Golf is a game of skill. An average game of golf is played in approximately 4 hours in a group of 4 golfers. Depending on the players’ skill, it could go up to 6 hours. This amount of time plus being under the grueling heat of the sun would definitely take a toll on the physical stamina and mental focus of a player. It may be a non-contact sport with lesser intensity than other ball games but under this circumstance, golf certainly requires its players to be on top shape as many other athletes.
Although there is no ideal body type for a golfer, they should maintain a low fat level in their physique. Body fat impedes performance by making the body susceptible to fatigue as fat is known for intolerance to heat. In turn, a body that is not in good condition has increased risk to certain injuries.
Proper Training Diet
A player’s success does not rely only on their skill, training and equipment. Maintaining a lean physique is very important to golfers. Below is a list of the vital food groups which players should take into consideration to fuel their bodies.
Water and sports drinks (electrolyte replacement solutions) are needed to replenish the body during long games. As temperature increases, it is crucial for the body to top up the water expended through sweat to maintain their heart rate. Increase in heart rate causes the body to spend more energy and in turn makes the players susceptible to fatigue. Thus, water and fluids are important to a player’s performance and endurance during practice and competitions.
The body uses carbohydrates for energy to match fuel needs to last in a game. There are lots of foods with carbohydrates but not all of them are healthy. Dieticians recommend low glycemic carbohydrates. Examples of carbohydrates that are good for golfers include milk, brown rice, lentils, beans, whole grains, multi grains, fruits, popcorn and potatoes.
Protein is very important for maximum performance in a game. It is the main building blocks of the body. It assists in the function and recovery of the muscles. There are many options for protein which includes chicken, turkey, lean ground beef, seeds, nuts, and soy foods. Vegetables containing protein comprises quinoa, beans, non-fat Greek yogurt, peanut butter and low-fat cottage cheese.
Another modern alternative is the use of whey protein. It serves as a protein supplement because it contains a wide range of essential amino acids which the body is able to absorb quickly. Concentrates may contain 30% to 90% of proteins. It could also come in a variety of flavors for people who may not like the taste of milk. Scientists claimed that whey proteins are particularly high in Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) which helps in stimulating growth in humans. It helps increase overall strength by gaining muscles and losing a significant amount of fat in the body at the same time.
On the other hand, whey is more than just protein. It also has other benefits to the body like improvements in blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, asthma and depression. It is even claimed to help treat symptoms of several deadly diseases like HIV and cancer. Apart from all of these, people who are lactose intolerant should be careful with this supplement. Take time to read the labels to see if there are some additives like sugar or other ingredients that one is allergic from. A good protein comparison site to use is The Protein Investor.
Ideal Pre-Game and In-Game Nutrition
A good pre-game meal consists of foods high in carbohydrates to maximize glycogen stores, low in fat and fiber to facilitate gastric emptying and minimize gastrointestinal distress, and moderate in protein. Proper hydration is also key to last in the game.
Examples of a pre-game meal include whole wheat spaghetti with tomato and meat sauce, chicken sandwich with soup or porridge, and omelets with toast. Snacks could include bananas, nuts, whole wheat bagel and light cream cheese, fruits and yogurt, and cereal with skim milk. Protein shakes and energy bars could also be included in the diet.
What to Avoid
The variety of food choices in the market makes it difficult to pick the right food for a golfer’s diet. It is important to avoid food high in fat, sodium and sugars. Food containing this can give you bursts of energy but has a side effect. Once the effect goes down, it will give you an energy crash right after. Examples of food to avoid are chocolates, hot dogs and soda. Caffeine should be also limited to 1-3 mg to avoid side effects.