Learn From The Best: With Jesse Biddle

Learn From The Best: With Jesse Biddle

Get unfiltered access to the world of professional sport and performance through our exclusive interview series.

Player: Jesse Biddle

Sport: Baseball

Teams: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Orix Buffaloes, Seattle Mariners

Position: Left-handed relief pitcher

Raised in Philadelphia and drafted to the minor leagues fresh out of high school, Jesse Biddle's career has taken him around the USA - and across the world.

Five major league teams later, Jesse Biddle has thrown his last professional pitch and is making his next play: For Wellness.

As a man who’s spent nearly half his life under the close eye of America’s top dietitians, coaches, and specialists, Jesse’s learned plenty along the way about good health and wellness, and what it takes to be the best.

FW: You were in the professional sporting game for more than a decade, with direct access to the sporting world's top performance experts. What key points did you learn about wellness?

I was drafted at 18 years old and already sort of overweight. I ended up putting on a good amount of weight initially and realizing later that diet and exercise and creating a real regimen is how you prolong players’ careers. I was able to figure out that this is the extra 10% that can separate you from everyone else.

That is all the stuff that I think For Wellness does a really good job of educating people on and then also creating lifestyle products that you add into your life rather than taking things away. These [products] are things that you just add in without needing to change what you're already doing.

FW: What changes did you make to incorporate your realizations?

When I was playing, I liked to be a bit on the thin side so I started intermittent fasting.

I like to feel like a little faster and like I was moving a little quicker, and that was when I was at my best. That's when I threw my hardest, when I was most effective, and when I felt the healthiest.

FW: There are a lot of schools of thought around intermittent fasting and what the best schedule is. What was your approach?

As a relief pitcher, we always pitch at the end of the game and the games usually start around 7:30pm. So I'm going out there at 9 or 9:30pm, that's what I'm supposed to be at my best.

The way I structured it was just I only ate at the field. When I'm at the field, I eat, when I'm away from the field, I don't. Very easy, but I found that that allowed me to sort of hit a peak right when I needed to, and then I was able to sleep effectively thereafter.

FW: Are you still intermittent fasting? Is that something that you think you'll do for a long time?

Not as much anymore. My life has changed a little bit with being not a professional athlete, so right now I'm actually trying to put on weight!

FW: Yes we’ve seen your Whoop scores. You must be eating a ton to be fueling days where you lose more than 6000 calories on your Peloton!

I drink a lot of smoothies. That’s the key.

FW: What insights did you learn as a pro athlete that could help others?

I think the importance of sleep gets undervalued. We focus so much on the amount of sleep that you're getting and less on the quality of sleep that you're getting…

And touch your damn toes. Sorry, I know I probably shouldn't curse but you see all these people who are like, “Oh, I just ran five miles and I'm training for a triathlon.” So you go out and you run and you just run and run and you get done running and you sit and you go to work or whatever… our muscles are not designed to do that.

We need to challenge them in other ways, and one of the best ways to do that is to touch your toes.

It's such an easy way to get healthy muscles, keep the blood flowing and keep inflammation from accumulating.

FW: Your health journey hasn’t always been smooth sailing though, has it? Talk us through some of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them.

My whole life, I found myself falling asleep all the time. Didn't matter the situation, I would fall asleep. I always just thought that everybody else was tougher than me and was able to battle through it more than I was and that I was just kind of a wimp.

But I noticed, when I was in the major leagues, and I'm sitting there in the bullpen, it's the seventh inning, we're at Yankee Stadium, and there's 40,000 people… Still, I could very easily fall asleep (and in fact I did sometimes).

So, I went and did a full sleep study and was diagnosed with something called idiopathic hypersomnia which basically just means I'm very sleepy and susceptible to falling asleep.

This is obviously a problem for a relief pitcher.

It's really difficult to fall asleep in the seventh inning and pitch the eighth. It takes a little bit of time for all the circuits to kick back on after they just shut off. So, what I would do is I would combat that sleepiness with just way too much coffee. And part of the side effects of coffee would be jitters. Part of the side effects of doing something in front of 50,000 people is jitters. So you've combined the two of those and it created a lot of anxiety, a lot of jitters, and then I'm trying to execute my job, which is a very finely tuned thing to do, trying to get batters out. And it was not a recipe for success.

FW: Sounds like an incredibly high-pressure situation.

Yeah, it wasn’t until I started working at For Wellness and using The Good Stuff™ that I found the jitters from the coffee would go away.

FW: Do you regret not finding The Good Stuff™ sooner?

"It's a little frustrating finding an answer to a problem that you didn't have an answer to for a long time. But it's good to know that I can help other people who might struggle with that same thing."

I don't know how many hypersomniacs are floating around the Major League Baseball scene, but maybe there are some in other places and I can help them.

FW: What brought you to For Wellness?

I was really wanting to get into this field, specifically with a start-up, to get a real idea of what it takes to build something. I really believe in the company and I believe in the products.

I think that the mantra of wanting to sort of help people through health and wellness, education and providing really quality products is something that I resonate with on a deep level.

I wouldn't have joined the team if I didn't believe in what we're doing here, and I use the products every single day without a doubt. If I can be a part of that, and a part of helping other people, I'm going to take that opportunity every time.

FW: What's your favorite product and why?

My favorite product is the Recovery Gummies™. I look forward to them every day.

I've had plenty of professional athletes them and love them. The look on their faces when they try the gummies is always like pretty funny because you look at the ingredients and you think like “well there's really not any sugar in there and it's a tart cherry juice, there's only a little bit of sugar… it's probably going to be pretty sour” and they try it and they're like “Oh my gosh!”. Just incredible.

FW: You're not longer a professional athlete, yet you continue to chalk up some mindblowing workouts, with your Whoop tracker looking like this most weeks... (the blue number is calories burned)...

Jesse's Whoop score

FW: What motivates you to keep pushing yourself like this?

he motivation to push myself is the same as it's always been. For my entire life, the singular focus has been to become the best baseball player I can be. Now that baseball is gone, I've noticed that my obsession with improvement hasn't changed, the mission has.

FW: What are you most excited for about the future of For Wellness?

I'm excited to introduce this to more and more athletes.

As we continue to educate and continue to provide these resources to people, we're gonna be able to make a big impact on people's lives.

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