At the end of the summer, I set some fitness goals for myself regarding baseball. I realized a good deal about my body during the baseball season:things I still could do and things I couldn’t do anymore, and things I was sure I could get better at. I realized throughout the season that I had lost some elements of my game that I had once had. Although I still have a pretty quick and aggressive bat, and can make good contact, the power I had in college was gone. I also realized that I am even slower than I was then. I also was getting a lot of soreness in my hips and knees, where I have never had pain before. Over the past month I have started a workout regimen that I hope will bring those elements back, and, possibly, improve on them as well.
The nice thing about baseball is you don’t necessarily have to be fast in order to be a good baserunner: you have to be smart, understand your own limitations, and have good technique rounding the bases and sliding. Those have always been strengths of mine; speed not so much. You can also get extra base hits without being fast: you just need to hit the ball further. So, I’ve decided to focus more on power than speed, since it will get me more bang for my buck. My workout plan also includes a good deal of knee and hip strengthening exercises, in order to avoid the joint pain I was experiencing during the season. This will also help with increasing speed and endurance. As for cardio, I will work primarily on interval trainining, meaning sprints mixed with jogging. This mimics baseball-like activity (which is a lot of stand-and-go, unlike basketball or soccer which is constant movement). This will also help to shed some of those extra pounds, which don’t help the knees either.
The main part of the workout plan is focused on lifting for power. I am using a program from Men’s Health called the Power Training Program (yes, I bought the book. No, I will not have arms like that). The program was designed by Robert Dos Remedios (@robertdos), who does College Athletic Strength Training. What I like about the program is that it focuses on gaining power. This means that there is a focus on quick movement exercises such as snatches and pulls, where you move a lot of weight quickly. Also, there is an emphasis on areas where power is generated from: your core, hips, and knees. As mentioned before, these are all areas that I need strengthening in anyway, so the program is perfectly tailored for what I’m trying to accomplish. It also focuses on “real world” movements, so no machines that isolate one body part. Each exercise works a number of muscle groups and mimics movements that occur during a game. I have been doing it for about three weeks now, and already my knees feel stronger and my weights are increasing.
The final element of any good workout plan is diet. The fact remains that if you eat garbage while working out, you won’t make any gains. And if your goal is to make gains in athletic performance, a crummy diet won’t help either. I have always been up and down in regards to diet. Eating to stay in shape is one thing; I have a high metabolic rate so I don’t pack on pounds quickly. But when I’m exercising for athletic performance, making sure I’m getting the right amount of carbs, protein, fat, etc. is critical to making gains in strength and power. My body needs to be properly fueled in order to do the type of workouts that I’m doing.
So, I’ve gone technical, through the discovery of Daily Burn. Daily Burn is the closest there is to a social media online nutrition and exercise program. I can track the food I eat, it breaks it up into the various categories, allows me to set nutritional goals, weight goals, and so on. I also can input my workouts, so I can track progress on weights and so on.
The nice thing about about Daily Burn are the iPhone Apps (You all new it was going to go in this direction). This allows me to input nutritional data on the fly (including an app that allows you to scan barcodes and directly recognize what you’re eating), and see how many more carbs I need to eat to meet my goals. It also allows me to program all my exercises for each workout, so that I can keep track of what I’m going to be doing each trip to the gym. This is extremely helpful, as I tend to skip out on sets, reps, or exercises because I’m tired. If they’re written down, it makes it more evident to me that I’m cheating myself, which makes me less likely to skip out. I would recommend Daily Burn to anyone who is interested. It makes the whole process a little more enjoyable, since you can see your progress. If you join, look up my profile and we can push each other.
Hopefully, this program will result in a more powerful baseball season next year. It certainly has helped to keep me in the gym, and has provided a good deal of new exercises and physical challenges that I haven’t dealt with in a while, and I’m learning things about what my body can and can’t do. Having specific goals make working out much more enjoyable…I have found that I am much more motivated to get to the gym since I know that I am trying to meet certain objectives.
Any tips or suggestions? What are you doing to keep fit?