How To Improve Your Golf Game With Nutrition
Do you ever wonder how the best golfers fuel their bodies and what it takes to perform like a pro golfer? Besides the long hours of precise practice and laser-like focus, nutrition plays a critical role in performing well and recovering effectively for the best to play consistently all year long. In this article, I will give you the foundational strategies to improve your golf game, where nutrition and recovery meet.
The Palmetto Championship kicks off at Congaree this week, so we want to focus on what it takes to golf at the highest level, where high temperatures bring the best, not the worst out of you.
Let's talk about the critical basics - nutrition to fuel, recover and hydrate your body. Without a tee, your drive will suffer. Without the proper nutritional foundation, your entire game will suffer.
Physical Energy & Mental Focus
The physicality of golf is undeniable. However, golf requires such biomechanically intelligent movement that a 1% change in your muscle connection will have huge ramifications on your ability to put the right amount of power behind your swing.
Any number of muscle groups involved in your swing or your endurance on the course may be the most visible and apparent to focus on, but optimizing your body for golf goes beyond training the right muscle groups.
There are deeper layers of your body that play a key role in a well-coordinated golf swing. Your soft-skeleton, fascia, connects your entire connective tissue system and all the muscles from head to toe. Fascia gives muscles their form and resilience, keeps your other soft tissues (ligaments & tendons) nourished and strong, transmits signals from your brain to your body and back, and more.
Fascia is the tissue that may be the key to addressing what's holding your game back emotionally and physically, but no one is talking about it in the industry.
It's not hard to see how important the health of your fascia is for your swing. But the physical side of things is only half of it. Fascia is the number one connective tissue that is emotionally charged. Meaning all your emotions are stored in it. And what happens when we are stressed or anxious? We get tighter, tighter, and tighter, and compensations start to take place.
With back pain, tendinitis, rotator cuff, shoulder pain, knee pain, and wrist injuries being so common in golf, you must consider what to eat to support fascia health and prevent an injury. These injuries are caused by the damage to fascia that poor physical and emotional form and improper nutrition cause.
You might be a golfer who fights the knee-crushing pain a weekend of walking with a pain killer. Unfortunately, NSAIDs are the go-to, but these over-the-counters delay the healing time and hurt your connective tissue strength long-term.
Painkillers treat the symptoms, not the problem, and then set you up to need them repeatedly without addressing the underlying issue. The worst part is they prolong the inflammation in your musculoskeletal system.
Instead, focus on that pain starting at the root. Natural plant-based ingredients and a supplemental source of collagen can do wonders for the joint and every layer of your connective tissue. Not only are these strategies informed by thousands of years of use — there is a reason the "food is medicine" scene has been thriving since antiquity — but they are confirmed by the best of recent research.
Nutrition, Diet, and Clinically Tested Supplements For Golf
With a focus on fundamentals, let's dive into what it takes to gain a golfer's healthy body.
What should I eat before playing golf?
Just like you should perform effective myofascial stretch before any game (every golfer dreads the menace of a pulled groin!), you should note what you fuel your body with.
Healthy fats and complex carbs for long-lasting energy, key protein for optimized movement and recovery, B-vitamins for energy production to help that energy flow, and plant-based nitrates for proper blood flow, anti-inflammatories to manage the increased inflammation due to exercise (and the sun damage!), and electrolytes for optimal hydration.
Here's what a good meal might look like:
- Proteins high in essential amino acids and hydrolyzed collagen peptides with a focus on glycine, hydroxyproline, and hydroxylysine amino acids. The essential aminos fuel your muscles, but the others feed your connective tissues, which are critical for your overall musculoskeletal health. You might be familiar with a tasteless collagen protein supplement, but without the additional nutrients to make collagen do it's work, it is not your best choice - you don't have to trust me though, the scientific research is clear. Plus, proteins like these help you stay full longer — critical for 5+ hour days on the green.
- High fiber, green and red leafy veggies. Besides being excellent sources of the hard-to-get minerals magnesium, calcium, and others, high-fiber leafy vegetables are some of the best sources of natural nitrates, which are critical for blood flow, going longer without working harder, and your recovery time.
- Nuts, seeds, and/or beans are excellent sources of B-complex vitamins. These vitamins are crucial for oiling the machine of your calorie-burning engine. Incidentally, B vitamins are also important for minimizing the damage of excessive UV exposure.
- Healthy fats like olive oil and avocado oil ramp up your fat-burning enzymes, which have the benefit of improving your ability to source energy from your long-term energy stores: fat tissue. Said another way, eating fat helps you burn fat. Extra virgin olive oil has also been shown to increase lubricin — which does exactly what it sounds like: lubricates the space between your bones and cartilage.
- Caffeine is probably the most used performance enhancer in all sports, but you know that downing cups of coffee before a match does nothing good for a smooth stroke. If you want to avoid the jittery effects of coffee, try balancing it out with a cup of tea; the L-theanine in tea can help you feel confident and in control while hitching a ride on a caffeine-induced high.
- Foods that have the natural bioactives to fight inflammation at every level. Turmeric, ginger, beets, and berry polyphenols are some of the most well-researched representatives of the food-is-medicine philosophy. The clinical research backing these for fighting pain, speeding recovery, and regulating inflammation, is strong enough that they have a core role in my Recovery Blend.
When you don't have the time to prepare these meals daily, it might be helpful to know there are blends of these vegetables and fruits that come in clinically tested supplement form.
Plant-based nitrates in red spinach extract, Aronia berry, and beets with mango are an excellent way to support your natural energy with no stimulants. These plants have the power to support your nitric oxide levels. When combined with hydrolyzed collagen peptides, you get 2:1 support. Meaning, the connective tissue health and your blood flow so that you can stay focus on your golf swing, not energy levels.
Worth noting, as this ingredient gets a lot of attention, turmeric does almost nothing unless you eat it in a specific form and with the right foods (yet another reason to find a supplemental version). Remember, no one ingredient can do it all to get you to feel your best.
Wondering where you could find a supplement that checks all those boxes? Curious about how you can best combine those ingredients into something that actually tastes good and works?
Keep reading, but you might also want to bookmark my new ebook. Partly a scientific review on nutritional and physical recovery and partly a cookbook of practical takeaways, Recover Every Layer of Your Body is the go-to resource for anyone wanting the science-backed ways to eat your way to better health of every layer of your body - from your skin to your bones.
How To Stay Hydrated On The Golf Course
You'd think beer might come free with a round with how popular it is on the fairway. I have nothing against a cold one after a sun-scorched day but know that it does more for your handicap than it does for your swing.
Getting the proper hydration during a long game sets you up for your best back nine today, and it can help you feel great tomorrow too. Here's why.
What should you be drinking while playing golf?
Adequate hydration is more than water and far removed from sugar-filled "sports drinks." The best hydration has the right electrolytes with the effective amounts of them for better absorption and better function:
Sodium and Potassium
If you are already eating plenty of salt — most Americans are getting twice as much as they should — then nothing more than a sprinkle is necessary. But if you're a lean, mean, swinging machine sweating (golf) balls on the fairway, then you need to replenish the sodium and potassium you lose in sweat. You want that water to get into your tissues, not in your bladder, and spiking it with the electrolytes sodium and potassium will help you absorb and hold on to the water you drink rather than sweat it out.
If you have high blood pressure, skip the added sodium and sprinkle some potassium-fortified "light salt" in your water. If you have kidney disease, talk with your doctor or dietitian about potassium and sodium limits.
Calcium and Magnesium
The bane of any athlete is the spontaneous muscle cramp. The source of these, though poorly understood, lies in the mineral balance inside and between your muscles. Do you remember fascia? It holds all the inter-muscular signals — so if it's not nourished with the nutrients your muscles need to fire right, then you'll constantly be undercutting yourself. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, leafy vegetables, and beans are your go-to's for magnesium and calcium.
It bears saying that you can do all these things right, but if that hydration isn't getting to where it needs to be — your fascia — then it's not doing much, now is it? Movement with stretching, myofascial release, even deep massaging the connective tissues that hurt or cramp is the final necessary step for making sure the most important nutrient, water, gets to where it's supposed to. So, yes, drinking water is just one of several steps to get it done effectively.
If you want a deeper dive into hydration, I covered this from every side in a recent blog: Hydration and Connective Tissue - Why Water Isn't Enough.
Recovering From A Game Of Golf
If you want to play your best, your body needs to recover its best. Without proper recovery, you put yourself at risk of injuries, and you sacrifice the gains that will keep you on an upward trajectory.
In my years coaching pro athletes from all backgrounds, including the PGA, the standard limitation holding people back — regardless of the sport, regardless of the athlete — is proper recovery.
Are you adding power to those essential muscle groups? Fine-tuning the coordinated function of muscle fibers? Not possible without an effective recovery strategy.
I see it so much that I even have a saying at Resync, "An Under-recovered Body Becomes An Injured Body™."
It all starts with the right mindset and energy to make an effective transition on the golf course.
Supplements Taken By The Best
What supplements do you need to take to get to pro?
Well, none are going to get you there without the talent and consistent work. But you can see that setting yourself up for success tomorrow, in addition to playing well today, is the difference between pro and semi-pro.
I've stayed up to date with the most recent recovery research so you can get the very best in recovery supplements. I was the first coach to formulate plant-based nitric oxide blends to support blood flow and recovery.
These are the supplements I created when working with some of the best professional Athletes that will help you feel & perform your best on and off the golf course.
The flagship Resync Recovery formula has some of the most powerful recovery-enhancing ingredients out there.
Bioavailable turmeric extract from Aurea Biolabs is clinically shown to reduce activity-related pain from osteoarthritis.
Ginger is known as an anti-pain, anti-fatigue ingredient — critical for those long games.
There's no better source of plant-based nitrates than red spinach extract, which has the added benefit of being oxalate-free. I learned about it in 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland. That's when I started to research other plant-based ingredients to finally create the premium recovery blend in 2017 with other blood-flow supporting foods, red beetroot powder, and Aronia berry extract. Aronia berry (aka. chokecherry) is one of the most powerful antioxidants known and, according to emerging research, can provide a consistent dose of game-enhancing plant-based polyphenols.
All of these combine to facilitate the natural inflammatory process of working your body. So many professionals use it to up their game, the question remains, why don't you?
Resync Premium Collagen Blend
Resync Premium Collagen Peptides takes that same synergistic combination of red spinach extract, aronia berry extract, and red beetroot and combines it with connective tissue supportive bioactives to keep your body in peak shape after a hard day.
The specific hydrolyzed collagen peptides we use are not only of the highest quality standard but they're backed by clinical research showing their potent pain-relieving effect. I make sure your body has the specific ingredients it needs (and the right quantity of them) by including your daily value of vitamin C, which helps your body make use of that collagen in the best way possible by facilitating absorption and increasing your ability to make new collagen.
Elderberry provides additional antioxidant power. Then there's the hyaluronic acid, critical for your knees, fascia, joints, and any other connective tissue lubrication. Lastly, AprèsFlex, the industry leader in Boswellia serrata, provides the bioactive stimulus to improve joint function and fight inflammation, as shown in clinical studies.
With so many studies supporting these ingredients, I recommend it to any person who wants to maximize their potential before and after practice. It is sure to help there, and many of these ingredients have powerful side-stream benefits.
To be a better golfer, you need a strategy. Across all sports, every effective strategy places deep recovery at the same level, if not higher, than perfect practice. To improve sustainably, there needs to be an ebb and a flow. Professional athletes don't always recognize that until it's too late, but those are the ones that burn bright and burn fast. The professionals you see who establish their position among the best and then hold on to it for years, if not decades are the ones who know that perfect recovery is critical to playing your best.
So, do supplements help your golf game?
Resync uses the best science to formulate a product that can help you close the gap between tired and ready to go. I bet you can't give it a try without agreeing that, indeed, some supplements do.
May the course be with you! It might be the right time to allow Resync hep you feel and perform your best.
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