Archived Newsletters - HEALTHY NUTRITION FOR ENHANCED MENTAL GOLF ENERGY :
Newsletter July 2010
With the severe heat wave moving in across the country, your mental and physical energy levels will be taxed on the golf course. In order to play well during these hot conditions, you should be taking part in regular exercise and eating a healthy diet. It is impossible to be at your best if you eat a diet of junk food. Healthy nutrition is something which many people do not associate with golf.
Good nutritional habits can help you on the golf course both physically and mentally. The proper balance of food groups can give you great performance results. Poor food choices can create fatigue, frustration, and depression with your game, and yourself. Healthy changes in your diet will help give your body the fuel it needs for consistent and powerful rounds of golf.
We normally think of the food we eat in terms of enjoyment, of being healthy, or of what it does to our bodies in terms of attractiveness. The truth is that your body is a vast storehouse of chemicals and what you eat, the amount you eat, and when you eat can change the chemistry of your digestive system and your nervous system. When it affects your nervous system, it then affects your mental and emotional state.
- Do you limp in and shoot high scores the last few holes?
- Do you have trouble getting started again on the 10th hole?
- Do you have a letdown and feel tired around the 14-15th holes?
- Do you have trouble recovering after taking a big number on a hole?
Your nutritional preparation can definitely help or hurt your playing performance during a round of golf. You may have experienced these letdowns due to a carbohydrate/sugar drop in energy. When our bodies experience mental or physical fatigue, the tendency is to swing the golf club faster or harder to make up for the lack of energy. This usually results in a jerky or rushed swing that causes errors.
While athletes in many sports have been advised to eat more nutritious meals for better sports performance, golfers have generally paid little attention to dietary factors. This may be due to golf being a slow-moving activity that does not tax the aerobic energy systems. Many golfers leave the golf course in poorer condition than when they started due to indulgencies at the19th hole.
All golfers can benefit from better nutrition and proper hydration because these factors play a significant role in energy availability and utilization. When you eat foods high in carbohydrates, (These are mostly white foods such as potatoes, sugar, flour, and rice.) you will feel tired and won’t be able to think properly because these foods turn to sugar rapidly and move into your nervous system quickly. When there is too much sugar in your system, the pancreas secretes insulin to decrease the glucose (sugar) levels. When the glucose levels drop as a result of the insulin, you become mentally fatigued, physically tired, lose motivation, lose focus and concentration, become nervous, and have a low tolerance for problem situations.
It is important to maintain an emotional and chemical energy balance throughout your round for peak performance. You may remember how Tiger Woods and Christie Kerr raised their level of performance after changing their diets. Through proper nutrition they learned to manage their energy and emotions, and their ability to concentrate improved significantly.
An adult’s body is made up of approximately 70% water. When we think we are hungry it is oftentimes dehydration instead, and what we really need is water. Drinking water will keep you from overeating. Also, it will keep your body hydrated throughout your round. If you don’t drink enough water you will not be able to focus as well. I have been drinking Smart Water which is pure, vapor-distilled water that has electrolytes added to it.
If you find you need to eat during your round, eat fruit. Fruit will release energy slowly. If you like granola bars, do not eat the whole bar all at once. Take a couple of bites after each hole to release the energy consistently.
Healthy golf nutrition means eating foods that are low in saturated fat and contain balanced portions of lean protein and slow release carbohydrates. Lean meat, fish, and poultry are all excellent choices and should be staples in a healthy nutrition diet, as should carbohydrates containing whole wheat and green leafy vegetables.
Saturated fats (the unhealthy fats) have a hard consistency at room temperature. They are not necessary for your health. They come from animals and are found in meat, eggs and cheese. They are harder to digest and full of cholesterol. Unsaturated fats such as olive oil are liquid at room temperature and are a good addition to your diet.
Golfers should avoid starchy foods like potatoes, white breads, corn, and foods high in sugars. These can make you tired and less able to concentrate properly. They will rob you of stamina rather than enhance it.
Caffeine and alcohol can adversely affect your performance. Caffeine over-stimulates your muscles and increases your heart rate, making it difficult to concentrate. Alcoholic beverages, while appearing to relax your mind, can significantly reduce your coordination, even in small doses.
Your body is an electronic computer that requires air, food, sun and water. When the body gets depleted in any one of these areas, it becomes unbalanced. Balance happens in our chemical body when the food ingested is high in protein, and low in saturated fats and low in carbohydrates. The Mediterranean Diet is a good example of eating a balanced diet.
Golfers need to drink lots of water. Anywhere from eight to ten glasses per day is optimal, and more than that may be necessary when playing – especially during the summer or in places with an exceedingly warm climate. Phoenix and Las Vegas, for example, are two of the most popular cities in the US for golf and they have two of the most unforgiving summer climates. Hydration is very important.
Fruits are easy to digest and can satisfy cravings for sweets. Fruits should be eaten by themselves, making them an ideal food for the golf course. The deeper color the berry the higher antioxidant properties it has. Acai berry, blueberries, pomegranate, and blackberries are examples of fruits now in season.
Everything in the universe operates in cycles. Nothing stays at peak performance at all times. To maintain high performance levels and to avoid feeling down requires proper sustenance of the body. Here are some suggestions for keeping your bio-chemical body physically, mentally, and emotionally stable so you have the energy to produce your peak performances throughout the entire round and/or tournament.
· Eat a diet high in protein, low in saturated fat and carbohydrates. Proteins promote increased alertness, and the ability to make decisions under pressure.
· Reduce your intake of sugar. It is important to stabilize your blood sugar levels. Sugar raises the glucose levels causing the production of insulin. Your muscles will feel energized for a short period of time before the insulin reduces the glucose below the original level and your brain will be starved for energy, and will crave more sugar for energy..
· Eat breakfast. This will begin to provide glucose to your brain and body and you will be off to a good energy start to the day. A good breakfast would be oatmeal or brown rice with some additional protein.
· Eat every three hours. Eating small meals at regular intervals causes digestion to occur slowly and continuously. Your nervous system is then receiving a continuous supply of glucose for sustained mental performance.
· Eat fruit 30 minutes before or 2 hours after a meal. Fruits are best eaten alone. They have a moderate to low insulin-stimulating effect, and have vitamins.
· Drink water, water, and more water. It is important to drink water because it is beneficial to your organs, especially the kidneys. It is recommended that you drink a minimum of six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily, 12 glasses if you are overweight. Add one glass of water for each cup of coffee, alcoholic beverage, and soda you drink. Make water your beverage of choice. Drink at least one full glass of water in the morning before going outside.
The most important aspect of chemically nurturing your body is to take the time to enjoy the foods you eat. Just as you give your pre-shot routine and golf game your full attention, love what you eat by savoring the taste, smell, and texture of each food. Tune in and enjoy your food. Your body will then know that you are nurturing it, helping it to digest the foods easily to fuel your muscles and to keep your nervous system balanced.
Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performances!
© Copyright PMI 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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