Johnny Bench once said that he didn’t even know what a supplement was until ten years after he retired from baseball. There was a time when baseball players relied only on natural talent and baseball intellect. Those days are long gone. Today’s game is so competitive that players must work hard to gain every possible physical advantage.
Disciplined training and hard work in the weight room can lead to peak physical condition. However, you’ll get the best training results if you supplement your hard work with a healthy baseball diet. Eating healthy can be difficult, though, especially with a busy training, practice, and game schedule.
That’s where supplements come in. Supplements pack a vitamin- and nutrient-rich punch into a convenient, easy-to-take portion. It’s not necessary to take every supplement under the sun. The following five supplements can improve your baseball nutrition, complement your training regimen, and improve your overall game through a stronger and healthier body.
This vitamin is often suggested to improve heart health. While heart health is important, baseball players may be more interested in fish oil’s anti-inflammatory benefits. After all, what baseball player hasn’t had a bout with tendinitis?
This important nutrient is the key to muscle growth. Unfortunately, lean protein can sometimes be difficult to squeeze into a busy schedule. A few scoops of a whey protein powder into a milkshake every night should not only make up for protein deficiencies, but also provide extra for accelerated muscle growth in the weight room.
This may not seem like a supplement, but the truth is water is as powerful as anything else on this list. Hydration is the key to your body’s performance, both in the weight room and on the field. A dehydrated body has less strength and is more susceptible to injury. Frequent hydration helps muscles recover from training and fuels new muscle growth. It also keeps you mentally sharp on the field. In truth, water isn’t just a supplement; it should be a required piece of your daily diet.
To get even more insight on the best baseball diet to improve your game we asked Tony Wolters, a rising star in the Indians organization, and Adam Eaton, a starting outfielder recently acquired by the White Sox, what their daily diet and routine consists of. Here’s what they had to say:
What does your typical diet look like when you are training?
Tony: My diet when I am in the off-season and training consists of high protein (eggs, egg whites, chicken, sweet potatoes, etc.) and lots of vegetables.
Do you take vitamins, pre-workout, or protein to enhance your training?
Tony: Because of MLB drug testing, all my supplements are NSF for Sport approved. I take a multivitamin and flax seed oil, but I rely on getting a lot of my vitamins/nutrients through my foods.
Adam: Everyday I take a fish oil and EAS PHOS HP in the morning. Post workout I’ll take another EAS protein product.
What do you try to eat before a game so you can perform at your highest level?
Tony: Thing I would eat before games to perform to the level I need to be at would be peanut butter and honey, avocados, fruits, almonds, Gatorades, and water; making sure you are fully hydrated.
Adam: I eat three meals at the ballpark and one at home in the morning. I usually have breakfast at home, which consists of a protein packed meal. Once I get to the ballpark I’ll have my EAS PHOS HP with a sandwich and water. After batting practice I’ll have another small meal, again, usually something protein filled. No grease! For me that’s the fastest way to a stomachache and when facing big league pitchers you don’t need to be worried about anything other than the 95 mph fastball coming your way. Hydrating throughout my day and during the game is extremely important. If I’m not well hydrated I can usually tell by the second inning because my body doesn’t feel quite the same and I have to play catch up during the game to avoid dehydration.
What do you eat/take after a game or intense workout to help restore your muscles and body?
Tony: After games or workouts I right away get a protein shake in me, then a meal as soon as I can. Drinking a lot of water and getting a meal in as soon as you can is key!
Adam: My meal after the game is a very important meal. This meal will recharge me for tomorrow’s game, as well as provide hydration throughout the night. It should be protein packed while drinking plenty of water and electrolytes.
Has there been specific actions that you have taken in your diet that has helped improve your game?
Tony: Yes, have a plan with how you eat and when you eat will help you on and off the field. Doing so will give you energy, more strength, and give you more endurance through a full season.
Adam: Stay away from fried foods and always make sure you’re eating colors. As I mentioned before, hydrate! Water and protein is the key for me to be successful on a day-to-day basis.
Supplements sometimes get a bad rap because of scrupulous products on the market. By sticking with supplements that provide natural vitamins and nutrients, you can help make up for deficiencies in your diet and boost your training results. A disciplined approach to baseball nutrition, working out, and supplements will lead to a significant improvement in your game.
*Disclaimer: As always, one should check with their physician for the proper regiment of supplements.