Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Weekend Q&A: Nutrition for a Powerlifting Meet and Fear of Weight Gain When Not Tracking

May 04, 2024 Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer
Weekend Q&A: Nutrition for a Powerlifting Meet and Fear of Weight Gain When Not Tracking
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Weekend Q&A: Nutrition for a Powerlifting Meet and Fear of Weight Gain When Not Tracking
May 04, 2024
Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer

Today we are answering two questions from the community. One from a powerlifter who has the dilemma of trying to maintain strength for some upcoming meats, but without gaining too much fat and a long time, and the other from a food tracker concerned about taking a break from logging and worried about regaining all the weight.

Here are the two questions:

1. How should you adjust your nutrition for an upcoming powerlifting meet?

John is preparing for two powerlifting meets and wants to maintain strength without gaining excessive fat. He's currently at 200 pounds with 22-26% body fat and tracks his food intake. Given his goals and current stats, what nutrition approach would be most suitable for his upcoming meets?

2. What to do if you stop tracking because your adherence is slipping but you're afraid of regaining your weight back?

Valerie has been tracking her food intake for over a decade, most recently using MacroFactor for six months. Despite losing 7 pounds, her adherence is slipping, and she's considering taking a break from tracking. She's concerned about potential weight gain and seeks advice on how to approach this new phase while maintaining protein intake and regular workouts.

Get the answers in today's Weekend Q&A bonus episode.

---

This is a special Weekend Q&A edition of the Wits & Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays with an answer to one burning question so YOU can put it into action this weekend.

These questions are taken from the weekly #AskPhilip thread in our free Wits & Weights Facebook community. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let’s be honest, MISinformation online and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that’s what this free service is for.

With the weekly #AskPhilip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique, individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you’d like to experience it yourself, I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits & Weights Facebook group. It’s totally free and you’ll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Join our FREE community here to get access to the #AskPhilip thread!

Send me a question for Q&A!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we are answering two questions from the community. One from a powerlifter who has the dilemma of trying to maintain strength for some upcoming meats, but without gaining too much fat and a long time, and the other from a food tracker concerned about taking a break from logging and worried about regaining all the weight.

Here are the two questions:

1. How should you adjust your nutrition for an upcoming powerlifting meet?

John is preparing for two powerlifting meets and wants to maintain strength without gaining excessive fat. He's currently at 200 pounds with 22-26% body fat and tracks his food intake. Given his goals and current stats, what nutrition approach would be most suitable for his upcoming meets?

2. What to do if you stop tracking because your adherence is slipping but you're afraid of regaining your weight back?

Valerie has been tracking her food intake for over a decade, most recently using MacroFactor for six months. Despite losing 7 pounds, her adherence is slipping, and she's considering taking a break from tracking. She's concerned about potential weight gain and seeks advice on how to approach this new phase while maintaining protein intake and regular workouts.

Get the answers in today's Weekend Q&A bonus episode.

---

This is a special Weekend Q&A edition of the Wits & Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays with an answer to one burning question so YOU can put it into action this weekend.

These questions are taken from the weekly #AskPhilip thread in our free Wits & Weights Facebook community. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let’s be honest, MISinformation online and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that’s what this free service is for.

With the weekly #AskPhilip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique, individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you’d like to experience it yourself, I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits & Weights Facebook group. It’s totally free and you’ll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Join our FREE community here to get access to the #AskPhilip thread!

Send me a question for Q&A!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Philip Pape:

Today we are answering two questions from the community. One from a powerlifter who has the dilemma of trying to maintain strength for some upcoming meats, but without gaining too much fat and a long time. Food tracker's concerns about taking a break from logging and worried about regaining all the weight Tune in today for advice on optimizing nutrition, both for performance and for long term sustainability. Welcome to the Wits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, philip Pape, and this twice-a-week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self-mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science-backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset, with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Hello and welcome to the special weekend Q&A edition of the Wits and Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays and Sundays with an answer to one burning question so you can put it into action this weekend. These questions are taken from the weekly Ask Philip thread in our free Wits and Waits Facebook community. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let's be honest, misinformation online, and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that's what this free service is for. With the weekly Ask Philip thread. You can post a specific question relevant to your unique individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you'd like to experience it yourself, I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits and Waits Facebook group. It's totally free and you'll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Philip Pape:

With that, let's get to today's Q&A. Let's jump in. So the first question is from John Roy, who recently joined the group and his question is pretty cool, right. So, following up from my question last week about body recomposition, with more context, I have a powerlifting meet in six weeks, then another nine weeks after, so two powerlifting meets in close proximity. Currently I'm 200 pounds, 38 inch waist, body fat 22 to 26%. I would like to avoid a cut to keep my strength up. However, being in a gaining phase, I feel the percent of weight I'm adding is more fat than muscle, given my pants slash lifting belts are getting tighter. Let me address that really quickly so I don't forget Just the way you worded that. I want to just make sure we're framing it the best way here. So I feel the percent of weight I'm adding is more fat than muscle, given my pants are getting tighter.

Philip Pape:

So one thing is when you are gaining to gain muscle, no matter what, you're going to gain some fat and for most people it's like 50%. For a more advanced trainer it might be two thirds. So it's almost like stating the obvious, not not, I'm not trying to, it's not trying to insult you in any way, but going forward, it's like stating the obvious. To say you're gaining more fat than muscle, cause that is what's happening. Um, to burst your bubble, mainly if you think it's going to be a lot more muscle, but I think you know that's not the case. So your waist size is going to go up even while you're also gaining muscle. So my point is if you're gaining at the optimal rate and if, for you, that optimal rate gets you like two thirds fat, one third muscle, like that's great because you're still gaining muscle, but you're going to gain all that fat in the process. So I just want to be clear for people watching or listening that just because your pants are getting tighter doesn't mean you're gaining more fat than you should be. It's just an indication that you are gaining fat, which is expected. Okay Now, in the training that I'm doing today, or if you're listening to this, if I have this on the podcast, we already had it.

Philip Pape:

But the muscle building training, I'm talking about rates of gain, and so you can compare that to what you're actually doing to see if that's the case. Okay, I just wanted to address that. Continuing with your question, this is why I'm interested in a re-comp, right, so that's building muscle, losing fat at the same time, rather than a cut or bulk phase. At the moment, though I'm not scared of adding body fat, I did spend most of 2022 and three to four months of 2023 losing weight and personally, would like to avoid another cut until possibly the summer. Man, I hear you. I would love to avoid cuts altogether. Avoid cuts altogether. I'm in a cut right now. I'm in my fourth week and it's fine. You know I've done these before, but you know it's so much more fun to be well-fed, isn't it? Especially if you're a strength athlete.

Philip Pape:

I track my food Maintenance. Calories are 2940. Macros are 215 protein, 337 carbs, 82 fat. Okay, sounds about right. In fact, I would say that that is at 200 pounds. That's maybe even slightly more protein than you technically need. Given this snapshot, what would your recommendation be for what kind of nutrition phase I should be in for my two meats. Okay, so in six weeks and nine weeks, a big thing you left out of here is your weight class, right. So I don't know what weight class you are.

Philip Pape:

My opinion when it comes to powerlifting meets and I'm not a competitor myself, but I've coached people and definitely understand the mechanics of it is you want to be as well fed and recovered as possible going into the meet, right? The challenge is there's a weight class. So if you're already pushing the limit of the weight class, you can't gain anymore. So worst, best case, you would maintain maintenance. You're already in the weight class. If you need to cut to get in the weight class, I would do it sooner than later, unless you want to play the game of the water cut and all of that. I mean the, the, the power lifting um associations are effectively set up to incentivize that. Unfortunately, right, other than the um starting strength, they do their strength meets right, because there they have the. It's like a same day weigh-in, but when you have a 24-hour weigh-in you could definitely do a quick cut. That's not really going to affect your performance, but that's like playing games with the system If you're just doing this for lifestyle and you want to have the best, most enjoyable approach to it all, I would want to be well-fed as much as possible, and that includes even potentially gaining weight into the meat, if it keeps you in the weight class right when you compete and doesn't affect your leverages too much.

Philip Pape:

If you're the type of person whose deadlift is actually higher when you're a little bit lighter, you would know that about yourself, but for some people it pushes the squat a lot, it doesn't affect the deadlift a lot, so then you get well fed for that. Also, having the bigger belly, bigger chest can help with the leverages on the bench press when you have an excessive arch and you play those games. Anyway, again, I'm not a powerlifting expert, but your question is what nutrition phase you'd be in. It's going to depend on your weight class. If you want to maintain let's say you're right at the limit and you just want to maintain I would do that. I wouldn't go into a deficit. That's what you're getting at, unless you need to cut. So I would stay at maintenance.

Philip Pape:

I would do it precisely so, since you're tracking, you'll know exactly what your macros are. I would prioritize the protein and carbs, which protein is not an issue for you. You are. You weigh 200 pounds and you're getting 215 because you're at at least maintenance. You could cut the protein down to like 200 or even like 180 and give more of that to carbs or even fats.

Philip Pape:

Right, because of all the glycogen and energy you're going to get for um, for the training. You know we're talking about the, the lactic, uh, what's it called? The lactic pathway of energy or the glycolytic pathway, where that burst of energy you get when you're just trying to push that one RM? Um, the more carbs you have, the better. That. That's my opinion on that. So you could experiment with that a little bit.

Philip Pape:

Um, body composition and all that I mean you mentioned you don't want to get fatter, right, at this point you already know that your waist size has been getting bigger. So if you go back to maintenance, everything should just hold. You can take measurements if you want, but what's going to happen is at maintenance. Are you going to experience some body recomp? If you're an advanced lifter who's been building muscle for a while? Not much at all. I'm just going to be honest. Not much at all. It's great for newbies, or if you haven't been training for very long, but it seems like you have been right. So you're not going to get much at all. And I wouldn't go to maintenance for body recomp. I would just do it because you don't want to gain more weight and or to keep you in the weight class.

Philip Pape:

Make sense Recovery like just get a lot of sleep right, keep that stress down, don't take on new things in your life as you get to the meats. Just keep it easy, right, eat. Now. The only other thing that comes to mind is if you want to do any calorie cycling, for, like 90% of people, I don't recommend it. I'd rather just the simplicity of distributed calories. Your body gets used to the predictability of it all. You don't take away from your recovery days when you do that. However, if you find that as you lead up to the meets and you're testing your triples, doubles and one RMs and you can stack a whole bunch more carbs to either the night before a morning training session or right before the training session, like an hour or two before, and see if that helps your performance, I'm cool doing that as well, in which case your other days would come down a little to keep everything in maintenance All right. And then there's hydration, there's supplements creatine like you should be doing all the stuff you need to do there, okay. So I think that answers your question. I definitely like maintenance. If the weight class is not an issue, all right.

Philip Pape:

Our second question is from Valerie. She says I'm thinking of pausing on tracking food intake. I've been using Macrofactor for the past six months and lost about seven pounds. So really good job there. Six months, seven pounds is a nice, reasonable rate of loss, which implies you've been in a pretty conservative deficit. In fact, if I were to do the math, what does that come out to be? We're going to say roughly a pound a month, so roughly a quarter pound a week, which is about 100 something calories a day right, 125 calories a day deficit, which has been a slight deficit. So that's good. That's what I would do for that kind of drawn out fat loss phase.

Philip Pape:

I was hoping for more, but I can feel my adherence slipping, so I think I need a break. Before that, I used MyFitnessPal for 10 years to track food intake. It worked for a while, but I had issues with tracking accurately after a while. I haven't been completely free of tracking in a long time and I'm afraid I'll put on weight if I stop Do long time and I'm afraid I'll put on weight if I stop. Do you have any advice on how to approach this new phase? I'm going to maintain my protein intake now that I have a better idea of what I need daily and how to attain it, and obviously continue my regular workouts. What's going to happen to me? Sweaty emoji, okay, so a few things here. When you say your adherence, you feel your adherence slipping. That right there, the red flag to me, right?

Philip Pape:

If you're a client, I would very quickly consider going into a diet break, which would be stop dieting and go to maintenance. Now, is it the tracking that's stressing you out, or is it the fact that you're dieting? I would want to kind of remove each variable from the stress on your body and see what happens. So, for example, step one would be stop dieting, go to maintenance, keep tracking while at maintenance so you know your maintenance. Which macro factor lets you do that easily? My fitness pal wouldn't have a clue, right? Macro factor knows your expenditure so you can come up to immediately recover to your current maintenance. Set it to maintain and allow that recovery to happen. Allow your metabolism to recover your hormones, to recover right, you might have a couple of pounds that you gain initially from water weight.

Philip Pape:

It's not fat. I did a whole training, a whole podcast, about maintaining your results, maintaining your lean physique, so if you need me to throw that to you, I can. It wasn't that long ago. So just kind of look for like how to maintain your lean physique. We can find it together, and you might find that the energy, the mood, the recovery that you get from having the extra calories is just what you needed for the psychological relief that you were interpreting as an adherence problem, because adherence really comes down to is it sustainable? And fat loss is not sustainable for the long term. It can be sustainable in the short term, though, and the way you've done it is very sustainable because you've done it for six months, right, you've been tracking, you've done it at a reasonable pace and now you're ready for a break, and, honestly, six months is a long time to die. Most of my clients will die at most for four months before they take a break, and those breaks can be months long. So, yeah, that's step one. I would take a break to maintenance while tracking to see how you feel, because you might find that when you're in maintenance, like, hey, this is cool, I actually want to keep tracking because it helps me understand how to dial in my maintenance as my metabolism recovers this way, so your metabolism should recover.

Philip Pape:

Now. If, of course, you find that tracking yourself is making you neurotic, obsessive or whatever, my second step would be again, if I were your coach, I would say, like, how are you tracking? Are you making it harder on yourself than it needs to be? For example, are you logging every little ingredient in your salad, every little ingredient in your stir fry, as opposed to just logging the main ingredients or logging a common food, right? Are you trying to get super precise with restaurant food as opposed to just estimating? Are you trying to track when you go on trips and stuff, when maybe you should just not track during those periods? There's a lot of things that make oh geez, okay, I hope I didn't lose my mic. There's a lot of things that make tracking Okay, it looks like my Pardon me. It looks like my audio changed Microphone. No, it looks like it's still working. Okay, there's a lot of things that make tracking itself sustainable or not. Does that make sense? So I would want to see if the way you're tracking can be more sustainable, because I'm a huge advocate of tracking, you know if it helps you get to your goals.

Philip Pape:

Option three so once you've gone to maintenance, once you've addressed your actual methods of tracking would be if you still feel like no, this is just too stressful, I just need a break from tracking. Altogether Awesome, like the fact that you've been tracking has given you knowledge of where you need to be intuitively with your hunger signals, with the foods you pick, with your protein, like you said here. You said I'm going to maintain my protein now that I have a better idea of what I need daily. Like if you just repeat how you've been eating most of the time and you don't go completely in a different direction, yeah, you should be able to maintain your weight for months and years and you know if it drifts, it's going to drift very slowly and you're going to notice it right, and you'll easily be able to just change a behavior or two and you could always go back to tracking. So don't stress, I would go to maintenance while tracking. I would recover. Then I would look at your tracking methods, make them more sustainable and then, if you still don't want to track. I think you could do it intuitively because you've been tracking, but do it after you go to maintenance so that you know generally what to eat to stay in maintenance, all right, so I hope that helps. Everything else you're doing. It's awesome, the workouts, all that good stuff.

Philip Pape:

That's it for today's weekend Q&A bonus episode. Remember this is just a small part of the weekly Ask Philip live Q&A in the Wits and Weights Facebook group, which you can join totally free using the link in the show notes. I invite you to join us as we improve our health and physique together. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits and Weights. If you found value in today's episode and know someone else who's looking to level up their wits or weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them and make sure to hit the follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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