In the winter of 2007, we came together like we did every year. We take the time to find and analyze the details that give us the edge against the opponent.
This tedious work requires hours of analyzing lumbar, thoracic and cervical curvatures. Hours of observation and how his body moves! The vertebral column has different curves that need to be in the right position for optimal performance of the human body.
The work is vital and the importance of this work is essential. After finding out where he stands on the results of the assessment, the exercise program is created by me. I take time to create a program that will make him stronger, faster, more agile and loose. A program that strengthens him and does not drain him. A very customized approach is put together to accomplish the specific goals that he requires, and is based on a holistic approach.
I believe all the systems work together. The nervous system send messages to muscles, the hip drives the knee and the knee drives the ankle. Think about it. It all works together! And that when a shoulder hurts, it does not necessarily is that the shoulder is bad, but might be a problem with the toes and so on. That experience very well might affect your thoughts, which trigger hormones and cause thoughts once again, which will show in the body. The body never lies! It is up to the person to make those thoughts positive or negative. That is exactly why we see many people with bad posture correlates or satisfy their way of thinking.
I look beyond the protocol for exercising right and eating right. Every single human being is different and should be train accordingly to that which is going in their life. Emotions, experiences, pain, aches, discomfort. All plays a role in an exercise program.
We get to work right away so not another second is lost. My goal is to balance his strength and together we attack. We laugh as we catch up and discuss the league, but know when to be serious and focus on the task ahead.
We start the day with a plan to improve our being. Before we begin, we pray to God and give thanks for our lives and the opportunity to enjoy them. While we eat breakfast according to our metabolic type, we go over the plans for the day. Metabolic Typing is customized nutrition. This means finding out how your body reacts to certain foods. Knowing this, you can control cravings, hunger, energy levels, emotions and mental focus.
Metabolic Typing identifies the system in your body that controls how you feel after you eat. Knowing this system, a list of foods that will help you come into balance can be recommended. If you feel tired, bloated, anxious, irritable, etc. after you eat using your list of foods to fine tune your diet (balance of Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats) will help you feel better than you ever have before.
J.C. says, "Dio, what do we have today?" and I say with a smile, "Easy brother, you will find out soon." He gets into the mood of a warrior and I review the program, the weights, meals and supplements. I don't use pounds as a guide for him to train. I use a window of repetitions that allows him to exercise until he is about to break the form, very close to breaking, but not quite. The form of the exercise is really important since it helps the brain to recognize where the body is in the environment. If he gets to have bad form, then is time to stop and rest. Form is everything! It takes 5000 repetitions to break a faulty movement. So I make sure that we stay on the right track.
With trust and expectancy, we hit the gym to further develop our abilities and skills. Before anyone else is even awake – we go to work. From squatting on swiss balls, pulling cables, balancing on boards and stretching is what we do. Many times we stretch more than exercise, depending on how the body is reacting towards past workouts.
Warming up begins the well-customized training program. Without guessing, we begin to train, not drain, his body. My job is to keep all of his systems working at their maximum capacity and in balance not only for his baseball career, but also for life with family and friends after baseball. At that moment, there is no room for negativity. If we lose this moment, this golden time, we can never get it back. But, when we embrace it, it pays off and shows promise for future dividends!
The respect between us is essential to the success of our relationship. He listens intently to what I say. He is a client and a friend who listens with the desire of learning and applying the knowledge that gives him the advantage over his opponent.
Throughout the training process, emotions can fluctuate and it is our job to keep them positive so we do not go backwards but continue to evolve with each session. This year was a little different as J.C. didn't have a job and therefore, neither did I. This situation forced us to be more focused on the spiritual and emotional aspects of our training rather than the physical. It is impossible to forget that the movement of the body is reflexive of the state of the mind.
When we return from the gym, J.C. is tired and immediately requests a massage. We have lunch and then I prepare to go to work as he gets ready to relax. There are some days, when we are working with vertebral column imbalances, that it is necessary for the massage to come before the workout. These days are rare, but worth mentioning. From normal Swedish massage work to trigger point therapy, whatever is needed, is done. It is during this time that I listen to his requests, work on logistics, and most importantly, decide where we will eat that night. Most often, we eat at home because we can prepare a much higher quality meal. The house is stocked with chemical free and organic food such as free-range eggs and grass fed beef. The fruit juice is squeezed fresh every day and is without coloring or chemicals. By eating healthy and chemical free, we are ready to improve with each day.
After we eat, we take the time to catch up on email and return phone calls. The time for sleep draws nearer and that "farewell" look comes with a desire to keep sharing knowledge and life experiences. A champion goes to bed and I, as the man behind the curtain, pretend to do the same. In reality, I must take the time to plan the next day, a day more important than the one we just completed. As I finally drift off to sleep, I am prepared for tomorrow and imagining J.C. cooking his exquisite oatmeal for breakfast.
A normal day has gone by and Spring Training is just around the corner. But, we are not worried because we have put in the time and the hard work required in the off season. We have conquered the medicine balls, bands, massages, corrective exercises, metabolic typing, weights and cardiovascular exercises. We have graduated yet again into a new season! It is time to begin preparation for the next.
Then the season begins and the traveling begins and our program remains effective. From good games to bad, we learn to focus our energy and use each experience for the next baseball attack. Good attitude defines J.C. The season is about training and massage. The consistency never fails and the beast within begins to roar with a ferocity that feels very clear. We chase after the dream! With God and with a clear mind, the body is a much more effective tool.
The result of all of our hard work is the only Puerto Rican in the history of Major League Baseball to win two World Series games and never be placed on the disabled list. That accomplishment speaks for itself!
Nonetheless, now is the winter of our discontent (to quote another famous figure.)