The Powerlifting Diet: Wait…Really? THAT’S What Powerlifter’s Eat?!
by Jordan Syatt December 9, 2014
Powerlifting exemplifies the ultimate expression of strength.
Testing the absolute most amount of weight you can lift in the squat, bench press, and deadlift…there is no ambiguity.
There is no cheating.
There is no doubt.
You’re either strong enough to lift the weight or you aren’t.
And while old-school powerlifting dogma used to preach the importance of getting as big as humanly possible at all costs (even if that meant eating like shit and getting obscenely fat), the new world of powerlifting has shown getting bull-strong can be accomplished while staying lean year round.
That’s exactly what I’m going to show you how to do.
The Powerlifting Diet: Wait…Really!? THAT’S What Powerlifter’s Eat?
As an IPA World Record Powerlifter people often assume I either:
A)Relentlessly gorge myself with McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King and other fast food staples.
B)Maintain an incredibly strict (or “clean”) diet, accounting for every last calorie and neverlay a finger on a single “bad” food.
Fortunately for my health, performance, and social life…neither of those assumptions are remotely accurate.
So What Do I Eat On the Powerlifting Diet?
As a business owner, full-time performance coach, competitive athlete, and social butterfly…I don’t have a lot of time to cook.
As such, I’ve developed a very simple, easy, and relatively inexpensive system to help me perform at a high level, maintain a low body fat year round, and enjoy my life as a ridiculously good looking 23-year old.
But before I get into what I eat, I want to briefly discuss several key points.
1) Fat Loss is Like a Bank
I forget where I heard this first but, to whoever explained this to me many years ago…thank you. It changed my entire perspective on not only nutrition but skill acquisition as a whole.
Think of fat loss like a bank
When you first open a bank account you start with nothing.
It’s not fun to look at and certainly isn’t impressive.
But you’re ready to start investing time and effort in order to make and save money.
Days, weeks, months, and years go by as you slowly but surely add more money into the bank.
Progress is being made.
It might not be as fast as you want, and you’re making a ton of sacrifices along the way, but you’re definitely making progress.
Eventually, after a lot of time and effort, you look at your bank statement and feel a sense of pride.
Now you’ve got some serious $$$ saved up and, all of a sudden, you aren’t as stressed about it.
While, before, you were strict and rarely took out any money – only what was absolutely necessary – now you can comfortably take out more because you’ve got plenty saved up.
Plus, you’ve developed a system to get more money back into the bank on a consistent basis.
See where I’m going with this?
Fat loss works in the same way.
At first it’s tough. Daunting, even.
You’re putting in an extraordinary amount of time and effort and making small – seemingly insignificant – progress.
You’re making sacrifices – eating differently than your friends, carefully monitoring your calorie intake, and putting in a huge amount of work day-in and day-out.
Eventually, however, it all becomes less stressful.
You’ve achieved a healthy body weight, developed new and successful habits, and have learned how to indulge without going overboard like you used to.
Best of all, you know the system!
You’ve learned the tricks of the trade and know exactly what you need to do in order to lose fat so, even if you “slip up” for a day or two, you are confident and able to get right back on track.
Knowing This is a HUGE Advantage
I’m not going to sugar coat anything.
Fat loss isn’t easy.
The concepts and strategies are simple.
But not easy.
And anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant, trying to sell you something, or both.
That being said, understanding fat loss is like a bank is a huge advantage.
While it doesn’t make the process any easier, having that knowledge in the back of your mind can act as a source of motivation to keep you pushing forward even, or especially, when all you want to do is quit.
So When In Doubt…
Remember fat loss is like a bank.
In the moment it can feel scary, daunting, and like a never-ending task.
But if you truly dedicate yourself to a well designed and individualized program for an extended period of time, you will see results and you will eventually be able to have more leniency with your powerlifting diet – taking more out of your proverbial “bank” – while maintaining a lean and healthy physique.
There isn’t a single food in the entire world (includingtwinkies) that, in isolation, I consider “bad.”
There are a variety of reasons but, most importantly, no one gets fat or sick from eating 1 “unhealthy” food or meal, right?
Rather, the sum and substance of their diet on a consistent, long-term basis is a far more accurate predictor of their health.
That being the case, so long as your diet is generally filled with a variety of whole, unprocessed, nutrient dense foods and your total energy intake is in-line with your specific goals…there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate some traditionally labeled “bad” foods every now and then while continuing to make progress.
In fact, research has consistently found flexible dieters – those who allow themselves, guilt-free, the ability to indulge every once in a while – are far more successful than rigid dieters at achieving and maintaining significant weight loss in the long-term.
Your Takeaway: Understand and appreciate that no food is inherently “good” or “bad.”
“Healthy” or “unhealthy.”
Rather, too much (or too little) of anything will lead to negative health outcomes, while learning how to be a flexible dieter will likely benefit you in the long-run.
3) Supplements are Meant to be [*Gasp!*]
Most people start their fitness journey by searching for supplements.
They spend days, weeks, and months scouring the deepest darkest corners of their local GNC for the best and most powerful supplements to boost fat loss/jack up strength/improve endurance/etc before they even think about a well-designed training program or healthy nutrition habits.
That’s ass backwards
Before you even think about supplements you need to have all other aspects of fitness dialed in.
If your nutrition isn’t in check you have zero reason to be buying supplements
If you aren’t following a well-designed training program and going to the gym at least 3x/week you have zero reason to be buying supplements
If you aren’t able to maintain a healthy body weight with basic nutrition and training strategies you have zero reason to be buying supplements
What most people fail to understand is…
Supplements are meant to SUPPLEMENT a pre-existing and well-designed diet and training program…
NOT replace it.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some supplements that have a time and a place.
But even the best supplement (save for anabolic steroids) will do absolutely nothing if your training and nutrition aren’t in check.
Created by the team of leading researches over at Examine, The Supplement Goals Reference Guidebreaks down in simple and easy-to-understand terminology which supplements are worth your $$$ and which ones…well…aren’t.
The coolest part?
The guide is constantly updated based on new and emerging research so you’ll have access to the most accurate, un-biased, and well researched supplement data for the rest of your life.
4) Athlete’s Don’t Need to be Meticulous With Their Diets
Lot’s of trainers and lifters think they need to be “perfect” with their diets 100% of the time or else their performance will go to shit.
While, by and large, it’s important to pay attention to your overall energy intake and food quality, there’s no reason to believe that occasionally indulging in a favorite treat will destroy your performance.
Think about it.
Some of the best athletes in the world (theMichael Phelps Dietring a bell?) regularly eat what many would consider to be “unhealthy” foods yet continue to perform at an extraordinarily high level.
The same goes for us meat heads.
While there’s no reason to eat junk all the time and gain inordinate amounts of fat, we can feel comfortable knowing that indulging now and again won’t hurt our performance.
In fact, it might even help.
Between you and me…I had a big ‘ol sub and a hefty bag of chips about an hour before pulling this 535lb all-time PR at a bodyweight of 143lbs.
Your Takeaway: Pay attention to your powerlifting diet and do your best to get the majority of your food from a variety of whole, unprocessed sources…but don’t feel bad about indulging every now and again.
It’s just not that big of a deal.
Deadlifting Secrets Revealed: How I Became a Deadlifting World Record Holder
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The Powerlifting Diet: Wait…Really? THAT’S What Powerlifter’s Eat?
Now that I’ve spent enough time discussing several key tenets of my nutrition philosophy…what do I actually eat?
Rather than leave you with a boring grocery shopping list, below is a brief video I recorded specifically for you outlining exactly what my standard diet looks like.
Including everything from rotisserie chicken (an ungodly amount) to Cinnamon Life (why the hell wouldn’t you have Cinnamon Life in your pantry?) I break down what I eat, why I eat it, and how it helps me stay lean year-round while performing at the highest possible level.
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