Meal Plan for a Powerlifter

Powerlifting is a sport based around short bursts of very heavy weight lifting. Fitness is not a key objective, and weight training sessions are usually very long in duration with long rest periods between sets.

Explosive power is the main goal, and whilst a heavy body weight is an advantage, too much excess body fat can impair breathing and may be a hindrance. So whilst lean muscularity is not an objective, neither should the powerlifter carry too much fat.

A powerlifter should eat for strength and with this muscle size will come, so a meal plan is not too dissimilar to that of an off-season bodybuilder. The key to healthy quality weight gain is to eat big and eat consistently throughout the day following a structured meal plan.

Powerlifters should eat six or seven meals / snacks moderately large, rather than three huge meals. Include plenty of high protein food choices, like lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs and milk; fibrous low glycaemic carbs like cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes; fruit and vegetables (don't forget nuts and pulses are also good sources of protein); as well as sources of essential fats.

Timing of meals is also important; spread the meals regularly through the day. Structure is of particular importance around training as sessions can be long in duration. Have low glycaemic carbs about 30 minutes before a workout, with a small amount of simple carbs right before and straight afterwards.

It may also be useful to have protein pre-, during and immediately post workout. Protein and weight gain supplements can be useful aids to gaining size and strength, but not in place of good wholesome food.

Pre-event it would be an idea to up the portions of carbohydrate foods on the day before to help load the muscles, and nutrition for an event should be similar to that of a weight training session.

The following is a sample meal plan for one day for a powerlifter of around 230lbs (105kg) body weight to help gain strength. Rest is crucial in powerlifting, so often a powerlifter only trains two or three times per week. On non-training days, the only difference should be to workout nutrition.

30g whey protein in water
Serving of James' Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker
2 slices granary bread toasted + crunchy peanut butter
Sandwiches: 4 slices granary bread + tuna / chicken / ham
Large handful mixed nuts
Item fruit
Drink water
Large chicken breast or 2 mackerel fillets
100g basmati rice or wholewheat pasta
Tbsp sunflower seeds
Large mixed salad
Low fat yoghurt
4 squares Easy Flapjacks
Large handful mixed nuts
Large banana
Mug green tea
30 mins pre-workout
Immediately pre-workout
20g whey protein + 30g dextrose in water
during workout Sip 20g whey protein
Immediately post workout
20g scoop whey protein + 30g dextrose + 30g maltodextrin in water
Evening meal
60 mins later
250g lean red meat or 250g chicken / turkey or 300g white fish
100g basmati rice or 100g wholewheat pasta or 6-8 small boiled new potatoes or 1 large sweet potato (dry roasted)
Large serving of vegetables / salad
Low fat yoghurt
Late snack
Serving of James' Super Smoothie The JSS Bulker

As with all the meal plans this is merely a guide and must not be stuck to rigidly! Eat a variety of different meats / fish / alternatives, complex carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables every day, and drink plenty of water. Adapt the plan to suit your own needs and lifestyle according to your results and performance in the gym in order to keep the strength gains coming.

Plans for people with illness or medical conditions in no way should override advice provided specifically for you by your doctor, clinical dietitian or other clinician. We advise that you seek the advice of a suitably qualified physician before commencing any exercise regime, following any dietary or nutritional regimen or beginning the use of any dietary supplements, legal or otherwise. The information provided on the Website is intended as information only and does not constitute advice. Therefore, it must not be relied on to assist in making or refraining from making a decision, or to assist in deciding on a course of action.