Because golf is such a unique sport, golfers often find themselves at a loss for how to maintain or increase muscle mass using food. Performance nutrition for golf is different from any other sport, so here are four "hole-in-one" ways to help you build muscle.
1. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Golf is a sport of mental and physical endurance, not aerobic exhaustion. The best thing a golfer can do to build muscle and maintain performance is to drink water frequently. Take three or four gulps every other hole. Staying properly hydrated improves your focus and concentration, which translates to better technique on the course. It also helps your muscles use what you have eaten, resulting in increased energy over the long term.
2. Watch what you drink
Water or low-calorie sports drinks (such as Gatorade G2) provide sufficient hydration for most golfers during a round. Off the course, stick with water, low-fat milk or soy milk, or a small amount of 100% fruit juice. Too many calories from liquids can ruin a good muscle-building plan.
3. Choose your snacks carefully
Because golf is not highly exhausting, golfers burn fewer calories per minute than cross-country runners or football players. Munch on snacks that contain protein plus a bit of carbohydrate. Away from the golf course, eat vegetables and hummus or low-fat Greek yogurt with fruit. On the course, stick to easily accessible snacks such as nutrition bars or small amounts of trail mix (nuts and dried fruit). Nibble on a snack every four holes; eat a full snack at the turn of an 18-hole course. Stay away from clubhouse/cart snacks, as they often provide few performance benefits. Proper snacks keep energy going to muscles, which helps them build instead of break down.
4. Train off the course too
Weight training builds muscle and protects your body from injury and illness. If you plan to weight train, eat something 1 to 2 hours prior to working out and an hour after. A nutrition bar is a great pre-workout snack. Post-workout, try two cups of low-fat chocolate milk. This will help you recover and build muscle.
- Improve Your Golf Game by Fueling With 1st and 10th Tee Bars
- Build a Custom Nutrition Plan in 8 Steps
- Eat Healthy for Peak Performance
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock