I get asked all the time “what should I eat during a competitive round of golf, or during a tournament so I keep the focus and body working at peak performance?”  My answer is always the same:  Each low fat protein and complex carbs.  Why?  is the next question i usually get.  It all comes down to how the body metabolizes what we eat.  As you read this think about what you take to the course in terms of food, or what you get at the halfway house. 

Consider the following:  

First, data suggests that walking 18 holes of golf carrying your bag results in the burning of 2500 Calories…yes 2500…that is in addition to what you need in your daily diet to just live.

Simple carbs - sugar - Simple Carbs (pretzels, chips, cracker, bread, sports drinks, juicy fruits, candy, a plate of pasta, etc) all have very easily accessed carbos, that are immediately ingested through the gut into the blood stream as simple sugars. The result is that you get a spike and then a rapid fall off of blood sugar. That in turn leads to a rapid spike in blood insulin levels to manage the blood sugar levels.  Some experts even report that the low after simple carbs can last for 3-5 hours. All that up and down of simple sugar, and insulin interferes with brain and body function.  It can lead to a feeling of fatigue, mental sluggishness, and focus issues. 

fruits, veggies and nuts - complex carbsComplex Carbs (uncooked veggies, hard fruits, nuts, whole grains, etc) need to be broken down then metabolized in the intestine and as a result enter the blood stream slower than simple carbs.  We get a slower burn and less insulin bouncing with more stable blood glucose…and better body and brain function.  Some report as much as 75-90 minutes of stable blood glucose from this form of energy.

proteinsProteins (animal or vegetable) create a longer burn of energy than either of the types of carbos.  Protein needs to be broken down in the gut, and turned into simple sugars…and this takes time and yields a very slow release of  energy that helps keep blood sugars and insulin level for up to 2-3 hours.  The challenge of this type of food on the golf course is that a chicken leg, or piece of meat, or fish needs special care to stay fresh out of the fridge.  So it is more of a challenge to carry on course.  Alternatives are low fat, low carb protein bars or drinks or soy products (vegetable protein). 

Fats is the last group  While fats are seen as the worst for you, and some even think of fats as the devil himself, we need some fat in our diet.  Fat is a component in myelin ( the insulation around our nerves that make them work right).  We don’t need a great deal of fat, but some is necessary.  Fat takes hours to metabolize but we need not gnaw on a hunk of blubber…there are all kinds of foods in the animal protein world that have modest amounts of fat in them.  Lean beef, chicken, tuna, salmon, shrimp, all have some form of fats in them.  Small doses are ok.

So what do I eat in a round of golf to stay focused and energized?

If you choose to eat category one foods (simple carbs), expect focus and performance problems and challenges.  It is through a bit of planning to eat category 2 (complex carbs) and category 3 (protein) that you fuel your body and brain with High Octane fuels.

I tell our athletes that every 2-3 holes they should have a complex carb group or a protein group. The amount should be similar to the volume of the person’s fist.  So if you make a fist, and look at the size of your fist, find foods in the protein and complex carb groups of that volume. Example: a medium apple or pear, a box of raisins, a handful of almonds, a chicken breast, a can of tuna, a protein bar. Eat something like these foods every 2-3 holes, a sensible meal Simple…we it can be with some planning. Don’t expect to carry a slab of salmon on the course…ew, that could be a mess…The object of this drill is to eat smart every 2-3 holes, and then eat a big meal after your round of golf.  That will off set the burn of Calories that the round causes, and will keep your focus and your body working like a finely tuned machine for all 18 holes. 

Oh, and breakfast before the round…the same mantra: complex carbs and protein.  No not flapjacks and syrup…that is sugar.  Whole grain toast, steel cut oats, eggs, slice of meat, some fruit…simple.

I hope you find this useful, and eat to compete.  

 

Dave

 

PS:  Next time we talk about the universal solvent in the body…stay tuned.

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