T Nation

If You Were Me...


What would you do?

I'm 173 lbs, approx. 17% BF, my bench is around 335ish (w/ no shirt), deadlift is 435-440, and squat is around 425ish.

I'm preparing for a PL competition (with the help of a program being made by slattimer (THANKS again slattimer!)).

My question is, would you cut weight to 165, or get as strong as possible to compete in the 181 lb class?

Lose 8 pounds and sacrifice some strength gains, or not worry too much about weight gain (as much as 8 pounds) while gaining as much strength as possible.

I have 10 weeks until the meet (November 12th).

Long term goals will be to compete in the 181 lb class, but I know I'm not yet strong enough to be competitive.


I have absolutely no experience in powerlifting, or at least events.. but heres my take:

Ten weeks isnt very long to make noticable strength gains in bench AND dead AND squat. Ten weeks, however, is a decent amount of time to lose 8 lbs, and especially if you cut right and eat healthy since you're at 17% BF, you shouldnt lose that much muscle.

Anyway, thats just my take.


Do you know what your competition is doing at those weights? Are you doing it for fun? It can be good practice to make weight, or you may just want to bloat up to push a little more weight...


If your long term goal is to compete in the 181, then stay in the 181. Yeah, it's fun to take 1st or second in your weight class, but there will always be people stronger than you. You greatest opponent should be yourself. Compete against yourself and try to increase your lifts every competition.

Plus, ten weeks is a decent amount of time to try to increase your lifts. Are you technically perfect? What about form? Are you fast? Can you work on your arch and lose an inch or 2 of ROM? Have you mastered your shirt and suit? There's a lot to be done in ten weeks, not to mention plain and simple strength gains.

Keep in mind this is just my opinion and I'm not a big fan of getting smaller, ever. Especially if you are just going to come right back up to 181 in the future. If anything become a leaner 181. Just eat cleaner over the course of time and try to reach your potential in the 181.

I also think you need to decide what is more important to you. Is a cheap trophy worth dropping the weight and slowing your progress as a 181?

Only my opinion,


Leaner is better.

You could easily lose some fat while increasing strength and compete in the 165lbs class. Go up to 181lbs for the next one with lower bodyfat.


Is this your first contest? If so, eat up and gain some weight. If you are familiar with dropping weight, then go for it.



Damn it! I knew I'd get good points on both sides.

I just started working on my form/arch/speed this week, and noticed that my arch wasn't as good as I thought it should be, so I know I can definitly improve in that area.

The las time I competed (3.5 yrs ago), I got myself down to 148 (I'm 5'5"), and my lifts were pretty much the same as they are now (I'm only about 5,15,5 pounds stronger in bench,dead,squat as I was then).

I haven't been training solely for strength these past 4 months, but using CW's programs I did gain quite a bit of my strength back. I know I can make some more strenght gains while losing the 8 pounds, but I was just thinking I could make a little more strength gains by gaining a little (or staying close to the same weight).

I know 10 weeks isn't long enough to reach my long term goals, but it is long enough to prepare for the meet.

Since this is my first meet in over 3 yrs, I'm using it to get more experience anyway.

I think I already know that the weight will be easy to drop while making strength gains, but fat loss is the most difficult goal for me to stick with (strength and mass are much easier for me, motivation wise).

I'm getting help with my bench form, bench routine, I'm going to be practicing in my shirt 6 weeks before the meet, so I'm pretty sure I will make gains in my lifts.

I don't know, maybe it's just cold feet. I already told myself I'd compete at 165 for just this meet, then gain size and strength for every meet after this.

I want to stick with powerlifting for many more years to come, so a trophy early on might give me that extra push to stay focused for the long haul. Placing 12th would be a bit of a dissapointment (even though I know there's no guarantee I won't place 12th at 165).

I'll have to keep racking my brain to see what I realy want to do. I've been eating cleaner these past few weeks, so maybe just by eating better and doing some ESW I'll get to 165 without much effort.

Thanks for all the replys! No matter what I choose, I still like to know the oppinions of T-Nation members, especially from the strength forum.


I just saw your post after I submitted that long ass post I submitted.

This is my third meet, the first being back when I was 17 (only time training with and wearing a shirt), and the second was 3.5 years ago while in the Navy (no shirt).

I was able to drop weight fairly easy/quickly for wrestling in high school, but that was a long time ago too (I'm 26 now).

I lost a lot of weight steadily before my last competition when I got down to 148, and my strength increased steadily, but slowly for the 6-7 months that I was losing weight.


you could also take a boat load of 'supplements'...eat a two boat loads of food...compete in the 198 lbs weight class...and destroy the living shit out of your current lifting records...

losing fat is for the off season...not for building up to a meet...

just my opinion though...do what you feel comfortable with...