A common theme when it comes to nutrition for baseball players is how to properly gain weight.
Baseball players’ goals typically include the following: throw and hit harder, and run faster.
How does gaining weight help with those things?
The more lean muscle mass an athlete has, the more force can be generated. However, not all weight gain is created equal.
You can crush McDonald’s every day and gain weight; however, the negative effects on systemic inflammation, gut dysbiosis, and overall performance will most likely be higher than those who attack it from a whole foods approach.
I will always promote whole food > supplements and whole foods > high processed foods.
The body is a WHOLE machine, meaning it works together. It would be like putting diesel in a gas car, it’s still fuel, but is doing more damage than good. Fueling your body with an array of nutrients (vitamins and minerals) will help with all the body’s enzymatic (bodily) functions like building muscle/bone, immune health, gut health, inflammation and so much more.
Simple tips for healthy weight gain:
If available to you, optimal results can be found by working with a nutrition coach/dietitian.
Weight gain is consuming more calories than burning – a calorie surplus. A good starting point for most men is 400-500 extra calories/day and 200-300 for women. This can be achieved by a handful of nuts, nut butters, seeds, organic meats, full-fat yogurts, low-sugar energy bars, and protein supplements (quick easy options).
#1: Eat nuts.
Nuts are typically high in calories, fat, protein, and contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals.
Calories in 1 snack bag of chips = 160.
Calories in a bag of various nuts = almonds – 823, brazil nuts – 872, walnuts – 750, cashews – 790, pistachios-700.
#2: Supersize your shake.
Add nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.), seeds, avocados, bananas, oatmeal, full-fat yogurts and milks. These additions can take your 300 cal smoothie to the 1000 range!
Plus, you’re adding in a lot of nutrients.
#3: Eat full-fat dairy.
Try and avoid skim, fat-free, reduced-fat dairy products.
Search for whole milk, full-fat yogurts (personally love Brown Cow – typically found at Whole Foods or Sprouts), and full-fat cottage cheese.
These will have more calories and fewer chemicals.
#4: Eat protein at every meal.
Easy way to gauge a protein serving size is to make a fist. That’s how much protein should be included in each meal.
Amino Acids (building blocks for protein) are the builders for lean mass. Be sure to eat clean forms of protein including steak, chicken, pork, duck, fish, quinoa, turkey, tofu.
It’s easy to kick it into 5th gear and never look back. You might think crushing multiple workouts a day and never taking a day off will help you hit your goals. This is not the case.
Rest and sleep are critical to hit your baseball development goals.
Adequate, quality sleep increases repair and muscle growth. Have a rest day and prioritize your sleep.
As always, monitor how you feel. If you feel miserably full as you aim to gain weight, slow down the addition of calories. Healthy weight gain for baseball is a process.
Learn as you go, listen to your body, and seek help if you need it.