Nutrition for Golf & How it Affects Your Game
Fitness & Nutrition go hand in hand. In reality Nutrition is the foundation to health, fitness and performance.
What you eat everyday is going to affect how you feel, how you operate and how you perform.
And what about during a round of golf? 4 hours(ish) of walking, swinging, raking, laughing, shouting etc all takes a lot of energy and if you're consuming a mars bar and a coke, you're in a bad place.
The typical pro shop rations are more or less the worst choice you could possibly make. Such a high glycemic load (lots of sugar) will leave you on a constant rollercoaster of highs and lows throughout the round. This isn't good. It makes it very difficult for the body to function accurately and optimally, its going to cloud your mind, impair your performance and generally be negative for your health.
If you've rushed out of bed, had 2 cups of coffee and no breakfast on top of this, then I'm not even sure you should be making it through 18 holes never mind posting a good number!
So, what should you do? Well, as stated, everyone is individual, but a great guideline for game day would be the following:
A filling breakfast of quality protein & fats with a smaller amount of quality carbohydrates - eggs, meat, fish, veggies, avocado, fruits (berries are best) and oats. My go to would always be eggs, smoked salmon, avocado - winning. A modified 'cooked breakfast' is also a good idea; bacon/sausage (not too much) with eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes other veggies and no beans, toast or worse gets you off to a great start.
Caffeine is also a good way to get cognitively fired up and combined with a quality breakfast it will be released more gradually, therefore assisting performance in many cases.
During the round the requirements remain similar, but timing is critical. Over such a long period of time the body is burning fat for energy, so a consistent supply of it makes sense! Nuts and seeds are the best option due to nutrient density and the satiety (feeling full) they create. They also contain enough protein for the body to continue to function and repair during the round. For optimal performance and speed, I would combine those nuts with some fruit, berries, apple, banana etc and spread it out over the course of the round. Swapping this out for a performance bar is cool, just check the label! So many of the bars out there are so jacked up with sugar they’re really no different to other sugary options!
Eating a reasonably small amount every 3 or 4 holes will ensure your body has the necessary fuel to perform at its best and also mean that it will focus on the task at hand as apposed to digesting a huge hit of food or calories!
And before you say it, you do not need sugar for energy. That's a terrible scenario on the course and in everyday life. Ditch the chocolate, poor quality protein bars, sugary drinks and Gatorade to see your performance improve!
Some people work better with more carbs, some better with more fats - but having an overall understanding of your needs during a round can make or break your performance!
After the round its all about recovery. A good meal predominantly of quality protein, matched with some quality carbs (eg. sweet potato) and plenty of vegetables and some fats will get you back to your best in no time!
Hydration is so important yet its very simple - you must be hydrated! If you allow yourself to get dehydrated muscular performance will suffer, cognitive performance will suffer and basically you will feel terrible - not good for playing your best golf!
Water is the most important aspect and you should be drinking some basically every hole! A coffee at the turn or throughout the round can also help you be at your sharpest, but that depends how you react to caffeine and how you rehydrate following that coffee.
Whether you drink a ‘sports drink’ is up to you, again there are so many variations you have to do your research and test them out. But as with the food, the greater the variation in blood sugar and insulin response, the more difficult it will be to maintain optimal performance throughout the round.
There are many, many aspects to consider but if you are training in the gym, have a hectic lifestyle and playing golf you are likely to be burning a bunch of calories! This is where it gets really fun, matching your nutrition to your training is going to guarantee the best results and leave you as a ripped up golfing machine!
Look out for the GOLFWOD Nutritional challenge dropping this weekend and also our online nutritional coaching designed to make you a beast on and off the course!
This change can and will absolutely change your game and your health!
Don't overlook your fuel in 2019!