In addition to the amount of sleep you get at night, the types of food you eat throughout the day have a direct impact on how you feel and perform. While carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are all important components of your diet, the carbohydrate is the most important source of energy– or “master fuel”– for an active athlete.
When consumed, carbohydrates break down into simple sugars– glucose, fructose, and galactose– for immediate use. This is why keeping a sports drink on hand throughout a workout can help keep your energy up. Any leftover glucose then gets stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, and anymore glucose beyond that gets stored as fat. Without consuming too much, you want to ensure that you are intaking a sufficient amount of carbohydrates so that you don’t crash during a workout– otherwise your body will need to start pulling energy from protein (which you want to save for muscle growth!)
The average human can store approximately 350 grams in muscle glycogen and 90 grams in liver glycogen; however, it is also important to consider your own body weight and muscle mass when devising a nutrition plan. You can store a maximum amount of 15 grams of glycogen per kilogram of body weight (verywellfit.com) so you can calculate your own body’s capacity based on your body weight. If you work out regularly, you should aim to fill your glycogen capacity and replenish it with carbs throughout the workout and after during recovery.
Contrary to popular belief, cutting out fat entirely won’t help you lose fat; in fact, it will just make you burn fat slower. Fat has twice as much energy as carbs and proteins, although it takes a much longer time to digest. Once the fat from your diet makes its way to your muscles in time for your workout, it is highly conducive to higher metabolism and muscle building. Treat yourself to some avocado toast in the morning, but still practice moderation– especially with fat consumption directly before or after your workout.
To get the most out of your performance, choose foods that are low-fat, high carb and moderate protein. Each participant should experiment with different quantities of foods and beverages to determine their individual plan for before, during and after exercise. Monitor what you eat and adjust your diet as necessary to maximize benefits. Here are some examples suggested by Todd below:
Inquire within Fit for Golf-Set for Life to see how Todd keeps weekly logs of his fitness and nutrition. Eat well and work out hard! Tune in next week for a guide to club positioning for an optimal full swing.