Powerlifting Diet Meal Plan for Men and Women

diet -

Powerlifting Diet Meal Plan for Men and Women

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst



Powerlifting is a unique sport with various physical and nutritional requirements. Going through the motions is not an option and can lead to significant performance issues during workout sessions. Keeping all of this in mind, it's important for men and women to understand the physiological needs associated with a good diet meal plant.


In general, powerlifting is a sport built on the foundation of lifting heavy in small bursts. For most powerlifters, a weight lifting session is all about spread out sets that focus on quick, sharp sets of 3-5 repetitions. The emphasis is on building as much power through the lift as possible to help develop underlying muscles. When a person starts to improve their explosive power, the concept of powerlifting starts to take shape. It's important to note this is far different from bodybuilding and shouldn't be confused as such. 


For powerlifters to get more out of their body in the gym, it's important to eat well. This is where a high-quality meal plan makes all the difference in the world. It's a great way to cut down excess body fat while making sure the muscles continue to recover well. In a position such as this, having too much fat on the body isn't an option. Body fat is known to hinder powerlifters and can get in the way of maximizing their potential.

 IPF World Champion Dean Bowring performing the three Powerlifting moves at the 2005 Commonwealth Powerlifting Championships

Powerlifting Wikipedia

So, what should a powerlifter eat throughout the day?


This is a fascinating question and something researchers continue to analyze in detail. Is it okay to eat what a regular bodybuilder would? What about someone that is a casual gym-goer and may not care about lifting heavy? No, it is not okay to follow their diet meal plans because their goals are completely different! Instead, you have to take the opportunity to build something that is catered to your needs and is going to ensure you can lift heavy in short bursts without getting tired.


This is why modern powerlifters eat for strength and make sure their muscles can recover nicely after a long workout session. This is doubly important for those spending time in the offseason looking to recuperate before a big meet. There are many occasions when people end up getting hurt because they don't eat well when it is their time off. You have to appreciate the value of eating well and making sure a consistent meal plan is set up for you to follow. Men and women need to focus on spreading their meal plan in an organized manner by understanding what the body craves. Studies show it is best to look into setting up a structured meal plan that includes a healthy list of protein sources such as lean meat, milk, fish, chicken, and more. Along with these protein sources, it is also best to think about adding healthy carbs such as brown pasta, potatoes, fruit, and vegetables.


When you are doing this the right way and getting in at least 6-7 meals per day, the results are going to show in the gym. It's all about creating a well-rounded meal plan that's in line with your powerlifting goals. Whether you are a man or a woman, powerlifting is all about eating right and maximizing your potential with an organized meal plan.


Along with eating the right foods, it's just as important to think about when those meals are consumed. Having 6-7 meals throughout the day is great but you have to make sure things are spread out as best as possible. This is the only way to feel healthy and make sure you are improving your workout sessions throughout the day. If you are not maximizing your sessions and eating well, there is going to be a drop in performance. This happens to all powerlifters at one point or another, which is why it's important to think about eating well. You want to make sure enough protein is included in your meals and the timing of your protein consumption lines up with your workouts. This means you have to take a good amount of protein 30 minutes after a long workout session. This ensures the muscles can recover promptly. Otherwise, you are going to miss out on positive results.


It is also best to get enough carbs before heading to the gym as this can be your main source of energy. You want to give your muscles enough of a chance to lift in short bursts without getting fatigued. This is why carbs are integral to a good meal plan.


So, what should a good meal plan look like?


Here is a detailed look into the world of meal plans and what an average powerlifter should be doing while putting things together. This is a wonderful guide on what works and what should be consumed throughout the day.


Powerlifting Meal Plan


In this example, the powerlifter is going to be an average-sized person that looks to lift sometime in the middle of the day. This individual will be going through grueling workout sessions at least 3-4 times per week and lifting heavy.


1) Morning Protein Source


* Whey Protein Shake (30 g) With Milk


Let's begin with the morning protein source as this is an essential energy booster to keep the body going. After a long rest, it's smart to give the body enough protein to get the juices flowing. This is a great addition to any meal plan and tends to work wonders for those pumping iron in the gym.


The premise is to make sure there's a good amount of protein in the digestive system before going through the rest of one's day. Most powerlifters are recommended to eat a high amount of protein and it has to come one way or another. While some swear by eating natural protein sources, whey protein shakes are wonderful and make things simpler when it comes to eating more protein. It's okay to simplify things and this is a good starting point for most people.


For the whey protein shake, it's important to keep things as straightforward as possible. This means you want to take it with a cup of milk. The serving size is going to depend on your weight but the golden rule is to consume 1 gram of protein powder per pound of body weight throughout the day. You can adjust your serving sizes based on this rule and go from there! Make sure to spread the amount of protein consumed throughout the day and don't take it in one shot.


2) Breakfast


* Vegetable and/or Fruit Smoothie (Your Choice)

* 2 Slices of Brown Bread (Toasted) with 100% Natural Peanut Butter

* Water


Getting in a good breakfast is a big part of most meal plans and the same applies here. There's no reason to skip breakfast and the protein shake before shouldn't be used as an excuse to ignore this meal. It's just as important as any other meal and has to be treated with respect as a powerlifter. The body needs something to give it a boost and the protein shake isn't going to be enough. With this in mind, it's time to take a look at what you need to have during breakfast.


For this meal, the goal is to get in a good amount of fruits/vegetables in the form of a smoothie. It's okay to eat these fruits/vegetables in a bowl if you don't like smoothies or don't want anything except water to drink. Along with the smoothie, you will want to make sure to eat a peanut butter sandwich.


This is a good way to make sure you are getting a small amount of protein and a good amount of carbs in one shot. Remember, the goal is to ensure everything is included in your meal plan and it is time to incorporate carbs into the mix.


3) Brunch


* Sandwich (4 Slices of Brown Bread and Tuna/Ham/Chicken)

* Fruit (Your Choice)

* Mixed Nuts (1 Cup)

* Water


Brunch isn't something you go out to eat with your buddies during the day. It's a big part of your meal plan and has to be factored in. Otherwise, you are going to have a massive gap between breakfast and lunch, which isn't good as a powerlifter. To keep things organized, you want to have this a few hours after breakfast. Brunch is a good way to get in additional calories while rounding out your start to the day. This means you are going to include another protein-based sandwich that is going to include brown bread and one type of meat (your choice). It's smart to mix the meat to ensure you are not eating the same thing every day. The same applies to those looking to eat plant-based proteins. 


Alongside the protein source, it's time to eat a small bowl of fruit. Some like grabbing an apple while others may want a banana. This is another opportunity to personalize your meal plan.


You will want to grab a bowl of mixed nuts to make sure additional nutrients are included in your regimen. You don't want to mix out on the nutritional profile of a great meal plan.


Don't forget to drink water throughout the day and it should be a big part of your regular meals. Expert’s state it's best to carry a 1-2 liter water bottle to make sure you are sipping on it at all times.


4) Lunch


* Bowl of Chicken Breast or Salmon

* Sunflower Seeds (1 Tbsp.)

* Brown Rice (100 g)

* Salad (Your Choice)

* Yogurt (1 Cup)


This is one of the most important meals of the day and is going to come in the afternoon. You will want to start with a protein source (plant-based for vegetarians) and this can be something as simple as chicken breast or fish. To go along with this protein source, you want to prepare a plate of brown rice. This should be the heart of your lunch and then it's time to round things out with additional elements.


For this example, the powerlifter would add sunflower seeds into the mix as a way to gain a little energy boost. They will also add a side such as salad to get another serving of vegetables.


To wrap things up, a bowl of low-fat yogurt is never a bad idea and can ensure the digestive system is in good health. It's all up to you and your requirements when it comes to the specific elements of lunch.


Powerlifters have to be methodical with regards to their lunch and how things are pieced together. Take your time with the meal plan and make adjustments throughout the year as you learn more about what works and what doesn't. The right answer doesn't come overnight. It's all about making mistakes and adapting on the go.


5) Snack


* Mixed Nuts (1 Cup)

* Banana (1)

* Green Tea (1 Cup)


It is snack time! You will want to play around with the options as this is something you can enjoy. You will want to make sure enough calories are consumed at this time while being able to enjoy what's consumed. For some, this is going to be a good time to eat another cup of nuts while getting in a fruit. The fruit can be a banana as this is known to provide additional energy before your workout session.


To round things up, you are going to want to think about green tea.


This is filled with high-quality antioxidants and tends to soothe the mind at the same time. There is a psychological relief associated with green tea that cannot be stressed enough.


It is an easy way to sit down and simply take in the wonderful aroma of good tea. Each person is unique as to what they prefer and powerlifters should look into the merits of green tea. If you don't want to go with green tea, another glass of water is fine.


6) Pre-Workout


* Carb Source (i.e. Energy Bars)


This is one of the more challenging issues powerlifters have to deal with as they put together a meal plan. Sometimes, you want to ignore this part of the meal plan and that's up to you. However, it is has been proven effective among professional powerlifters for a reason. The concept is to give the body a little boost right before heading to the gym. On normal rest days, you wouldn't incorporate this part of the meal plan and would move straight to the non-workout meals. However, on days that you are going to be sweating it out in the gym, it's best to prepare yourself with a good carb source.


The carb source is up to you and it is something that is personalized based on what you like to eat.


Some people like the idea of chowing down on something as simple as an energy bar. It's great to have an energy bar because it's easy to grab and will digest easily. However, you can go with anything that has a good amount of carbs and doesn't ruin your overall caloric intake. Remember, you are going to be losing a lot of calories in the gym, so it is okay to get enough carbs in right now.


7) Post-Workout


* Whey Protein Shake with Milk (30 g)


Several studies have been done on this subject and professionals believe there's a "window of opportunity" after a grueling workout session. This is when the muscles are fatigued and have gone through the natural tearing process that occurs after a session. This means it's time to help those muscles recuperate and pump them with a good amount of protein. To get ahead of this and ensure the body can push the protein in the right direction, it's time to sip on a whey protein shake. Of course, this doesn't mean you run out of the gym and hurry to drink your whey protein shake. This is simply a rule of thumb and is good to follow when it is time to take your post-workout meal. You want to keep things easy to digest and that is why a whey protein shake with milk is good.  


There are two ways of doing this and it's up to you. Some prefer the idea of drinking after a hard workout session but others don't mind the idea of sipping on it throughout the workout. This is all about preference and its okay to do the one you like more.


8) Dinner


* Brown Rice (100 g)

* Lean Red Meat/Chicken/Salmon (250 g)

* Salad (Your Choice)

* Boiled Potatoes (3)

* Yogurt (1 Cup) 


This is an essential meal and is one that is going to come after a tough workout session. You are going to have the whey protein shake coursing through your digestive system but it's also time to fill up on other important nutrients. This means it's time to prepare a proper dinner that is going to fill you up and make sure your body has the chance to recover overnight.


There are many routes a person can take with this type of meal.


You will want to make sure there's a good source of carb and protein in this meal. There are a few choices available as some may like the idea of bread while others prefer brown rice. The same goes for the protein source as you may want to mix things up based on what you want that day. You can go with any type of meat such as lean red meat, salmon, or chicken. It's up to you.


Please note, if you don't eat meat, its okay to replace these sources of protein with plant-based proteins. It's all about making sure you are customizing the meal plan around what you like to eat.


9) Late-Night Snack


* Fruit/Vegetable Smoothie (Your Choice)


To wrap up the day, you are going to want to finish with something that doesn't have a lot of protein in it. You will already have got enough protein for the day and your next intake is going to happen after waking up. So, what do you end up eating when it is time to take that late-night snack to suppress your appetite? Well, there are a few options that are wonderful in this type of situation and it often comes down to what you prefer.


Powerlifters are recommended to get a good amount of fruits/vegetables in and this is a good time to do so. With something as simple as a high-grade fruit/vegetable smoothie, you can get a good amount of nutrients and antioxidants in one shot. This is never a bad idea and is a good way to keep your organs healthy. Remember, being a powerlifter is only possible when you are eating healthy and staying fit. Otherwise, you are not going to have much of a career as a powerlifter!


Final Thoughts


This is a good powerlifting diet meal plan that should go a long way for the average powerlifter. Whether you are a man or a woman, having an organized meal plan is essential to your success. Anyone that cuts corners or doesn't take their diet seriously will always remain a step behind and might start wondering what's going wrong. It often comes back to what you are putting into your body. Yes, pumping iron in the gym is essential but that's not the only part of the equation to focus on! You have to think about your diet plan and the one offered here is a great starting point.


Over time, you are going to learn to personalize the diet meal plan based on what you prefer. For example, you may want to go with a different protein source or a different carb source. It's okay to mix and match as long as you are getting enough nutrients and calories in. This is all you have to be focused on to make sure the body can recover.


In the end, it's important to listen to your body and make sure it gets the opportunity to recuperate. By eating well, you are going to make things ten times easier on yourself!


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