Good nutritional practices have been demonstrated to improve mental focus, decision making, concentration, cognitive and motor skill function, and ultimately performance in countless studies of athletic and non athletic populations. Here are 3 nutrition tips to improve your performance on the course.
1. Consume slow digesting carbs regularly. Foods such as oatmeal, sweat potato, brown rice or bread, or low GI fruits are good choices. What we are trying to achieve here is keeping energy levels constant and avoid the crashes the result from sugar highs, affecting concentration and focus on the course. (Step away from the mars bars in the pro shop!)
2. Consume proteins with those carbs. The digestion of protein reduces the insulin spiking affect of carbs which leads to fluctuating blood sugar and energy levels on course. Additionally in order to support all the hard work your putting in, in the gym, you should be looking to consume at least 1- 1.5grams of protein per kilo of bodyweight to aid muscle growth and repair (If your overweight use your target bodyweight).
Think adding a bag of nuts to the fruit you take out on the course. Alternatively, my two favourites a peanut butter sandwich, or a protein shake made with whey protein, instant oats powder and water. (I have also been known to carry blocks of cheese around the course with me for a good combination of carbs, fats and proteins, but i’m given to believe this makes me seem strange!?)
3. Hydration, Hydration, Hydration. This obviously becomes increasingly important for those lucky enough to play their golf in sunnier climbs. Even so studies have shown dehydration to be surprisingly prevalent in both athletes and non athletes (i.e. your probably dehydrated right now!) and also to impair cognitive function, motor skills and quantifiably reduce performance level.
An educated guess of 2 litres a day, plus a litre over the course of a round in warmer conditions, would be a good starting point for you to adjust accordingly to what works for you. Replacing electrolytes via sports drinks isn’t as necessary, as Gatorade and Lucozade would have you believe, in a relativity low intensity physical activity such as golf. Additionally they often contain large amounts of sugar that will spike insulin and blood sugar.