T Nation

Dieting as a Powerlifter

I know this may be taboo here, but I need advice (questions at bottom)

Well first off:

[quote]zephead4747 wrote:
Ok, here’s the deal. I need to lose some fat. I’m getting chubby. I’m thinking of cleaning up my diet, and going on a bike 2x a week. I’m thinking I need to lose about 10 pounds of fat to be on a acceptable level. I also think I should be able to drop this relatively quickly if I eat correctly. My body has gotten used to ~4.5k kcals. If I drop to 2500-3000 for a while I think I might be able to lean out. I don’t want to lose weight. I like being heavy(er). I’m about 185 right now, and I don’t want to be lower then 170. And I want to be able to maintain strength gains. I’m somewhere between 20-25% bodyfat. Based on looks. I would like to drop to 12-15%.I don’t want or need to be six pack lean, but I want to be good looking for summer, and not be a fat bastard in highschool.

using 22% as my current BF
I have ~41 pounds of fat

to be 15% I’d need to have
~28 pounds of fat

My diet will look like:

6:30:
3 eggs and milk ~30 grams of protien

8:30
Meal replacement powder ~ 40 grams of protien

11:00
baked chicken and veggies ~25 grams of protien

3:00 workout
I can’t lift with food in my belly
400 PWO- 30 grams of protien

4:30
Dinner will be healthy but will be based on what my parens make. I’m in HS after all
~30-50 brams of protien

7:30
tuna/fruit 30 grams of protien

9:30
2.5 cups of milk ~30 grams of protien

10:00 bed

215-235 grams of protien a day
relatively low carb ~150/day
putting this as a wee bit more then 2500 kcals a day

I really hate the idea f losing scale weight, but I think I’ll feel better, and look better lighter. THe only problem is that I want to be a lot STRONGER. I’m hoping I can lose the 10-15 pounds in a few weeks, so I can start bulking (much cleaner). Again.[/quote]

I’m really afraid to get weaker, or at least stall out. My lifts have been going up quite well, but I’m thinking I’ve gotten too fat. Will dropping 10-15 pounds of fat make me lose ground or stall out? Hy have my fellow powerlifters dieted? I know I’m little, but being chubby and in highschool isn’t cool.

I’m actually hoping I can gain maybe 3-4 pounds of muscle over the next few weeks while losing fat. What kind of cardio did you guys do? I’m thinking of incline walking/excercise bike. But I don’t have a freaking clue what I’m doing. I’ll post pictures in my log over memorial day weekend. And update with progress pictures. I’ll also post my food in my log when I start dieting (as in when I get more veggies/chicken).

10lbs is nothing. You shouldn’t get weaker, but you might just not make gains as fast.

I went from 92ish kg to 85.9kg before strength started to suffer (15lbs), I was down around 10% bodyfat by then. I didn’t do any cardio at all during this period.

Last Sunday week I was 103.5kg or there abouts at around 18% bodyfat, I was down to 102kg two days ago.

I’ve done this by eating 2,700kcals split 40/30/30% pcf.

I’d say for a guy your size, 2,500 to 3,000 will be too much. 2,500 or there abouts might be a good start. I like 12-13 kcals per lb of bodyweight.

I’d just try to do 30-50g protein, 30g carbs, 10-15g fat every meal and a ton of meals per day, and cut on the carbs late in the day if you haven’t lifted. Don’t be lazy and do your cardio. I’m cutting now and I feel like I’m getting fitter through all the cardio and that’s the way it should be, not just low carb dieting yourself into oblivion like most of the people on this site seem to love. Hanley has the right idea but I’d bump up the calories and exercise a little.

Hanley:
is the food layout about right for calories. I’m very capable of eating the exact same thing day in and day out to lose some fat. I think I’ll do incline walking twice a week. Somethnig I picked up from EliteFTS.

Actionjeff: Thanks for the advice. I’m pretty carb intollerent, so I think I should keep those down. I even found I break out more if I eat a carb rich diet. My lifting is pretty intense so that should burn a lot of calories, especially if I’m eating signicantly less then I normally do.

Thanks for the help so far guys!

im not a powerlifter but i train westside, trying to lose a bit of weight when strength is your goal is fucking hell. my lifts went down probably 20 lbs trying to cut. so i revamped my diet again. ive figured out that keeping the carbs a bit higher on trainig days is best so you have plenty of energy to workout and on off days cut your carbs nice and low and do cardio this is what worked for me so far.

Im not a powerlifter either, trained on Defranco template to build strenght and because i like to template…anyway when im on the cut season like i am right now,
what i do is i cut the carbs,maximum 25 to 50grams a day. Doing more cardio ,you can do complexes also, circuit training ,the ast 2 are more fun then regular cardio.

Check you carbs,
do more cardio

By just doing so i can go from 15% to 10%…
10% is also easy to maintain…at least more then single digit bodyfat%.!!

From Christian Thib’s book. Just a suggestion. He suggests running 400’s to lose weight and also sprint training (like jogging/walking for 200 yards, sprint for 100. He says he can get his clients to lose weight while still gaining muscle.

An option that has worked well for me, though slow, is to figure your base caloric needs. Be careful and don’t over estimate. You can find a calculator doing a search. But anyway, for a week cycle, drop 500 calories below your needs for 3 days, go 500 calories above your needs for a day, drop below for two, and go above for one. It works for me, but it takes a while. I tried to correspond my high intake days on heavy lifting days and the low intake on rest days.

I lost about 25 lbs in 2 months. Apparently I had gotten fat, hahaha. My deadlift went up. My squat suffered, but that’s because I sprained my ankle. My bench press is the thing that fell apart. I blame that on the fact that I stopped benching.

So basically, if you keep going heavy on the big lifts, you shouldn’t have a problem. Unless your gut is really helping your leverage that much, there’s no reason to fear strength loss. And your relative strength will go way up.

If no one else is gonna say it then I will…

Seriously? You’re a powerlifter, you weigh 185, and you want to cut??? Unless you’re 5’0" then 185 is SMALL! You don’t look short in your avatar, so I’d say you could carry 200 lbs easy and be fairly lean, say, 15% body fat. And if you ever want to be strong, you’ll need to weigh AT LEAST 200 lbs.

If you think that you’re too fat at 185 lbs then it’s because you’re not strong enough. So get stronger. You should be benching 300, squatting 400, and deadlifting 500. Raw. Plenty of people have achieved those numbers, there’s no reason you can’t too. I’d bet that nearly everyone who can do 300-400-500 at 200 lbs or under is fairly lean and has some muscle to show for it.

Honestly, you’re overthinking shit big time. You don’t need to be worrying about carb intolerance. You don’t need to be messing around with special exercises. Lift hard, lift heavy, get stronger, get bigger. Eat mostly quality food, not garbage. Besides, if you’re going to cut you have to have something to cut down to in the first place…

you’re never strong enough though

he’s a kid in high school and wants to be lean going into the summer for girls. I can respect that, and when I was in HS(2 yrs ago hah) that would take priority over an issue of slight strength loss. Anyway once you lose the weight you can stay lean and put on muscle and not fat more easily. Nothing wrong with cutting imo

I agree about the carb intolerance though. Everyone thinks they are carb intolerant, but if they actually looked at their intake vs. their exercise and experimented going low carb vs higher carb with increased cardio they would see an enormous difference.

Show me someone who claims they automatically pack on fat taking in a lot of carbs and who can also run 30 minutes straight at a moderate pace without wanting to throw up and I will be convinced they are carb intolerant. You won’t find many.

Cardiovascular conditioning is basic and I have a feeling that a lot of people get really lazy and are selling themselves short on having the high performance body they want because it’s hard. Then again a pure powerlifter mostly wouldn’t give a shit, but also wouldn’t care about cutting unless it was to a weight class so its a mute point.

People just use it as an excuse to be lazy. You wanna be strong and lean in the long run, eat your god damn food and go to the gym. That’s my opinion anyway.

He can easily hit 3/4/5 at his current weight, if he hasn’t already. If he wants to drop a bit of fat first, I don’t see what the problem is.

[quote]wfifer wrote:
I lost about 25 lbs in 2 months. Apparently I had gotten fat, hahaha. My deadlift went up. My squat suffered, but that’s because I sprained my ankle. My bench press is the thing that fell apart. I blame that on the fact that I stopped benching.

So basically, if you keep going heavy on the big lifts, you shouldn’t have a problem. Unless your gut is really helping your leverage that much, there’s no reason to fear strength loss. And your relative strength will go way up. [/quote]

Smaller waist = good DL, bad bench and squat

The reverse is true too

Bigger waist = bad dl, good squat and bench

BTW, I’m a bench and squat specialist :wink:

Lose as much fat as possible. You will have your whole life to gain muscle, but if you always have fat on you, it will be more and more stubborn. There is no good that comes with having 20+% BF.

If you drop weight and get down to 12% You will have lost roughly 19 lbs of fat. The difference that will make in all your performances is worth more.

You don’t have to get weaker or lose muscle on a diet. You can get stronger during the phase.

Also, pullups and dips will increase because you have less to move. Its that ability to move your body weight freely and easily that makes the difference. Performance gains will be more noticable when you get back to the heavy stuff.

[quote]woohitter wrote:
Also, pullups and dips will increase because you have less to move.[/quote]

Ok, maybe I’m just not thinking right at the moment, but how is moving less weight beneficial for a powerlifter?

Assuming that he can currently do moderately high rep sets, I don’t see how being able to do a couple more at a lighter weight really matters.

[quote]buckeye girl wrote:
woohitter wrote:
Also, pullups and dips will increase because you have less to move.

Ok, maybe I’m just not thinking right at the moment, but how is moving less weight beneficial for a powerlifter?

Assuming that he can currently do moderately high rep sets, I don’t see how being able to do a couple more at a lighter weight really matters.[/quote]

That was one of the many things he said that didn’t make sense.

Alot of strength loose with fat loss in in your head imo.

Ive gone from about 245 to 208lbs over the last few months, my squat and deadlift have both gone up, my raw bench went down probably 10lbs, but my shirted bench went up.

Here is how i did it:

first month:

  • Just cut out the crap. Eating protein at ever meal. No junk carbs. Lots of meat and veggies.

second/third month:
-started calorie/carb cycling.

ME squats: high day
ME bench: high day
off: low day
DE bench: mid day
DE squats: low day
off: low day
off: low day

low: 200C/330P/35F
mid: 270C/330P/35F
high: 350C/330P/35F

This weekend ill be shooting for an elite total at 198lbs. This is much stronger then I was at 245lbs. The hardest part of the whole thing was constantly buying new gear so it fits properly.

I was a fatass 210 In November I am now 180 and much leaner. My strength hasn’t suffered I hit many PRs along the way. My conditioning is MUCH improved. I think my squat might have went done a bit though.

It is definitely harder.

Be consistent

If I really feel like I need more food I eat a little more.

do light cardio.

more sled pulls and such.

Don’t THINK you have to lose strength to lose fat muscle moves weights not blubber.

I train for strongman so its a bit different but strength is still the primary goal.

From my experience, you don’t loose fat with calorie restriction if your goal is to maintain or gain strength. You will at first, but after the initial calorie cut, things begin to change.

I believe that you need increase your calorie count at some point to increase fat loss. I’ve found that increasing your calorie count of really clean food will do this the best.

Some will tell you to cut carbs, but that’s just plain insane, especially for a Powerlifter! Again, if you’re a regular Joe Lifter, it really doesn’t matter if you cut calories and carbs because you can always tone down your WOs. As a Powerlifter, you need your carb calories for taxing CNS training days both pre and post training.

Next thing, as someone pointed out already, you only weigh 185…if you want your numbers up, your body weight has to be going in that direction, especially at your age. If you think you’ve gained some fat, increase your conditioning some. Add in a few extra days of sled dragging or biking/walking, etc, but understand that with the extra output, you need to consume more, at least if increasing your numbers is important.

Start with a 40/30/30 plan. If you feel mentally zonked some days, go 40/40/20. 2,500 Kcals seems to be a good starting point, but I wouldn’t really cut off more than that. From there, add your conditioning days in at about 20-30 minutes of light-moderate intensity, and your BF should drop. Don’t be scared if you gain some lean tissue though…that’s pretty common with serious training.

If you’re looking for some good training programs to work off of that will help burn some fat, I find the Sheiko programs work best because of their high volume. Westside would work well too, but you’d just have to add the appropriate volume and play around with rest intervals to get it done which may be better for a guy who’s trained that way for a few years.

Good luck!

[quote]Hanley wrote:
buckeye girl wrote:
woohitter wrote:
Also, pullups and dips will increase because you have less to move.

Ok, maybe I’m just not thinking right at the moment, but how is moving less weight beneficial for a powerlifter?

Assuming that he can currently do moderately high rep sets, I don’t see how being able to do a couple more at a lighter weight really matters.

That was one of the many things he said that didn’t make sense.[/quote]

Ok. Good. I read that post and was like “what?”. Thought maybe I was the crazy one.

One more vote for sled dragging/light cardio and cutting out junk.

I’m in a similar situation: fatter than I’d like, but with the way I lift, I can’t afford to lose any strength. Those changes seem work pretty well as long as I’m consistent (which hasn’t been happening) and don’t cut carbs too much.

[quote]sapasion wrote:
wfifer wrote:
I lost about 25 lbs in 2 months. Apparently I had gotten fat, hahaha. My deadlift went up. My squat suffered, but that’s because I sprained my ankle. My bench press is the thing that fell apart. I blame that on the fact that I stopped benching.

So basically, if you keep going heavy on the big lifts, you shouldn’t have a problem. Unless your gut is really helping your leverage that much, there’s no reason to fear strength loss. And your relative strength will go way up.

Smaller waist = good DL, bad bench and squat

The reverse is true too

Bigger waist = bad dl, good squat and bench

BTW, I’m a bench and squat specialist ;)[/quote]

I didn’t know that about the deadlift. Is it because you can keep the bar back further? My gut wasn’t that big, hahaha.

In all honesty though, it took me about a month to get back to where I was, and I’m still eating below maintenance, albeit with more carbs. I’m weak enough that as long as I really hammer down on peri-workout nutrition/supplementation, I know I can get a lot stronger without getting bigger.