Performance Nutrition

Playing a great golf game requires more than a consistent swing. It demands endurance, focus and an ability to rapidly recover from muscle fatigue. Performance nutrition fuels your body for maximum energy and muscle recovery giving you a competitive edge on the golf course. In my previous post, I discussed Nutrient Dense foods, why they are important to your overall health and how to shop for them. Find the article here:  Performance Nutrition: Part 1

Today, I will talk about Body Mass Index (BMI). I want to share with you what it means (and doesn’t mean), and give you tools to find out what your current BMI is at this time. I will also introduce you to Macro-Nutrients and explain why they are important to improving golf performance over time.

Why Performance Nutrition Matters

Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool used to estimate an individual’s weight status in relation to overall health risk. It is not a measurement of actual body fat. I want to caution here that adult BMI charts should not be used for children or teens. If you would like to calculate your personal BMI, and compare your result to the chart below, you can go HERE

Body Max Index (BMI)
UnderweightBelow 18.5
Normal18.5-24.9
Overweight25.0-29.9
Obesity30.0 and Above

Gain, Lose or Maintain

Based on your results from above, do you want to gain, lose or maintain your current weight? You need to take into consideration your age, height, weight and current activity level when considering what your current calorie needs are at this point in time. Depending on what your individual goals are will determine several things: 1) the activity level you want to achieve, and 2) the BMI that you are working towards (increasing, decreasing or maintaining).

Increasing your activity level will place additional caloric demands on your body. Even moderate changes will help you reach your goals. For instance, my husband and I trade-off who drives the cart during each hole. This allows us to increase our daily steps by walking to our ball, but we don’t have to carry our clubs the entire round. The key factor to remember is that it is not intensity of the exercise, it’s the consistency. Incorporating small changes into your daily habits and being consistent in doing them will help you reach and maintain your overall goals.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the bedrock of how our bodies acquire and use energy. Energy is defined as the capacity to do work. In order for our bodies to work, we need calories. These calories come from four macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Alcohol and Fats. I will only address the three prominent Macronutrients here: Carbs, Proteins and Fats.

Macronutrients supply differing amounts of energy (measured in calories) once they are broken down. Carbohydrates provide the biggest source of energy for our bodies. When broken down, they convert to a type of starch called glycogen and what is not immediately needed and used is stored in the liver and fat cells for future energy needs.

Proteins, however, are the building blocks for growing and repairing new tissue, as well as helping in the development of hormones and essential enzymes to support the immune system.

Contrary to popular belief, Fats are not a bad thing. In fact, the body needs fat to absorb certain vitamins (A, D, E and K) and transport nutrients. Without Fat, we would become deficient in these vitamins and risk suffering such diseases as Rickets, clotting disorders, muscle weakness and vision disorders. It is an essential Macronutrient that our bodies need.

How Many Macronutrients Do I Need?

Here are how many calories per gram each macronutrient provides:

Carbohydrates:4 calories per gram
Protein:4 calories per gram
Alcohol:7 calories per gram
Fat:9 calories per gram

Did you notice that Fat has more than twice the calories per gram as Carbohydrates or Proteins? Nutrition information is listed on food packaging in grams, but you can use the information above to help you calculate the caloric value of any food. To do so, multiply the grams of each source by the number of calories per gram. For example, look at the macronutrient breakdown for cashews below:

Whole Cashews:Grams/Serving (1/4c)Calories per gramCalories:% of Calories
Carbohydrates8g4/g3219%
Protein5g4/g2012%
Fat13g9/g11769%
Alcohol07/g00%
Total Calories169

Breaking down the macronutrient percentages allows you to better judge the quality of the food you choose to eat. Being intentional about food choices helps you to reach and maintain your weight and performance goals. To meet your body’s macronutrient needs, experts suggest that your total daily calories be distributed as follows (adults only):

Carbohydrates45-65%
Protein10-35%
Fat20-35%

Taking this information, the next step is to log your daily eating in a chart and track your macronutrient consumption. You can then calculate the percentage of each macronutrient you are consuming and adjust your diet to better meet these nutrition guidelines.

Performance Nutrition and Golf

By properly fueling your body you can gain a competitive edge on the golf course. You will be able to fuel for maximum energy and muscle recovery.  Competitive golf (or any sport that requires consecutive days of play) requires endurance, focus and an ability to rapidly recover. Optimizing your diet is just as important as choosing the right club for a specific shot on the course. Eating the most highly dense, nutritious foods will allow you to optimize your weight control, lessen muscle fatigue, increase mental clarity and give you more endurance. Game on!N

Story By Heather Rhodes

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