Have you ever wondered what some of the top powerlifting athletes eat before they compete? Maybe it’s just me, or maybe you’ve wondered the same. With the conclusion of the 2018 IPF World Classic Powerlifting Championships, I was curious about what some of this year’s champions ate before taking the platform.
In this article, I reached out to a handful of athletes in both the Junior and Open weight classes to learn what they consume(d) before competing. Are the answers all flashy? Yes and no, that’s up for your interpretation. What you’ll see below is a lot of variance between each athlete’s answers, along with nuggets of information that may be useful for yourself when going into your next meet.
Editor’s Note: This article is purely informative and isn’t intended to provide meals that should be directly replicated, as everyone will need to eat accordingly to their body’s needs and goals. In addition, these athletes are competing at the top level, so more than likely their dietary choices will be different from the norm.
1. Taylor Atwood: Men’s 74kg Open Champion
“1/2 cup of oats, 1 scoop of protein powder, 3/4 cup of milk, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. All of that followed up by some Wild Berry Skittles (best Skittles out, don’t @ me).”
2. LS McClain: Men’s 93kg Open Champion
“While I don’t eat very much for my pre-meet meal, I usually have the following spaced out throughout the day before my meet. 1/4 lb boiled shrimp with Cajun seasoning, 1/2 lb homemade burger, 2 cups of boiled cabbage, 8 hot wings, 2 Fruit Roll-Ups, 2 Fruit By the Foots, and tons of water.”
3. Jen Thomson: Women’s 63kg Open Champion
Night before weigh in meal.
“With so many competitions these days looking at Wilks score, and any ties in powerlfting go to the lightest lifter; I want to weigh in as light as I can be without losing strength. For the night before weigh-in meal, I am looking at something that is sustainable, but not heavy. I don’t want to eat anything full of fat that will take my body a long time to process or have too much sodium that will retain water. I am also looking at volume and literally how much the meal actually weighs. So I go with a very simple grilled chicken salad.
The salad includes: 16 oz. grilled chicken breast, mesclun lettuce, goat cheese, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, cucumber and a balsamic vinaigrette (I dip my fork in the dressing on the side so that I am not eating too much of the dressing)
Nutrition: 620 Cal, 27g fat (6g are Saturated), 44g Carbs, 50g protein 200g sodium.
This meal makes me feel full and I can make it to the morning weigh in without feeling overly hungry.”
“There are many schools of thought on what you should eat after the weigh-in. I believe you should eat what makes you feel good.
I love: Quaker Oats Brown Sugar & Maple oatmeal, a banana and SSP Nutrition Post drink.
These are easy to digest and make me happy.”
4. Bryce Lewis: Men’s 105kg Open Champion
“Bagels with cream cheese and smokes salmon are a staple for me, but not at all necessary.
Pre-meet nutrition varies immensely depending on weight cutting, preference to feel full or empty when you lift, and of course food preferences. I do think topping off glycogen stores, not changing much from your habits before best sessions, seeing signs of good hydration (relatively clear urine), and consuming salty food and/or electrolyte fluids are a good chocie.
Protein in’t as essential, but a little bit may help. There’s a higher priority on carbohydrates. Again, the more extreme the weight reducing measures, the more minutes before lifting matter and the precision of nutrition matters.”
5. Bonica Brown: Women’s 84kg+ Open Champion
“I am so simple. I don’t count macros honestly.
Night before, I love to have General Tso’s Chicken and steam rice. Or steak and fries, which is so boring and simple!”
[Watch Brown break every Open World Record at this year’s Championships!]
6. Daniella Melo: Women’s 84kg Open Champion
“Since I water cut, I start lowering sodium levels two days out. I try to keep calories high and eat low sodium foods like peanut butter and fruit juice. After weigh-ins, I try to get all the sodium back in and eat salt and vinegar chips, and sometimes drink soy sauce.
It’s kind of gross, but a good way to get sodium in and bloat up to my normal weight!”
7. Jennifer Millican: Women’s 57kg Open Champion
“I’m pretty boring and don’t much of a “go-to” for pre-meet meals. Since I’m usually traveling, a lot of what I end up eating depends on what’s around me. Typically, I try to get something in that I know won’t bother my stomach and that I can eat easily. Something high in sodium and high in carbs. I try to limit fat for absorption purposes.
Some of thing I have eaten post weight-ins are ramen noodles, sub sandwiches, chips, and protein shakes with powdered Gatorade are the most common things I tend to pick up.”
8. Luke Richardon: 1st Place 120kg+ Juniors
“So a normal pre-workout meal would be: Chicken and bacon foot long with cheese, lettuce, and sweet onion sauce from Subway. A banana, a 500ml Lucozade Sport with added maltodextrin with a Monster or Rockstar energy drink.”
Wrapping It All Up
There will always be variance between the foods athletes consume pre-meet, and what’s best is that you find a formula that matches your body’s needs. Hopefully, some of the information shared above from the world’s top raw powerlifters can be of use as you prep for your next meet and put up your best numbers yet.
Feature image from @jenthompson132 Instagram page & photo from @lvdjosh.