Toronto Blue Jays MLB All-Star and hammering home run hitter Jose Bautista is a prime example of the phrase: good things come to those who wait. After he was drafted in 2004 by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Bautista spent the next four seasons underachieving in the Steel City.
A trade to the Blue Jays in 2008 reinvigorated the stout Dominican and paired him with then Toronto manager Cito Gaston and batting coach Dwayne Murphy, both of whom played a big part in restructuring his swing. Five All-Star and three Silver-Slugger awards later, Bautista is now one of the most revered hitters in the American League.
His skill behind the plate, and in the outfield, is a bi-product of the hard work he puts into each and every offseason with trainer Ryan Bruggeman. Bautista recently gave Men’s Fitness an exclusive look into his home run hitting regimen and diet.
Can you give us a glimpse into your offseason program?
JB: My training workouts have evolved over the last few years quite a bit because of the new developments in the fitness world. We’re basically doing very specific, functional movements for baseball. We do strength and conditioning, then another part is injury prevention. We try to make sure my body, joints and muscles are moving adequately and the right muscles are activating. All that helps with injury prevention and maximizing strength.
Hip strengthening exercises. The hips are the most used muscle group in baseball and the core to go along with that. We try to make sure that my hips and core are the strongest part of my body. I don’t really do the typical benchpress or bicep curls and lat pulldowns. I do a lot of baseball specific strength exercises. I’ll do a one-legged deadlift with a barbell, then also a weighted vest. We do lateral jumps.
What are some of the most effective workouts for your core?
JB: Not necessarily only exercises. You want to be strong but you also need to be able to move. You need to make sure your hip mobility is good and your ankle mobility allows you to rotate a little bit further and more effectively. Also making sure your thoracic spine rotates as well as it should. If you have more mobility, you’re going to be able to control it better and have more strength throughout the movement.
The second part would be to prevent the rotation. The way that we do it, we make sure that I can move to that range of motion. Then, we do strengthening exercises but not in creating the movement with weights but try to prevent. We do types of exercises that are anti-rotation with weights, cables and all kinds of rubberbands. I try to make myself strong enough in preventing the rotation. Then I try to get stronger creating the rotation.
I do a lot of physioball tosses, cable pulls and a lot from the kneeling positions and standing up. We put my body in the same position in which I’d be required to create rotations in a baeball specific movement in the gym. We try to recreate that. We do stuff with kettlebells, dumbells and barbells. Everything that we do is kind of interconnected so even if we’re working different body parts, it’s all for the same goal. One feeds off of another.
Has your diet changed at all as you’ve gotten older?
JB: During the season, I burn so many calories and I have a fast metabolism to begin with so I can pretty much eat whatever I want. I don’t gain weight. I actually have to force myself to eat a little bit more and maintain my muscle mass. In the offseason, I do try and be a little more disciplined. Monday through Friday, I have a pretty specific and strict diet where I have my meals prepped by my chef and designed by my nutritionist. It’s kind of a pain in the ass but we’ve found a way to do it in a way that the meals aren’t boring. Having three kids, being as busy as I am and the workouts; I definitely had to make the investment in the chef and nutritionist if I wanted to be the best player I could be.
I do all the metabolic testing. I weigh myself and take body fat and they understand how many grams of protein, fat and carbs I need on a specific day. We spread that out throughout the five or six meals I have in a day, including the snack.
Can you give us a brief rundown of a day on your diet?
JB: My favorite would be an egg white omelet with steak, cheese, onions, peppers and potato. Kind of like a scramble of sorts. I accompany that with some juice and simple carbs. I’ll probably have a whole grain English muffin with some cream cheese or butter. I normally have a cup of espresso also. That would be my ideal breakfast.
My snack would be some sort of nutrition bar that’s homemade with ingredients I control – a lot of nuts, dried fruit and granola. For lunch, I would have something like beans and rice with a grilled chicken breast, some sautéed onions and peppers. Then for a snack in the afternoon, I’ll have a cold pressed juice or a protein shake with some fruit in it.
For dinner, I’ll have something like a light fish sautéed with asparagus and spinach risotto. Then before I go to bed, I’ll have little snack as well. Sometimes we do these little pastries looking things but made with all-organic nutritional or protein ingredients that we get at Whole Foods. I normally have one or two of those little snacks with a full bottle of water before I go to bed.