Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout, 24, is seemingly the perfect player. He’s a five-tool threat who reminds old-school scouts of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. He’s also the dream of every new-age stat-nerd, with more total Wins Above Replacement (sabermetric stat to “summarize a player’s total contributions to his team”) by his age than anyone in history, including all-timers like Ty Cobb and Ted Williams.
In four full seasons, Trout has four straight top-two MVP finishes — a feat only three others (Barry Bonds, Yogi Berra, Stan Musial) have accomplished. But the 2014 AL MVP remains as hungry as ever this offseason.
“I can get better every year,” says Trout, who has a career .304 batting average, 139 home runs and 397 RBIs.
To reach his potential, Trout goes hard in the gym to withstand the rigors of 162 games.
The training weeks are structured as follows: heavy cardio on Monday, big lifts on Tuesday, core and bodyweight exercises on Wednesday, recovery on Thursday, power effort on Friday and upper body strength on Saturday. Sunday varies depending on how Trout feels. Proper nutrition and hydration are also key to his routine.
“The biggest thing I had to work on with him was eating a balanced breakfast, and what to eat before and after training,” says Dan Richter, Trout’s longtime offseason trainer from his hometown of Millville, N.J.
“In the beginning he had trouble with cramping, so I really pushed the hydration and pre- and post-training fuel. He typically has gotten that squared away with a simple meal an hour to an hour and a half before training and a BODYARMOR (sports drink), which has a lot of potassium that helps prevent cramping. Also having him make sure that he gets a good quality protein and balanced meal within 30 minutes to an hour after training.”
The Trout-Richter training team is doing something right; Trout has played 612-of-648 possible games over the past four seasons.
“He helps me prepare for the rigors of the season,” says the 6'2", 235-pound Trout. “He constantly changes the workouts to keep things fresh. Some days are going to be more intense than others. Because we have been working together for some time now, he knows what I need and when to push me or drop me back so that when the time comes to go to Spring Training I am ready to rock and roll.”
At the ripe old age of 24 and already arguably a walking Hall of Famer, Trout is taking the steps necessary to prolong his career.
“When I was younger I didn’t have to train as much because I wasn’t playing day in and day out like I am now. The big change for me was now every offseason I train,” says Trout. “Getting to know how to handle my body and what I need to do to play every day without injury, and what I may need to work on to keep myself that way. There is always room for improvement.”
By Matt McCue