The days of playing golf competitively with skill alone are gone. Today’s best young golfers are consummate sportsmen whose fitness rivals that of elite athletes in any other sport.
It’s no longer enough to just practice on the driving range and putting green if you want to keep up. You have to work on cardio-vascular fitness and strength training in the gym as well.
The team at WorldSportsFoodFight.com have been comparing pro-sports to see how many calories are needed in a top athletes diet for them to perform at the highest level. Their research showed that completing an 18 hole course – which can often be equal to a 5-mile walk – could burn up to 2,000 calories (if you’re carrying your clubs). As a fitness exercise, golfers can often exceed 10,000 individual steps on a round, so ensuring calories intake is right at the start is crucial for avoiding burning muscle.
Fitness and weight lose aren’t the only benefits of playing golf however. Dr. C. Everett Koop – a former US Surgeon General suggested,
“The strong health benefits walking can also have in protecting golfers against heart disease. Any form of walking is good for your ticker, even if that means you’re just chasing after your 150-yard banana ball all day long.”
For pro-golfers, diet and calorie in-take is increasingly becoming more and more important. Tiger Woods, one of the fittest golfers on the pro tour, supplements his golf practice with an hour of cardio and two hours of weight training every day. But all that extra work is worthless unless you keep yourself properly fuelled. If you want all-round fitness, you need the diet to match.
Vital Nutritional Elements for Golfers
1. Strength training is the first thing many golfers focus on because it is a great way to increase the distance of your shots. In order for strength training to be effective, you need to make sure that you get enough protein in your diet. Chugging a protein shake as you finish your session in the gym will help, but for real effects you need protein sources from real food integrated into your diet in general. Make sure you use lean protein sources like chicken and fish because…
2. A low fat diet is also very important. There might be a cliché for golfers to be a bit on the chubby side but excess body fat will only impair your game. It will get in the way of you swinging effectively and the extra weight places unnecessary stress on your joints and bones. The effort of moving extra body fat around the course will also tire you out more quickly. So stick to low-fat foods and keep carbohydrate intake low.
3. Some carbohydrates are important, of course. Your body needs energy to function and carbohydrates are a great healthy source of energy. You need enough fuel to keep you going several hours at a time when you’re playing golf, so stick to slow-releasing complex carbohydrates such as rice, potato and whole grains. If you don’t manage your energy levels well enough, you will start to tire, which will hinder your swing, concentration and decision-making.
4. Hydration is another key component of a golf diet. Make sure you drink before, after and during your game whatever the weather. When it’s particularly hot make sure you increase your hydration accordingly – try and have a drink after every hole.
To find out more about the diets of our top athletes and what they need to eat to stay in shape, visit WorldSportsFoodFight.com.