I’m having a hard time figuring out if I should have my son gain or lose weight. He will be a Junior in High School next school year, and is about to turn 16 in 2 weeks (July 7th, 2015). He is about 5’7 and when we started our off season workouts 3 weeks ago he weighed in at 160 pounds, he is now 158 so he’s lost 2 pounds in 3 weeks. He is not a fat kid, or even chubby for that matter but he has a thick build with some fat. My confusion is should I be working him out, and having him eat to gain weight, or to lose weight to help him pitch better/gain velocity? I think that being a little heavier may give him more power, but being lighter may make him faster and more explosive. I also don’t want him to weigh to much and not be able to have room for gains in his Senior year and beyond if necessary, but at the same time i don’t want him to be to light and lose strength, power, and maybe velocity. My current thought was to try and drop him down to about 152-154 or so to cut some of the fat, and then try and bring him back up to around 160 but with more muscle weight than fat. Any thoughts on this subject will be appreciated, Thanks.
PB&J, PB&J and more PB&Js!
I’m sort of kidding, of course. You want to have a balance of nutrients. But the point is, gaining lean mass really takes effort like anything else. You must consume 500-750 extra calories per day so that by the end of the week you’re up 1-1.5 pounds – a healthy weight gain. Every 3,500 cals is 1 pound.
Try to get 6 meals per day – aim to eat every 2-3 hours.
Also, don’t forget about body fat %. Pitchers in general should be on average 12-14%. BF% is a good way to know if the weight you’re gaining is lean, fat, or otherwise so that you can continue to make adjustments to your diet.
lol it’s funny you say that because initially i allowed him to eat pb&j but then i had him stop. He was eating about 2 a day or every other day and i told him to stop because I figured he was eating to much bread and thought that would make him gain to much weight. I’ve since told him that he can start eating them again but just don’t over due it. My question is for him to get the lean muscle should I have him lose a few more pounds to cut the fat and then gain it back in the form of muscle or should i leave him the weight he is now and just see if the fat that he has turns into muscle. He’s not fat just chunky, I’m about to upload a video of him and you will see. Thanks again
With my son it’s PB&Nutella (one piece of bread cupped in his hand he puts the PB on first then layers the nutella over the top of it, folds it in half and starts attacking it). He chases it with a tall glass of milk. He does this everyday when he gets home from school. He goes to the pantry like it’s part of his daily routine right after kicking off his sneakers.
In my experience, pitchers (particularly skinny pitchers) typically gain velocity when they gain weight*. (I, for one, gained 60 lbs and about 7 mph on my fastball over my college baseball career and I have helped a number of skinny guys do the same.)
That being said, chubby guys have no business gaining more weight (and fat) – these athletes are better off focusing on food quality rather than quantity and gradually decreasing the contribution of fat mass to total body weight and increasing the contribution of lean tissue (i.e. muscle, bone, connective tissue, etc.)
While rapid or excessive weight loss is definitely not advised, pitchers with a higher body fat % will likely experience improved performance by getting leaner – as @Steven_Ellis alluded to, most pitchers should sit between 12-14% body fat.
** Correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation and there are other important factors at play!*
It sounds like you’re really serious about helping your son to achieve a certain amount of goals, now and in the future. A training program with competent professionals is your best course of action, and here’s why.
- Your son’s health, if you continue in this direction, is going to require a collection of professionals all timed at different intervals of your son’s progress to achieve what you and he have as a goal(s). These professionals will eliminate any and all guess work on your part, thus removing a trial and error process that will not jeopardize your son’s well being.
- The professionals that you’re going to require will all start with a REFERENCE point.
- Your son’s Primary Physician will be your starting point. That means a complete physical that itemizes blood pressure, eyesight, weight, hearing and other observations. This will also include your son’s health history complete with possible food allergies, health limitations and so on. Any and all competent training professional will want this physical print out prior to providing services.
- A Registered Dietitian will start with a REFERENCE point that tells him/her what your is doing now, what his primary physician says about his health. He/she will REFERENCE what his daily routine is/was and what your son’s diet is currently, and why. Since baseball is a four (sometimes five) season sport, serious training itineraries customize the athlete’s diet to match those seasons and why. Your son’s ability to meet a “training table” as we call it, along with your support to provide said items - when and where as directed by the Dietitian will be a test of both you and your son’s commitment here.
- A Strength and Conditioning Coach will start with a REFERENCE point by examining your son’s physician’s physical examination printout provided by your son’s Primary Physician. He/she will also want to know what the registered Dietitian has recommended so he/she can plan on a progressive program that compliments the energy source for his/her detail itinerary - matching the season that your son is in, concentrating on baseball.
- A Pitching Coach will start with a REFERNCE point by examining your son’s physician’s physical examination printout. He/she will also want to examine the itinerary called for by your son’s Dietitian and his Strength and Conditioning Coach. A word of caution here - at the amateur level, and even at the professional level, NO pitching coach can match the skills and competency of a Dietitian and Strength and Conditioning Coach. Oh we can come close and even mirror some of the motions, but we’re not a specialist in those sciences. Your son’s Pitching Coach will not only work you son on various disciplines of pitching, but he/she will also monitor your son’s progress with his interactions of other professionals.
The conversations and exchange of information among the professionals itemized above is normal and should be expected. The reasons are many, but the primary reason is to provide feedback of one professionals impact and contribution to the other professional’s work. In other words, the information stream is dependent on each experience doing justice to the next at different intervals and why.
I know this may sound expensive - but it doesn’t have to be if you do a little digging and plan it carefully.
I mentioned all this considering your interest and intensity of helping your son concentrate on this sport and especially the pitcher’s position.
That makes sense, I tried to measure his body fat percentage but it was very difficult. Mainly finding where to measure with the calipers. Does anyone know of an easy or not to complicated way to measure body fat percentage?
All of this also makes sense and yes does sound pretty expensive but I’ll look Into some of these things, maybe insurance will take care of some of it. Thanks for the advise.
Most commercial gyms will likely have a bioelectrical impedence device that you can ask to use.
They are notoriously inaccurate for estimating absolute body fat levels but they are pretty good at measuring changes in body fat levels – as long as you keep things consistent between measurements (hydration and time of day being the most important factors). Once you’ve established a starting point, change is what you really want to know and track – i.e. is body fat going up, going down, or staying the same? You can also use even less complicated tools like visual changes combined with body weight. (Progress pictures are helpful in this regard.)
That being said, don’t get too caught up in the minutiae. (Yes, for most young pitchers, body fat is definitely “minutiae”.) What I mean is there are more important things to focus your time and energy on – good nutrition, hard work, and intelligent training. Focus on those and body fat is likely to take care of itself.