Category: Nutrition


MLB Pitcher Matt Boyd and Meal Planning

Recently, I was contacted by Matt Boyd, a starting pitcher with Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Detroit Tigers. Matt read Brain Maker, and he is using the guidelines there to improve his athletic performance.

Matt posed a very interesting question to me, regarding optimal nutrition planning for his lifestyle. This is of particular concern given that, in-season, Matt will be playing many games late in the evening, making a traditional meal plan difficult to schedule. I thought you all might be able to benefit from my answer, so see his full question, and my response, below.

Matt’s inquiry:

Over the past season, I read Dr. Perlmutter books in effort to help my overall health, as well as boost my performance on the field. Using strategies from Brain Maker I changed my diet this offseason when training to prepare for the upcoming season.

The results, feeling fresh and healthy every single day and a new focus and capacity to learn and feel alert. A main concept I put forth was intermittent fasting, between 7:30 pm and noon. I would eat my first meal after my 9 am morning workout.

These strategies worked perfectly in an offseason training regimen setting where all my work was done between 9 am and 1 pm. The problem lies in season, where I play my games at 7 pm. I am not sure how to incorporate my new diet into my daily baseball schedule that is so lopsided toward evening competition. Do you have any ideas or suggestions that I could implement?

My response:

Hi Matt. Thanks for sharing your story. There’s no doubt that people have various unique life requirements that prove challenging in terms of following our guidelines.  That said, we can almost always create a healthy workaround.

In your circumstance, I would consider having a protein-based, small meal before your evening game with a fiber-dense meal with added fat (like olive or coconut oil) as soon as you can, after the evening game. You will then likely be able to engage in your morning workout, and break your fast at noontime, or whenever your morning routine is finished. Keep in mind that you should plan on awakening later in the morning following evening games, if your schedule permits.

Please let us know how this works out for you, and best of luck.

  • billslo

    Hope he wins 25 games this season!

    • David Perlmutter

      As do I!

      • John Riley

        As long as he’s not pitching against the White Sox!!!!! 🙂

  • troy45462@mail.ru

    I know there are many athlete face lot of problems when they go abroad for play. Especially they fall in food problems. So i think this is the best option to get support from here.

    • David Perlmutter

      That’s what we aim to do!

  • Karen Williams Mora

    it’s easier to go all day without eating anything rather than eating something small earlier in the day. Once I eat something, even just an egg, it seems like the juices start flowing and I’m hungry all day! I have to eat before taking my fibromyalgia meds at 10 am and 11 pm. How can intermittent fasting be worked around that?

  • Emmalee

    My IBS gives me trouble if I fast longer than 9 a.m. I need to eat about every 4 to 6 hours while awake. Glad Matt and others can manage. Matt is a good role model for other athletes!

    • David Perlmutter

      Absolutely. With so many other athletes and heavy exercisers in our community, I’m hopeful this story will manage to help a lot of people.

  • I am not an athlete but for 52 years old I am in pretty good shape. I run trails and do a little strength training, and heat my house 100% with wood I cut and split myself. I’ve been on a ketogenic diet for about 8 months and feel GREAT! I recommend to anyone seeking athletic performance on a very-low-carbohydrate diet to read Jeff Volek & Stephen Phinney’s book “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance.” Maybe not specifically targeted at baseball players, it is geared especially to endurance athletes like very long distance runners or cyclists, but it has a lot of excellent advice for anyone seeking athletic performance on a low-carb diet. Even more essential (and technically challenging but very informative and motivating) is their larger masterpiece “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.”

    • Shalini Mehta

      Hi Will,
      I just wanted to know as you mentioned in your comment about the 12+ hours of waiting after evening food for the meal next day, is this for the the main meal or the green juice etc. one might take in the morning. I and my family start our day by eating nuts, seeds and green juice after we have had water first thing. then after an hour or so we take a glass of milk/oats and then maybe an hour after that we take our proper meal breakfast. Now my question to you is, is the 12+ hour after evening meal should be while we take our nuts and juice or the main meal. Thanks in advance.

      • The 12-hour fast means zero caloric intake during that period. Only water and non-caloric drinks like black coffee. Daily 12-hour fasting gives you a regular schedule of very low insulin levels each day, helping prevent development of insulin resistance. Especially when combined with a ketogenic diet, this schedule also prevents obesity.

        • Shalini Mehta

          Thank you so much for your reply.

  • Elizabeth

    Thank you for posting this question and your response. I have often wondered how ballet dancers, opera singers, stage actors etc manage to stay healthy and eat well when so much of their physical demands are between 7pm and 10 or 11pm. I will pass on this information to my 16 year old daughter who is training to be a ballet dancer.

  • Cindy Fowler

    This post was of interest to me too even though I am far from being a major league athlete! I am a 60 year old Peace Corps volunteer living in Mexico, and the daily work schedule and meal times of my small community make it difficult to follow my healthy eating. The main large meal is at 4:00 PM which is really late in the day to break your fast! Everyone in my office works till 7 or sometimes later. I have been bringing a few boiled eggs and eating them around 11 AM. I try to bring my own food (home made vegetable/chicken soup is what I usually have) so I don’t eat too many tortillas (which are hard to resist as they are fresh, warm and hand-made local corns.) I bring some nuts for snacks or cut up one of the local avocados.

    This usually works except on Tuesday nights when I teach at 6-8 PM. I have a dip in energy. It takes a lot to teach a technical class in a different language. 🙂 What ideas do you all have for me? Remember that I don’t have a Whole Foods in my pueblito!

loading symbol Loading More