Why body composition is under-rated for Powerlifting

I rarely see body composition being talked in Powerlifting. Sometimes it’s even discarded completely. How fat one is seems to be considered largely irrelevant, and all that matters is how much weight you can lift. That’s all well and good, if you’re a Super Heavy Weight, which is over 120-140kg (265-308lbs) depending on the fed. For everyone else, you should get as strong as possible, but within the weight class that makes you the most competitive. And that might mean you need to lose some fat. A lot of my clients that compete in Powerlifting get a bit confused when I recommend they should try to lose some fat if they’re a bit overweight. Powerlifting is a sport of strength, why does it matter if I have a bit of extra fat? In fact, despite being more stereotype than anything, Powerlifting is said to be a sport where you can be fat and not worry about it. There’s even an old joke that if you can’t be lean enough for bodybuilding, you can just do Powerlifting and have an excuse to be fat. The problem with this thinking is that Powerlifting is a sport with weight classes. Necessarily, you will compete with people of a similar weight to you. The strongest among that group will win. The reason why your body composition (and therefore your weight) matters so much is due to the fact that you’re competing with people of similar weight. So if you’re fat and your competitor is lean, since you have a similar weight, by default, he will have more muscle than you. And muscle is...

What shoes should you wear for strength training?

This is far from being a revolutionary post, but I wanted to address it regardless, since this topic arises often with clients. What shoes should you wear for lifting? Do you need any special shoes? First, it depends on the type lifting you’re doing. For this context, I’ll assume you’re doing heavy compound movements for the sake of general strength and hypertrophy. In general, you don’t need any specific shoe. However, you want a shoe that is compact, tight, and most importantly, non-compressible. The latter being very, very important. So any shoe that meets this requirements is fine. You don’t want a running shoe. They compress with weight, which is bad. It makes you unstable and leaks power. There’s also a specific type of shoe, called “Olympic lifting shoes”. They have a raised wheel, and allows you to stay more upright and go deeper in your squat. But that’s the extend of their use, unless you do Olympic Lifting, and they’re usually not cheap. If you want to get them, feel free to, but they’re not a requirement. It’s an extra if you want to give your squat a little bonus. Some people even prefer to squat with a flat heel, and dislike olympic shoes. But I’d say they’re a minority. If you’re looking for specific recommendations: If you want a shoe to workout overall, you don’t need anything special, as long as it’s non-compressible and with a flat sole like mentioned. But the “Converse Chuck Taylor All Star” is a popular choice. It does the job well and it’s very cheap. You can also get the Reebok Crossfit...

The benefits of having a coach

I’ve seen several times in forums and facebook groups, people mocking trainers and coaches. Sometimes online coaches, sometimes even in person ones. “Why would you ever need a trainer when there’s so much free info on the internet?” I’d guess most of you disagree, and rightfully so, but nevertheless, they have a point. Why would someone indeed need a coach, if you can just search and find all the information you need on the internet? First and foremost, this is not an advertisement for my services. The goal of this post isn’t to sell myself, this applies to every coach and every coaching endeavor. So, why would you need a coach? What’s the benefit of having one versus going on your own? There are 6 main benefits: 1) Advice/information Nowadays, you can search for literally anything on the internet. However, without a solid foundation of knowledge, it’s incredibly hard to know what’s actually good information or not. Yes, you can search “How to lose weight” on Google, and you will have tons of blogs and forum posts popping up. But you will quickly notice, not all of them say the same thing. One might say you need to increase protein, another might say you need to stop eating carbs, and another one might say you just need to do high intensity cardio. So who’s right? Who should you trust? This is the problem. Information is easy to get and free, but how can you know the information you’re getting is accurate? Even by yourself, you can get a rough idea, by reading books, scientific papers and following the world’s...

Calories and macros mismatch

I get this question a lot from people who recently started to track their calories and macro-nutrients: Why don’t my macros equal my calories? Carbs and protein contain 4 calories per gram, and fat contains 9. So if you consumed, for example, 20g of protein, 30g of carbs, and 10g of fat, you should have consumed 290 calories (Protein: 4 x 20 = 80, Carbs: 4 x 30 = 120, and Fat: 9 x 10 = 90). But a lot of times, the math doesn’t end up right. It might say you consumed 250 or 300 calories, so what gives? There’s several possible causes: 1) Everything in nutritional labels are rounded, therefore, it has a slight margin of error. On top of that, many websites (like MyFitnessPal), also round their own numbers. So by rounding it twice, when you add a lot of food and items, that error can become significant enough to be noticeable. 2) Sometimes insoluble fiber isn’t counted. Some products and some countries don’t list insoluble fiber in the total amount of calories because it’s not absorbed. So that will throw the carb/calorie math off. 3) The numbers on a specific food are wrong. This is quite common in websites like MyFitnessPal, where the database of the foods is created from the users themselves. This means that if the user introduced the nutritional information wrong, you’re using the wrong numbers. So what should you do about it? For the most part: nothing. For the first 2 reasons, it won’t be relevant, and as long as you’re consistent in your diet, it won’t matter. However, you should...

How many days should you train per week?

I feel this topic is hugely misunderstood. When people think about how many times you train per week, they usually associate it with how much progress they can make, and the recovery associated with it. For example, most believe going to the gym 5 times per week is better than 4, and 4 is better than 3. But if you go 5 times per week, it will be harder to recover than 4, and 4 being harder than 3. In a practical sense, it’s close, but when creating a program, there’s more than meets the eye and it’s important to understand the implications of it to make sure we have a good training frequency adequate to the situation. The amount of training sessions per week is largely dependent on 3 factors: 1) Training age 2) Commitment 3) Preference 1) Why training age? Because of diminishing returns, the more you train, the harder it is to progress. In order to continue to make progress, overtime, your overall volume is going to have to increase. And the more volume increases, the more frequency is needed, to split that volume. For example, if Bob needs 6 sets of squats per week to progress, he can 2 sessions consisting of 3 sets each. However, John, who is more advanced than Bob, might need 15 sets of squats per week to progress. He can still do 2 sessions, for example 1 with 7 sets, and another with 8. But it’s a lot easier to add another session, and now he only has to do 5 sets per session. This is a HUGE over-simplification, but...