By Dr. James Cima – Head of The Cima Health and Wellness Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

I’ve learned from studying nutrition for decades that your body cannot perform if you are eating badly. When younger, I wanted soda, cookies, cake, ice cream and candy. I loved junk food, so my dad said to me one day, “James, if you are going to eat junk, your body will be built on junk.”
It took a while, but I finally realized that if I didn’t eat properly, my body couldn’t work properly.

How this truth affects you as a junior golfer is:

• You become weak and lose strength
• You cannot think properly and choose the wrong club or make a poor decision
• You do not have the energy to finish strong
• Your friends are getting bigger and stronger and you are not (this was me)

Quite simply, if you want to win, then eat like a winner and not a loser. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat junk food from time to time, but it shouldn’t be a consistent habit. If a bad diet is part of your regular routine, you are living to eat, rather than eating to live. So let’s look at the main purposes of food and which types will help you to live – and live better.


Every day, your food must nourish your body in three ways:

1. Give you tons of energy, which every golfer requires.
2. Help your body to become bigger and stronger. (Did you know that your body rebuilds itself every 6 months to a year?) If you eat properly, your body will be bigger and stronger next year, allowing you to hit the ball farther.
3. Produce all the body chemicals such as blood, antibodies, lymph, and hormones.

So what foods will do this for you?


PROTEIN – After water, which makes up 50–70 percent of the human body, protein is the next most abundant substance. At 30–40 percent of body mass, protein is a worker molecule found in your muscles, bones, nerves, organs/glands and skin. The name, coined in 1838 by Dutch chemist Gerard Johann Mulder, means “of the first importance.” Determining your protein requirement is an
absolute must since your nutritional program will revolve around it.

Protein, in almost all cases, is found in the same foods as fat. So, by eating a proper amount of protein, you should also get your fat requirement. Regardless if you want to play golf for fun or you are extremely serious about it, eating a lot of protein can help.

FAT – If protein serves as your body’s bricks, fat is its cement. When building a brick building, you need cement so that the bricks adhere to each other. Here are the reasons why fat is important in our diets:

1. Fat, in conjunction with protein, produces cells and vital body chemicals. In nature, fat and protein are always found together, so it stands to reason that your body requires both together.
2. Fat is also responsible for the production of cell membranes, hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
3. Fat acts as an insulator for your nervous system and skin, preventing nerves from short circuiting and regulating heat and water loss through the skin.
4. Fat effectively promotes energy and heat production.

CARBOHYDRATE – Used to supply energy, carbohydrates can be instantly applied or stored. This energy is necessary to run all bodily processes. To play better golf you must learn which carbohydrates give you instant energy and which are converted and stored as fat so that you
have an adequate supply throughout your round. Though crucial for your body’s growth and overall health, carbohydrates can lead to obesity if consumed in excess, just as eating too much fat can.

That’s why we say that balance is the key to good nutrition. Make sure you have adequate protein from sources such as beef, chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, eggs and cheese, and plenty of vegetables, fruit and whole grains in the form of bread, pasta and rice.

And remember – eat to live, and live well.

Dr. James Cima heads the Cima Health and Wellness Center in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
For more information visit: www.Cimahealth.com