Tips To Look and Perform Your Best

I feel like most people think about training and dieting separately. You are either a “fat” powerlifter… Or a hungry and weak bodybuilder…

So many people actually get into powerlifting because they just want to lift heavy things and eat all of the food. And people get into bodybuilding unaware of just how hard it is to stick to a strict diet (and still train hard to maintain muscle).

I wanted to write a blog/article about how you can (and in my opinion SHOULD) do both. Train hard like a powerlifter and fuel your body like a bodybuilder. Of course, I’m a little bias to this approach because I am competitive in both sports. But I do honestly think it is possible for everyone! With that being said.. When you are prepping for a powerlifting meet, you don’t want to be in calorie deficit. And when you are dieting for a bodybuilding show (or in a cutting phase).. You want to focus on that.. And less on competition style squat, bench, and deadlift.

Advice from Tony Montgomery:

“Can’t serve 2 masters there has to a be a point in time when you have to specialize at 8 weeks out or so for powerlifting and 12 weeks for bodybuilding.”

  1. You want to make sure that your training program is set up in a way that is going to help you achieve your goals. Smart and strategic training. If you have plans on doing a meet… Make sure you are giving yourself the “off-season” time to improve on your weaknesses and grow. And have a break from the heavy stuff. If you plan on working with a coach… I highly recommend you work with them for an off-season/hypertrophy phase, as well as your meet prep. The offseason is when you are actually going to be improving. The meet prep is when you take your new gains and prime it for the meet.
  2. The above is the same for bodybuilding… So many people think that hiring a coach right when you want to start a prep is the way to do it. Those same people think that having a coach in the off-season isn’t needed. Being one of those people who USED TO THINK THAT… I now know that that is far from being the case. The only time I would say that you shouldn’t have a coach in the off-season is if finances are an issue. Having a coach before a contest or meet prep actually starts is so beneficial! It is like a prep for the prep. It allows you and your coach to make sure things (diet & training) are set up properly. And you are making the necessary progress. It also allows you to have the structure and accountability… Which is huge if you are trying to be your all-time best!
  3. Fuel your body properly!!! This goes for girls and guys! No matter what your goals are! If you are trying to grow or gain weight. Then you have to be in a calorie surplus. That doesn’t mean eat like an asshole!!! Yes, eat more food… But eat good quality foods! Not a bunch of fast food. Not only will you feel better, but you will also look better, and perform better! And if you are trying to lose weight and/or get leaner… Then you have to eat in a calorie deficit. And during this time… Know that you will not be able to actually grow. So you need to do all that you can to maintain as much lean tissue as possible. When you are trying to lose weight… That doesn’t mean you need to starve yourself. You still need to eat. And you shouldn’t try to gain or lose too fast. Slow and steady wins the race. If you gain too fast… Then you will most likely put on more fat that you would like. And if you lose too fast, then you will lose way too much lean tissue (muscle)…
    • Let’s dive in a little deeper with gaining and/or losing weight… People tend to want results “yesterday.” And unfortunately, that’s just not how things work. It all takes time, work, and a ton of patience! When you are trying to lose weight. I would say a rate of 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week is good. This will inch you closer to your goal while allowing you to maintain as much lean tissue as possible, as well as give you time to learn and create healthy habits.
    • As for making all of the gainzzzz… There are two different approaches you can take. One, you can slowly increase your macros… But this is very difficult and takes a ton of willpower and discipline (it is possible, though). This approach is nice because it allows you to slowly put on weight. You actually might even continue to lose weight for a few weeks even though you are eating more and more food. Two, you can bring your calories up to maintenance right away. This approach can be good for bringing your hormones back to a healthy place. And it can help avoid the challenges of slowly increasing food during a time that you want to eat all of the food. With the second approach. You will most likely gain weight faster, and gain a little more fat versus the first approach. I honestly think the first approach is worth it! Who doesn’t want to stay leaner, while putting on lean tissue, and minimal fat. All in all, I would say that a weight gain of 1/2 – 2 pounds per week is a good pace.
    • Another note before moving on… I would recommend however much time you spend in a calorie deficit. You should spend at least that much time in a maintenance/surplus. This is when planning your different phases come into play.
  4. Train hard and SMART (and safe, of course)! When people are in a gaining/growing phase. It is “easier” to train hard. You have more food and more energy… And more fluff around the joints. But when you are in a deficit/cutting phase… You still want to train hard. It might even be more important during this time. Training is what’s going to help you keep the muscle you worked so hard to gain. Don’t let the fact that you are dieting be an excuse to train like a 😺!!! You’d be surprised what your body is capable of! Push hard, just be smart about things! And definitely listen to your body is something doesn’t feel right. For instance, when I was a few weeks out from my bodybuilding shows. My hammies felt like they were going to pop (I’m sure that wasn’t the case), but I just took it easy with those exercises or found an alternative exercise that didn’t cause that uncomfortable feeling.
    • Some more on training… No matter what phase you are in.. You want to make sure you are progressing in one way or another. This can present itself in many different ways.
      1. More weight on the bar.
      2. More reps/sets with the same weight you did previously.
      3. The same weight at a lower RPE and with better form/technique.
    • Most people think that the only way to progress is to have more weight on the bar, but that isn’t always the case. Yes, you do eventually want to have more weight on the bar (and that will come with time and lots of hard work). But week to week, day to day, workout to workout… There are other ways to progress. & how do you track this progress???
      1. Logbook: Keep some type of log. This can be an actual journal/notebook. You can use your phone Notes or a Google Doc/Sheets. You have options here. It doesn’t really matter what you use to log your training… You just need to do it. This will allow you to keep track of your exercises, weights, sets, reps, etc. I also like to track how things felt… If I had any aches and pains and what caused it. Your logbook will allow you to see if you are progressing; as well as spot any trends that might need to be addressed.
      2. Videos: I know some people don’t record their lifts… Some even find it weird/awkward to record themselves while in the gym. But it is so helpful when it comes to seeing how training is going (especially on the main lifts, and especially if you have a coach that isn’t there in person with you). Recording yourself allows you to see how the weight moved. It allows you to see any breakdown in your form/technique. I also like to use my videos to help me gauge my RPE. The reason for this is because… Once you get over a certain weight on some lifts… It all feels heavy/hard. But a lot of times it will still move really good. So I will rate my RPE using both, the way it felt AND the way it looked.

WELL… I think that’s it for now. I hope these tips are helpful! If you have any questions about any of these or anything else health, nutrition, training, and/or mindset related… Don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me at kaylie.trainer@gmail.com or you can message me on IG or FB.

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