Improve Your Nutrition And Your Golf Game

Nutrition is one of the most underrated aspects of golf performance.  Without proper nutrition we cannot play our best and will never reach our true potential.  In order to drive this point home I have included a  great article about nutrition from Dr. John M Berardi, CSCS and Phil Caravaggio,  from www.precisionnutrition.com.  It gives us 3 reasons why golfers don’t pay attention to nutrition.

“What About Nutrition?
New golfers and veterans alike often share one characteristic.  They’ll spend countless hours and/or dollars to improve their game.  They’ll look for the best coaches to perfect their swing mechanics.  They’ll shop for the best equipment to get more precision and distance.  They’ll work with the best conditioning coaches to improve their muscle strength and their rotational power.  Heck, they’ll even talk with sport psychologists to learn all about maintaining their composure, focus, and concentration.  And all of this comes in the name of becoming a better golfer.

Yet, amid all this change, there’s one thing that most golfers forget to alter.  And that’s their crappy diet.

To most experts this is particularly mind-blowing since their diets often limit their performance in a number of major ways.  First of all, eating poorly limits muscle strength and leads to body fat accumulation.  And, no surprise, weak muscles and excess body fat are not the way to championship performances.

In addition, eating poorly limits focus and concentration, leads to unsteady mood fluctuations, and can lead to poor immune function and poor overall health.  Try playing 72 holes in 3 days when you’re in a bad mood, can’t concentrate, and are feeling under the weather.

Finally, poor nutrition can directly impact your practice sessions and competitive golf rounds.  Acute loss of focus, concentration, and fatigue, especially as practice sessions or competition progresses, are all symptoms of poor nutrition.  So if you find you game fading as it goes on, your problem may be nutrition.

In the strength and conditioning world they often say that you can’t out-train a bad diet.  And a similar adage is true in the golf world.  You can’t out-practice, out-swing, or out-psychologize a bad diet.  There’s absolutely no substitute for providing the right nutrients at the right times.  None.

So why don’t many golfers pay enough attention to nutrition?

3 Reasons Many Golfers Never Change
Well, there are probably hundreds of reasons why some people stick to the same poor eating habits year in and year out, despite the fact that these habits aren’t working for them.  Yet here are a few of the big ones.

1) The Myth of the Pre-Game Meal
To begin with, many novice athletes (including golfers) make the mistake of thinking that it’s only the food eaten before and during their practices and matches that can impact their game.  Although this makes sense logically, physiologically this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Now, don’t get us wrong, what you eat before and after practices and matches can make a difference.  Yet these meals aren’t the deal breakers.  Rather, just as many veteran golfers have discovered, every single meal has an impact, regardless of when it’s eaten.  Interestingly, these same golfers also realize that it’s the cumulative effect of good eating that leads to better performance.In other words, in golf, there’s no magic pre-game or during competition meal.  If you’ve waited until the day before a big match to decide to eat well, it’s likely too late.  Rather, you should be eating well day-in and day-out leading up to competition.

2) Not Seeing The Link Between Nutrition and Golf Performance
In addition, most golfers miss the logical link between nutrition and golf performance.  And this is mostly due to the fact that they don’t appreciate how food alters their muscle function and brain biochemistry.

Sure, it’s obvious that body weight dependent athletes such as wrestlers and gymnasts need to eat well.  After all, they’ve got to make weight as well as maintain a high muscle to fat ratio.  And it’s also obvious that energy intensive sport athletes like endurance cyclists and marathon runners need to eat well.  They’ve got to fuel the body’s high energy demands in these endurance sports.

However, the golf-nutrition link isn’t as obvious.  You don’t have to look like a highly muscled, low fat athlete to excel in golf.  And since golf isn’t highly energy intensive, you don’t have to eat boatloads of carbohydrate rich food to perform.  However, just because golfers don’t wear their fitness on their sleeves or burn up thousands of calories an hour when practicing doesn’t mean that nutrition is unimportant.

Just like the sport of golf itself, the golf-nutrition link is more subtle.  Yet it still does exist.  Maintaining muscle mass and elasticity, reducing muscle and joint inflammation, maintaining focus and concentration, and supporting a positive optimistic outlook are all things that optimal nutrition can promote.  Obviously, those putting it to work for them have a distinct advantage.

3) Becoming A Slave To Our Habits
Probably the most difficult hurdle for most people to overcome is the habit-based nature of nutrition.  You see, no one goes through a painstaking process of decision-making prior to every single meal.  Sure, maybe we do once in a while when dining out at a nice restaurant.  Yet, during our day-to-day, our eating patterns are based on what we did hundreds of times before.  And it’s these previous decisions that we call our habits.

Ever wonder why most people eating a “Western Diet” eat very, very similarly?  Why do you think most folks eat cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and some meat, starch, and maybe some vegetables for dinner?  And why do they snack on the same bagels, muffins, crackers, granola bars, and coffee in between meals?  (Hint: it’s not because half a billion people independently choose these foods to make up each of their meals.)

Nope, it’s because this is the way they’ve been taught to eat.  Maybe it’s the way their parents ate.  Maybe it’s the way their spouses or roommates eat.  And maybe it’s they way their friends and colleagues eat.  So, whether or not it’s healthy, whether or not it’s physiologically sound, whether or not it helps or hurts them, they do it anyway because it’s a habit.

Of course, there are probably many other reasons explaining people’s reluctance to change their eating habits; explaining why perhaps you haven’t changed your eating habits.  However, rather than counting excuses and/or the reasons people don’t change; we prefer to focus on why you should be making the change.”

I hope now you have a better idea of the importance of nutrition as it relates to your golf game.  Please try to make improvements in your diet and you will notice an immediate improvement in your focus, concentration and your energy levels throughout the round.

To your success,

Shaun

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