Q & A with Mike Furci
Q: Hi Mike,
I have been a PGA member for 12 years and in the golf business for more than 20 years. I really appreciate your passion for fitness and golf. I visited the Bullz-Eye site and read your article, "Golf: Reducing your risk of injury and improving your game." I have realized for the past 10 years how important general fitness is, and now how important sport-specific fitness is.
Thank you for your willingness to educate golf professionals like me in this area. I may be able to share a thing or two about the golf swing, but the biomechanical and anatomical make-up of my students is a new area to me.
I do have one question:
I would like to purchase some basic fitness training aids (balls, bands, benches, free weights and items to help with balance and neutral joint alignment like wedges, foam rolls, etc). Could you recommend a beginning inventory and a resource (company) for attaining this beginning fitness inventory?
Thanks so much for the kind words. I approach golfers in the same manner as any other athlete, because that’s exactly what they are. It's humorous that when I give seminars, and refer to golfers as “athletes,” even the golfers themselves are sometimes taken aback.
Golfers need to look at themselves as athletes and treat themselves as such. Just like any other sport, if you don't take care of your body with strength and conditioning, your abilities will decline through age, or worse, an injury. Obviously there is nothing we can do about age -- it is a normal process of life. However, we can maintain the strength and integrity of our bodies through fitness and nutrition.
Power-Systems.com is an excellent source for strength and fitness equipment. Dumbbells are the best piece of home equipment one can have because of their versatility. Stability balls, medicine balls and an adjustable bench are a must. If you can, a power rack is another piece I highly recommend, because of its multiple uses. Bosu balls and stability boards of any kind are absurd and do little. Never use them.
Stability/core training has gotten to the point of ridiculousness. Many trainers and strength coaches are doing their clients a disservice by over-emphasizing this type of training. The best thing you can do for your core is basic, heavy (relatively speaking) exercises with 100 percent intensity. Performing exercises on unstable surfaces should comprise a small part of your overall routine. Absolutely nothing beats basic movements for strength and function like squats, dead lifts, shoulder presses, dumbbell presses, bent over rows, single leg squats and single leg dead lifts, just to name a few.
Q: The following is from one of your previous Q & A columns:
Q: Mike, I was wondering what your opinions are about nitric oxide products?
A: Don't waste your money. It's all hype. No real science behind it.
B.S.! In 1998 three doctors won Nobel prizes proving that nitric oxide prevents heart disease. Google it! LOL!
A: Obviously you didn't read the press release. These studies have nothing to do with supplemental nitric oxide (NO) products. It's common knowledge NO has important properties concerning the cardiovascular system. How do you think they came up with Viagra? Its discovery was the result of researchers working on a blood pressure medication. A better working tool was a side effect reported by individuals involved in the trial period of the drug. The action of Viagra is that it causes the release of nitric oxide, which in turn relaxes the blood vessels and allows more blood flow.
By the way, there is no evidence that NO prevents heart disease. Nitroglycerine helps with angina and is also administered when somebody is in the midst of a heart attack because it releases NO and dilates the vessels, allowing more blood to pass through the narrowed arteries. It treats symptoms, but prevents nothing.
Nitric oxide supplements are all hype and are a waste of money. There is no science behind them.
Reading your website for the past couple of years has made me a real food/supplement skeptic. I was hoping you could help resolve a question for me.
I currently use two different protein powders, "Grow! Premium Whey" by Biotest and "Gold Standard Whey" by Optimum Nutrition. The Grow whey stirs into water and forms a liquid with a syrupy consistency depending on how much you add, while a seemingly miraculous amount of Gold Standard whey can be added to a small amount of water, and it all dissolves very well.
Biotest’s Grow whey is marketed as a bare-bones money-saving protein supplement, while the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey has a huge amount of science-sounding claims about branched chain amino acid (BCAA) content, their proprietary "hydrowhey" technology, instantization and blurbs about how their product uses the highest quality and most expensive whey. The two are actually very similar in price. Grow whey has a nutrition information panel on the container, while the Gold Standard whey has a nearly identical panel labeled supplement information. I know the FDA is pretty impotent in situations like enforcing correct nutrition information, but the nutrition info versus supplement info labeling has me worried.
I really want to believe what Optimum Nutrition says about their product, but I'm especially suspicious of the BCAA claims. The essential amino acids that they claim to have in high quantities (specifically leucine, isoleucine and valine) are also some of the most hydrophobic amino acids. I admit that I know very little about biochemistry, but how is it possible to dissolve five grams of hydrophobic amino acids in eight ounces of water so completely (along with 25 grams of other stuff)?
Thanks for your help and the time you spend reading all this.
I also use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard protein powder. This is definitely one of the best whey proteins on the market. I would never recommend Premium Whey by Biotest because it is a low-quality product. The first ingredient listed in Premium Whey is whey protein concentrate. The first ingredient in Gold Standard is whey isolate. Whey isolate is a far superior protein than whey concentrate. Whey isolate is the most pure, (around 90 percent) and the most expensive. Whey concentrate, on the other hand, can have a purity anywhere between 29 percent and 89 percent.
As far as dissolving five grams of BCAA in eight ounces of water: It wasn't too long ago that dissolving protein in water or milk without a blender couldn't be done. Anyway, the BCAAs contained in Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard are not free form amino acids. The BCAAs are contained within the whey protein species and extracted through digestion.
I’m about to turn 15 years old. I weigh 160 pounds and I’m 5-foot-11. I bench 205 pounds and squat 230 pounds. I work out all the time. What type of protein stuff or something like that would increase my strength without really hurting me, and would make me notice?
Don't believe statements like: too much protein can lead to kidney and liver problems; an average person can only absorb 30 to 40 grams of protein at one sitting; vegetable protein is just as good as meat or fish protein; and on and on. I cannot tell you how tired I am of dealing with this unfounded garbage. Yes you heard it -- unfounded. There is not one study to support any of these statements. You will find, however, a mound of evidence supporting higher protein diets. Protein has a whole host of positive effects.
Protein repairs and maintains everything in our bodies from hormones to muscles. Proteins are made up of building blocks called amino acids. There are eight essential amino acids -- essential meaning we have to ingest these for survival because our bodies cannot manufacture them. If your protein intake is low, your body will get the essential amino acids it needs from your muscle tissue. This is a big reason why vegetarians (especially vegans) have a much lower percentage of muscle than humans who eat animals and fish. And they also have a harder time gaining muscle in the gym, which is due to inferior protein sources.
Why anyone would consciously eat a diet low in protein is beyond me. So having said that -- how much protein should one consume? I, along with many experts in the field, recommend one gram of protein per pound of body weight. However, if you train intensely, which is how you should train, you need upwards of 1.5 to two grams per pound. Matt, at this time I would recommend you consume three nutritious meals and two protein shakes per day. This amount will give you what you need to sustain all the tissues of your body, plus enough quality protein to build the muscle you want. Make sure you eat a protein source with every meal: fish, meat, cottage cheese or eggs. I also want you to have at least one vegetable that you like per meal.
Matt, to put it quite simply, if you do not consume a nutritious diet that contains enough protein, you will not only put a halt to your efforts to have a leaner, more muscular body, you can actually lose some of the muscle you are working so hard to get.
Optimum Nutrition proteins are an excellent source of quality protein.
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