What you consume before, during, and after a game can be the difference between finishing strong or burning out on the last holes. What you eat is important but the number one nutrient that impacts athletic performance is water as dehydration significantly impairs performance. Fuel your body with these recommendations!
It is generally recommended that you have a meal 3-4 hours before you play. This may be a larger meal, as the 3-4 hour gap will give you enough time to digest your food. Smaller meals take less time to digest and should be eaten closer to tee time. The meal should be higher in carbs for increased muscle glycogen (fuel storage), low in fat and fibre to allow the food in your stomach to empty faster while also reducing the possibility of any Gastrointestinal distress, and moderate in protein as it keeps you fuller longer. With that being said, everyone is different so it’s best to experiment on yourself to find what works best for you. Golf Canada also recommends you drink 500ml of fluid two hours before playing, and another 250ml thirty minutes and fifteen minutes before tee time.
DURING THE GAME
Hydrate your body often with cool water or a sports drink while playing. Water is crucial as performance can significantly drop as soon as you lose 1% of your body weight. Dehydration hinders performance as it causes a reduction in blood volume, skin blood flow, sweat rate, and heat dissipation. It also causes an increase rate of muscle glycogen use and a rise in core temperature. Don’t rely on the thirst mechanism or the “feeling of thirst” either as that sensation is weakened with dehydration and age. The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends 177-237ml for every 15 minutes and Golf Canada recommends at least 100ml for every 10 minutes so it’s clear that both highly recommend water. Golf Canada also recommends 30-35 g of carbs per hour of playing. Some good snack ideas could include apples, bananas, nuts, and a sports drink.
What if you fancy a beer? A beer while golfing sounds like a great idea but unfortunately alcohol limits oxygen intake, weakens body temperature regulation, and causes greater dehydration.
POST GAME ( RECOVERY)
Your body breaks down your muscles during exercise so you will want enough protein and some fast digesting carbs to restore your glycogen stores. You want to make sure you replace all the weight you lost. Replacing every pound of weight lost with 500ml of water is a good guideline for athletes playing in any sport.
THE FINALE HOLE
Water and hydration levels are crucial to your performance. Ensuring you’re constantly hydrated whether or not you’re thirsty can prevent your performance from dropping in any sport. It’s important to properly fuel your body before, during, and after the game so that you can keep on going strong!