New Year’s resolutions are often simple to make and difficult to keep. It starts out as a great idea, most likely with a plan in place, and a positive outlook on the year as a whole. For anyone who decides to lose weight, it typically begins with planning out meals, going grocery shopping, organizing a workout plan and maybe even spending some money on new workout gear to get a bit more excited about the new venture. For Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber, his resolution began immediately after the Cubs were eliminated by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2018 MLB postseason.
The first thing he and his girlfriend, Paige Hartman, did after the season was go grocery shopping. Hartman said they brought home a bunch of healthier options such as chicken and brown rice – two staples of healthy living.
As he began his journey the right way, in the kitchen, and began to cook more often, Schwarber says that this change will be more of a lifestyle change and not just a “quick fix.”
“After the season, personally, it wasn’t the season I wanted it to be,” said Schwarber in a video released by the Cubs’ official Facebook page. “I feel that to be the best athlete you can be and the best person you can be, it starts from a health perspective.
“It’s a lifestyle change, not just a short fix. You want it to carry on down the road,” the 24 year-old slugger said.
While his body is undergoing major changes during his newfound health kick, his sense of humor has not changed one bit. Schwarber calls himself “chef Rizzo” in the video, alluding to the fact that his teammate Anthony Rizzo would be proud of him.
Schwarber has been training in Tampa, FL on a trek to improve greatly on a season that was disappointing not only to him, but to fans everywhere as well.
Known for his power and ability to hit the ball out of the park regularly, Schwarber finished his 2017 campaign with a mere .211 batting average – which was .31 lower than his 2015 season. In 2016, remember, he did not play the majority of the regular season due to injury. During his first season as a pro, Schwarber hit a home run once every 14.5 at-bats. In 2017, he hit one every 14.07 at-bats.
While that may not seem like a huge difference, the big difference comes when you look at his RBI’s. He drove in 59 runs in 129 games last season, versus 43 in just 69 games in 2015. It is safe to say Schwarber is on a mission to get back to the point where his team can count on those runs with guys in scoring position.
At one point during the summer of 2017, Schwarber was even sent down to AAA where he attempted to brush up on his skills with the Iowa Cubs. Following his demotion, Schwarber was anything but down on himself.
“I want to work the middle of the field, do things like that,” he said according to the Chicago Tribune. “I don’t want to be known as just a swing-and-miss kind of guy. I want to be a guy who can hit .300 and hit home runs, but a guy who can hit .300 first.
“There is no feeling sorry. Trust me,” said Schwarber. “I did it to myself. I was the one who was out there playing every day. This is a positive time.”
Schwarber felt pretty confident that his AAA stint was doing him well.
“I feel pretty comfortable in the box, and it’s just hammering down that feeling,” he said. “Now I have that taste of what it’s like to go bad, and I know what to do to fix it. Whenever a time comes like that again, you have to be able to find it again.”
There were a couple of scouts watching Schwarber during one of his AAA games and they had simple, yet high, praise for him.
“That kind of power can’t be taught.”
He’s right. When Schwarber connects, he connects. Cubs fans have seen several occasions where the ball goes off his bat, and immediately when they hear the sound, they knew it was gone. He has come up big in games before, and in just two seasons as a pro; there should be several more of those moments to come.
Schwarber’s transformation began long before the beginning of 2018. In fact, he made an appearance at the Winter Meetings in December last year, and he was a huge topic among the attendees — especially Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer.
“No question,” said Hoyer, per WGN, when he was asked if Schwarber showed up to show off his hard work. “There has been a lot of videos out there. He’s proud of himself, he’s not hiding.”
“I feel like ‘Best Shape of his life’ becomes like this cliché and a joke, but he actually is,” said Hoyer. “He looks awesome.
“He didn’t feel great about his season, he probably didn’t feel great about how he felt all year. Give him credit, he did something about it,” said Hoyer. “It’s so obvious when you look at him and what great shape he’s in. I love the fact that he drove over here in some ways to show it off.”
Although many have taken notice and offered their congratulations, none is more important than the one he spends the most time with.
“I noticed it within the first week,” Hartman said of Schwarber. “Like, if you’ve seen his before and after – totally different. It’s a complete 180.”
“I’ve lost quite a few pounds,” Schwarber said.
The photos and videos of him this offseason definitely make it clear. He has done a fantastic job transforming his body.
“Just to see how committed he is has really helped me out and inspired me to make myself better,” Hartman said of Schwarber.
Schwarber has been a man of integrity and class since joining the Cubs, making it clear he will do whatever is asked of him in order to help the team. Now, even more than just helping the team, he is clearly helping and inspiring a loved one in Hartman. For both of them to be on this journey together seems to be creating an even deeper bond – one they both should be very proud of.