THE ROLE OF NUTRITION IN THE GOLF FITNESS WORKOUT

Bob Forman
Certified Golf Fitness Instructor
MS, Exercise Physiology

The benefits of a consistent exercise program have been firmly established as it relates to improving one’s golf swing and performance. The right customized mix of strength, cardio, and flexibility exercises is essential for productive outcomes and a better, healthier game. So, too, is the realization that nutrition plays a huge role in achieving those outcomes.

The physiological changes that occur in the body during exercise are proportional to the exercise intensity and duration.  If intense enough,* these responses can place the body in what’s known as a catabolic state resulting from a breakdown of muscle tissue.  This generally results in prolonged muscle soreness, low energy, and extended fatigue.  These effects can persist for several days and can interfere with subsequent workout sessions.  They can also be a real good excuse not to workout at all.

To minimize these unwelcomed by-products of exercise, you must reduce the degree of breakdown (catabolism) by encouraging a building up (anabolism) within the body as soon as possible after the exercise session is done.  This is achieved through proper nutrition. 

While engaged in either cardio exercise and/or strength training, energy in the form of carbohydrates floating in the blood (blood glucose) and stored in muscle and liver (glycogen) get used up and depleted.  In addition, micro tears develop in your muscle.  The harder and longer the workout session the greater the depletion of glucose and glycogen, and the more damage to your muscle tissue.

This is actually a good thing as you need to breakdown muscle in order for growth to occur.  That’s where catabolism and anabolism go hand in hand, however, you can only be in one or the other at any one time.  The anabolic (growth) state should be your preference most of the time.

To slow catabolism and encourage anabolism after the workout session is done, proper foods must be timely ingested.  This will serve to enhance energy replenishment and recovery from the exercise.  In doing so, the next workout session will be better tolerated as muscle soreness and fatigue is minimized.  This also helps improve body composition (fat loss and muscle tissue increase).

So when should the post exercise meal be consumed and what should it consist of?  Research indicates that the meal should be consumed within 30 to 45 minutes after the end of the exercise session.  This metabolic window is when the body is primed for recovery and if the post exercise meal is consumed within that time frame, recovery can be quickly achieved within 4 to 10 hours. 

The metabolic window diminishes, however, from 45 minutes out to about 2 hours where the recovery can take up to 24 to 36 hours.  This is primarily due to the degree of breakdown that has been allowed to occur, facilitating those unwelcomed by-products of exercise mentioned above.

nutritionThe post exercise meal should consist of food that is digested quickly so that energy stores and muscle repair can take place.  Simple carbohydrates (berries, grapefruit, apples, bananas, oranges, and other fruit and fruit juices, chocolate, honey, etc.) will get into the bloodstream rapidly, thereby restoring glucose and glycogen levels.  This will help the body move onto its second priority of repairing damaged muscle tissue.  If carbohydrates are not consumed as part of the post exercise meal, the body will continue to breakdown muscle in search of fuel, thus extending the catabolic state. 

Complex carbohydrates (whole-grain breads and pasta, potatoes, cereal, beans, brown rice, etc.) are also recommended for the post exercise meal as these will be ingested more slowly than the simple carbohydrates, providing a more prolonged increase in blood glucose levels.  This will help to ensure a full recovery. 

Of interest, studies show that carbohydrates ingested immediately after a workout session, vs. 2 hours afterward, doubled the amount of glycogen stores in the body.  The recommended post exercise intake of total carbohydrates (simple and complex) is in the range of .5 to 1 gram per pound of body weight (100 to 200 grams for a 200 lb person). 

The other key ingredient in the post exercise meal is protein.  When combined with carbohydrates, protein maximizes the body’s ability to recover from exercise.  Protein will be needed to begin the repair and growth of muscle tissue that was damaged during the workout session. 

Proteins are made up of amino acids.  The human body manufacturers most of these, but there are 9, the essential amino acids that we must ingest through our diets.  Animal protein and some plant protein such as soy products and quinoa are complete proteins, having all of the 9 essential amino acids.  Vegans can get complete protein by combining foods such as vegetable stir-fry and brown rice, or a grilled cheese sandwich, or hummus. 

The literature recommends a ratio of about 3:1, carbohydrates to protein (33 to 67 grams for a 200 lb. person).  Good sources of protein include milk, chicken, nuts, tofu, fish, eggs, peanut butter, cheese, and yogurt.          

The one-two punch of exercise and nutrition can have a huge impact on the way you look and feel, and how well you strike a golf ball.  If you’ve been feeling sluggish a day or two (or more) after a workout session, chances are you’re not eating properly.  The post exercise meal is vital for energy and muscle recovery.  So pack a PB & J on whole wheat and chocolate milk in your gym bag for after your next workout.     

* For someone who exercises only 1 time per week or for individuals who perform light intensity exercise such as a slow walk or a light weight training session that lasts less than 30-minutes, these post exercise recommendations aren’t necessary.

** Dieting, skipping breakfast, and/or missing meals can also encourage a catabolic state as the body will start to breakdown muscle in an attempt to fuel itself.  To avoid this, have a good breakfast each and every day and then eat smaller meals every 2 to 3 hours to maintain energy levels in the body.  Carbohydrates and protein are recommended.          

EXERCISE OF THE MONTH

Quad-Hip Flexor Stretch

This is a progressive stretch for the quad-hip flexor area.  Be cautious as you lean back on the bench as it will challenge the knee if the quads are tight.  Avoid this stretch if you've had knee replacement.  Tight quads/hip flexors will impede hip mobility and that may rob you of power and distance.

 

 

Check with your physician before starting any type of exercise program.

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

GOLF FITNESS
ASSESSMENT & TRAINING


A quality, customized golf fitness program will. . .
  • Enhance swing efficiency
  • Increase distance
  • Improve playing performance and satisfaction
  • Identify and correct golf-specific injury triggers

    All for much less than what another brand new driver that's going to "fix my game" would cost
     
click here for details

  


The golf exercises are going great.  I am hitting the ball the best I have ever hit it.  My back pain has gone away also. 
 
David R. 

more testimonials

HOST A WORKSHOP

If your Club or organization would like to host an informative golf fitness workshop, contact Bob at bob@golfitcarolina.com or 336-509-4610.

Bob came to my club and did a hour long session on the basics of his teaching and philosophy of fitness and how it relates to the golf swing and its performance.  My members thoroughly enjoyed the hour and wanted more.  I was impressed with his content and explanation.  My members were floored with his Q&A and his personal adaptation to their issues.  I was impressed with his interaction with attendants of the seminar.  If you are looking for someone to integrate your fitness program with the golf program, Bob is the guy to do it!  We will be booking Bob to come back to our club next spring.
Shannon Howell, PGA Head Golf Professional
Country Club of Sapphire Valley, Sapphire Valley, NC


"Bob Forman was fabulous!  He is a great presenter who shared some extremely valuable information related to how anatomical deficiencies such as: poor posture, flexibility, and balance impact our golf swing.  He not only shared what they are and how they impact the swing, but also demonstrated exercises to help correct them."
Ellen Gregory
EWGA-Wilmington, NC chapter

“Westchester is one of the Country’s largest private clubs with a membership that has high expectations for service and performance.  Bob Forman’s seminar on golf specific fitness and flexibility was extremely well received and motivated many of my members to begin a program of evaluation, exercise and follow-ups.  I highly recommend Bob for his knowledge, energy , and ability to connect with amateurs concerning golf fitness.” 
John Kennedy, Director of Golf
Westchester CC, 
Harrison, NY

Bob has a fantastic ability to understand and combine his expertise of the physical complexities of the human body with the PGA Professional’s trained eye with respect to the complexities of the golf swing.  Bob offers a refreshing angle that most amateur and professional golfers can understand and embrace.  Many times, a golfer will have physical limitations that prevents him or her from moving the way the PGA Professional is trying to instruct.  Bob can take the golfer’s weakest physical traits and focus a training program to better overcome those obstacles and allow the golfers to ultimately improve their swing. 
Dennis Nicholl, PGA Head Golf Professional
The Dunes Golf & Beach Club, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

IMPROVE YOUR GAME

Functional Golf Fitness Training is a comprehensive player improvement resource for golfers of all ages and levels, teaching professionals and coaches.  
A great manual for golf teams as well.  

Dedicated chapters on:
- the common physical deficiencies most golfers have, how to detect and correct with over 40 golf-specific exercises and drills
- preventing/alleviating the #1 injury in golf, low back injury
- how to fix the more common swing faults 
- how to put together an inexpensive home gym

Amazon reviews:

"Very clear explanations of causes and fixes for main physical deficiencies affecting golfers. Easy to follow instructions. While other books may give a whole laundry list of exercises that end up not being used, Forman has selected a few for each issue and puts together a program that doesn't take long to do"

"This book not only tells you what to do but also why you need to do and what results you can expect.
I have every book in print about golf fitness and this book is by far the best."


Available in print at TheBookPatch

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or as an ebook on Amazon

Go to
http://www.amazon.com/Functional-Golf-Fitness-Training-ebook/dp/B00FH88Q0Q

SWING FAULT PHYSIOLOGY

Swing mechanics are often influenced by physical deficiencies in the golfer's body.  Below are some of the more common swing faults, their physical causes and how to correct.

GOLF POSTURE

S-POSTURE AND LOW BACK PAIN

EARLY EXTENSION

SWAY & SLIDE

REVERSE SPINE

While correcting the deficiencies, you also need to rewire the brain-body connection in order to break out of the inefficient swing pattern.  

REWIRE THE BAD SWING HABIT

RADIO / PODCASTS

 

 
June 22, 2017
(go to 1:10:00 into the show)
golf posture, muscle imbalance, improving distance, stretching, hydration, Tiger and specialization, Rory and weight lifting



March 14, 2015
(go to 1:08:00 into the show)
fitness vs. golf fitness, strength training and slowing down the aging process, C and S-postures,  


August 28, 2014
We talk about Shan's golf fitness assessment results

 


June 26, 2014


scroll down to 9/9/2013
(go to 23:15 into the show)
back injury