T Nation

Powerlifting Day of Nutrition


Got a client (diet work) that will be competing next weekend in a powerlifting event lasting 3-5 hrs.

Weigh-in is in the morning and few hours later it begins.

He needs something easy on his stomach, I was thinking FiniBars and SWF just prior and during the comp... thoughts?

He began workin with me 3 weeks out needing to lose 3 lbs. He's down 8 lbs as of now while being stronger than ever.

Having never worked with this type of client, I was hoping some of the fellow powerlifters here could share their past experiences on "game day" and nutrition.


I've done a couple of different things recently. Surge Workout Fuel plus MAG-10 and creatine in a couple of bottles worked pretty well for me at the last couple of meets I've done. I also like some solid food too, so I ate 3-4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at my last meet. That was great. I haven't been to many meets that finish in less than 5 hours (aside from USAPL National meets, which are run really fast). I'd advise him to bring food for 8+ hours -- there's nothing worse than being hungry and flat going into the pull. You should also tell him to eat even if he's not hungry, otherwise he's risking an energy crash.


I think this article is super helpful for answering your questions, and may also be directly useful to your client, though it sounds like he's pretty much already made weight w/o issue: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/making_weight.htm

Has this person ever competed before?

From the article: (which assumes your client is cutting water, which may not be necessary)

"Immediately after weigh-ins, start drinking water again. Drink at least 16 ounces of water. Then eat some high energy foods. Focus on quality carbohydrates like oatmeal, apples, apple sauce, or bananas on meet day. Include foods that you enjoy because they are easier to get down if youâ??re nervous. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on wheat bread. They taste delicious and theyâ??re jam packed with calories including carbohydrates and fats for energy. Avoid sugar-filled and high glycemic carbohydrates like grapes, watermelon, candy, and fruit juices. This will spike insulin levels and lead to a crash. You want carbohydrates that will provide sustained energy.

You can eat a candy bar when you get ready to deadlift if your energy levels have dipped and you need a quick boost. Thereâ??s no need to concern yourself with protein on meet day. It takes too long to digest and can slow you down. Lastly, itâ??s important not to change too much on contest day. If youâ??re not used to eating pancakes with syrup, then donâ??t all of the sudden eat a short stack before you lift. This could potentially wreak havoc on your stomach. Eat foods that are familiar.

After eating your first post weigh-in meal, drink another 16 ounces of water. Then you can introduce sports drinks like Gatorade, Cytomax, or even Pedialyte. There has been research supporting how ingesting a lot of sodium and potassium via sports drinks immediately after depletion can be dangerous. The good news is that if you follow these simple steps of proper hydration and sufficient caloric intake you wonâ??t be dehydrated nor depleted of electrolytes. In fact, youâ??ll likely be exactly where you want to be. So, in this situation, the sports drinks arenâ??t dangerous.

You can also eat salty foods like plain salt, potato chips, or canned chicken soup or drink a V-8. All of these are ultra high in sodium and will be absorbed quickly so your body will begin to retain more water and then your gear might even fit a little tighter.

Overall, the plan is fairly simple once you have an understanding of basic physiology and your bodyâ??s response to food and water. Lifters make the process out to be more than it is. If for some reason you get in a bind the last week and have difficulty losing those last few pounds, you can use a mild, over-the-counter diuretic like Absolute Nutritionâ??s Watershed or Eclipse Shrinkwrap Definition. They are potassium sparing and donâ??t contain stimulants. Because some powerlifting federations prohibit the use of diuretics, always consult your federationâ??s drug testing policy. The key ingredient in your diuretic is uva ursi. Uva ursi comes from the leaves of an evergreen shrub and is used to treat common urological issues like urinary tract infections, bladder inflammation, and kidney stones, thereby having a diuretic effect. Dandelion root is another herb with similar effects. Vitamin B-6 and green tea help too."

Hope this helps!


thanks. Yea, I was concerned about the SWF causing crashing since it's an extended event.


I pound down oatmeal, muscle milk, apple sauce, nuts, PB sandwiches, pedialyte, gatorade, bananas, and some milk, all day on meet day.

Since you said he is down 8lbs, he shouldn't have to cut before weigh ins, so eat like normal all the way through, and then after weigh ins make sure he gets as hydrated as possible, and gets tons of oatmeal down. Not so much that he will get sick or uncomfortable, but enough to fuel him.

Sweet potatoes are good too.

He needs to play with this stuff in training though.

Personally I have found I run better on fats the day of, which is why there is so much PB, nuts, and muscle milk in my meet day diet.


Pedyalite. Plenty of it on hand.