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Best Food Before a Powerlifting Meet

Updated: Jun 12, 2023

(from a Competitive Powerlifter)

A physically demanding sport that requires strength, power, and endurance means that you have to think about everything, including your diet; so, what is the best kind of food before a powerlifting meet to eat?

Athletes who participate in powerlifting competitions must have a rigorous training schedule and have discipline, particularly when it comes to diet.


Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy, they are completely essential for powerlifters to consume before a competition for this purpose.

So how does this help powerlifters before a meet?

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is used by the body as fuel. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, pasta, and sweet potatoes, are ideal because they provide sustained energy over a longer period of time.

However, timing is everything. Powerlifters should consume complex carbohydrates at least three hours before a competition to allow time for digestion.

Eating too close to a competition, can cause gastrointestinal distress and ultimately, hinder performance. It's also important to note that athletes should avoid consuming simple carbohydrates, such as sweet treats and sugary drinks, since they have the ability to cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, followed by a crash, which is definitely what we

want to avoid!.

Photo by Amar Preciado:


Protein is an essential component to building and repairing muscle tissue, which is crucial when concerning what powerlifters should eat before a meet.

Consuming protein before a competition can help reduce muscle damage leading up to the event and promote muscle recovery afterward.

Lean sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, are ideal choices to ensure you’re doing the utmost to protect your muscles, particularly when putting them under strenuous work.

However, just like we mentioned before, eating too much protein too close to a competition can still cause gastrointestinal distress so, it is not a good idea to eat this right before the meet.

Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are an essential component of a powerlifter's diet.

Fats provide a long-lasting source of energy and can help sustain endurance during the lead up to a competition. Plus, they are also important for hormone production, which plays a crucial role in muscle growth and repair

Photo by Leon Ardho:

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are an essential component of any healthy diet, yet particularly important for powerlifters.

Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are essential for muscle recovery and repair. Just as importantly, they contain fiber, which can help regulate digestion and promote satiety.

They can be incorporated into meals and snacks for a powerlifting meet or consumed on their own as a healthy snack leading up to the meet, due to the low calorie profile they’re foods that could contribute to the success of you making weight for a powerlifting meet.


Hydration is essential for powerlifters, just like any other person or athlete to maintain optimal performance.

Dehydration can cause fatigue, muscle cramps, and negatively impact performance. Powerlifters should consume water throughout the day leading up to a competition to ensure they are properly hydrated, it's also important to avoid consuming sugary drinks and caffeine, since they can cause dehydration.

Powerlifters should aim to consume at least half of their body weight in ounces of water each day leading up to a competition. For instance, a 200-pound athlete should aim to consume at least 100 ounces of water per day.

It's important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to how much fluid an individual athlete should consume prior to a meet, as it can depend on a variety of factors such as body weight and even environmental conditions.

Factors to Consider and What to Avoid

In addition to the above foods, powerlifters should also avoid consuming foods that can cause gastrointestinal distress, this includes foods that are spicy or very high in fiber.

It's also important to avoid consuming alcohol, as it can dehydrate the body further.

Something else to think about is that when it comes to meal timing, powerlifters should consume their final meal at least three hours before a competition. This allows time for digestion and helps avoid gastrointestinal distress during the event.

Nonetheless, athletes can consume a light snack, such as a piece of fruit or a protein shake, closer to the competition to provide additional energy without causing stomach issues, but again, it is on a case by case basis.

That being said, it's important for athletes to experiment with different foods and meal timing leading up to a competition to find what works best for their individual needs and preferences.

Before you Go…

Ultimately, powerlifters should consume a diet rich in complex carbohydrates, lean protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables leading up to a competition.

Avoiding foods that can cause gastrointestinal distress and experimenting with meal timing can help athletes perform at their best during a powerlifting meet, so it is something to experiment with before getting too close to the crucial lead-up period.

If you’re somebody who is interested in a future in powerlifting, why not enquire today about strength coaching at Infinity Performance? Find out more here.


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