Episode 47 – Nutrition For A Powerlifting Meet Day

Key Topics Covered

Avoid doing things that make you feel worse  

  • Focus on foods you know and tolerate well and have practiced before around training 
  • Nailing your nutrition can mean that you perform the best you can on the day, maybe even adding an extra few kilos to your total 
  • BUT not fueling correctly can mean absolutely tanking on the day and running out of gas far too early – if you are going to pull a max deadlift at the end of a 5-8 hour day of lifting, you want to be well fueled and hydrated throughout  

Focus on foods to fuel performance: 

These are usually:

  • High carb – Best source of energy
  • Low fiber – Makes it easier to digest, which means less food sitting in your stomach
  • Low/moderate protein – Try to keep it similar to your usual intake
  • Low/moderate fat intake – Makes it easier to digest

So it is probably going to look a little different from your day to day nutrition  

Consider low-FODMAP foods 

  • If GI distress is risk – low FODMAP foods on the day (and the day before) could help reduce the risk of this in some cases 
  • This is obviously not relevant for everybody but can be useful if you tend to have a bit of a nervous belly or are worried about an IBS flare up on the day  
  • This could look like going for:  
    • low FODMAP grains – rice and oats over bread products  
    • No onion, garlic  
    • Low FODMAP fruits and avoiding dried fruit, fruit juice  
    • Low lactose dairy products only etc.  
    • But don’t just reduce your carb intake! You still want a focus on high carb foods pre comp day and on comp day – might be best to consult with a sports dietitian 


  • 5-7mg/kg of caffeine per day is evidence based range prior to a 1RM
  • It literally improves power production – the research shows as much as 3-4% improvement in 1RM 
  • 5-7mg would be 500-700mg for a 100kg athlete. This is a lot.
    • 1x 500ml Monster is 160mg.
    • 1x serve (usually 2x scoops) of pre-workout is often 300mg.
    • 1x shot of coffee is ~80mg (but super variable)
    • 1x NoDoz is 100mg. 
  • But a meet is typically 3-6 hours long which presents logistical challenges. Do you go higher than this? Are there downsides to going higher and drawing it out for longer? 
  • Caffeine peaks in your system after 30–60 minutes normally (quicker if using some techniques e.g. gum). If you have a multiple comps and feel tired later on, potentially “top it up”.
  • This is a personal preference thing. Most people at some stage should probably try going this high to see if it helps. But it can be detrimental for some people.  


  • Losing just 2% of your bodyweight through dehydration can lead to significant decreases in performance & cognitive function as well as increased perception of effort (hello warm ups and openers feeling harder than they should – leading to lack of confidence) 
  • So being hydrated is a no-brainer 
  • It becomes more complex if a weight cut has been done, since we want to then be factoring in fluid, electrolytes and carbohydrates 
  • This would probably be too in-depth for this podcast, but it was covered in Episode 16 on Nutrition for Making Weight 
  • General recommendations would be to have adequate fluid intake in the days leading up (unless actively doing a weight cut), hydrate well after weigh in, the morning of and sip on fluids throughout the day  

Timing of food 

  • Timing of food can be based mostly on how you feel throughout the day since it is so variable 
  • But ideally breakfast is planned at time that suits the schedule e.g. maybe 2 hours before lifting (if it is a morning start) 
  • The first lot of caffeine 15 min before squat openers 
  • Snacks throughout squats, and then throughout the day.  
  • Top-up caffeine throughout the day. 
  • Then an easily digestible meal directly post bench press. 

Common Snacks We Recommend

  • Rice cakes and honey  
  • Muesli bars – I like LCMs, Cliff bars and FODBODS (low fibre, high carb) 
  • Lollies  
  • Muffins/finger buns/pikelets with jam 
  • Sports drink, full sugar energy drink  
  • Fruit if tolerated  
  • Rice pudding  
  • Fried rice 
  • White bread sandwiches or wraps  

Useful Links/ Resources

Studies Mentioned

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