Do you skip breakfast? You’re probably better off skipping the first tee altogether.

Let me guess: you’ve got another early tee-time and you haven’t left yourself enough time to have something to eat because you chose to hit snooze five times. Sound familiar?

You rock up to the club on an empty stomach, thinking you’ve done yourself more good than harm (because no calories is good, right?) but little do you know you’ve just gone and jeopardised any chance you had of playing your best golf because your body is about to feel the full effects of starvation mode. Guilty, yes?

Breakfast is the kickstart your body needs to get the most out of the day, let alone your round, but that doesn’t mean you can just have anything or, even worse, nothing. In fact, the wrong breakfast choices can quickly leave you in a mid-morning slump. If your breakfast isn’t giving you an energy boost to power through the day, chances are you’re doing it all wrong.

If this sounds like you, it’s time to stop stuffing up your first meal of the day. Here are the common breakfast mistakes that damage golfers’ scorecards and waistlines.

You don’t eat breakfast

The cardinal sin of breakfast is not eating it at all. I think I’ve said in a previous issue: it’s like not filling up your petrol tank before driving across the Nullarbor, it’s just a bad idea.

You may think that skipping breakfast will cut out calories, but studies have shown that by skipping breakfast you are more likely to overeat and binge-eat in later meals. You see, your brain is very smart. When your body goes without food for an extended period of time your brain craves foods that are high in energy. This more often than not means foods high in sugar. Before you know it, you’re reaching for the chocolate bars and chips at the halfway house and within an hour or so you’ll find you’re hungry again and reaching for more of those foods.

The other problem when you skip breakfast is your body goes into starvation mode and stores any of the food you are eating as fat and holds onto that fat because it doesn’t know when it’s going to get fed again. It goes, Hang on, this bugger isn’t feeding me. I need to keep this spare tyre because I don’t know when I’m going to get food again.

Don’t make any excuses. If you don’t have time to cook up a high-protein breakfast, you can always grab a healthy shake or smoothie that has all the vitamins and minerals you need.

You don’t hydrate Χ

Newsflash: you should be drinking water all the time, but first thing in the morning is especially important.

Drinking water first in the morning is key for healthy digestion, flushing out toxins, and avoiding dehydration symptoms. Aim for two glasses (500ml) to get your day started, and remember to carry a water bottle with you throughout your round to keep the hydration up.

You eat like a kid Χ

Those sugary cereals that line the supermarket shelves? They’re a bad idea. Such cereals do very little to quench your hunger and give you energy for the day, and the sugar content adds to the mid-morning crash you no doubt experience.

If you enjoy cereal, choose muesli and add fruit, nuts, and milk. Creating a holistic nutrient source is key to getting the most out of your breakfast and consequently your day on the golf course. What is even worse than the clearly marked high-sugar cereals are the ones that claim to be “healthy” or “fat-free”. They are the silent killers that will have you stacking on the kegs faster than the others.

Avoid all sugar and high-carb foods in the morning. Instead, start your day with high protein breakfast like The Man Shake, scrambled eggs or greek yogurt.

By having protein for breakfast, your body will burn fat all day and keep you fuller for longer.

Careful with the coffee !

A cup of coffee is not breakfast. If you want to avoid being Mr Cranky Pants, then you need energy and caffeine is not the answer.  What is even worse is that you might stop for coffee on the way to the course and, lo and behold, the servo or café you walk into has muffins, banana bread, sausage rolls and pies right next to the coffee machine. You never stood a chance.

Keep the blinkers on, grab your coffee and get out!


• Former NRL star Adam MacDougall is a qualified health, nutrition and fitness coach plus a two-time best-selling health and fitness author. Read on for more nutrition advice from Adam.