Results tagged ‘ Ben Potenziano ’

How to Eat Like a Panda

Woolf is the nutritionist from Arizona State University who is
guiding the food and drink component of Operation Panda, Pablo
Sandoval’s off-season conditioning regimen.

recently sent me an email with nutrition tips for athletes – and
the rest us — so none of us blow up like Macy’s balloons during
the next month.

is her advice:

the season to……eat? Beginning at Thanksgiving and continuing
through Super Bowl Sunday, celebrations and family gatherings are
more abundant than at any other time of the year. Foods and
beverages, rich in fats and sugars, are the center of many of these
occasions. Also, many athletes do not maintain their usual training
routines during the holidays. Follow these tips to help you navigate
through the holiday season, without compromising your health or


if you are still full from the night before, start each day with
breakfast. A healthy breakfast should include whole grains, fruit,
dairy and protein. Try having oatmeal, a banana, and low fat milk. If
you include a small amount of protein (yogurt, egg whites, or peanut
butter), you may stay full until lunch.


desserts and treats are full of sugars and fats. To avoid over-
indulging, eat a healthy snack before heading out to a party. Choose
whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats,
and nuts as they supply the body with proteins, vitamins and
minerals. Your intake of holiday sweets will be less and you can
spend your time socializing rather than over indulging.


eggnog and alcoholic beverages are plentiful at this time of the
year. However, focus instead on drinking water and eating five or
more servings of fruits and vegetables per day to keep your body well
hydrated. To monitor your hydration status, check your urine color
first thing in the morning. When well hydrated, urine is pale yellow
without a strong odor. Dark yellow, infrequent urine suggests


the holiday season, many meals will be eaten in restaurants. Make
good choices to keep your health in check. When ordering, ask your
server how foods are prepared. Choose steamed, baked, boiled,
grilled or broiled selections. Be sure to order mayonnaise, butter,
cream-based sauces, and salad dressings on the side. You can then
monitor the amount that gets added to your food.

is heading back home to Venezuela, where he will play winter ball.
His brother, Michael, will help keep him on track by advising their
mother on what to cook and by making sure Pablo brings his own food
to the ballpark every day.

will still perform cardio and weight lifting,” Giants strength
and conditioning coach Ben Potenziano said. “The shift has gone
(from working out several hours a day) to playing baseball every day
for 9 innings. I added cardio earlier in the day so he can recover
and provide his body with food it needs to function prior to the

lifting has shifted to a full body workout 3 to 4 times

week. He will continue to maintain strength that will carry him

winter ball and then back to me in Arizona. I will turn up the

when he gets back and become more sports specific.

will be fielding, throwing and hitting more at that point as well.
His diet will not change. He will consult with Kathleen and me and we
can make adjustments to his workload. He did well with his exact
consultation and Pablo should be proud of himself.”

try to contact Pablo in Venezuela to get an update on how he’s

Operation Panda article on SFGate

In case you missed it, here’s an article from yesterday about Pablo’s strength and conditioning camp feature on SF Gate.

Perseverance at Camp Panda by Henry Schulman, Chronicle Staff writer

Fan favorite Sandoval goes extra mile to shape up, slim down

“After 10 days of workouts that would make a Marine drill instructor weep with sadistic joy, the Giants’ cuddly Kung Fu Panda finally bared his fangs.

With a host of others, including Giants head trainer Dave Groeschner and strength and conditioning coordinator Ben Potenziano, infielder Pablo Sandoval climbed Phoenix’s Camelback Mountain on Thursday, 54 minutes up, 38 minutes down, and thought he was done for the day.

Then, Potenziano gave him the bad news: another weightlifting circuit and 30 more minutes of cardio.

‘He was a little poopy-pants the rest of the afternoon,’ Potenziano said. ‘He wasn’t his happy self.’

This is Camp Panda, an extraordinary, 3 1/2-week training and nutritional program devised by the Giants and conducted at a time when most players are home reacquainting themselves with their 6-irons. The object of Camp Panda is solving the biggest problem for the team’s best and most exciting young player – his weight.”

Read more:

Operation Panda

***UPDATE*** Click below for a video from “Operation Panda” Camp:


SCOTTSDALE — Pablo Sandoval strips down to his shorts and steps on the scale inside the gym at the Giants’ minor-league complex. It is Wednesday, weigh-in day.

“Five pounds!” he says, his face lighting up. He high-fives Giants conditioning and strength coach Ben Potenziano and Pablo’s 28-year-old brother, Michael.

It is Day 11 of Sandoval’s personal conditioning camp – a three-week project Potenziano and head trainer Dave Groeschner have dubbed “Operation Panda.” They even had T-shirts printed up with the words “Operation Panda: Discipline-Hard Work -Perseverance.”

“We’ve never had a player do anything like this – ever,” Groeschner says of the one-man camp.

The Sandoval brothers are now on side-by-side stationary bikes for 40 minutes of cardio. They’ll follow that with 12 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph and a 6 percent incline. Then they’ll do weight training, then exercises to improve balance and strengthen core muscles, then throwing or batting practice, and finally another 40 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine.

“There are no guys who show up in November to get ready for the season,” Groeschner says. “But this is something Pablo wanted to do. He knows how important it is for him and for the team that he has the endurance to play every game. And what he’s doing is not easy. It’s an entire life-style change.”

For the first time in his life, Sandoval is lifting weights. He’s eating vegetables. He is meeting every Wednesday while he’s in Scottsdale with a nutrition professor from Arizona State University, who is teaching him about healthy food choices and portion control. He and his brother, who Sandoval brought with him for motivation and support, are eating catered meals – delivered to the Giants complex every morning in a cooler — of low-cal entrees like broiled chicken or salmon, and lots of salads, veggies and fruits.

There is no going out to restaurants or bars. The strongest beverage in Sandoval’s diet right now is green tea. Mostly he drinks water – 12 to 15 bottles a day. In the evening, after eating their prepared meals, the Sandoval brothers take a walk on a bike path near their rented apartment or play basketball to keep their metabolism up.

With the five pounds he lost during the past week, Sandoval has lost 10 pounds so far, on his way toward his goal of slimming down and building muscle for the 2010 season. (Michael is participating in every workout, working right alongside his brother, and he has lost 10 pounds, too.)

“I love this team and the way they treat me,” Sandoval says later in the afternoon, after he finishes about 10 minutes of alternating between warm and cold tubs to minimize muscle soreness.

“The fans, I love them and want them to know I’ll always be the guy who’s working hard. I know I have to lose weight so I can play this game for a long time.”

After their workout and time in the tubs, Pablo and Michael make their way to the Giants’ conference room, where they heat up their crab and spinach chowder and eat the white bean and arugula salad and the five strawberries they are allotted for dessert.

Potenziano slaps Pablo on the back and says, “Run the Embarcadero next week, right?”

Potenziano and Groeschner are going to San Francisco next week to run the winter conditioning camp for rookies, so Pablo is tagging along to continue his workout regimen.

Sandoval crinkles his nose. “Too cold!”

“You’re going to run,” Potenziano says, smiling. Pablo delights in giving Potenziano a hard time.

Pablo shakes his head and laughs. “No chance!”

Tomorrow they’re tackling Camelback Mountain, nearly a mile of trails straight up. That will make the Embarcadero seem like a walk in the park.

When lunch is finished, Pablo and Michael trudge out the door. It’s after 3.

“Long day,” Pablo says. “Time to take a nap.”


Pictures from Camelback Mountain, Thursday, November 12:






From left to right: Ben Potenziano (conditioning and strength coach), Ryan Garko, Mike Sandoval, Pablo Sandoval, Dave Groeshner (head trainer), Front: Todd Jennings (minor league catcher)

Thumbnail image for OperationPanda.JPG