Every couple has something that brings them closer together. For some, it’s a hobby, a TV show, or even music. But for Adbert Alzolay and his wife Diana Inzunza, food was something that brought them closer.
It has also helped Alzolay get into the best shape of his career.
“She taught me how to eat,” Alzolay told the Sun-Times. “That’s a game changer right there. She knows what she is doing and she was with me. “
Alzolay finally gets the chance to show what he can do in the big leagues after years of flashing potential. This season he begins to show why he can be the answer to many questions about home pitching the Cubs.
The road to Alzolay’s success in the major leagues was never about talent, it was about health. During his ascent through the minor leagues, Alzolay struggled with injuries and his durability was always a question. For the past few years the organization has worked with him to strengthen his body and prevent it from collapsing.
Alzolay had some of this work to be done outside of the park, and he would soon find out that what he put in his body was as important as the hours he put in the weight room. Fortunately, he had a little help.
“I had worked with athletes before, so it wasn’t new,” said Inzunza. “A lot of athletes have the attitude, ‘I’ll eat what I want,’ right? That’s how they think, and it wasn’t like a seated conversation. But I checked the kitchen. So he had to eat what I did and I was doing it indirectly. After he was injured, he focused on recovery and everything he needed to do to rebuild his body. “
His wife, a certified nutritionist, was his greatest guide, and after suffering from lat strain in 2018, she had to find a way to get Alzolay to learn new habits.
“I put my body on a nutritional program with Diana,” he said. She was my girlfriend at the time, and we did it in the off-season. After injuring myself at 18, I got more into nutrition and changed everything. “
“I think that’s when he realized that what you put in your body can really help your recovery,” she said.
The world of nutrition was new to Alzolay, who had focused most of his life on being the best baseball player he could be. But he soon realized that this also meant knowing what was going into his body. As soon as he began to understand, the lights went out. The 26-year-old right-handed man made changes and even went vegetarian for six months to reset his body.
“I wasn’t on a diet. I ate whatever we had on the field every day and after the game I ate a lot of McDonald’s, “Alzolay said when a big grin crossed his face. “When we grew up at home in Venezuela, we ate a lot of red meat. I ate red meat at least five times a week. When I decided to eat meat again, we started eating white meat like fish or chicken. “
“That bonded us because we both suffered,” she said with a laugh. “We both did it together because I had become a vegetarian the year before and it’s really hard when you’re doing it alone. Because I then had to cook two meals, I stopped. When he saw the documentary “The Game Changers” the following year, he wanted to try it out.
“I enjoyed it because it challenged me to create new recipes. And like every day, I couldn’t wait for him to come home so I could show him what I had done, so that he wouldn’t think he was a vegetarian, would just eat salads. “
The lesson that Alzolay had to learn had to be found out by many young players in the small leagues. While some have the benefit of bigger signing bonuses in order to afford better food, most have to eat what they can afford, which in many cases becomes fast food.
The trip with food was a pleasant one for the Alzolays, who got married last year. While in lockstep when it comes to their diets, they both admit they still enjoy these scam meals every now and then, including a stop at McDonald’s.
But the past three years have been a learning experience for the Cubs right-handed as he figured out how to properly fuel himself to be more permanent. He feels that the results on the field will take care of themselves if he stays off the field not only in the weight room but also in the kitchen.
“I feel so good,” said Alzolay. “My body felt really good and I think as you eat you will see it here in the field too. We play 162 games for six months. If you don’t take care of your body, you won’t be able to be here for that long. “