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Fitness Friday: Beware the double-bogey breakfast

Every week my colleague Ron Kaspriske, Golf Digest Fitness Editor, presents Fitness Friday on the Instruction Blog. Here's his advice for eating the optimal breakfast before your next round, plus the foods and drinks to avoid. Look for Weekend Tip tomorrow, and remember to follow me on Twitter: @RogerSchiffman.

Roger Schiffman
Managing Editor
Golf Digest

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Here's Ron: By now, you've probably had it drummed into your head that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. To reiterate, it is. Most nutritionists will tell you it's a mistake to eat nothing when you get up. Even if it's not the ideal breakfast, it's better to start the day with some food in your belly than not.
 
If you're eating before a morning round, however, what you consume might be the difference between winning rather than losing a match or shooting your personal-best score rather than your high for the season.
 
Amy Goodson, dietitian for the Ben Hogan Sports Medicine clinic in Fort Worth, says many traditional breakfast choices can do more harm than good for someone about to play golf. "People take in far too much sugar in the morning," she says. "From juice to many cereals to syrup on pancakes. If you eat stuff like that, you can count on having an energy crash sometime during the round, and it will impact you physically as well as make it harder to focus."
 
Goodson suggests a meal with complex carbohydrates, some protein, a little fat, and plenty of fresh water. Two examples would be a vegetable omelet with fruit and 16 ounces of water; or a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal with nuts (substitute an apple for the brown sugar) and 16 ounces of water.
 
Here is a list of foods and beverages Goodson says you should avoid before you play a morning round.

Ron Kaspriske
Fitness Editor
Golf Digest

 

Foods you should NOT eat

1.     Sugary cereals: "First, they spike blood-sugar levels in the body. Then, they cause them to drop rapidly and that drop will affect a golfer's energy level and his or her mental acuity."
2.     Biscuits and gravy: "Very high in fat, which can cause gastro-intestinal distress and make players feel lethargic later in the round."
3.     Donuts: "Any fried food is going to be very high in fat. The grease often causes stomach cramping in the heat and can also make you feel tired."
4.     Pancakes, syrup and fruit: "Too many simple carbohydrates, which causes a spike in blood sugar and a rapid decline in energy. Heavy-carbohydrate meals with no protein also can make an athlete feel bloated."
5.     Plain or cheese omelet and bacon: "This meal lacks any carbohydrates, which 

is the body's No. 1 source of energy. The golfer will likely get off to a bad start because of a lack of initial energy."
 

Drinks you should AVOID

 
1.     Fruit juice: "Way, way, way too much sugar. Even fresh-squeezed."
2.     Soda: "A sugar monster, but the carbonation can also irritate your stomach because it can often clash with an athlete's adrenaline levels."
3.     Energy drinks, such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Go Girl: "Again, too much sugar and the high levels of caffeine can make it hard to control fine-motor skills and stay calm."
4.     Fruit and juice smoothie: "Without milk, yogurt or protein powder, you're basically just drinking sugar."
5.     No fluid: "A two-percent level of dehydration can cause a 10-percent decrease in performance. Not to mention, you'll be susceptible to headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps and an upset stomach."
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