It should be no surprise that proper nutrition for sports is a huge issue (and a huge product market, as well). Athletes need to be not only properly hydrated during practice or competition, but they also need to have diets that provide them with enough energy so that they can avoid sluggishness or fatigue.
Proper nutrition for sports also extends to golf. While not
considered a high impact or high intensity activity, golf does place physical
demand on the body, particularly over the course of 18 holes. Golf nutrition
and hydration will allow you to have more stamina and endurance throughout your
round, and will hopefully prevent any swing breakdown over the last few holes. Eating well needs to be a staple of any golf fitness program!
Golf nutrition includes pre-round, mid-round and post-round food intake. You need to eat the right kind of foods in order to prepare yourself for activity, to maintain a high level of energy during that activity, and then to replenish your body at the conclusion of your round.
For a brief background, exercise can be performed in to different manners: aerobic or anaerobic. Aerobic activities include running, biking, and swimming. These types of activities require more endurance throughout their duration. Anaerobic, on the other hand, are short duration activities that do not raise your heart rate to what is referred to as the target heart rate zone, where cardiovascular training is achieved. Since golf is primarily low intensity, where you are performing one shot followed by a brief break to the next, it is classified as anaerobic.
Anaerobic activities take most of their energy from carbohydrates, so these types of foods should be present in significant amounts in your golf nutrition program. Carbohydrates come in different forms, all related to how closely they resemble pure sugar. The closer they are to sugar, the faster they are absorbed into your body and the faster energy will be released and used. The less that the carb resembles sugar, the longer it will take for them to be absorbed. I will refer to these as slow release and fast release carbs.
Foods To Eat
When examining proper golf nutrition, there are foods to steer towards and there are foods to steer away from.
Lean protein and slow release carbohydrates should be the main components of your diet. Proteins would include fish, meat, and chicken. Carbohydrates would be whole wheat and green vegetables.
A pre-round snack or meal of slow release carbohydrates will ensure that the energy will be released while you are on the course. Specific examples of snack ideas would be apples, oranges, rice, bran, or snack bars. You should eat at least 60 minutes prior to your round to ensure that everything has been absorbed and that your body is ready.
Also, water is extremely important so drink up! It should be an essential part of pre round, mid round, and post round nutrition. This is especially true on warmer days where you will be losing more liquid through sweat.
A snack every 90 minutes or so throughout the round comprised of slow release carbs will continue to keep your energy levels up.
At the conclusion of your round, once again drink plenty of water! Drinking adequate amounts of water is essential throughout your round. This is especially true on warm and sunny days where you will lose more liquids through sweat. Sports drinks, like Gatorade can easily be substituted for water.
Also, to quickly replenish your energy stores, eat foods that are mid to fast release either as a snack or as a meal.
Foods To Avoid
Starches are one of the main foods to avoid. This would include white bread, corn, potatoes, and sugars.
Proper nutrition for sports has no room for beer and soda! These will only slow you down, and in the case of alcohol, can have significant negative effects on your golf swing and coordination. Drinking large amount of beer could also lead to dehydration.
The main take home message when talking about nutrition for sports is that you need to adequately prepare yourself for activity, re-fuel during that activity, and then replenish energy stores at the conclusion of the event.
Eat at least 60 minutes prior to your round, and then snack multiple times in order to maintain energy. The goal is to have enough energy to be able to play 18 holes and not suffer any breakdown of mechanics or form due to fatigue.
If you would like to learn more about nutrition for sports, and golf nutrition specifically, there are some great resources shown along the right side of this web page that will go into much more detail, so please check them out!
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