October 24, 2011

Change Your Eating Habits, Change Your Game

There is little doubt that carbohydrates play a key role in athletic performance. Carbohydrates fuel muscles, the brain and nerves before, during and after exercise. However, carbohydrate ingestion can affect the body in different ways, creating responses that can either hinder or help athletic performance. Change your eating habits by substituting lower glycemic carbohydrates in place of simple sugars and high glycemic foods and watch your game soar, not your handicap.

Take a look at the charts below to see the difference in the body’s response to high, medium and low glycemic food choices.

Rice Cakes-82 (High)

Banana-54 (Mid)

Apple-38 (Low)

Take a look at the effect of rice cakes on your body. Blood sugar levels are on your left side, while the time is recorded on the bottom. It only takes 15 to 30 minutes to see a dramatic increase in a person’s blood sugar level. Yet, transitioning into 45 minutes and up to an hour following consumption, there is a dramatic decrease in your energy levels.

In contrast, look at the chart of an apple. Blood sugar levels are only slightly increased and remain steady with respect to time. Did anybody watch The Masters golf tournament this year? Do you remember watching Ernie Els as he prepared for a possible play off against Phil Mickelson? He posted his score, then grabbed an apple in his remaining moments as he waited to see what the final results would be. Was this coincidental or a carefully planned nutritional strategy to boost his game? Given the set of circumstances, Ernie Els did exactly what was needed to keep his energy levels constant. When you choose high glycemic foods, you choose the consequence of fatigue, loss of mental focus, and decreased stamina. When you choose foods in the low to medium category, you create sufficient stamina and endurance. You actively choose to enhance your performance not increase your chances of losing it on the back nine.

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