Tim Tebow’s resume reads like a fairy tale for the sports-lover with aspirations of athletic glory. Dig deeper into the story, and it becomes apparent that Tebow has taken a circuitous path to his current position as an outfielder for the New York Mets organization.
He arrived at the University of Florida as a backup quarterback in 2006, quickly proving his worth and helping the Gators football squad reach a BCS championship. Come 2007, the starting job was all Tebow’s, and he capitalized with a Heisman Trophy win and a second BCS championship the following season in 2008.
An NFL first round draft pick in 2010, Tebow stepped in as the Broncos’ starting quarterback for the final three games of his rookie season in 2010 and the majority of 2011. After leading Denver to the AFC playoffs in 2011, Tebow was released and spent the next three seasons bouncing between the New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles without claiming a starting role.
He also tried his chops as a TV college football analyst in 2014, with contributions to the SEC Network and ESPN.
While such a diverse run of success at the highest levels eludes most athletes, Tebow never gave up his dream to play in the professional ranks of various sports. Enter his foray into baseball.
Although he hadn’t played an organized game of baseball in well over a decade, Tebow conducted a tryout for MLB scouts in August 2016, drawing interest and a minor league offer from the Mets.
Tebow has split time in 2017 with the Class A Columbia Fireflies and the high Class A St. Lucie Mets, exceeding the expectations of a skeptical baseball press and a nation of fans. He has also been a major boon for attendance numbers and ticket revenues wherever he has played. In fact, the Tebow phenomenon is very reminiscent of The Moneymaker Effect. Just plug in a different name and sport.
After spending 17 years focused on football training and conditioning, Tebow knows his successful transition is just as much about the mental as it is the physical. He always maintained a very disciplined regimen for football, which is an asset he’s naturally carried on to baseball. With it also comes a shift in training philosophy.
As the types of conditioning required by professional caliber athletes of the two sports are quite different, Tebow is adjusting his workouts from a power to a finesse approach.
For example, Tebow cites the game schedule as a major factor in determining his workout program. College and NFL football require players to train with the goal of unleashing peak performance in one game a week. It’s all about power — go big and go hard. There’s an opportunity to cycle through intense workouts and allow the body time to recover in the week between game days.
Minor League baseball follows a much faster rhythm of competition with games happening nearly every day over a grueling five-month season. There are only about ten days off during the stretch. Such a landscape lends itself to a refined conditioning routine that keeps Tebow in top shape for daily play while also giving him endurance for the long haul. Stamina and resilience are essential.
A glimpse at Tebow’s workout reveals he performs wide-range motion exercises with flat bench presses, weighted pull-ups, incline dumbbell press, and seated rows for his upper body. He’s a squat junkie when it comes to leg days, mixing in a variety of jumping squats, step ups, and stacked or elevated squats.
In the nutrition department, for the past five years Tebow has followed a strict ketogenic diet stacked with high-protein-yield foods like avocados, chicken, steak, and salmon. This diet maximizes fat burning instead of carbohydrates and replaces glucose with ketone bodies as an energy source in the brain.
Tebow’s daily dedication to baseball-targeted training has served him well in his first minor league season with the Mets. While his .222/.306/.344 slash line and eight home runs through 123 games isn’t earth shattering, he has put together a strong enough debut that should pave the way for increased productivity next season. And I haven’t even mentioned the positive effect Tebow has had among his teammates and the proactive impact he’s had in the clubhouse.