Toronto Blue Jays Player Talks 42-Lb. Weight Loss: 'I Can Do a Lot of Things I Couldn't Do Before'
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. worked hard to get in shape ahead of the 2021 season.
When he first showed up for spring training earlier this year, the 22-year-old Toronto Blue Jays player shared that he had lost 42 lbs. during the offseason.
The previous year had not gone according to plan, with the young athlete struggling offensively and being moved from third to first base last season. He also arrived at training camp out of shape that year, having put on weight during the sport's months-long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"One day, I woke up from bed, looked in the mirror and said, 'That's it,' " he recently told reporters via Zoom, according to The New York Times.
In September, before the team's season had officially ended, Guerrero reached out to a trainer who agreed to work with him during the offseason.
"Deep down inside, he knew he had a bad year," his trainer, Junior Rodriguez told the outlet in an interview translated from Spanish. "Not a really bad year, but at a physical level of performance, he was tired of being underestimated and feeling bad."
When they first began working together, Rodriguez said he emphasized the goal that they were working towards: Guerrero becoming the best athlete he could be.
"Let's commit to this; I'll commit to you and you to me. I don't want this just for 2021, but forever," Rodriguez recalled telling his client. "You're going to sleep like an athlete, you're going to eat like an athlete, you're going to train like an athlete.' "
That winter, they worked together four times a week for 90-minute-long sessions. The MLB player also changed up his diet by cutting out alcohol and sugar, eliminating late-night snacking and eating smaller portions.
While talking to reporters recently, Guerrero said he feels "very comfortable at the weight I'm at."
"I can do a lot of things I couldn't do before," he said, according to the Times.
"He's back to being Vladdy, smiling in the dugout, having fun," added teammate Bo Bichette. "I haven't seen him get out and smile about his outs since Double-A, and he's been doing that a lot because he knows he's going to get them at some point."
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So far, Guerrero has a batting average of .338 this season — significantly higher than his career average and his 2020 average of .262 — and this week he became the youngest player to hit three home runs and drive in seven runs during a single game.
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That last accomplishment also caught the eye of his father, Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr. "What a night for my boy," he wrote on Twitter following his son's big game. "All the hard work is paying off."