Each week, our penguin friend Zoo with Roy writes a guest column on Philly.com. This week, he offers some advice to Ryan Howard in an effort to keep the Big Piece on the field.
Hey there, Ryan Howard, it’s me, ZWR, of I Want to Go to the Zoo with Roy Halladay - the world’s foremost bolg about wanting to go the zoo with your teammate Roy Halladay. I couldn’t help but notice that you’ve been banged up and a bit sluggish of late. First off, I don’t mean that in a judgmental way at all - it happens to the best of us. I sit at a desk all day smacking away at a computer, so there are times where my body literally feels like a big piece of furniture. Also, on the injury tip, I rolled my ankle the other night playing pick-up ball with my neighbor Ben. In short, I’ve been there, big guy. So these tips are from someone who relates to your situation, and empathizes with what you’re going through.
This is key. We have this fitness center in my office that I’ve been taking advantage of recently. I imagine the Phillies have some elliptical machines? If so, jump on one. My favorite course is “Hills Interval”. Man, that thing gets the blood flowing. And you’re moving your arms while getting a good burn on the lower half. This might even help that knee and Achilles out, in addition to cutting some poundage. I’ve dropped two pounds since the beginning of May and I feel great. Twenty-five minutes on one of those bad boys with a three-minute cool down and you’ll notice a big difference in no time. You’re welcome.
Technology is our friend! There are some key apps I really recommend. The first is the one where you chart your pushups and every day you do as many as you can. If you have an iPhone I suggest you look into it. Another is this one that counts all of the calories you eat! They even have specific brands, like Special K Red Berries cereal, and restaurant food like Chipotle burrito bowls. Invaluable. And you don’t have to trust me that it works - just ask a physics teacher. It’s the first law of thermodynamics at work LOL! Last but not least is the app that maps your runs and tells you how far you went. REALLY! It uses the GPS. In your situation you may want to start out with a medium-paced walk. Those road miles can be tough on the joints.
Counting calories is one thing, but taking in the right ones to begin with is a whole other ball of waxed green beans. Man, I tell you, I’ve been on this message board recently and people really gave me some good advice. Actually, stop reading this right now and go buy yourself some pastured ghee and coconut oil. Like, seriously. All of it that you can get your hands on. It seems counterintuitive, I know, because coconut is high in fat and ghee is clarified butter but TRUST ME. Use them for grilling some Wegman’s meats (I recommend the 93% lean, grass fed organic ground beef) and 3 to 1 whites to egg yolk NOMelettes. Protein and fat and you’re good to go. Whole Foods has good meats, too, but you can only afford to shop there if you’re really, really wealthy, FYI. Also, if you’re interested into this whole paleo thing, I have some cool links I could send your way along with a subreddit or two. You also may want to look into getting a juicer. I don’t have one, but my neighbor’s an athletic trainer and he swears by his. Did you know you can makes juice with kale and spinach in them? We’re truly living in the future.
It sounds cliché, but stretching really helps. I was running a Turkey Trot 5K last year, got there late, and didn’t stretch and bro my hammies were killing me. Total rookie mistake, but I learned from it. I’m not sure what type of calisthenics program the Phillies have you on, but chances are you could benefit from some extra flexibility work. Put it this way: no one ever had to retire before 35 years old because they were too limber.
Now this may sound lame, but hear me out. It’s best to try and get at least eight hours of good sleep a night. The body needs to heal and it can only do that when it’s at rest. I’m no doctor, but I read that somewhere once. Also, if you eat bananas before bedtime (though I don’t recommend too much carb-loading), it can trigger some killer lucid dreams.
Follow these steps and I’m sure you’ll be back on the field hitting two-run singles in no time flat. Oh, what, you played Tuesday night? And hit a two-run single? Bah. Well, all of the above still applies.