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The LHP Guide to Meet Tapering (Part 3)

The final part in this series will discuss some additional nutrition considerations for designing a peak and taper.

Whether or not the lifter is cutting weight.

In the first part of this series, I mentioned that novice lifters should not be cutting weight for meets, as it introduces too many extra variables. New lifters should be focused on having fun, learning, and gaining competition experience. In addition to adding stress to the process, cutting weight for meets can reduce performance.

More advanced lifters may choose to cut weight for important meets to increase competitiveness. My professional opinion is that weight cutting should be reserved for the highest priority events of the year and qualifying events, and is not necessary for all competitions. If you do choose to cut weight for a competition, there are some strategies that can be employed to optimize performance:

Maximizing Calories to Maximize Recovery and Reduce Risk of Injury

Caloric intake largely affects recovery from training, especially in a high intensity training phase. High intensity training in a deficit can also increase risk of injury, due to reduced recoverability, changes in leverages associated with weight loss, and decreased training fuel. As with anything in sport, a risk to benefit ratio must be assessed and ultimately a weight cutting strategy should be used that keeps the bigger picture in mind.

Accounting for Changes in Leverages by Dieting Slowly

In a perfect world, lifters would train and compete at the same weight. However, in order to maximize competitiveness, set records, or win championships, cutting into a weight class is sometimes in a lifter's best interests. In this case, it is beneficial to keep calories as high as possible by dieting over a long period of time. Losing a small percentage of his/her bodyweight per week allows the lifter to make small, manageable adjustments to changes in leverages (and the necessary technique adjustments that accompany these changes) each training week. Typically a lifter can use this method to get within a 1-2% of bodyweight water cut to make his/her weight class. Alternatively, with a faster cut, leverages change more quickly, requiring the lifter to make more frequent adjustments in lifting tec