There's a reason your opponent offered you a hot dog and a soda at the turn. He knows you're going to be a sloth by the 16th tee. PGA Tour fitness advisor Chris Noss, who works with players like Rickie Fowler and Zach Johnson, says golf is a bursts-of-energy sport as well as an endurance test. Your muscles are called upon for power, but they also have to keep your body going for hours. Noss offers these tips:
1. EAT SMART
Lean-protein, high-fiber meals before the round will help sustain your energy and prevent crashing, the feeling of fatigue brought on by simple-carbohydrate foods, such as bread, pretzels, sugary snacks, etc.
Related: The 10 Worst Things To Eat Or Drink When You Play
2. DRINK WATER
Lots of it. And if you want to take supplements during a round, any drinks with amino acids can help your energy. But eating a lot of fiber and drinking water will suffice for keeping muscles working properly.
3. DO CARDIO
Add it either before or as part of a strength-training routine. To do it during your routine, reduce the amount of rest between your sets. You want to move at a pace slightly more intense than you feel is comfortable, but you don't want to go so fast that the quality of your form deteriorates. This combined routine will simulate the physical requirements of playing 18 holes, especially if you walk.
Ron Kaspriske is the fitness editor for Golf Digest.
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(Illustration by Mark Matcho)
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.
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
What are you dumping into your gas tank?
Picture this: You just finished your weekly Saturday morning round. Your mind wanders as you reach into your wallet, once again, to pay off your buddy. You think to yourself, "I played so well for most of the round, I had the match in the bag. What in the world happened on those final five holes?" The answer, for you, never crystallizes.
But I'll tell you exactly what happened. You had a coffee and two donuts on the way to the course and a granola bar at the turn. Whether it's the club championship, a Saturday morning round with your buddies or a quick 18 while your family is roaming some theme park, what you eat for breakfast before you tee it up almost always plays some role in your athletic performance.
"When preparing for anything important, eating clean and balanced is the way to go," says nutritionist Amanda Carlson-Phillips (MS, RD, CSSD), who works at Athletes' Performance training center in Phoenix and spends her days making sure dozens of professional athletes are eating properly.
Trying to get amateur golfers to eat properly is about as easy as babysitting at the Gosselin house. Everywhere you look at a typical golf course there are food items for sale that seem to be solely produced to ensure you make a double bogey on the next three holes. And candy bars, hot dogs and beer aren't the only bad choices. Danish, muffins, bagels, juice, things everyone eats for breakfast, can do just as much damage.