Posted by Tony Montgomery under Diet  Weight Loss  Nutrition  on Dec 02 2014

Just imagine 12 weeks of meet prep everything is going good you’re hitting PR’s and the meet is right around the corner. You’re 15lbs away from your weight class and you have 3 weeks to make it so what do you do? You have a method that worked for you when you wrestled in high school so you do that and you make weight, awesome right? You spend all day eating and drinking to put it all back on for the meet and the day of you’ve only put a few pounds back on, you feel like crap and you have the worst meet of your life. What went wrong? It wasn’t your training because you were hitting PR’s, you slept like a baby so that wasn’t it, and did your deload so you could peak perfectly for the meet. I’ll let you think about it for a minute…. still trying to figure it out? Don’t worry I’ll do it for you it was your weight cut, you did it all wrong and messed up 12 weeks of training!!
This is why you hear so many people say “You should never cut unless you’re trying to set a World Record.” This statement just doesn’t make sense to me, anything you do in life you do it to the best you can be at it and being bigger in a smaller weight class is ideal to put your best foot forward. Just like getting good at the lifts by doing them its the same thing with weight cuts it takes practice and lots of it. It’s a skill that will be learned through trial and error, so practice makes perfect. Don’t be like Allen Iverson and just show up and hope things go well. So instead of me telling you not to cut weight, I’ll just show you the proper way to do it so you can perform at your best on game day.  It’s not as hard as it seems and with just a few minor adjustments you’ll be ready to peak, instead of being ready to make excuses and eating your way to SHW because things didn’t workout the way you intended it to.
With a meet approaching you have a certain timeline to follow. This is typically after a meet you decide on your next one hopefully 12-16 weeks away so you give yourself time to get better, but thats for another article. Right after the meet what typically happens is powerlifters go hog wild and eat everything in sight like they just dieted for a bodybuilding show when in reality you cut weight for 3 days. This takes a little bit of discipline on your part and I’m assuming if you’re reading this magazine you want to be the best and will do what it takes to get there. So right after the meet is a good time to up the calories in a clean and healthy manner I would make sure you get your protein in and carbs around training, and fats away from it. The reason for this is that fats slow down absorption rate of nutrients and keeps you full and satiated which is great away from a workout but could be extremely detrimental pre, during and post workout. That’s why you want carbs and protein around your workout the carbs will help spike insulin which slows down protein degradation the breaking down of muscles and it also helps shuttle in the protein at a rapid pace which means faster protein synthesis which is the building of muscles.These extra calories will allow your body to recover from the meet and the grueling training cycle you just went through. Do this for about 2-3 weeks and then it’s time to get serious with dieting. An example of this would be a 220lbs lifter went to 2000calories the week of the meet to make weight, the table below will show you what the next 3 weeks will look like.
Week 1
Sunday- 2250cal
Monday- 2500ca
Tuesday- 2750cal
Wednesday- 2750cal
Thursday- 3000cal
Friday- 3000cal
Saturday- 3250cal
Week 2
Sunday- 3250cal
Monday- 3500ca
Tuesday- 3500cal
Wednesday- 3500cal
Thursday- 3750cal
Friday- 3750cal
Saturday- 4000cal
Week 3
Sunday- 4000cal
Monday- 4250ca
Tuesday- 4500cal
Wednesday- 4500cal
Thursday- 4750cal
Friday- 4750cal
Saturday- 5000cal
After a meet you’re doing more of a high volume hypertrophy to let your body heal a bit and to build up those weak areas, well this is also the perfect time to do your weight cut. The extra volume will allow you to keep some muscle mass on as you start to decrease the calories. Just like bodybuilders dieting for a show the tend to look pretty jacked and tan!! So why not follow the same plan? The key here is to decrease weight in a slow and methodical manner so your body can adopt to your new leverages or lack there of. You’ll notice as you get lighter your strength may decrease. I find that this has more to do with not having the same leverages you had when you were a fatty not so much a loss in strength.
Doing it slow right around 1-1.5lbs per week is ideal to keep size and strength up. This will also give you a gauge on what week to pull the plug and start upping the calories again but lets not get ahead of ourselves just yet. The idea here is to get as close to comp weight as possible so if you’re a 220lbs lifter you would look to get down to 226-228lbs. Hopefully if you didn’t get to fat after the meet this should be relatively easy. So for example the last meet you did you weighed in at 220lbs and after recomp and eating more calories for those 2-3 weeks you got your weight back up to 238lbs so if you start 16 weeks out and follow that slow and steady protocol you’ll be right around 228lbs by 7-8 weeks out. This is where the fun happens.
This is where the handwork starts and the true champion steps up to set themselves up to be great. We start to up some calories nothing crazy like 5000cals when you were just at 2000. A slow a steady increase in carbs per week. First 3 weeks you’ll add 10-15g of carbs to post workout meal. Here is an example for the same 220lbs lifter
Week 1
Meal 1: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 2: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 3: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Pre Workout: 20g of protein, 8g of fat, 30g of carbs
Intra Workout: 10g of BCAA’s, 40g of carbs
Post Workout Meal: 40g of protein, 40g of carbs
Meal 5: 40g of protein, 20g of carbs, 8g of fat
Week 2
Meal 1: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 2: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 3: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Pre Workout: 20g of protein, 8g of fat, 30g of carbs
Intra Workout: 10g of BCAA’s, 40g of carbs
Post Workout Meal: 40g of protein, 55g of carbs
Meal 5: 40g of protein, 20g of carbs, 8g of fat
Week 3
Meal 1: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 2: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Meal 3: 40g of protein, 15g of fat
Pre Workout: 20g of protein, 8g of fat, 30g of carbs
Intra Workout: 10g of BCAA’s, 40g of carbs
Post Workout Meal: 40g of protein, 65g of carbs
Meal 5: 40g of protein, 20g of carbs, 8g of fat
You may actually still lose weight with the added carbs so don’t fret, because we both know you’re consuming more calories it’s just from dieting your body is ready to absorb and use those nutrients for muscle building and your metabolism should be through the roof. After the first 3 weeks pass and we upped the carbs the next weeks leading up to weight cut week you’ll add 10% protein per day in week 4, than 10%carbs, week 5, than if weight is still within reach which is royghly 6-8% of comp weight you’ll add 10% of fats. This will take you up to meet week. So you can see how this is already beneficial compared to how you normally cut. You are increasing calories during the heaviest and most taxing part of your meet prep which will help with recovery, instead of 4 weeks out you start your crash diet to make weight.
So now onto the actual week of competition. The worst thing you can do here is try to starve yourself to make weight or exercise to make weight. These two scenarios will drain and fatigue you even more when you’re supposed to be resting and recovery so you can peak for the meet. This is the exact protocol I use as a 242lbs lifter so obviously you’ll adjust it to your bodyweight. This was designed by Mike Mastell and I’ve used it 3x to perfection and he’s used it several times with all great results:
Water Load
Monday- Drink 1.5 Gallons of distilled water
Tuesday- Drink 2 Gallons of distilled water
Wednesday- Drink 2.5 gallong of distilled water
Thursday- Drink 2.5 gallons of distilled water
Friday- Drink 1 gallon distilled water before 12 PM
Monday- Maintain the same
Tuesday- Decrease portion size slightly but maintain same plan
Wednesday- Cut out red meat and carbohydrates
Thursday- Cut out red meat and carbohydrates and cut meals in half
Friday- Wake up and consume 6 egg whites, at 10 have a protein shake using 1.5 scoops protein mixed with distilled water, at 12 eat 6 ounces chicken breast. Cut off food after that. If you really need something to eat you can have a handful of unsalted nuts.
Weight Cut
Begin at 12- Sauna 15 minutes on 15 minutes off for 2 hours, Weigh yourself before and after every session if you ever come out the same you went in then go home and rest for 1-2 hours. After every 2 hour sessions go home and rest for 1-2 hours. The whole idea is that you stay relaxed you want to keep aldosterone production to a minimum and any undue stress will cause you to start to pump aldosterone. Aldosterone plays a central role in the regulation of blood pressure mainly by acting on the distal tubules and collecting ducts of the nephron, increasing reabsorption of ions and water in the kidney, to cause the conservation of sodium, secretion of potassium, increased water retention, and increased blood pressure.
Your body holds 85% of your glycogen stores in your muscle bellies and 15% in the liver. As you become more muscular obviously you can store more in your muscle and hopefully your liver hasn’t grown any larger. The average human stores around 200 grams of glycogen in their system, but you’re not average and questionably human so you can probably store as much as 300 grams. The idea here is to store the glycogen in small phases so that we don’t activate liponeogenesis  (fat generation) too much. Which means start off with small meals and gradually increase the size of each meal so your stomach doesn’t get aggravated and you end up in a food coma and stomach irritation.
Immediately consume 2 Liters of pedialyte in the first hour and eat 100 grams of glucose tabs.
After the first hour drink 2 liters of water per hour. Your first meal will be about 10-1030 you want to give your stomach time to adjust so you don’t get sick. The glucose is really fast absorbing and will help get those blood glucose levels up quickly.
Meal 1- 10-1030 AM- First meal I like to keep it light and easy to digest so I go with cream of rice and some protein mixed, drink some V8 tomato juice with every meal and add some soy sauce to all meals.
Eat a large amount but do not force feed here. This is were a lot of people miss the boat, they go to big and get sick and the rest of the day is spent trying to keep food down because they ate to much to soon. Remember you have all day to eat so don’t cram it all in one meal.
Meal 2- 1PM- White meat meal, do not consume any veggies or greens, eat any carbohydrate source you’d like here, ex include sweet potatoes, white rice, rice cakes, cream of rice, white potatoes, carbs that are easy to digest with minimal sugar intake is what you want to look for.
Meal 3- 4 PM- Eat a huge steak with sweet potatoes or white potatoes you can eat the potatoes any way you would like.
Meal 4- 7 PM- Another meal with a huge serving of red meat and lots of potatoes.
You can snack in between these meals, I don’t recommend eating a ton of junk but you can have a little.
Once you finish your last meal and get to the hotel room drink a quart minimum of full pulp orange juice with 2-3 large dark chocolate bars.
Morning of Meet
Go for Breakfast and eat some eggs with bacon or sausage. Have a medium portion of carbs such as pancakes or potatoes and some toast, grits would work here as well. Drink plenty of water. Remember you want something that will sit well in your body and not disrupt your digestion.
Contest Food
Half hour before your flight starts for each lift, drink 100 grams of cyclic dextrins or karbolyn. After every attempt eat 6 glucose tabs and a pinch of table salt. Don’t screw around with those sports drinks for many reasons. Too much potassium could potentially make you cramp and also it can mess with your electrolyte balance.  Also, the fructose in high fructose corn syrup converts to glycerol very easily and enters liponeogenesis. That is not what you want when your body is using every last bit of energy for that world record squat. You need the sodium and chloride ions present because these elements help your muscles contract and fire. An increase in this will allow you stay full and powerful throughout the whole meet, so you don’t die down after each lift.
You should put BCAAs in your water jug to sip on all day. Then after each flight eat 2-3 PB&J Sandwiches. Use potato bread or white bread not whole grain bread. For something to munch on between if you need a light snack eat protein bars or trail mix. I use next level protein bars or focus food bars, easy to digest and taste great.
So there you go a little bit of science backed with a lot of anecdotal and personal experience, because science without application is just BS. Try this out and get ready to smash weight at a lighter weight class and set PR’s!

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