What supplements should I take? Possibly one of the most commonly asked questions for performance professionals. How does this relate to golfers, let alone junior golfers? With health and wellness becoming more commonplace in golf, and given the importance of understanding how nutrition can affect performance, knowing what your body needs to perform at the highest possible level and how to get it is vital information.
In accordance with the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI), my formal education on supplements, and personal use, below is some guidance on these important questions.
Some supplements to consider:
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin D
- Whey Protein
During the day, a lot of people do not ingest all of the proper vitamins and minerals that should be in their diet. Not getting essential vitamins and minerals will cause a person to become deficient in these items, resulting in a breakdown in the metabolic pathway. With a breakdown in your metabolism, one’s performance will decrease quickly. Therefore, by incorporating a high-quality multi-vitamin with breakfast, you will reap the highest benefits, especially during performance, such as walking 18 holes during a tournament round.
Fish oil is a form of fatty acid that is derived from the tissues of oily fish. It contains Omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Here are 10 reasons why fish oil is an essential supplement to take:
Vitamin D promotes bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones, especially in children, and fragile bones in adults. Also, Vitamin D deficiency has been liked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, and weight gain. To prevent all of the issues that comes with deficiency, make sure you get an adequate amount of Vitamin D. I would recommend getting Vitamin D from natural sources such as fish, milk, cheese, butter, whole grains and plenty of sunshine.
Glutamine plays key roles in protein metabolism, cell volumizing, and anti-catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue). Glutamine also increases your ability to secrete Human Growth Hormone, which helps metabolize body fat and support new muscle growth. Active individuals should take 10-15 grams of L-Glutamine per day. To reap the full benefits, especially in the gym, taking L-Glutamine can bring one’s golf game to the next level.
BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
All proteins are composed of 20 difference amino acids. There are eight that the body cannot produce, which are isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine, these are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be ingested in food, or supplementation, to get them inside the body. BCAAs stimulate the production of insulin. The main function of insulin is to allow the circulating blood sugar to be taken up by the muscle cells and used as a source of energy. BCAAs are also anti-catabolic because they help prevent protein breakdown and muscle loss. In order to maintain muscle, especially after a hard day of golf and fitness, it is important to take a BCAA supplement to prevent the loss of muscle and maintain energy levels. It is recommended that a person take .15-.16g/kg of bodyweight per day.
Taking a whey protein supplement can allow a person to get more protein in their diet, through a powder or shake, to allow for optimum muscle recovery. Whey protein can also help a person lose fat and preserve muscle, increase size and strength in muscles, reduce hunger, and improve immune function. It is best to take a whey protein supplement 30 minutes after a golf session or fitness session. It is suggested that a person take 17-20g per 100 lbs. of body weight.
The most researched supplement out there is creatine. The general consensus is that creatine is an essential supplement to take. I might even say that it is the number one supplement a person, athlete or not, should take. Here is why:
- Strength jolt. Creatine helps your muscles build phosphocreatine, which gives you the ability to perform better at shorter, intense, strength building exercises.
- Quicker start. It has been shown that creatine can significantly improve a muscles power production by 10% (think about it, creatine may help you hit the ball farther).
- Boosts testosterone in men. Testosterone helps a male keep energy, endurance, strength, and mental sharpness in order. Creatine can boost these elements to improve performance.
- More productivity. Creatine has been proven to help productivity within the day. That means you can get more out of your golf training, fitness sessions and school work.
There is one misconception out there about creatine: Creatine loading, which means ingesting more creatine than the body needs to give an extra boost, then after the loading period, reducing to the normal amount of five grams per day. This is not effective because when the body has more than normal amounts of a nutrient in the body, it will digest it, and not use it. Therefore, for males and females alike, a person should take five grams of creatine per day taken in the form of creatine monohydrate (the purest form of creatine). Most creatine is unflavored, so I recommend taking the powder form in a fruit juice.
NOTE: Follow all the directions on the bottle of the supplement that you take. There is no sense in taking more than the body needs because it puts unnecessary stress on the metabolism. IJGA recommends speaking with a physician or dietitian before starting any supplement program. Supplements are to supplement a diet (with your normal meals per day), they do not replace a diet; doing so will hinder performance and cause malnutrition.
IJGA Director of Performance Training