Powerlifting Nutrition & Sports Supplements for Powerlifters
All parts of a powerlifters body need to be incredibly strong, as any weak link could, at best, gift an advantage to the competition and at worst, could lead to serious injury.
Besides this, lifting incredibly heavy weights is not natural for the human body and places it under immense stresses and strains.
As such, powerlifters need to eat in a much different way than the average person in the street.
As a competitive powerlifter you need to take into account the detrimental effects of muscle damage and breakdown, together with the stresses on your joints caused by the massive weights you will be lifting both in training and during competition.
Good nutritional plans can help powerlifters optimise their performance so it is important to be aware of what to eat and drink before training or competition – and in what amounts.
When it’s time for you to make a change to your diet, you may wonder where to begin, as there are so many things to consider when trying to develop the best nutritional programme for you and your sport.
The nutritional ideas in this article can provide you with what you need to know to start improving your diet and so optimise your lifting performances.
good nutritional plans can help powerlifters optimise their performance so it is important to be aware of what to eat and drink before training or competition – and in what amounts
Eat your breakfast. Many powerlifters skip breakfast because they do not have time to eat, or they simply do not feel like eating in the morning.
Proper nutrition depends on starting your day off with a well-rounded meal, so if you skip this one, you are already on the wrong footing.
If you don’t eat breakfast, you may well feel sluggish due to a lack of energy and general bodily nutrients.
As a result you may find it difficult to workout later in the day, but if you do eat breakfast, the metabolism boost will make you feel awake, stronger and much more energetic.
Timing is important, and you need to prime your muscles and body for powerlifting, so eat breakfast as early as you can.
The nutritional make-up of your breakfast is important and we would recommend that you include protein rich foods in your first meal of the day.
Eat or drink some form of protein that will be released over time.
If you are a fan of the traditional cooked breakfast go easy on the fatty foods and make sure you include fresh eggs or lean chicken breast and some fresh vegetagles.
Another alternative is to consume a meal replacement drink with a healthy dose of protein, carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals.
Portion out your foods
Measuring the actual amount of food you are eating can help you prevent over-eating which is something you should avoid.
One easy way to ensure you only take the correct amount of protein supplement is to use a measuring cup as a serving spoon.
This is a quick and accurate way of doing things and also makes you more aware of what you are actually scooping onto your plate.
Ideally, as an active powerlifter you should consider taking additional sports supplements as part of your nutritional programme.
One supplement that does have a very positive nutritional role to play is oily fish such as herring, mackerel, sardines, salmon, fresh tuna and trout.
So what’s so special about oily fish? Oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids which not only have a beneficial impact on heart health, but – and this is of particular interest to powerlifters whose knees often suffer damage when squatting or deadlifting – can also help in relieving stiffness and joint pain.
Lifting is of short duration but requires maximum effort, creatine can also be a valuable nutritional supplement for any athlete involved in this type of “explosive” sport.
As creatine increases muscular storage of phosphocreatine, which is vital for energy release in anaerobic activity, many strength athletes can benefit from having more power behind their lifts and increasing overall output.
Creatine monohydrate is the simplest form of creatine you can buy, and is most commonly used. Monohydrate will fuel your muscles to some degree, and put on water weight.
The resulting combination is that you become bigger and stronger.
It is also worth taking a pre-workout drink for energy.
Some lifters use caffeine and others use nitrous oxide releasers.
They will give you the extra intensity and stamina to get through the workout and achieve your goals.
The recovery phase
Competitive powerlifting and punishing training sessions can leave athletes drained of energy and dehydrated so a well planned recovery phase is important.
After an intense training session or competition it is therefore essential that you recover body carbohydrate and fluid stores before the next session.
The recovery process is vitally important and there are no two ways about it; powerlifters need to recover properly, especially if they want to keep their body fighting-fit and in the best possible shape.
There are three golden rules to a powerlifters successful rehabilitation; and we refer to them as the three R’s:
Bodily carbohydrate stores (glycogen) must be quickly restored to allow performance levels to be maintained – the optimum time to restore muscle glycogen stores is during the first hour after competition or training and this is when you need to consume carbohydrates.
If you do not replenish glycogen stores adequately however, recovery may well be affected leading to unwanted fatigue and poor performances may then follow.
Therefore your ideal recovery meals and snacks must contain carbohydrate (for fuel), some protein (for muscle repair and/or gains) and plenty of fluids to replace sweat losses.
Want to get involved in powerlifting?
If you’re not currently involved in powerlifting and are keen to learn more about taking part then read on. Here we’ve brought together a number of useful links to powerlifting organisations that may be able to help you.
Want help with nutrition?
Get in touch now for more information about powerlifting nutrition and the use of sports supplements to help improve your power, speed, strength and overall lifting performances. Our team of sports scientists and nutritionists are always happy to help.