Following a good Nutrition & Supplementation program will
help you be a better Baseball Player
Nutrition & Supplementation for Baseball
Nutrition, and even more so supplements, has been plagued with myths from the
inner-sports circles and more importantly the media for years. Not only have
we been given a plethora of information on the subject, there has also been a
plethora of misinterpretation. I feel that there are too many writers who try
to capitalize on certain extremes in the nutrition arena, and fail to put
together a cohesive and coherent nutritional plan.
The goal of a nutritional plan is to instill basic guidelines to follow
throughout your athletic and lifelong career, not follow an eight week diet
consisting of cabbage soup!
In the following article, I plan on outlining the basic principles of a good
nutrition and supplementation program that will allow you to achieve optimal
performance. Even though the title of the article says baseball, this can be
applied to any sport, or even to your everyday life.
The Goal Of Nutrition In A Sports Program
Nutrition is paramount to athletic success. Nutrition provides the energy for
sporting events, the nutrients for muscle growth, and overall performance.
Nutrition allows for optimal body fat for our sport as well. Let's start with
This is the main macronutrient athletes should be concerned with. Protein
helps build muscle, and help protein synthesis. This is prevalent in meats and
This is a main energy source for the body. No, carbohydrates are not
diabolically evil. Carbohydrates can be good, if you eat the right types. A
type of carbohydrate that athletes need to be aware of is fiber. Fiber helps
with digestion, and keeps you "regular", if you catch my drift.
Carbohydrates are prevalent in grains.
Gasp! The dreaded fats! Actually, fats can be extremely helpful in nutritional
plans. I am talking about certain oils that have preferable benefits to other
junk fats, usually found in fried food. I will elaborate on this later on in
the article. Fats are prevalent in oils, dairy products, and nuts.
The Good Foods vs. the Bad Foods
What constitutes a good food, or more importantly, a bad food? A good rule of
thumb would be the perishable date factor. If there is no perishable date,
there is a good chance it is a bad food. Why? The reason it is considered bad,
is that to have a shelf life for a long time, it must contain preservatives to
keep it that way, or maybe this supposed "food" was never alive in the first
place. That is why I will never suggest eating potato chips, candy, or any
other mass manufactured snack/dessert item.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have the perishable items. Think
about it, what kinds of items have perishable dates? There are such items as:
Natural peanut butter
Nuts (not the heavily salted kinds)
And other great foods...
The perishable food factor can be applied every time you go shopping. Oh, and
just in case you were wondering about protein bars, yes even these are
suspect, as there is (in my opinion) no viable protein bar option on the
market with quality ingredients.
The Truth About Carbs In Bars!
Time to eat my LOW-CARB protein bar. What the crap?! It says there are now 30
grams of carbs in my favorite "low carb" bar! Heads are gonna roll!! Or are
There are too many sugar ethanols, and companies lying about the ingredients.
The Good Liquids vs. the Bad Liquids
This is a pretty simple topic, so I will be brief. An athlete needs to avoid
all liquids, except water, green tea, and possibly milk. Ouch. This is because
no other liquid (excluding protein shakes) has a good profile of
macronutrients. It is never good to drink your calories, with milk being the
exception with its high amounts of protein, and moderate levels of sugar.
This also excludes all sports drinks such as Gatorade, Powerade, and even
Propel. These drinks have too much sugar (Powerade lists HFCS as its main
sugar source) and do not have enough favorable ingredients. With all that
sugar, it will cause an insulin spike, followed by an unnecessary crash, which
will hinder athletic performance.
Ingredients That Are A Cause For Concern:
I remember not too long ago, the adage "a calorie is a calorie" was popular.
Now, with the advent of greater scrutiny on the ingredients in processed
foods, the phrase has been molded into "A calorie is no longer just a
calorie". Let's talk about some certain ingredients.
Trans-fats have been highlighted by the media as a dangerous ingredient that
is a factor of the rising obesity rates. I agree with the media on this issue,
and I suggest switching from regular peanut butter to natural peanut butter.
Not only do you avoid some of the sugar in regular peanut butter, but more
importantly you avoid the partially hydrogenated oils, which are never good
High Fructose Corn Syrup is on top of my ingredients to avoid list. HFCS is
prevalent in many junk foods such as soda, certain sugary candies, and even
ketchup. HFCS is particularly bad because it is a type of sugar which is
predisposed into storing itself as fat, instead of being used for energy. HFCS
actually shows up in a ton of products nowadays, but is okay to have in small
amounts. A good rule of thumb would be to avoid a food/drink product that has
HFCS in its first five ingredients.
The Best Foods
We can simply define the best foods as ones that have a favorable
macronutrient and ingredient profile, which suit our athletic needs. This
means we will be substituting and/or eliminating several foods, for better
A General Meal Should Consist Of The Following:
A decent amount of protein. Protein should be present somewhat at all meals.
We want to keep our positive protein synthesis throughout the day, and reach
our goal of 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
A combination of protein + fat, or a combination of protein + carbs. This is
known as nutrient timing. To read more about the subject, check out John
Water, green tea, or milk/protein shake should be the beverage. Anything else
has too much sugar, not enough protein, or sometimes a combination of both.
The combination of macronutrients should coincide with the time of day.
Protein+carbohydrates should be eaten earlier in the day, where you are more
likely to burn the carbohydrates off as energy, and slow digestion of protein
towards the night time with protein+fat meals to prevent catabolism of
Supplements should do what they are supposed to do: supplement a meal.
Supplements can rarely constitute themselves as meals, with the exception
being post workout nutrition, and Meal Replacement Powders such as Muscle Milk
by CytoSport. A good example would be oatmeal. By itself, it has a great
amount of fiber, but does not have a favorable amount of fat or protein. You
can sprinkle protein powder onto the protein to turn it into a protein + fat
Most have accepted that it is better to eat 5-6 "small" meals a day rather
than 3 large meals, because of the ability to speed up the metabolism, and of
course, you feel full all day! Therefore, it is imperative to plan meals
accordingly. Unfortunately, most people have different schedules, so if this
basic tablet does not coincide with your schedule, I suggest adapting it to
We need two things for our first meal upon waking up: carbohydrates for
energy, and protein to combat the fasting-state in the body during sleep. Now
that we know this should be a protein + carbohydrate meal, we have some
options. I recommend oatmeal for its fiber content, and its ability to induce
satiety for long periods of time.
For the protein aspect, you can either have a protein shake, or sprinkle some
protein powder on your oatmeal, to help with the taste. Also, make sure to eat
some fruits like apples or strawberries to add fiber, and antioxidants.
This can either be a P+C meal, or a P+F. I suggest having eggs, for their
great fat content, and for the protein. You can make it into an omelet, and
load it up with cheeses (good fats and proteins) and vegetables like spinach
for the fiber and antioxidants. Beef or other meats can work well here if you
add some fish oils, or Essential Fatty Acids to the meal.
This will definitely be a P+C meal, as we are working towards eating all our
carbohydrate meals early in the day. We also need this because for most, this
will be our pre-workout meal. Obviously if you work out at a different time,
this does not apply to you; so again, adapt the guidelines to your schedule.
The protein and carbs will allow for energy and fuel the muscles for the
workout. This can consist of meat and veggies/fruits, or possibly a
combination of the aforementioned food items, and a pre-workout shake such as
Vendetta by Xtreme Formulations.
This will be our post-workout meal. We want this to be almost exclusively a
P+C combo. We want more carbs than protein, with a ratio of almost 2:1 carbs
to protein. The carbohydrates should consist of maltodextrin, glucose, or
similar sugars. The protein should be fast-digesting, such as hydrolyzed whey.
Branched Chain Amino Acids would also be acceptable in a PWO shake.
This should be a P+F meal, unless you have already had too many P+F meals
earlier in the day. The meal should consist of meat, veggies (fiber and
antioxidants) and good fats.
I usually consider my nighttime meal, the 6th meal. This should be the meal
which will help prevent catabolism of muscle during the night. I suggest a
slow-digesting protein, and good fats. An example would be cottage cheese.
Unfortunately, not many like the taste of cottage cheese, so I suggest
sprinkling protein powder on it, or making a protein shake with the following:
Casein protein, natural peanut butter, EFA oils, blueberries for
flavor/antioxidants. This will keep you full through the night, and hopefully
prevent muscle catabolism.
I have mentioned several supplements throughout this article, but have not
elaborated fully on them yet. So I will describe what I think are the basic
staples of supplementation in a nutrition program.
It is very hard to get enough protein during the day to reach our goal of 1
gram per pound of bodyweight. Thus, it is necessary to supplement with protein
powder. If you are strapped for cash, get a protein powder which can be used
for post-workout nutrition and as a meal replacement.
How Much Protein Do You Consume?
1 Gram x Bodyweight / Day
1.5 Grams x Bodyweight / Day
2 Grams x Bodyweight / Day
Over 2.5 x Bodyweight / Day
If you have some cash to go around, I suggest getting two types of protein
products: a post workout powder such as Relentless by Xtreme Formulations, and
a casein powder for meal replacement. Casein protein is a slow digesting
protein, suited for nighttime meals and throughout the day.
These are essential to make sure you get your daily dose of vitamins, as well
These are supplements that are not absolutely necessary, but can be
Joint Aid Supplements:
These are supplements that help with joint repair and joint pain. This can be
useful for baseball players, as the joints do take a beating over the course
of the season. Look for these aids to have glucosamine and chondroitin.
Branched Chain Amino Acids:
These can be useful under intense training periods. These are best utilized
during workouts, as they help with protein synthesis, yet do not cause an
insulin spike. There is no digestion, only absorption. They enter the blood
stream extremely fast. Be warned, BCAA's taste extremely nasty. I have been
using Xtreme Formulation's ICE, which effectively masks the taste. If you
decide to use BCAA's, make sure you can handle the taste.
I have no doubt that creatine works, as it has been proven multiple times. I
am wary of all the "super duper creatine formulas" that are now on the market.
Simple creatine monohydrate works extremely well. All that is needed is 5
grams a day, for as long as needed.
Calculate Your Creatine Intake - Based On Total Bodyweight
Your Bodyweight In Pounds: OR In Kilograms:
Therefore, it is proposed that the above equations would be more accurate if
based on lean mass. Following the previous example, the 200 lb individual at
20% body fat would have 160 lb of lean mass (200 lb [total weight] - (200 lb *
0.2) [fat weight] = 160 lb [lean weight]). Using the above formulas, the dose
would be set at 21.8 g / d for loading and 2.2 g / d for maintenance. These
are the commonly used protocols. The most effective protocol is the target of
this article, and will be discussed in detail.
Calculate Your Creatine Intake - Based On Lean Mass
Your Bodyweight In Pounds: OR In Kilograms:
Your Body Fat Percentage: % (Do not enter the percent sign.)
Expect a slight increase in strength, and in bodyweight. The first increase in
weight will be mostly water, so anything after that will be muscle/fat gain,
or muscle/fat loss.
This article hopefully cleared up any questions you had on nutrition and
supplementation for baseball. If you do have further questions, you can reach
me by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on the athletes.com
boards, where my forum name is "Silent_Impact".