As a keen golfer, the demands on your time can sometimes seem overwhelming. Running businesses, commuting to work, spending time with your family, marketing, filing your tax returns – plenty of things get in the way of hitting the range or keeping up with your practice and workout schedule.
I remember when I decided to turn my life around. I was working 60 hours a week and I know how hard it can be to find time for your health. Doing so will actually save you time. It was only when I set aside a couple of hours a week to deal with my physical problems that my golf improved and my mental equilibrium was restored. The surge in energy and mental calm you’ll achieve will increase your productivity in all areas of your life.
If you are serious about playing the game for as long as possible and improving your performance, instead of seeing your distance and quality of life steadily decline, you also need to set aside some time every week for exercise and practice.
This doesn’t have to be a huge drain on your spare time. In fact, short and high-intensity exercises can have a more beneficial effect than long workouts. We’re looking for the most bang for our buck, improving our diet, body and health in the most efficient way possible.
If you are smart about your golfing schedule, you can improve your game, get in shape and meet all of your obligations in other areas of your life.
Get Maximum Impact From Your Exercise
When I decided to turn my life around, I tried conventional methods first. Calorie restricted diets, intense gym sessions and long runs had little effect. They just left me exhausted, sleep-deprived, and inflamed. The worst part was I hardly lost any weight.
So I rejected the conventional advice I’d been taught in medical school about diet and exercise and adopted the Primal lifestyle. I focused on eating real food, lifting weights, occasional brief and intense workouts and lots of low-intensity movement (consider skipping the cart and enjoy a walk around the course).
For high intensity interval training (HIIT), you only need to exercise for short periods of time. However, when you work out, you need to do so at a high level of intensity. Short sprints, cycling sessions or lifts are followed by short rest periods, before the workout is repeated. HIIT sessions tend to last for around 5-20 minutes and after that, you’re done.
For me, the results of HIIT were spectacular. My weight dropped 30lbs, and by mixing in weight training I added muscle in the process. My cardiovascular fitness improved and my energy levels actually rose. It was the opposite of my previous training routine.
I found that I could fit HIIT training into an increasingly busy schedule, crucial with my son having been born and professional commitments to meet. I also found that I had more time to hit the range. Instead of pounding the sidewalk in my jogging shoes, I could pound balls with my driver.
Simplify Your Diet
Changing my diet also gave me more time to practice. When you master the list of foods that can or cannot be eaten on the Primal diet, it’s easy to prepare nutritious meals in a few minutes.
A combination of green vegetables and steak or fish will usually be enough for me. However, I also like to prepare larger meals and space them out over a few days. That way, I can make sure I get enough protein and healthy fats, and save time that could be spend working out or on the range.
One week it could be a meat and vegetable stew. Another, I could whip up a curry, or I might grill a big batch of chicken breast and combine that with salads for the next few days.
The only catch is when I need to prepare family meals or eat out. The key is not to strive for perfection or beat yourself up in you slip up. In fact you should embrace it and enjoy every bite. Stick to the 80/20 principle, make smart choices 80% of the time and you can accommodate a few exceptions to the primal routine every now and then.
Don’t Become a Slave to the Range
Some people also feel the need to visit the range every evening. If you’re that kind of player, you need to reassess your strategy. Quality of practice is much more important than quantity. Hitting thousands of balls every week won’t automatically improve your game. It’s how you hit them that counts.
Hitting too many balls can actually hinder your progress by causing stiffness and compensating for poor muscle strength. Unless you focus on making your core stronger, you may well be creating biomechanical problems over the long-term.
So here’s what I’ve learned…
You need to balance your time between workouts, social life, diet and range work (and find time for the odd round too, of course). With the right planning you can find the time to improve your fitness and your golf game. It’s just a question of taking control and knowing what advice to trust.