How does my diet plan for powerlifting work? There are four steps to my diet plan for powerlifting. They are simple, yet effective. On this page I will explain how each of these steps works and offer you a sample diet for powerlifting example as well. There are many different diet plans available from all over the web, but this is a universal solution that will work for everyone.
Diet Plan For Powerlifting
The idea that you need to load your face with trash in order to lift heavy objects is a thing of the past. Find out how to create the ideal powerlifting diet for your objectives and your sport.
The old powerlifter attitude of “weight moves weight” has begun to change over the past few years. You’ll notice that many of the greatest lifters right now are leaner and more muscular than before.
“In the past, quality and substance were not as important as growing quickly and as large as possible at any cost. But as more individuals become knowledgeable about nutrition, we see that this isn’t the greatest course of action, says legendary powerlifter Laura Phelps, who is now a coach for aspiring lifters.
1. Calculate The Right Amount Of Carbs For You
“How much protein do I need?” is a common question among athletes who lift weights for competition. But the response to that is typically rather straightforward: roughly 1 gram per pound of body weight, perhaps a little bit more or less. Carbohydrates are one area where they should probably concentrate on fine-tuning things because athletes have a tendency to take them to extremes: either much too low or way too high.
Going extremely low-carb is not the solution for powerlifters, according to Phelps, because carbohydrates are important for brain function, muscular growth, and muscle contraction.”Eating enough high-quality carbohydrates is essential for achieving peak performance during challenging anaerobic lifting workouts. However, extremely high quantities of carbohydrates are not really necessary during training phases with extended rest intervals between sets.
Registered dietitian and competitive powerlifter Paul Salter pursues the following standards:Carbohydrates should account for 50% of your daily calories on training days, or about 1.8 grams per pound of body weight. Reduce that to 30% of calories, or around 1.2 grams per pound of body weight, on days when you aren’t exercising. This also fits in perfectly with his advice for strongman athletes.
Do you typically work out for more than 90 minutes, or perhaps close to two hours? Then you may want to add some carbs during your workout. The popular Uplifted strength and muscle training program was developed by powerlifter Meg Squats. This could take the form of a drink or a snack like a protein rice crispy treat.
Remember to exclude the peanut butter if you’re cooking these as a post-workout snack because it slows down digestion.
2. Avoid Critical Mistakes On Competition Day
Many powerlifters approach competitions like an endurance race and consume massive amounts of carbohydrates.But rather than a marathon, meet day is more like a sequence of three sprints.
You’re not working out all the time, Salter claims.Thus, significant intakes of slowly digested carbohydrates are not necessary for long-lasting energy.Eat moderate portions of lower-fiber foods instead, as they digest more rapidly and leave you feeling lighter. Consider pretzels, granola bars, rice cakes, or even cereals.
We have all of your meet-day needs covered, from crisp and delicious protein chips to soft and chewy protein cookies.
Phelps knows from experience how helpful this advice can be. “I was one of those lifters who didn’t do well with heavy foods, so my go-to snacks were rice cakes, baby food packets, bananas, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and carbohydrate drinks,” she says.
If your federation does two-hour weigh-ins, Salter recommends a protein shake and a carb-rich sports drink right after. This is easy to digest, provides a good number of calories, and helps with hydration. If you have the luxury of a 24-hour weigh-in, eat as normal, focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods.
Both Salter and Phelps also agree that meet day is not the time to try new foods. Nothing you eat is worth potentially affecting your performance on the platform.
Protein is your friend both during prep and on meet day.
3. Don’t Forget About Water And Sodium
Have you ever eaten well and slept for a good 7-8 hours, but your lifts felt awful? Your water consumption could be the issue.
For anaerobic performance and recovery, hydration is essential. When properly hydrated and with balanced calcium, potassium, and salt levels, muscles contract more quickly. This is important when performing heavy singles that are close to your one-rep maximum, according to Phelps.The good news is that you can mostly regulate your electrolyte balance by eating and drinking enough water.
Additionally, try to take the adage “salt is bad for you” with a grain of salt. Promoting a low-sodium diet is typically a response to the salt that is added to manufactured foods. But when it comes to performance, salting your diet is acceptable—even beneficial. During intense training phases, Salter advises sparingly salting all of your meals.
Unsure of your level of hydration? For a few weeks, keep track of your water intake. Maybe you’re not drinking as much as you think!
*BCAAs, electrolytes, and other nutrients to support hydration, endurance, and recovery.For outdoor training or endurance athletes, these goods are ideal.
4. Eat With Your Workouts In Mind
There is no one size fits all macronutrient ratio, nor is there a single “right” way to eat. But the more you workout, the more your eating habits may have a significant impact on your performance.
According to Phelps, you should plan your daily carb intake around your workouts: consume 20–30% of them before your workout to maintain your energy levels throughout, and 25–35% of them after to refill them.
For powerlifters, Phelps and Salter like to distribute the entire daily caloric intake over a minimum of three meals and a maximum of five—or perhaps three meals and two snacks. Any more, and you’ll find it difficult to organize and prepare your meals. If you eat less, you can find it difficult to eat enough food at once and risk feeling bloated and miserable.
Eat Like An Athlete
Almost any strength athlete or lifter can benefit from all of this knowledge, even though it is crucial for powerlifters. If you consider yourself to be an athlete, Salter advises investing in your nutrition education and learning the fundamentals of fitness nutrition. Prioritize getting adequate fuel before, during, and after exercises by finding the necessary resources to set up a strategy.
Meal Plan for a Powerlifter
Short bursts of extremely heavy weight lifting are the foundation of the sport of powerlifting. Fitness is not the primary goal, and weight training sessions are typically very lengthy with lengthy breaks in between sets.
The major objective is explosive power, and while having a large body mass is advantageous, having too much excess body fat might restrict breathing and may be problematic. Lean muscle mass is not the goal, but the powerlifter also shouldn’t be carrying too much fat.
A powerlifter’s food plan is comparable to that of an off-season bodybuilder because they both should eat for strength, which will lead to increased muscular size. Eating large amounts of food on a regular basis throughout the day while adhering to a set meal schedule is the key to healthy quality weight gain.
Instead of three enormous meals, powerlifters should consume six or seven medium sized meals or snacks. Include lots of high-protein meal options, such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk, as well as sources of vital fats and fiber, low-glycemic carbohydrates, such as cereals, bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes, as well as fruit and vegetables (don’t forget that nuts and pulses are also excellent sources of protein).
The timing of meals is also crucial; eat consistently throughout the day. Due to the lengthy nature of training sessions, structure is especially crucial. 30 minutes prior to working out, have low glycemic carbohydrates, and immediately before and after, consume a modest amount of simple carbohydrates.
Additionally, consuming protein before, during, and right after exercise may be beneficial. Protein and weight-gain supplements can be helpful tools for building muscle and strength, but they shouldn’t take the place of decent, nutritious diet.
To help load the muscles for an event, it would be a good idea to eat more carbohydrates the day before the event. Nutrition for an event should be comparable to that of a weight training session.
The suggested menu is for a powerlifter who weighs about 230 pounds (105 kilograms) and is looking to build strength. Because powerlifting requires a lot of rest, a powerlifter often only works out two or three times per week. The only variation on days when you don’t train should be your pre-workout meal.
30g whey protein in water
Serving of James’ Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker
2 slices granary bread toasted + crunchy peanut butter
Sandwiches: 4 slices granary bread + tuna / chicken / ham
Large handful mixed nuts
Large chicken breast or 2 mackerel fillets
100g basmati rice or wholewheat pasta
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Large mixed salad
Low fat yoghurt
4 squares Easy Flapjacks
Large handful mixed nuts
Mug green tea
30 mins pre-workout
20g whey protein + 30g dextrose in water
during workout Sip 20g whey protein
Immediately post workout
20g scoop whey protein + 30g dextrose + 30g maltodextrin in water
60 mins later
250g lean red meat or 250g chicken / turkey or 300g white fish
100g basmati rice or 100g wholewheat pasta or 6-8 small boiled new potatoes or 1 large sweet potato (dry roasted)
Large serving of vegetables / salad
Low fat yoghurt
Serving of James’ Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker
As with all the meal plans this is merely a guide and must not be stuck to rigidly! Eat a variety of different meats / fish / alternatives, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. Adapt the plan to suit your own needs and lifestyle according to your results and performance in the gym in order to keep the strength gains coming.
Powerlifting Diet 101: Performance Nutrition for the Strength Athlete
Should Powerlifters follow a Bodybuilding Diet Plan?
Bodybuilding diets seem to get the lion’s share of attention when it comes to health and performance, but what about powerlifting nutrition? Should strength athletes follow the same meal plan as bodybuilders for optimal results? Well, yes and no.
No single “ideal” powerlifting diet should be followed by all strong athletes. When it comes to performance nutrition, powerlifters and bodybuilders can benefit greatly from one another. Since muscle mass and strength typically go hand in hand, resistance exercise results in neither of these benefits being mutually incompatible.
Controlling your body weight (and body composition) is essential if you want to compete in powerlifting so that you don’t go over the weight class limit on competition day. Naturally, this also means that you should keep an eye on your calorie consumption throughout the offseason to prevent gaining too much weight; the last thing you want in the last weeks of training before a competition is to have to severely reduce your calorie intake in order to maintain your weight.
In light of this, we had the opportunity of speaking with Maria Htee, a powerlifter for Transparent Labs and an International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) champion, about her nutritional methods and what a regular meal plan entails. She also shared her go-to vitamins for strength training sessions and competition days with us.
Maria’s Powerlifter Diet Meal Plan
Maria Htee is dense (with a capital D) in terms of physicality. The Canadian is only 4’11” tall and competes in the 57 kg (125.4 lbs) weight division. However, a quick glance at her figure reveals that she has very little body fat for a female and fits a lot of muscular mass into her little frame.
Maria has performed some amazing exploits as a competitive powerlifter, so don’t let her size fool you. She actually possesses the squat (174 kg), bench press (103 kg), deadlift (188 kg), and three-lift total (468.5 kg) records for Canada in the IPF. (Yes, she lifts and squats more than three times as much weight as she does!)
To perform at such a high level, Maria not only trains hard but takes her nutrition seriously year-round. Whether she’s trying to lose weight or build muscle, she eats every 3-4 hours throughout the day and generally doesn’t consume heavily processed foods.
So, what exactly does Maria Htee’s powerlifting nutrition plan look like leading up to a competition? Let’s take a look:
7:00 AM — Breakfast
- 2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites
- 1 Orange
- 4 capsules of TL Multivitamin
10:00 AM — Mid-Morning Snack
- 1 scoop of TL 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein chocolate peanut butter flavor mixed in 1/2 cup (cooked) oatmeal
1:30 PM — Pre-Workout Meal
- High-protein, low-carb stir fry made with:
- 120 g (cooked) 93/7 ground beef
- Green veggies
- 15 g almond or peanut butter
2:45 PM — Pre-Workout (30 minutes before training session)
- 1 scoop of Transparent Labs Lean Pre-Workout
3:15 – 4:45 PM — Intra-Workout (Sips on throughout her workout)
- 1 Scoop of Transparent Labs Intra
5:00 PM — Post-Workout Protein Shake
- 1 scoop of TL 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
- 1 scoop of TL Prebiotic Greens
6:30 PM — Post-Workout Meal
- 120 g (cooked) 93/7 ground turkey or chicken breast
- 1/2 cup (cooked) rice or mashed sweet potatoes
- 1/2 avocado
- 2 capsules of TL Turmeric
9:30 PM — Supper
- 120 g (cooked) fish or seafood
- Mixed green veggies (asparagus, broccoli, spinach)
As you can see by Maria’s food choices and methodical nutrient timing, a powerlifting diet plan is not just a free-for-all. Sure, super heavyweights may eat tons of calories per day because they have nothing to worry about as far as weigh-ins go, but for the less-hefty powerlifters like Htee, caloric intake and macros (e.g. protein, fat, and carbs) matter.
BODY WEIGHT, CALORIC INTAKE, AND MACRONUTRIENTS
Maria understands that even when boosting muscle growth and strength is the goal, her caloric intake doesn’t have to be excessive because she is on the shorter side. Her basal metabolic rate (BMR), however, is likely far higher than that of other girls of comparable height and body mass because she has a lot of muscle and minimal body fat.
Maria eats roughly 150 to 160 grams of protein per day (or 2.5 grams per kilogram of body weight or 1.13 grams per pound of body weight). She places a focus on sources of lean protein such eggs, chicken, turkey, and seafood. Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate, which has 28 grams of protein per scoop to enhance muscle protein synthesis, is her go-to protein source after workouts.
She also maintains a somewhat low-carb diet that balances sources of healthy fats like almonds and avocado. When Maria is dieting for a competition, she finds that a low-carb strategy helps her control her calorie intake. She doesn’t follow a strict ketogenic diet, though, and she occasionally enjoys treats like chocolate and ice cream.
NUTRITION ON COMPETITION DAY
Maria doesn’t engage in any extreme calorie or fluid restriction on weigh-in day, as powerlifters frequently do to shed last-minute pounds. Maria gains strength without putting on a lot of weight thanks to her careful powerlifting eating throughout the off-season.
She continues to eat the same things when she begins a competition diet; she just consumes less of them while maintaining an adequate protein intake. Her weight is already where it needs to be on weigh-in day; in some situations, she might even make an effort to put on weight during the last week of training.
Maria enjoys eating a dinner that is mostly high in carbs and high in protein after weigh-ins, usually consisting of steak, eggs, and rice (or sweet potato). After weighing herself, she doesn’t worry too much about the precise amount of food she consumes.
On the day of the competition, Maria drinks electrolytes and coconut water to stay hydrated. On the day of the competition, she suggests switching to the recently released TL Hydrate in place of coconut water and traditional electrolytes. She typically takes a banana and protein bar in between the squat, bench press, and deadlift to keep her muscle glycogen topped off and make sure she has enough potassium in her body. Even between lifts, Maria admits, she will indulge in some chocolate.
Nail Your Powerlifting Diet to Crush it on the Platform
No matter what training program you follow, you gotta eat like a champ if you want to be a champion powerlifter. Maria Htee is a prime example of how powerlifters should approach their diet leading up to a competition.
While you may have preferences for different foods than Maria, the same core diet principles apply:
- Use our Macronutrient Calculator as a starting point to figure out how many calories you need each day.
- Regardless of your objective (e.g., weight gain, muscle building, fat loss), consume lots of protein. For powerlifters, a reasonable daily range is 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
- Maintaining a weight within 15 pounds of your desired weight class throughout the offseason will help you perform better and be stronger. Avoid losing a lot of weight in the weeks before a competition (3+ pounds per week, for example).
- The amount of carbohydrates consumed is mostly a matter of personal discretion, but keep in mind that muscle glycogen is a vital substrate for vigorous lifting. So, substantially limiting your carb consumption may result in both strength and weight reduction.
- Ensure that you are getting quality fats from sources like olive oil, avocado, nut butter, fatty seafood, whole eggs, and grass-fed beef. These are abundant in monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, which promote cardiovascular health and general wellbeing.
- Hydrate! Although it should be obvious, many people neglect to drink enough water. It is commonly recognized that dehydration can reduce athletic performance, so be sure to drink lots of water and replenish your electrolytes throughout the day.