Golf teaching and playing articles > Fuel your engine


27 May 2004

The current weight loss rage is low carbohydrates.  This is bad news for performance because complex carbohydrates are the best source of energy.


 


The body and the brain need carbohydrates to fuel energy needs and to maintain proper blood sugar levels for peak performance and to maintain concentration.


 


Eating enough carbohydrates for energy needs will allow the body to use protein intake for building and repairing the body. Sports nutritionist will tell you this is the real need for protein in our diets.


 


Complex carbohydrates also help to burn fat, provide fiber and bulk in our diet and allow us to maintain proper blood sugar levels.


 


Symptoms of inadequate carbohydrate supply include


·      Lack of energy


·      Muscle fatigue


·      Confused thinking


·      Poor co-ordination


 


Blood sugar drops every hour so the brain needs fuel hourly to maintain performance. 


Research shows that blood sugar levels empty over a 2 – 6 hour period. 


 


A round of golf, including warm up can easily take 5 to 6 hours.  The brain needs fuel hourly to maintain proper level of concentration and focus.


 


Too much time between feeding and you can become primal in your behavior.  This is not good for golf.


 


Too much protein can confuse the body and cause blood to go from performance to digestion, which slows the ability to focus and perform.


 


Golf is a sport that occurs over a long time frame, usually 4 – 6 hours...  During a round of golf we may use up 40% of our available carbohydrates.  If we do not replace them performance will suffer.  You need to fuel your golf engine before and during a round of golf.


 


Sports nutritionists recommend we get 50 – 60 % of our daily calorie needs from complex carbohydrates, and only 12 – 20% of our calorie intake from protein sources.


 


The key is to make sure that the carbohydrates we take are complex and are not high in Glycemic index.   A high Glycemic index means high in sugar, which can lead to high and low blood sugar spikes.


 


Unfortunately, we sometimes get fooled by thinking we are eating healthy, but some of these foods are high in Glycemic (high sugar) index:


·      Carrots


·      Corn flakes


·      Whole wheat bread


·      Shredded wheat


·      Bananas


·      Raisins


·      Gatorade


·      Grape nuts


 


Smarter choices:


·                  Apples


·                  Peanuts


·                  Yogurt


·                  Strawberries


·                  Peas


·                  Grapes


·                  Special k


·                  Power bar


·                  Apricots.


 


I suggest you snack or “graze” your way around the golf course, but do so with snacks which have a low Glycemic (and sugar) index.