THIS is the time of the year when Catholics refrain from eating meat, especially pork.
But at Air 21 Express, it has been a year-long policy for its players and staffers to “fish out” pork and shellfishes from their diet.
The team's longtime conditioning coach Dan Rose has set a strictly "no-meat, no-shellfish" diet for the team, which coaches and players feel is part of the reason unheralded Air21 has been going great guns in the PBA Commissioner's Cup.
Rose explained that an athlete’s body is no different from a racing car which needs to be filled with the best fuel, saying that based on his studies unholy meat “is low-octane gas" for an athlete's body.
“When you have, say, a Ferrari, you put in high-octane fuel. The purer the fuel, the better the combustion and performance for the car,” explained Rose.
The American trainer also said a strict diet for an athlete is no different to a thoroughbred horse being fed grass, apple, wheat, and grain ahead of a race.
“For athletes, you look at the animals you may consider clean - pig and pork is not one of them,” said Rose, who was trained by a former nutritionist of NFL side San Francisco 49ers.
“The body doesn’t burn pork well, it becomes fat and slows the athletes down. The shellfishes - they’re scavengers of the ocean. They eat dirty, and when taken in my humans, it becomes toxins,” he explained.
"Your body has to digest that food - and your body has to recognize it. If you look at cattle, they eat just grass, if they eat anything else they die,” said Rose.
Since becoming a part of Air 21 in the mid-2000, Rose has been implementing the “no-pork, no-shellfish policy" and he said it is part of the reason why the Express have been outrunning their rivals in every game.
“Yeah, it’s because you are what you eat. The thing about circulation is, it’s about ‘human fuel,’ when your blood is nutritionally densed and it has good oxygen going about … Of course, it’s gonna up your performance,” Rose said.
“If you compare the way that my team looks compared to the other guys, if you look across the board at our players the definition and things like that, you see that even the 13th or 14th guy on our roster, their bodies have good definition, it’s because of our eating plan,” said Rose.
“Most of the top athletes, don’t eat pork and shellfish, even Manny Pacquiao, because it has ill effects on an athletes in a game,” he added.
Air21 coach Franz Pumaren has given Rose's “no-pork, no-shellfish” policy his full backing.
“Maganda naman yung effect, kasi we really tried to avoid fatty, oily food, to first of all eliminate yung cholesterol, most importantly may proper nutrition yung players,” said Pumaren.
In keeping with the diet, Pumaren said the team has specially catered three-course meals after every game. The menu, you guessed right, has no meat or shellfish on it.
“Yung meals namin talagang especially prepared yun by a true chef, at walang pork dun, puro gulay at fish. Manok lang halos ang meat dun,” added Pumaren.
Air 21 center James Sena said Rose’s system has helped boost the players' stamina and agility.
“Pansin ko nga yun. Kasi mas hindi kami mabilis mapagod. Saka mas magaan ang katawan namin. Nasubukan ko minsan kumain ng pork, pagtakbo ko ang bagal-bagal ko,” said Sena.
The conditioning coach even recalled one out-of-town stint of the Express wherein he got extremely mad after half of their players partook of the lechon offered them by the host.
“I got really mad. To be honest, I am not trying to force them but it’s to their benefit if they don’t eat that,” said Rose, an Administration of Justice graduate before becoming a conditioning coach.
Rose even bared that he can sense who among his players break their diet.
“I know it, I look at the skin. I can tell, I can look at the performance, their energy level,” he declared. “I just tell them, it’s their body. It’s them who’ll get affected."