Baseball is a sport mixed with fast-paced intense movements, requiring quick motor skills, coordination, speed, and strength. Nutrition goals for baseball players should include maintaining energy levels and concentration during long training sessions and games.
Each athlete’s nutritional needs are individualized based on their field position and degree of training. In general, proper hydration coupled with a balance of eating lean protein for muscle repair and recovery, carbohydrate for fueling, and healthy fat for energy and hormone regulation is important for all players.
Front Load your Fueling
· Don’t skip meals. Start the day eating a balanced breakfast and lunch to avoid a mid-afternoon energy slump.
· Add whole grains, fruit, lean protein, and healthy fat to each meal throughout the day, such as:
o Whole-wheat spaghetti and lean turkey or beef meatballs with a small tossed salad and fruit cup,
o Turkey sandwich, fruit and glass of milk or non-dairy nut milk,
o Bowl of oatmeal with raisins and nuts, prepared with milk or non-dairy nut milk instead of water, or
o Eggs sautéed with spinach and tomatoes, whole grain toast with avocado and fruit.
Eat a Pre-Workout snack
· If you have less than 30 minutes to eat a snack before practice or games, choose more easily digestible carbohydrates lower in dietary fiber, fat and protein, to avoid GI upset, such as:
o Chewy granola bar
o Fig bar
o Raisins or other dried fruit
· Avoid pre-workout energy drinks. Most ingredients have not been scientifically proven to enhance sports performance and contain large amounts of caffeine which is not healthy for a growing body.
Focus on Eating Protein + Carbohydrates for Recovery
· Eat 15-20 grams of protein with carbohydrates after hard training to help with muscle recovery and repair, such as:
o Wrap sandwich with turkey and cheese,
o Smoothie made Greek yogurt, berries and milk or non-dairy nut milk, or
o Nut butter sandwich with glass of milk or non-dairy nut milk.
· You are better off getting your protein from food rather than supplements, but if you choose to use a supplement, use one certified by either NSF Sport or Informed Choice and limit the frequency of use.
Hydration is Key
· Dehydration can negatively impact concentration and performance.
· Hydrate early and throughout the day. You can’t compensate for poor hydration by drinking a lot right before training.
· Drink about 16-24 ounces of water 2 hours before training and additional 8 ounces 30 minutes before.
· Take small sips of fluids during training and games and drink to quench your thirst to prevent dehydration.
· Water is ideal, but add electrolytes to fluids if training longer than 60 minutes in warm, humid weather conditions. Try Nuun Sport tablets, PowerAde Zero , Gatorade G2 or Zero to add electrolytes without extra sugar.
Time Fueling Before and During Games & Practices
· Eat a well-balanced meal containing carbs, protein and healthy fat 3-4 hours before training or games to allow enough time to digest before training.
· Eat smaller portions of food lower in protein, fat and fiber 1-2 hours before training or between tournament games to prevent GI upset, such as:
o Nut butter sandwich,
o Chewy granola bar and fruit– not high protein bar,
o Turkey sandwich on white bread and fruit,
o Yogurt and berries,
o Fruit smoothie, or
o Trail mix.
Timing your eating is key to your success on the field. Frequent fueling throughout the day not only gives you energy for training but will also provide you with optimal recovery for daily workouts.