Keeping your bodyweight is an important metabolic homeostatic process. By eating BIG the entire off-season, you forced your body to adapt by disrupting homeostasis and gaining weight. The problem is that your body chooses the path of least resistance when it comes to maintaining homeostasis. Metabolically, it's a whole lot easier for your body to maintain 200lbs than it is to maintain a new 225-lb frame. So, eating big for just one off-season isn't going to cut it if you want to maintain your new frame, strength, and velocity. You have to keep pushing adaptation until your body establishes a new set point and you are better able to maintain your weight without having to consume 5,000 calories a day like you do in the off season.

All too often, I hear stories of guys gaining all this weight and strength in the off-season – but they struggle to hold on to any of it during the season. By the time the season ends, they are back to where they started the previous year. It's a perpetual cycle that keeps them playing catch up each off-season rather than using the time to build on the foundation and keep pushing favorable adaptations to take them to the next level.

Maintaining your off-season eating habits during the season is necessary if you want to maintain your weight. Unfortunately, with our schedule, it's easier said than done. It's nearly impossible to feel comfortable playing when your stomach is full from a gigantic breakfast and lunch.

Enter the super shake. It's a whole lot easier to drink 1,000 calories than it is to eat them. Implementing one or two a day may be what you need in order to keep pushing your body to establish a new set point and maintain your new frame.

CPShaker

A good place to start in constructing your super shake is using the formula EC wrote about in this article: low-carb protein powder, almond or whole milk, coconut oil, fruits, natural nut butters, greek yogurt, oats, ground flax, and veggies.

It's not rocket science, nor is it sexy. With the above ingredients, the combinations are literally endless, the calories dense, and the product healthy. Unless you literally have no other option, which I can't imagine, avoid the standard weight gainers you’ll see on the market. They are processed crap.

Wrap-Up

Ever since I started my professional career, I was in search of a new model to adequately handle in-season nutrition to give me the best shot of making it. The results of my search gave birth to the model constructed above.

It's not revolutionary, nor is it a model that's going to lend itself into a New York Times' Bestseller. However, it has allowed me to stay lean, maintain my strength, and most importantly feel good throughout a 142-game season. The minor league baseball season is a beast with so many less-than-ideal environmental variables. The ability to adapt is foundational in order to be successful. To adapt adequately, having a workable framework is a necessity. The model above is a start.

About the Author

Andrew Ferreira is a current Harvard student concentrating on human evolutionary biology. He currently writes for Show Me Strength - a site dedicated to improving all aspects of human performance - and was previously drafted by the Minnesota Twins. Follow him on Twitter.

Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive Instant Access to a 47-minute Presentation from Eric Cressey on Individualizing the Management of Overhead Athletes!

Name
Email
Read more
Page 1 2
LEARN HOW TO DEADLIFT
  • Avoid the most common deadlifting mistakes
  • 9 - minute instructional video
  • 3 part follow up series