T Nation

Eating at Maintenance


Is it possible for a novice lifter to recomp by eating at maintenance, moderate carbs and fat and all ‘clean’ foods?


  • Age: 16
  • Weight: 77kg
  • BF%: ~18-20
  • Cals: 3000-3130 daily (yes I know this is a lot, but it’s maintenenace for me)
  • Protein: 200g
  • Added Fats: 40-70g
  • Carbs: 120-240g

Training is 4 days of 5s PRO, Jokers and 5x5 FSL, 2 days of conditioning




If you’re truly a novice why hold yourself back when you could take full advantages of faster rate of gains? Slow/clean bulk and cut within reason for now and recomp when your gains slow down.

Powerlifting focused by still applies to bodybuilding


Mostly because I’d rather make consistent progress with a recomp than fast progress on a bulk and mo progress on a cut. Spent a long time losing weight and found the lack of strength returns somewhat demoralising


Overall progress is faster on bulk/cut v recomp. If you want to spend more time getting to the same place … its your time to spend. Might be worth it if you are terrible at dieting .e.g. tend to overbulk or find it easier to adhere to a maintenance diet.


The stupidest aspect of the novice movement is this fastest progress at all costs mentality. Be it getting tubby or completely ignoring conditioning or whatever other physical debt one wants to build up in the name of extending linear progression a week or three.

You’re a novice, spend the time when this is fresh and exciting on building habits that can last a lifetime. Not building up things you need to tear down later.


@khangles @strongmangoals

Honestly, I feel like my dieting/conditioning and general lifestyle is pretty much locked down. Could probably do with some more sleep, but I still get 7 hours nightly. Oh and avoid the once-every-two-month chocolate fest that haunts my existence

I’m actually coming off 15 weeks on a small (250kcal) surplus, but I’m thinking I might need to be a bit leaner to be as competitive as possible when I start attending meets (PL)



Pretty sure I posted something somewhere on this but can’t find soz.

Just don’t be one of those tall lanky dudes almost killing themselves aggro water cutting to make a lower weight class. Good fun to cut a bit of water for a meet but worry more about competitiveness in the long term / over the years as you recomp in the optimal weight range for your height.


Yeah I’m hoping to compete in the 83kg class initially, then possibly move into 93kg if I can add more muscle. Does that sound about right for a 5’10" guy in a tested fed?


If you are actually 15-20% probably easier to go down a weight class if you are competing anytime soon. If not competing soon those numbers sound about right. Just take it one weightclass at a time. Worry about maxing out the 83s before you start thinking about heavier classes.

Pls lel


Absolutely no plans to compete for 2-3 years. I want a record, but also my dignity, and a 90kg squat won’t get me there :joy:


That’s a long time mane. Well less time peaking for competition means more time to build build build. Kinda like the Russians who don’t compete as often as American lifters. Doesn’t matter how much you lift in meet tho. Everyone will get behind you because lots of peeps have been there before.


Well to be fair, my training isn’t explicitly powerlifting-focused. You could probably call it GPP. Healthy blend of heavier barbell work, sprinting, jumping and assistance work. I’m not planning to transition into more specific training for at least 18ish months.

Definitely looking forward to my first meet, it seems like a great environment


IPF and affiliates are a bit elitist. Tho I guess since Robert Wilks and Powerlifting Australia got cut off from the IPF there’s technically no IPF fed in Australia for now.