1. Recovering Sleep Debt
2. Controlling our Emotions/Stress
3. Thermal Effect of Food - Timely Eating
4. Resetting our Body Clocks - Synchronization
6. Developing a Golf Specific Fitness Routine
1.Recovering Sleep Debt
Sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes to our bodies defending more fat. For every 16 hours we are awake, we accumulate 8 hours of sleep debt. If we don't pay back this debt, we consistently give our bodies underlying stress. This debt inhibits our ability to perform at a peak level. Our brain needs to achieve 4 levels of sleep plus R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement) on a regular basis to fully rejuvenate and repair. This also enables us to think clearer, be more aware, and have more energy throughout the day. Bottom line is... before a big round of golf make sure we get at least eight hours of solid sleep so we can perform at a higher level.
2.Controlling our Emotions/Stress
Most of our stress and severe mood changes on the golf course rarely ever happen because our ball went in the water. The stress was created hours to days even years before we even struck the first shot of the day. Most highly emotional people build stress up at work, home, or daily lifestyle and carry that stress over to the course. We need to have a stress relief system in tact. We have to be aware of our heart rate and breathing pattern, understanding that negative and positive emotions have the same affect on our system. A negative/positive reaction creates a severe spike in our heart rate which increases our breathing pattern and stress levels as our body works hard to maintain itself. So if this happens, try pace breathing. You can do this at any time, breath in for 5 seconds and than out for 5 seconds. Do this for 3-4 minutes and you will feel much more at ease as your heart and breathing become synchronized and your mind will become calm.
3.Thermal Effect of Food - Timely Eating
Thermal Effect of Food or TEF is the flame in our stomach when we wake up each morning. In Other words the most important meal of the day is breakfast. No matter the size of breakfast, our personal TEF will burn off 40% of the calories without any activity in the first hour after eating. As the day progresses our flame or TEF gets smaller and our ability to burn calories becomes less. We often don't eat a big breakfast and this results in us hitting a wall or getting sleepy in the middle of the day, and creates poor food choices and bigger portion sizes as we eat later in the day. The ultimate outcome... we gain more weight and become sluggish or lazy. If you are preparing for an important tournament, make sure you include a big nutritious breakfast many days prior to and during the event. This will increase energy levels later in the round.
4.Resetting our Body Clocks - Synchronization
Resetting our body clock is like getting ourselves into a healthy routine. One that involves proper sleep, controlling stress levels, timely eating, and regular exercise. However, the synchronization part is that we do the above at similar times day in and day out. If we are synchronized than we will achieve proper release of hormones, meaning serotonin and melatonin among others are released when they should be. Serotonin is our daytime hormone which keeps us energetic through the daytime hours, and melatonin is our night time hormone that helps us go to sleep. If we have a routine that involves waking up shortly after sunrise, stepping outside and getting 10 minutes of direct sunlight to our eyes, than going in and eating a big healthy breakfast, followed by a cool and hot shower we will release our serotonin. Comparatively, to release our melatonin, we should exercise approximately 2 hours prior to sunset for maximum 30-45 min, have a high protein dinner with smaller portions, than go for a walk 30 min after sunset. Also, eliminate or avoid fluorescent light use, TV/Computer viewing, and eating a meal 1 hour prior to bed. All this will help us reset our body clock and ensure we wake up fresh and ready to go each morning.
Well we all have our ideas on nutrition, and there are a million books and print on this topic. However, I am going to talk about nutrition on the golf course. The main problem I see on the golf course with players is, not enough water intake, and not enough protein intake. I will keep this short and sweet. We require 2 litres of water a day with light activity levels, add a round of golf and we require an additional 1 litre of clear fluid. There are some tell tale signs of dehydration on the golf course. One, cramping of any muscles. Two, joint pain. Three, blurred vision or poor decision making. Any of these symptoms requires water immediately. Also, seek out protein bars, bring almonds/nuts, hard boiled eggs, and protein mix that can be ingested to make sure our muscle tissue can feed and repair. We put our bodies through lots of work during a golf round, so it is vital that we intake as much water and protein that we can.
6.Developing a Golf Specific Fitness Routine
Finally, I suggest seeking out a fitness trainer or health coach who is specific to golf and understands how the golf swing works. Dr. Sean Flecth of SwingLink is a great example of this. Developing a fitness program that revolves around your physical limitations and swing flaws can greatly benefit your game. A good fitness routine will be one that works on the 5 physical factors to a golf swing. They are, balance, posture, mobility, stability, and functional strength. A proper fitness routine should be done for approximately 30-45 mins a minimum of 3 days a week. Make sure to incorporate exercises specific to those areas and you will become much more golf fit for the new season.