As the current co-host of MLB Network’s daily morning program “MLB Central,” and the in-game reporter for American League Championship coverage on TBS, Lauren Shehadi, who herself played softball and is keeping baseball fans highly informed as part of the World Series playoffs on FOX, has played the long game to become a respected, rounded, and relied upon member of any sports broadcast team. M&F sat down with Shehadi to find out how honest hard work has been the not-so-secret to her success, and why life is a journey and not a destination when it comes to finding balance.
“I remember, I was 12 years old,” says Shehadi. “Cal Ripkin Jr. was breaking Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played streak. I grew up in the DC metro area and the Baltimore Orioles were my team. There was a 25-minute standing ovation when he broke the streak. (Ripkin) was walking around, high-fiving everyone and I just thought: ‘oh my gosh, I just wanna be a part of this!’ As Cal Ripkin Jr. cemented his legacy as the “Iron Man,” thanks to his willingness to show up and put in the work, playing 2,632 consecutive games for the MLB. His stamina and longevity is a constant inspiration fueling Shehadi’s own desire to succeed as a sports caster, wife, and mother. Of course, with the World Series reaching a climax, the journalist and presenter is busier than ever. “We’re gonna find out in a couple of days, which blueprint works,” she says, excited to see which team comes out on top. And, while the players are slugging it out on the field, Shehadi will be clocking up the air miles and dashing across stadiums to hit her own cues on live television, all without appearing tired, underprepared, or out of breath.
For Lauren Shehadi, hard work pays off
While many aspiring sportscasters will observe the 39-year-old doing her thing with apparent ease on screen, those who want to follow in her footsteps had better wear some top of the line running shoes, because her spot has been earned through both academic studies and practical experience. Her willingness to take on any opportunity has proven that hard work pays off. “I think we’re in a microwave society, where everyone wants everything ‘fast, fast, fast,’ and in this business, it’s hard to have anything fast,” she says. “And, truly, you don’t want it fast because you are not ready for it. I remember, my first job behind the camera was the overnight lottery and birthdays on a 24-hour station. I gave the wrong person the lotto. It was only 250 bucks, so it wasn’t a crazy amount of money but I thought ‘this business is so intense!’ I’m never gonna make it.”
In working for smaller stations, Shehadi was able to work on her craft and make mistakes that a pro would never get away with on ESPN or the MLB Network. “My advice is to put in the time, because you need it and gives you a little bit of a feeling like, ‘Oh, I’ve earned this.’ Those early mornings in a freezing car seemed daunting at first, but by paying her dues and taking on any and all shifts, Shehadi has been able to develop herself as one of the most natural and enthusiastic broadcast journalists on the scene. And, don’t even try to question her baseball knowledge! “You can’t fake knowing baseball, you can’t,” she says. “You gotta know it, so I know it.”
Lauren Shehadi takes a functional approach to training and nutrition
“You can’t be out of breath when you run on to the field, right? says Shehadi. “So, my workout routine is mostly weights, and the weights become my cardio. I am big on lifting heavy. To my eye, I like a strong, thick body. I lift heavy, four times per week: squats, lunges, deadlifts… If I’m in my hotel room and I can’t get to a gym and I have ten minutes before a production call, I’ll do walking lunges down the hallway. Anything to just feel a little bit of pump. I’m doing it so fast that I’m breathing heavy, and I’m getting my heart rate up.” In the gym the popular presenter is all about lifting heavy and with intensity. Her preference is to perform three sets, using drop sets of 12, eight, and then all out for three reps. “As heavy, as I possible can,” she says. “I also eat to supplement the weights. I’m not going to a restaurant, ever, and ordering a side salad! That’s just not how I eat, because I feel like I have to feed the muscles, so I count macros.”
The sporty presenter aims to consume around 1,800 calories per day. She breaks that down to approximately 140g protein, 180g carbohydrates, and 60g fat. “If I want a donut, I have it,” she shares. “If I want to have pizza I’ll have it, but I just plug it into my macro nutrient calculator and as long as it comes out to the right total, I’m good. I do treat myself. I don’t wanna live in a world where I can’t have chocolate chip cookies and frosting!” Tracking her macros is a great way to make sure that the busy broadcast journalist doesn’t under eat, and provides the correct checks and balances to ensure that she is taking in enough protein to fuel those heavy lifting sessions. Fortunately, Shehadi is also a huge lover of vegetables. “I’ll eat an entire plate,” she enthuses.
Just like for many of us, Shehadi’s love of a strong, thick body can be traced back to insecurities that were born in her youth. “When I was younger, I was really, really skinny,” she shares. “I didn’t feel like I had energy, I didn’t like dieting, I don’t like depriving myself of food, it doesn’t feel natural to me. So, I’m trying to build a strong body and mind. The second that I walk out of a gym, I feel different.” Shehadi finds that the best way to avoid snacking is to eat regular meals that satisfy her appetite. She often start the day with an omelette, followed by a turkey sandwich for lunch, explaining that this is the best way to avoid impulsive choices that could derail her progress, such as reaching for candy.
Lauren Shehadi plays the long game
Because of her irregular working hours, and few chances for breaks, intermittent fasting would not suit Shehadi’s lifestyle. “That’s the thing about baseball,” she says. “It’s a long day! There are nine innings, and I’m there five hours before, until around 11.30 p.m. I’m up at 4 a.m. (to prepare her appearances on the “MLB Central”), so I’m up from 4am to at least 11.30pm every day. I can’t not eat. It just doesn’t work for me.” While Shehadi is self-motivated enough to pull herself out of bed every morning for a new challenge, there are also plenty of athletes that cross her path everyday that keep her passion for fitness burning strong. “I’m in clubhouses all of the time, and it’s one thing to see a 20-year-old who is ripped, but some of these older pitchers are 40-years-old, and some of these coaches are 45, and they look unbelievable. That motivates me to keep it going,” she says. “You have to invest in yourself. Your body is all you have.”
Now in her 10th year with the MLB Network, Lauren Shehadi strives to be the best version of herself every single day, but also understands that balancing a busy career with a loving family is her most important challenge, and one that she takes very seriously. “Every Jan. 1 my resolution is to be more present,” reflects Shehadi. “I’m an Aerosmith fan, and as Steven Tyler says: Life is a journey, not a destination.”