It becomes apparent then that the most important factors in the game of golf are actually the intangibles: sustained energy, clarity of thought and the ability to minimize and quickly recover from the physical rigors of training and competition. Playing consistently from the first tee to the 18th green depends heavily on mastering these intangibles in order to gain that competitive edge.
As Founder and CEO of Living Fuel, Inc. and author of the best-selling book Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality, I have had the privilege of working with world class athletes in many different sports in order to help them gain a competitive edge. These athletes include J.D. Drew (Boston Red Sox Right Fielder and the 2008 All-Star MVP) and 41-year-old Olympic swimming sensation Dara Torres (who recently won 3 silver metals in a record fifth Olympics in Beijing). Their success is easily translatable to athletes in any sport where consecutive days of play are part of the competition. Golf certainly fits that description, since it requires maximum levels of fitness, endurance, focus and recovery.
The biggest problem is that a desire for increased energy levels often causes golfers to load up on energy bars, drinks and supplements comprised of cheap ingredients, high sugars and stimulants - which actually result in the dreaded crash after providing only a short peak in energy. Some of these same products can even disrupt a persons sleep pattern, which further decreases the amount of vital energy available to them throughout the course of the day.
Ultimately, the true secret to preserving your energy involves hydration, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and proper amounts of sleep - but the reality is its the combination of these keys that gives you a true competitive edge.
One of the biggest mistakes most golfers make is to load up on empty carbohydrates. Snack carts and clubhouse restaurants generally serve extremely unhealthy, pro-inflammatory filler foods that provide virtually no nutritional value. The menu at your favorite course likely includes sandwiches, baked goods, cookies, crackers, donuts, French fries, hot dogs, ice cream, pizza, potato chips, waffles and other processed foods that contain white flour and/or sugar and many other impurities.
These types of foods are actually the enemies of sustained energy, recovery and performance.
Regardless of your handicap, golfers at every level should beware of the foods and drinks offered on the snack cart and in the clubhouse. Instead of grabbing a beverage that contains sugar, alcohol or high levels of caffeine, opt for the very best sports drink out there: H2O.
Tournament players have the option of carrying 14 clubs in their golf bag during a competition - and no golfer in his right mind would carry any less. Likewise, science has identified over 50 essential nutrients that the human body must have in order to function at its peak. Since the body cannot produce a single one of these nutrients, each one must be obtained by food sources, dietary supplements and exposure to sunshine.
Thats why the most powerful way to accomplish peak performance is by using a system called The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
The Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition
Listening to your swing coach is extremely important, but you can only perform well when you give your body everything it needs nutritionally. I call this approach the Four Corners of Superfood Nutrition.
1. Eat nutrient-dense foods. You should eat the most highly nutritious, nutrient-dense foods available while eliminating sugar, processed food and junk foods. This will naturally reduce your overall calorie intake and increase the nutrient value ingested by your body. Include a daily high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral/nutrient/antioxidant formulation for optimal benefits.
2. Maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Manage your glycemic response by minimizing grains, breads, starches, and sugar, which all quickly elevate blood sugar levels - setting up the dreaded back nine energy crash. This will also minimize excessive body fat, fatigue and blood sugar imbalances.
3. Consume high-antioxidant superfoods and supplements. Think of oxidation as rust on metal, the browning of a sliced apple, or as the process of aging itself. Antioxidants are anti-rust, anti-browning and anti-aging nutrients. Be sure to eat your greens, bright-colored vegetables and berries. These types of foods contain high levels of many types of antioxidants that protect every cell in the body and promote excellent health, vitality, recovery and longevity.
4. Eat and supplement with superfats. Superfats are essential fats such as omega-3 fatty acids found in cold water fatty fish, grass-fed beef, eggs, some nuts, chia seeds and flax seeds. They are necessary nutrients for the health of your immune system, heart, skin, endocrine glands, brain function, nervous system and energy levels. EPA/DHA (eicosapentaenoic acid/docosahexaenoic acid) are the omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish and fish oils. Superfats are also plentiful in almonds, coconut, macadamia nuts, olives and avocados.
So, go ahead and add the power of Superfood Nutrition to your game. Instead of relying on nutritional myths like carbo-loading with all kinds of carbohydrates, start the day with a satisfying and ultra-nutritious supersmoothie for a delicious pre-round breakfast and even lunch. A superfood smoothie is highly digestible, plant-based liquid nutrition with balanced amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats and the full spectrum of essential nutrients. This includes vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that are efficiently delivered into the bloodstream to boost performance, energy, mental clarity and recovery.
You can build a basic supersmoothie by starting with your favorite smoothie recipe using mostly water and ice but cutting the amount of high sugar fruits and juices by 75 percent. Now, add at least 25 grams of high quality protein along with 5-10 grams of a plant-based fiber supplement. The result is a low-calorie, low-glycemic, highly nutritious meal that will stabilize your blood sugar levels and help control your appetite. There are plenty of other healthy ingredients you can add later, but this is a super healthy start.
When you are out on the golf course, you can maintain that momentum by avoiding junk fuel and snacking on quality foods, including superfats (try almonds, coconut, chia seeds or macadamia nuts) during a round. It is a well-known fact in athletics that digestion competes with performance, so consider having another supersmoothie instead of a burger or deli sandwich at the turn.
Golfers, you now have the ability to gain that intangible, competitive edge both on the course and off by taking the Superfood Nutrition approach to health. Not only will your handicap go down, but even more importantly, your quality of life will skyrocket.
KC Craichy is the author of Super Health: 7 Golden Keys to Unlock Lifelong Vitality and founder of Living Fuel, the Leader in Superfood Nutrition. To learn more, visit www.livingfuel.com.
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