It All Goes Back To Baseball: Nutrition Philosophy Learned From the Game


It’s Opening Day!  Another season begins.

Don’t stop reading.  We promise this really is about nutrition.  We want to share what baseball has helped us learn in life and in turn, develop a practice philosophy which supports our clients on their journey to improved nutrition.  

Full disclosure, we’re baseball fans and we root for the Phillies.  For us, the anticipation that today brings ranks right up there with New Year’s Day.  Another year and a fresh start. Building upon past failures and successes, each team and each player begins with new goals, new resolutions and a vision of the ultimate victory.  Whether it’s a goal to hit .300, improve on-base percentage, reduce the number of errors, or to win 100 games; there’s a uniquely defined vision of success with the ultimate goal of a World Series Championship trophy.  Today 30 teams begin the journey to a trophy which only one team will win. That’s a 3% chance for the ultimate victory – a 97% failure rate. Year after year, baseball teams, players and fans keep showing up to play a game which on paper shows they have a 97% chance of failure.  Why do we do that? Because we know there’s so much more than that ultimate victory.

We know being part of a team sharing seasons filled with small victories won through teamwork, practice, perspective, perseverance, faith and hope brings more than a trophy.  It brings us to our philosophy in life and in our practice, which is anchored in “it all goes back to baseball.”

What has baseball taught you about being part of a team?

Janet – “The best team to be on is the one that’s having fun.”  

I find clients see their nutrition goal as a “be all  – end all” win with no room for loses along the way.  It doesn’t work that way; your team doesn’t always win. Trust me, I know, I’m a Phillies fan (stay tuned for later where I talk about 10,000 losses). When you set an unrealistic expectation, you set yourself up for disappointment. That’s not fun.  There are so many rewarding little wins in the season of transitioning your relationship with food into a healthy lifestyle. Those of you who work with me know that on my team, we end visits with goal achieving encouragement. “Experiment, be curious and have fun with it.”  

Courtney – Always celebrate the success of your teammates because life isn’t a one-man show.

Some of the most exciting moments in the game come from the unexpected amazing play from the guy that was just moved up from the minors for a day. Those are often the most celebrated by teammates who are the “big names” in baseball. In life, when you notice someone’s success in their own nutrition and health journey, call it out and celebrate hard for them! They’ve worked tirelessly to get here!

What has baseball taught you about uniquely defined goals?

Janet – “It depends”

How many pitches do you need to throw?  How many batters does the team need you to face?

Courtney – If everyone on the team (or in the league) did the exact same practice as everyone else we wouldn’t be able to tap into the individual greatness! Pitchers need to continually focus on pitching. If they’re forced to do outfielder drills they are focusing on something that is someone else’s gig and comparing themselves to the wrong person! Outfielders and pitchers don’t have the same talent and that’s the way it’s supposed to be! Outside of baseball we can use this lesson to realize that blanket nutrition recommendations may not work for everyone and comparison to others doesn’t allow us to focus on our own strengths!

What has baseball taught you about perspective?

Janet – “Try to find the good in every season.”  

I hold onto the belief that everything happens for a reason and in the end there’s always good.  Often clients start off visits with a negative comment starting with “I was bad _________” filling in the blank with some food or activity that they believe to be wrong.  I prefer to begin with the right perspective and ask the client to tell me what’s been good. If you have nothing else, I’ll give you one – “It could be worse, you could be managing the Phillies” (refer to my take on perseverance).

Courtney – Some umpire might call the pitch a strike even though I, the spectator, saw a ball.  Seeing things differently than someone else can be frustrating. Unless you’re behind the batter’s box wearing an umpire mask, you’ll have to rely on the perspective of someone else’s interpretation of the game. One of the hardest things about nutrition is that not everyone “experiences” it the same way. There are some standard rules or guidelines of play (ruled by biology!) but if a client notices that a certain eating pattern really works for them, who am I to judge? We don’t all experience the world exactly the same.

What has baseball taught you about perseverance?

Janet – “Keep showing up.”

Clients often come with shame, judgement and defeat around their personal diet/nutrition story.  The most important thing is to keep showing up. The end goal is a win. The Phillies were the first team to lose 10,000 games.  There has been plenty of shame, judgement and defeat thrown at the Phillies and their fans.  Put those 10,000 loses into perspective. Here is why the Phillies have lost so many more games than other teams and beat the odds when winning the World Series in 1980 and 2008: They keep showing up since 1883.   

Courtney – Honestly, to get to the post-season, you’re sitting through 162 regular season games. That’s a minimum of 1,458 innings. Throwing in the towel early just makes the rest of the season painful to endure. On the contrast, a great spring training doesn’t give us an easy ride to post-season. Either way we have to get up every day and play a new game so we might as well put our best effort in!

Researchers believe we make an average of 221 food decisions daily. A nutrition slip-up at breakfast doesn’t doom our choices for the rest of the day.

What has baseball taught you about faith?

Janet – “When you learn to hit a fast ball, the pitcher starts throwing curve balls.” Keep the faith, you can learn to hit a curve ball too.

Courtney – Have you ever seen the sun set over the baseball diamond? It’s a beautiful sight. Even on the worst of days we know the world keeps turning and we have a fresh start ahead of us.  

When it comes to your nutrition, what is your sunset over the baseball diamond?

What has baseball taught you about hope?

Janet – “Never give up”

That’s why you play 162 games. Run out the infield hit. The ultimate outcome isn’t always in your control. Hope is what keeps us coming back.

Courtney – If we gave up after a losing season we would never get to see the winning season. We have hope that trying again might just lead to the success we’re looking for!

In life, in baseball, and in nutrition keep striving for your ultimate trophy.

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About the Author

I am passionate about nutrition and I love being a registered dietitian nutritionist.   Nutrition can and does create better health for all of us.  I wholeheartedly believe that a healthy diet is not just part of a healthy lifestyle.  It is part of the foundation for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. If you are ready for connection to your true self, come see me in our Allentown office!

About the Author

I’m Courtney Hager, one of the registered dietitians from One You Nutrition LLC. I am an endurance sports addict and love to learn about how the body and mind use nutrition to help us perform. I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment, subscribe to our newsletters, or better yet, set up a call with me to chat about your nutrition goals!


The One You Nutrition team believes food is nourishment, medicine and fuel. That belief drives our passion for nutrition and energizes us to share our expertise in Wellness, Sports Nutrition and Obesity & Weight Management to improve the lives of our clients. As the food expert on your team, we coach you to set your ultimate vision of success, plan action steps, embrace strengths, improve weaknesses and master the skills to Do Food Right™.

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