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Dieting Down For Powerlifters

Powerlifting Bench Press

By Shawn "Bud" Lyte

Over the years, unfounded rumors, myths and half-truths have arisen and taken hold in regards to the detriments of cardio and die * ting to power and strength performance. Cardio allegedly drains a powerlifter's power akin to Superman wearing a Kryptonite codpiece. This is true only if the cardio is pre-workout, intense, and in excess of 15-20 minutes, and depends on the subsequent workout. For example, one would not want to spend 20 minutes on a stepper or hammering on a cycle before their squat training.

I've found that doing only a light and brief (5 minute) cardio warm up on squat days helps keep my legs and squats strong for training. Typically, my trainees, teammates and I will do 20 minutes of post- workout cardio on bench days and off days, which comes out 3 days a week on average. For those who only do evening workouts, 20-30 minutes of morning cardio, every other day, works very well.

As far as weight loss, I never rely on or look to cardio as a sole or primary means to that, preferring diet modification. Approach that I take with my trainees, that continues to work well, is to drop calories over the course of 3-4 weeks to about 70% of my maintenance calories, then hold at 70% until the target weight range is reached. That usually does not take more than four weeks if the lifter is not trying to drop more than 30 pounds.

Example: wk 1: 9 x bodyweight integer (250 lb) = 2250 calories
wk 2: 8 x bodyweight integer (250 lb) = 2000 calories
wk 3: 7 x bodyweight integer (250 lb) = 1750 calories

From here, calories are brought (over the course of 3-4 weeks) back up to 90% which becomes the lifter's new maintenance calorie intake. The key here is to keep the calories as lean as possible. No processed foods (except on a cheat day here and there), no saturated or hydrogenated fats at any time, and always, always, always consuming protein with carbs. That means if someone is drinking PowerAde, they have some nuts or a protein bar with it.

A lean operation is an efficient one, and the same goes for bodies. You will find that when you keep your body fat and weight under control, your training and metabolic efficiency and performance improve considerably and comparatively effortlessly.

Stay with it,
Shawn "Bud" Lyte - CME, CSN
Resident Sports Nutritionist
100% RAW Powerlifting Federation

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