T Nation

Female Powerlifting Diet


I got into Powerlifting back in the UK around 18 months ago but only really played around with it. I have recently moved to Australia and am going to be entering two comps in March (championships in Melbourne and the qualifier the week before).

Upon moving to OZ in early December 2012 I was 65kg (143lbs) and I am 170 metres tall. After 12 weeks I have gained 5kg and am now sitting at 154lbs. All my clothes feel the same but I feel like I am carrying water around my hips and pretty much all down my posterior chain. I generally feel bloated!

My diet is pretty clean, im not perfect and do like the odd treat at the weekend but apart from that it’s good. I only have rice flakes on the days i do my strength training and then on all the other days I get my carbs from veg etc. I drink around 3-4 litres of water a day. I haven’t had a normal period since the 2nd week in December and am not pregnant. But I am wondering if this will be contributing to the weight gain?

Have any of you other women doing powerlifting training experienced a messed up menstrual cycle and weight gain? I’m around 18-20% body fat and am certainly no where near overweight and would also class myself as a stocky girl anyway but i am getting frustrated with this weight gain. Should I be worried?

I am extremely tired and fatigued but have put this down to the strain on my CNS. But im not sure whether the fatigue would also be anything to do with my menstrual cycle? I am squatting 220lbs for 2 reps, deadlifting 308lbs for 2 reps and have a shit bench at 127kg…so im not lifting crappy weights (or so i think :slight_smile: )

I have just started to take iron with vit C, a good multi-vitamin and also B-Complex in this hope this will help.

Does anyone have any suggestions on diet or other supplements i could try to help my cycle and also any diet/training tips to prevent any more weight gain?

Any help at all would be really appreciated and I can give more info if required or if ive missed anything out.

Thanks so much

[quote]natepstein wrote:

Have any of you other women doing powerlifting training experienced a messed up menstrual cycle and weight gain?
I am extremely tired and fatigued but have put this down to the strain on my CNS.


Though I don’t really blame powerlifting as I think I have always had hormones that are a bit out of whack :/.

I do know i have gained quite a bit of weight and I thought that would actually HELP my period go back to normal, but it has not.

Have you got your thyroid levels checked or just some blood work done to see if you are lacking anything??

Also, it sounds like you are very low carb, that could be what’s making you extra tired. Low carb powerlifting made me a miserable piece of crap, LOL.

UMM I dunno what else. You should start a lifting log in the logs section cause you’re super duper strong!!

Thanks for the reply!

How much weight have you gained since you started, just out of interest. And how long have you not had a period for? (If you don’t want to answer that it’s cool)

I have been thinking of going to a GP to get my bloods done and hormone levels checked as this weight gain doesn’t seem normal to me. I have weighed myself again today and have put on another 1.5lbs since yesterday!

I know I shouldn’t as its so close to my comps but I did some sprints on the treadmill and bike today to get a bit of a sweat on and start to introduce some interval training maybe twice a week. I’m hoping that after the comps my weight will come down a bit again. When you gained the weight, what rep ranges were you doing? Most of my weight has gone on now I’ve started to do 3 or less reps. I think after my comps ill take my exact weight and measurements and keep an eye on it. It’s really getting me down and although I should t go off the scales too much, as a woman, it’s hard not to.

Any help or tips from you would be much appreciated!



I was an obsessive runner and weighed about 120 pounds. I got into powerlifting and stop caring about my weight and got up to like 150.
THen i decided enough was enough, so I lost a bunch of weight and to down to 114lbs, which was skinnier than I had been when I was 16. BUT REALLY NOT HEALTHY. I felt like crap…

I decided to get back into powerlifting and now I sit at about 150lbs once again, though I am trying (and failing) to lose some weight.

Most of the time my reps were quite low, aside from accessory stuff. Now I am trying to bump my reps back up to the 6-8 range and not worry about strength so much. We’ll see how that affects things.

Though, with all of that said, gaining over 30lbs has not really turned me into a total fat ass, LOL.
I look way more muscely than I do chubby. I look like a strong person, not a fat, out of shape person really. It’s still just more than I want to weigh. I think powerlifting just makes some women super heavy and dense with all the muscle and whatnot.

I think I went about 14-15 months without getting a period. Then I got it once randomly and now I get it on occassion. It’s not on any realy set schedule. It would be like I’d get it, then get it again in 6 weeks, then get it again in 3 months. It’s really all over the place.

I do agree that it is hard though, I feel very confliced as to whether or not I care more about losing weight, or being strong. I love powerlifting, but not being able to find any clothes that fit me nicely really sucks.

Keep in mind though, you are remarkaly strong, so it would be a shame to let a little weight gain get in the way of you reaching your full potential.

Good luck with everything!

Your story is extremely similar to mine…now I don’t feel so bad. Thanks for the response, I actually feel much better now!

Hopefully after my comps in March I can increase my rep range, introduce more cardio and then lose a little bit of size and maybe drop to 140lbs. Like I say, I don’t have much body fat and am not flabby…I guess it’s just a woman’s thing maybe? I’ve always been a stocky girl and will never be skinny.

Ill see how things go. There’s no way I’m giving up my powerlifting, I’m too stubborn for that :slight_smile: ill just have to
Keep a very close eye on diet etc.

Thanks again for you replies and good luck with your training etc