I never thought of Marlon Byrd as a “fat” guy.
Yes, he was stout. But he was also quick and agile. On the shorter side. Bulky. But I thought of it as “powerful.”
At a generously-listed six feet and 255 pounds, though, maybe he was a touch heavy. But no more:
Byrd, 34, has added a martial arts workout called Muay Thai (pronounced “moy tie”) to his offseason program. The intense sessions, which he does three to four times a week, plus a dramatic change in his diet has helped the Cubs center fielder go from 255 pounds, which he weighed at the end of last season, to 215 now. That’s the same weight he was his senior year in high school.
“Now, he’s a lean, mean, fighting machine,” said Robert Cole, Byrd’s instructor at L.A. Boxing in Chicago and a retired national champion from England.
The first step in the transformation regarded Byrd’s diet, and he saw New York nutritionist Robert Pastore in New York on the recommendation of Raul Ibanez and Jayson Werth. Tests revealed Byrd was allergic to milk and wheat, and very close to having celiac disease. His wife, Andrea, had the same allergies. Pastore advised the Byrds to change their diet and both saw instant results.
“The fat started melting away,” Byrd said Wednesday. “No more bloating, no more food sensitivities. My body just kicked into high gear and I was able to keep it revved up.”
Byrd lost 40(!) pounds in just three months, and he did it all without a Kardashian-endorsed diet pill. That’s almost 20% of his body weight – a mind-boggling sum.
I say good for him for health reasons, and good for him for (hopefully) performance reasons. Given Byrd’s skill set – he’s never been a power guy – dropping the weight would seem to be of great benefit. Byrd is entering the final year of his three-year deal with the Cubs, and will likely be looking to land one more good contract before he hangs ‘em up.
(An aside: people like to tell you about the “myth” of overperforming in a contract year. It is not a myth. Stories like this is why it is not a myth.)