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Why lifting weights & eating whole foods is going to help your golf game

BAUS LIFEstylists - The average golfer will experience a nagging injury from time to time, or just have a bad game once in a while (maybe more often than not). Either way, they tend to believe there is something wrong with their swing or their gear. While ineffective swing mechanics or old worn out club faces might be the cause, it’s likely also a sign of weakness, immobility, inflexibility and poor nutrition.

Strength training for golf has been a highly contested topic over the years. Many have this idea that lifting weights is going to turn them into some sort of tank top wearing beast that has to walk through doors sideways and seek assistance to wipe their own ass. None of which scream the image of a golfer. But that’s simply not true! Here’s what is true:

1. Different sports require unique program design - The needs of a power lifter are not the same as those required in golf. The ballistic element requires strength to apply force to an external object (swinging the club to hit the ball), and the rotational component in golf places a ton of stress on muscles and joints, most notably those in the shoulders, lower back and hips. Therefore it’s beneficial to engage in a strength training program that focuses on mobility and flexibility to stabilize the shoulders, loosen the hips, and build power, strength and speed in your golf swing.

2. Stronger is better - Let’s face it, modern day lifestyles are as sedentary as they’ve ever been. As a result, people tend to be weaker and lack mobility. Those who struggle to perform basic movement patterns such as squatting and lunging, have a much more difficult time performing complex movements like the golf swing which requires hip loading and torque on the spine. Strength training helps address these functional movement inconsistencies, and stronger people who move better, stand the best chance at performing at the top of their game.

3. Strength helps speed - As a golfer, you already know the benefits of increased speed through your swing. Stronger individuals generate more speed. More speed means more force generated at impact which translates to more distance and/or control.

4. Strength builds stamina - Fitter individuals will outlast unfit ones. It’s that simple. Golf is a taxing sport and swinging a weighted club repeatedly (some more than others), over 4-5 hours takes its toll. A strength training program combined with metabolic interval training helps build stamina to fight against fatigue.

5. Strength builds muscle memory - Muscle memory allows you to repeat a movement pattern, such as getting the golf club on the same plane time after time. This is important in developing consistency, and who doesn’t want to be consistent in golf?

So what about nutrition?

Snack shacks and beer carts are pretty much pillars of any golf experience. Neither of which evoke thoughts of good nutrition. That being said, the average golfer isn’t looking to turn pro and having a hot dog and a cold one at the turn is all part of the fun. So rather than focus on those as negatives, we recommend a “progress not perfection” approach. Look at adding more of the foods that support good health and positive habits and that will leave less time and craving for the types of foods that don’t support good health. This strategy focuses more on positive action rather than punishment and shame. The following are basic good practices to help keep you energized and performing at your best during your round:

1. Pre-round meal - Give your body the energy it needs to perform at your best with a meal consisting of lean protein (bison, chicken, etc.), complex carbs (vegetables, whole grains, etc.), and healthy fats (avocado, peanut butter, etc.). This will help create sustained energy throughout your round when supported with healthy snack options. When it comes to protein, less processed is best. Complex carbs provide energy stores that your body will access over longer periods of time rather than simple carbs that are higher in sugar. While simple carbs provide a brief energy surge, it fades fast, and results in less energy and more fatigue.

2. Hydration - Drink more water. Over the course of a 4 hour round, you are likely going to sweat (especially in hotter environments). It is recommended that you drink at least 500 ml of water 1-2 hours before you tee it up and another 500 ml every hour of play. Beer contributes to dehydration so if you’re having a few beers, be sure to drink some water in between.

3. Snacks - Eat smaller snacks more often. Consider having an apple after teeing off on the 4th hole and a half whole wheat bagel on the 8th. Try a protein shake at the halfway house and a hard boiled egg and some trail mix throughout the back nine.

We are Rick & Denae Marz, co-creators of BAUS LIFEstylists. We specialize in making fitness, nutrition and overall general health a relevant issue and supporting people in their journey towards a healthier life through virtual and/or in person face to face personal training, nutrition coaching, sports nutrition & lifestyle coaching.

Our golf specific strength and nutrition programs are designed to help reduce the risk of injury, strengthen the muscle groups used in the golf swing and improve mood and focus to help you both physically and mentally on and off the course. Results are best achieved with consistency.

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