Promoting fast post pitching recovery in-season will not only keep a pitcher healthier and happier but it will increase velocity in the long run. If you are a serious pitching machine and you want to make it to the next level then poor nutrition could be what is holding you back.
Pitching at your top velocity is a very intense movement that is performed on average about 75-100 pitches a game, not including practice. Most pitchers lose a lot of muscle mass or weight in-season which not only effects their recovery but their overall performance. If you can prevent losing your lean muscle mass, that you worked so hard to build up in the off-season when in-season, then you will give yourself a major edge over the competition.
I trained with Dan Miceli, who is a 14 year Major League relief pitcher, after my rotator cuff surgery. He was a big lifter and would go into spring training about 35 pounds overweight. This was all muscle mass from his off-season training. He said that the coaches would give him a hard time about his size during spring training and he would always tell them to just give him a few months and it would all be gone again. He was right!
It is a challenge for college and especially professional pitchers to keep up their lean muscle mass in-season which is also why steroids became such a problem in the game. This is why every pitcher must be on a daily protein program to promote more lean muscle mass which will promote faster recovery between appearances. A good protein program is not just eating meat and drinking milk, it is a lot more high tech than that these days. It evolves supplementing your diet with a combination of proteins to give your body everything it needs to do its job well which is throw blazing fastballs!
What is Protein?
Protein is the combination of essential and non-essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids can be made by the body but the essential amino acids must be delivered through the diet. The ingestion of animals is the biggest source of protein but can be found in almost all food sources. When the protein is digested by the body it uses enzymes to break the proteins down into the amino acid chains. Once the protein has been digested into amino acids it can now be absorbed into the body and used for many purposes like fuel, blood clotting, fluid balance, production of hormones and enzymes, vision, and cell repair. It is most effectively used to rebuild the body and should be used to fuel the body only pre-workout. It is used to fuel the body when there is a lack of glucose in the blood or there is two much protein in the body. This means you need to take your protein with carbs if you are not in a pre-workout.
Proof that Protein is Beneficial for the Pitcher
A study done by Fern et. al (1991) showed that greater gains in body mass occur over four weeks of heavy weight training when young men consumed 3.3 versus 1.3 grams if protein per kilogram of body mass. In addition a study done by Meredith et al. (1992) found that a daily dietary supplement containing 23 grams of protein combined with weight training can enhance muscle mass gains relative to similar subjects who trained with out the supplement. Both of the studies show support for the belief that increased protein in the diet can help increase muscle mass, but it should be noted that these effects were found with a combination of intake and training. These two studies further indicated that a protein intake of about 1.7 – 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, when combined with weight training will enhance muscle development compared with similar training with an intake of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day (5.) However, it is important to note that there is little good evidence that the very high protein intakes (more than 2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day) typically consumed by strength athletes are beneficial. Moreover, it is possible to obtain this quantity of protein without special supplementation assuming a mixed diet containing sufficient energy is consumed.
How to Promote Post Pitching Recovery with Protein?
You should follow this daily cycle of protein for 2 months on and then 2 weeks off. I also recommend stacking this protein with a balanced diet, extra carbs and a lot of water. Complex carbs and water are just as important to promoting post pitching recovery.
- Take a Whey protein first thing in the morning.
- Take a Whey protein 30 minutes to an hour pre-workout, training or pitching.
- Take a Whey protein within 30 minutes to an hour post-workout, training or pitching.
- Take One or Two soft boiled or cooked eggs 1 hour before sleep.
The Difference Between the Proteins
Whey Protein – Is a fast absorbing protein that quickly soaks into the body. This is is perfect for the day when you are continually taking in protein sources.
Egg Protein – Eggs provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they provide all of the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern. While many people think the egg white has all the protein, the yolk actually provides nearly half of it.
Soy Protein – This is a complete protein but is low in cholesterol which is import for stimulating testosterone in the body. If you want a protein that is not from an animal and is a vegan supplement then you can use soy protein over whey or egg.
Don’t screw around with your career. A good daily nutrition will make or break your pitching career!