I am Lost in Powerlifting

I’m currently cutting fat a bit to make the 231 weight class. I’m not sure what weight I should go down to and then start bulking again to gain strength. My numbers such. I can probably do 440/300/515 18 years old and 235 at the moment. I just want to go to ipf worlds and win 1st. Can anyone please give me advice on what I should do. Should I keep cutting or what? I’m kinda of fat if that helps

A few different possible strategies/approaches here.

If you’re carrying a bit of weight about you and this puts your bit over the 105kg class your best bet is to slowly over time, season after season, recomposition better and better for the 105s. If you are really fat the next weight class down is also an option long term.

Look at Krzysztof Wierzbicki - 885kg 1st Place 105kg - IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships 2017. Dude is nowhere near fat. It you want to be competitive outside of SHW, where you can get away with the extra non lean body mass, then you’ll need to improve body composition.

Body mass may move weight but muscle is better at it then fat. For the same bw the dude who is leaner will have more muscle and potential for putting up bigger totals and thus be most competitive. In the untested Feds this leads to powerlifters looking more jacked than body builders e.g Larry Wheels, Dan Green, Kevin Oak and Stan Efferding(tho he is a bodybuilder too)

I’ll chuck you some ways to do this in an hour or two but I’ma busy right now. In the mean time could you post pic/vid so we can gauge your body fat percentage? Also what kind of periodisation or training systems do you use e.g. Phase/Block periodisation etc.

Alrighty then here we go. Up front let me say that dieting like powerlifting itself is a game of years. Better body composition and bigger totals are built over years. There’s no true quick fixes or shortcuts. Just consistently applying excellent diet and training principles.

Now before we get into some of these principles there’s two things I’d like to address up front: the Weight/Water Cut and the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs.

I’ll state up front that I’m not expert in cutting weight but have done so myself, well acquainted with fellow powerlifters who have and watched videos on the experiences of elite lifters who make use of such techniques.

I view weight cuts as a high risk high reward kinda thing so if you are going for records or wish to place highly in a certain competition they are best used then. This technique is most used by lifters who walk around at or spend the majority of their prep heavier than their chosen weight class meaning they rely on a successful weight cut for a successful meet. I won’t go through the prep, cut and refeed process here because in a second I’m going to recommend against it.

Though personally I’ve been successful, I’ve known dudes who have had poor meets due to a poor weight cut. Like I said risk v reward. A drastic cut, even well planned and strictly adhered too (which is no guarantee), can still hit you hard enough to throw off a meet.

So I recommend not cutting weight for the most part especially if you plan to compete a lot. Save it for the meets that matter and practice a few times e.g. with rando meets or mock meets so you know how to do it and how you respond to it.

PEDs of various sorts, steroids, insulin, GH etc. are simply incredible tools for both performance enhancement and body recomposition. However in the interest of fair competition and you not getting positive tested I can’t recommend their use. Whether or not you use PEDs is a personal choice and whether or not one can be competitive at a high level without them is a question I don’t know the answer to.

Onto the principles. It seems simple on the surface just eat less do more activity i.e. create a caloric deficit consistently and you’ll lose weight however as a powerlifter looking to efficiently maximise performance one can little afford periods fucking around trying to lose weight or stalling and getting stuck at maintenance due to poor discipline for any period of time.

Learn the principles if you haven’t and practice discipline and consistency in their application.

For actual amounts/numbers/ratios or the basics refer to resources such as Powerliftingtowin’s, Juggernaut Training System’s, etc. videos and articles on diet/nutrition for powerlifting.

For a bigger picture or overview kind of look at powerlifting dieting refer to this video from JTS on Phasic Dieting, the notion that your current phase of training e.g. accumulation, intensification or peak dictates what kind of caloric intakes i.e. deficit, maintenance or surplus you should be consuming.

I recommend cutting very slowly in the appropriate training cycles and maintaining weight at all other times. This way you’ll be the dude whose weight is trending ever so slightly do over time but whose numbers will continue to increase.
The option of a bodybuilder esque prep/cut where you diet down off all your fat right down into the 105 weight class in 4-5 months. Can’t recommend this though because with all that weight coming off you’ll come out almost a different lifter and you’ll need to recomposition/mass right back up which will be as slow of a process as dropping down.

If your next Comp is soon then cut into that weight class and get on your diet the week after. Begin a high volume or accumulation phase while cutting down.

If not competing anytime soon, if you are in an intensification block finish it off at maintenance calories then cut for one or two blocks of high volume/accumulation.

When you find you it difficult to cope with the volume up calories to maintenance, then further to a small surplus if required to finish off the accumulation block. Try not be in a surplus too long tho. Then at maintenance for intensification phase and repeat.

Powerliftingtowin Nutrition Playlist

To help you with choosing a weight class here’s some 105s:

Garrett Blevins

Stephen “Screamer” Manuel

Bryce Lewis

Yury Belkin (Tho he’s banned I think and decidedly not natty now)

Is that all? :smile:

If you’re just 4lbs off your weight class, I wouldn’t bother dieting. Worst case, you can sweat that out in a morning sauna session.

Train hard, eat sensibly - you still have like 5 years as a junior, so set yourself up for success and not short term gain (literally no one will care what you do in the next 2 years unless it involves a major win)

i think im going to go down to 225, and then fill out if i may say the 231 weight class. Also i want world records :slight_smile:

im competing in November and hope to cut down 9 more pounds before going in a bit over a maintenance. i weighed myself today at 234.2

i think im around 16-18%

So you are going to cut through your peaking phase?

im planning to eat maintenance whenever i reach 225

Is that before, during or after your peak? Do you have it planned out?

during, also im not really cutting. i am in a calorie deficit but its not as much hence why im dropping weight so slowly.

Sorry um the purpose/timing/reasoning don’t quite make sense to me

So you are planning to use a small deficit to drop weight to 225, during your peak or late intensification phase which isn’t the best time to be changing your bodyweight/leverages and is a great environment to lose lean body mass.

Then maintain that weight to compete light in the 231s? So purposefully coming in disadvantaged for the meet? Does this meet not matter too much?

Why not just water cut 2 weeks out? End up at the same weight but probably stronger for the meet vs increasing your time spent in a caloric deficit, which is never a fun experience and may impact your training cycle/s

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The thing is I’ve been getting stronger during the mini cut. Also, the meet qualifies me for nationals and I know I have the total in the bag. Like I’m really sure I can total for the qualifier. Then basically after the meet I’m gonna go from 225 to 232-235 and then water cut for my next meet in June. And then nationals is that October.

If it ain’t broke I guess…

Mindset might need a tweak tho. The ambition is there lel but maybe instead of settling for what works well enough you have to be striving for the best in all aspects because your competition sure as hell is.

I like the confidence mane.

Hopefully in a couple years you’ll fill out the 105s so well that you’ll be drugged tested every second week. Well if you can manage your weight properly that is. Would you describe yourself as one of those people who put on some weight in the off season, bulk a bit too hard, keep exceeding their weight class all the time and post on T Nation asking if they should cut to 105 ?

Thank you haha I appreciate it. It’s not that maintaining my weight is a problem it’s just that I was switching over from every other fed with the 242 weight class to the usapl/ipf 232 weight class and I wanted some room to do whatever. Also when you spoke about maximizing every ascept of training. I train hard, sleep 8 hours, hydrate well, eat very clean, do my mobility, and I also try to meditate every day and practice to clear my thoughts because last competition I was kind of intimidated from the weight.

Meditating…was not expecting.

You mention a lot of things. Train hard? Sounds like some fake natty fitness model bullshit. Would rather train optimally.

You do your own programming?

If you look at it the other way around intimidated is just not confident. Confidence really is important. Maybe your attempt selection was off, maybe weights you didn’t hit clean in training?

As far as powerlifting training goes I think you are building strength and confidence.

Never miss reps. Leave reps in the tank telling yourself you had one or two more ez. Every volume PR gives you confidence you’re increasing your potential force output. Every rep PR is confirmation of this and builds your confidence to set PRs at higher and higher percentages. All that momentum: The confidence come meet day that you are stronger than ever. Not aiming for PRs. Expecting PRs. Hell that’s shit’s guaranteed.

Don’t think about missing weights. Don’t even think of being intimidated. Only confidence.

Personally the absolute minimum confidence I’ll bring to an attempt is that I’ll get it 100% just a matter or how fast or clean it’ll move. Obviously for third attempts there’s a little doubt but that’s the point.

Losing weight is fuckin easy man I don’t know why you are sweating it this much, probably because you haven’t tried cutting before. Building muscle/strength is a lot harder than losing fat. Not too long ago I dieted for 18 days and lost 4 kgs and I was fuckin 70 kgs when I started it lol. If I could do it at this lower weight so can you.

How tall are you?

Seriously, there is no good reason to cut down to well below the weight limit for your class when you are peaking. And if your training volume is significantly lower than usual during yoru peaking phase then you are likely to lose a significant amount of muscle. Cut after the meet if anything.