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Young Powerlifter: Advice on Losing 5% Bodyfat


Hey guys,
I’m a 16 year old power lifter. I’ve been training for around a year in weight training, it wasn’t anything serious to be completely honest. I did 5x5 for 6 months while I played rugby. Now, I want to be be serious about powerlifting, I’m currently doing Jonnie canditos 4 linear progression program, I don’t do any cardio (I am a power lifter after all… :joy:) and my nutrition could be improved. And I plan on making it far better that what it is now. I plan on doing a bodybuilding sort of diet, not as strict as the whole plain chicken and rice sort of thing, I don’t want a single digit fat percentage. However I do want to lose around 5% bodyfat (I’m roughly around 20%).
So the plan is I eat around 5 meals a day, one every 3 hours . Eating around 190g (1g per pound of bodyweight) of protein a day with veg and clean carbs such as some sort of potatoes and rice. I’d rather not do too much cardio, as I just don’t enjoy it too much, I know it’s important, but I want to be sustainable in what I’m doing. So I might add it in later on, if I want to lose a little more fat.
I currently take animalpak and omega (one pack each a day).

In summary, I’m just looking to be pointed in the right direction. I’m fairly new to this, and I would really appreciate the feedback!


Hey, no expert here, but I would recommend you just eat clean and at maintenance for your weight. At 16, you’re in a great position to gain lean body mass and now is the time to take advantage of it. If you keep it at maintenance, or even slightly above, you’re going to be adding primarily muscle and your body fat percentage will come down. If you try to lose weight by going into a calorie deficit, you will compromise your gains.

So, my .02 is to be patient and let your gains catch up. Whatever fat you have is probably just baby fat that you will lose naturally. You can figure out your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) by googling that term. There are a lot of calculators out there, try a few and see what you come up with. Then figure your macros - 40/30/30 is a good place to start (Carbs/Protein/Fat). Play around with the percentages to see what you have to do to get the macros right with 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight - it’s a little more than you need, but a good target. Then eat clean, avoid fast carbs except around your workout.

Again, I’m no expert, just my opinion.


So, in your opinion is my current “plan” is a little too much??
The thought process I have is just trying to start developing a habit of eating regular meals that are clean and pretty good. Just because as I get older, I do know that all the benefits of being young start to disappear so I would like to start getting into the habit of what I would need to do later on! I hope that makes sense!


Total sense. I just feel like “dieting” at your age is the wrong approach. Eat healthy at or around maintenance and you will lean out without slowing your gains.


I’m not talking about being strict and eating boring food! Coz that would suck too much ass, haha! I’m talking about pastas, wraps, interesting food with all sorts of different sauces and flavours. I just want to make enough meals to fill me up with good nutritious food that tastes good. Instead of scavenging around for sweets or sugary food. (which I am guilty of…) So, I wouldn’t call it dieting like weight watchers or some other “brand” that in my opinion isn’t as sustainable as it could be. And it wouldn’t be below my caloric needs or anything like that.
It’d just be good food that’s convenient for me, so I wont be tempted by less than helpful food


In your situation and age, just focus on getting stronger. If you absolutely want a lower body fat percentage, just eat to keep your weight the same while getting stronger and your body fat levels will go down. Just eat and train, you’ll thank yourself later for not dieting.


So, what I think I’m learning is that my idea of meal prepping is unnecessary, so what sort of things should I do for food then?? A couple of guidelines would be pretty useful, thank you!

Also, just so everyone does know, I find it hard to lose body fat, and I’m a cross between a mesomorph and an endomorph. If that helps anyone!


Get a way to track your food like MyFitnessPal. Then track it with your macros. I like to look at it towards the end of the day so I can plan my last meal to tweak my macros - if I’m low on protein, I’ll eat protein, etc…

Go with whole wheat bread, pasta, wraps. Use brown rice instead of white - these are cheap! Milk as well!

I eat a lot of chicken thighs - they’re cheap (.79 cents a pound) and taste better than breast meat (more fat). Just throw them in an oven at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I cook up a whole family pack and then microwave them when I am hungry. I eat those with brown rice (cook it in chicken stock to make it taste better) and frozen vegetables (spinach and broccoli).

Oatmeal and eggs for breakfast - use old fashioned oatmeal. I add natural peanut butter and bananas.

Have your mom get a crockpot if you don’t have one. Just throw some cheap meat and rice in with some chicken stock and let it cook on high for four hours.

I’m sure you’ll get more suggestions.


I was doing work experience at a bodybuilding/powerlifting gym the other week, and the manager showed me this protein shake he makes.
It was:
2 scoops of protein powder
half a banana
pint of semi skimmed milk
a table spoon of peanut butter
and oats (it was something like 3-5 tablespoons)

What do you guys think of that as a small meal/snack??


That’s a medium to large meal. It’ll be close to or over 1000 calories.


I work with teenagers. I see how most of them eat. Before you go all crazy like us old bastards and track all your eating, start simple.

  1. Make sure you get enough protein - that the one macro I would try to track a little. Make sure you are getting close to 1 gram per lb of bodyweight

  2. Make the obvious and easy dietary changes - no soda or sugary drinks AT ALL. Stick to water and maybe a little sports drink during or after exercise. An 8 0z glass of OJ per day is fine, but beyond that, don’t drink your calories. If you drink coffee, start taking it without sugar.

  3. Next, no chips or crappy snack foods. Avoid fried foods - no more than once. Cut out the desserts to once. Don’t make yourself crazy. If their is a birthday party or some even, have a piece of cake or pie, but don’t have 3 plus 4 cookies. You are going to have some french fries from time to time. Bring healthy snacks to school with you (raw almonds, fruit, health snack bars like Lara bars or RX bars).

  4. Lift your ass off and do 10 minutes of HIIT training (include your core work in this) at least 2x per week. Make sure you get at least a little protein and carbs into your system BEFORE and AFTER workouts.

  5. Eat plenty of everything else. If you are eating 95% clean and not stupidly drinking your calories, your 16 yo metabolism should take care of the rest.


What would you recommend for HIIT cardio??


I wouldn’t. I prefer LISS - walking or biking, but you need to decide what’s right for you.


if your joints aren’t fcked up - running. Combine sprinting with slow running - 20s sprint + 30-40-50 s of slow running should be ok for like 10 rounds, and you’ll be good. If 20s sprint isnt enough for you, go for 30-40s and keep the rest at 30s. You can work with it.

you can do “spints” on the bike at the gym following a similar pattern, or rowing, or whatever other kind of cardio equipment you have. you can jump on a rope. There are plenty of ways, you just need to go for 20-30s on and 30-40-50s off and repeat, that’s it.


I would do this if i was trying to drop some fat.


On Spotify, I found these songs called “tabata”. Would one or two rounds of that song be okay??


Personally, at your age, I’d go back on the 5x5. It’s a proven strength and muscle gaining method for many many years.

At 16, the last thing I’d worry about is diet with the exception of getting enough protein.

What will 5% bf loss do for you? When it comes to strength and performance, eating the right food is a good thing. However, fat loss should not be a concern unless you plan on stepping on a bodybuilding stage.

Your diet should revolve around strength and performance and let the chips fall where they may concerning bf %. If you want to lose bf then focus on eating good quality food (not a bodybuilding diet) that increases strength and performance and then get in some low impact walking to help shed the bf without compromising strength and muscle.

Understand tho, this is a very lengthy and time consuming process. Be patient. Make a plan and then make small changes as you go. But give it everything you have before making those changes. Commit to an eating plan and weight training program and ride it til she bucks ya…