“There’s not much I don’t love about my job,” says Minnesota Twins Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Erik Beiser. “I wake up every day and I drive to a ballpark, and that’s my office. I train some of the best baseball athletes in the world. I walk outside to a manicured field and watch my athletes perform.”
And that’s really why we’re here. To talk about the performance of the athletes Erik trains. Because as we all see professional athletes make choices that negatively affect their career, Erik is committed to helping his athletes make the right choices. From the weight room to the products they choose to put into their bodies. Stick around as the P4 team finds out from Erik how the Minnesota Twins Minor League players are being set up for a successful season:
P4: Talk about your history with baseball.
Erik: I grew up in Florida, and we were always active – never played video games or anything. My parents put us in sports and I started playing when I was probably four years old. I played in high school and all [through] growing up, and ended up getting hurt junior year. I went through rehab and realized that there were Strength and Conditioning coaches in baseball, and they can really help. So I went to school for that. Did an internship with the St. Louis Cardinals and headed to Louisiana Tech for grad school where Dr. David Szymanski (Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology) became my biggest mentor. He guided me in Strength & Conditioning and research while I was his Assistant Strength & Conditioning coach. While I was in grad school, over the summer I got involved with the Twins, worked my way up, graduated grad school and I’m going into my eighth season in pro ball, and my fourth season in charge of the minor league Strength & Conditioning program.
P4: Talk about the workout regimen and your philosophy?
Erik: Pick it up and put it back down. I don’t always just write a workout and expect them to do it. I get in there and do it. There’s a lot of one on one when working with rehab players. They’re training by themselves and they need a guy to push. I’ll get in the dirt and push with them. That’s sort of my philosophy with players; practice what you preach.
We start our workout with some exercises to get them moving and we get into our strength work. We use compound movements but keep it simple: squat, hinge, push, pull, mobility and flexibility drills. Compound movements get more bang for your buck. They’re in a fatigue state all the time, so we try to train that and get the most out of that level.
P4: Let’s talk about team diet.
Erik: This past year and a half, we’ve brought on a registered dietician, Kate Moran. She gets in with these players and teaches them how to eat, holds seminars, works with our clubhouse managers and sends out guidelines. She has been a huge addition to our team.
P4: With guidelines in place, is NSF Certification for Sport important?
Erik: It’s pretty simple. These guys get tested randomly throughout the year. What NSF does is make it safe for the player. Since NSF says it’s certified, everything on the label is going to be in it and nothing else. If you only take NSF products, you can’t fail a drug test because they make it safe for you. We stress that to all of our players throughout the year. To me, NSF is very, very important in the game.
P4: Do you take P4?
Erik: I take the Pre and the Energy. I used to drink coffee and now I wake up and take the energy and sub that as coffee. It starts my day. I think it tastes better than coffee and I’m not a big hot drink type of person, being in Florida.
P4: Why do you recommend it?
Erik: Because I like the way it works for me. I usually don’t recommend anything I haven’t tried. It’s a good jolt of energy those guys need. They’re always tired and they still have work to do. That gives them that little boost; they like that beta alanine that’ll help get them through it and it comes from a great company.
P4: How does your team use it?
Erik: A lot of guys don’t even start a workout until they take it. They love the way it makes them feel. They feel like they can get through their workouts; it gives them that pickup.
P4: What sets you apart in your field?
Erik: It’s not really about me. Early on you learn that this game revolves around the player. And when you understand that it doesn’t revolve around you, you strive every day to make them better. Me and my staff, we have one goal in mind: That’s the player. Everything is about the player. Anything we can do to help them, we do. I have a great staff that helps build strength and conditioning with the Twins and they have the same mindset I do: create a safe and fun environment. We pick weight up and put it down, put on music and have fun while we’re doing it. Players respect you because of the way you present your program. We’re there to get a job done and enjoy your time while you’re in there.