Retired Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez is adamant about protecting his personal time. In a world where pretty much everybody is just an Internet connection away from getting a hold of you, the World Series champion turned entrepreneur, Shark Tank guest judge, and NBA part-owner still manages to build moments throughout the day where he’s completely unreachable. An important one is his morning workout: Even though he’s not crushing home runs at Yankee Stadium anymore, A-Rod is still feeling the benefits of having a steady routine in a different field.
Rodriguez spoke to GQ about his weekly training regimen, cutting down on steak dinners, and the ridiculous way he eats sunflower seeds.
For Real-Life Diet, GQ talks to athletes, celebrities, and other high performers about their diet, exercise routines, and pursuit of wellness. Keep in mind that what works for them might not necessarily be healthy for you.
GQ: You were recently diagnosed with early stages of gum disease, which is why we’re talking today. [Rodriguez partnered with drug maker OraPharma to raise awareness about the condition.] What are some things you learned about this condition from personally going through it?
Alex Rodriguez: The first thing was that it was more prevalent than you think. Over 65 million Americans also have it and it’s mostly in Black and brown communities—Latino communities like mine. The good news is that the earlier and more proactive you can be, there are good remedies to it. The fastest you can get to your dentist and see if you have this, the better.
Are there specific things people should consider in an oral healthcare routine?
It might be a better question for a dentist! But for me it’s brushing a couple times a day and dental floss. But I think everyone’s a little different and going to a local dentist would be the best thing.
How much of a priority is your workout routine nowadays?
It’s become more of a priority over the last year. I incorporated a new system, which is essentially slowing down to speed up. So my team knows that they have me from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., but 8 a.m. to noon is my time. I use it to lift, do cardio like spin, yoga—you name it. If I’m not working out, I’ll use that time to do recovery like being in the sauna or meditating.
12 p.m to 6 p.m. is when I’m strictly in the office. After that I’m at home with my girls and family. That routine has worked well for me because it allows me to prioritize my health before work and just be proactive to make sure everyone knows my schedule.
Were you this rigorous with your time when you were playing baseball?
I think I was more strict because I didn’t have to be in an office. I was at Yankee Stadium basically all day.
Yankee Stadium was your office.
Yes it was, but I think making working out a priority is even more important now. Because when you’re a Yankee, part of your responsibility is to be in shape and be ready to play every day. Today, it’s a lot easier to slide and do less and less for my body. We live in a world where everybody has so much access to you through social media, emails, or whatever. If you don’t make it a priority to sleep, stay hydrated, have good nutrition, or exercise, your health can slide on you.