Fueling for and Recovering from Resistance Training: The Peri-Workout Nutrition Practices of Competitive Powerlifters

King, Andrew
Kwan, Kedric
Jukic, Ivan
Zinn, Caryn
Helms, Eric
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Journal Article
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Elsevier BV

Purpose: Nutrient timing is a concept that emphasizes the intentional ingestion of whole or fortified foods, and dietary supplements, to adequately fuel for, and recover from, acute and chronic exercise. The nutrition strategies used by powerlifters around training sessions have not, to our knowledge, been previously investigated. This study explored the self-reported periworkout (before, during, and after) nutrition practices of competitive powerlifters, including what, why, and information source that informed practice, with comparison to current sport nutrition guidelines.

Methods: Actively competing male (n = 240) and female (n = 65) powerlifters completed a cross-sectional online survey of self-reported periworkout nutrition practices in the pre-, intra-, and postexercise periods, fasted training, and supplementation. Data are presented as the number (n) and percentage (%) of all powerlifters practicing a given strategy followed by a % of responses reporting various practices or beliefs within this strategy. Categorical subgroups (sex, age, and weight class; and competitive caliber) were analyzed with a chi-square test or Fisher's exact test and denoted where significant (P ≤ 0.05).

Results: Most powerlifters reported paying specific attention to nutrition practices in the pre-exercise period (n = 261; 85.6%) by ingesting more carbohydrate (CHO) rich foods (n = 234; 89.6%) for the purpose of assisting in training performance (n = 222; 85.1%). Most powerlifters reported intraexercise nutrition strategies (n = 211; 69.2%), of which most included ingesting more CHO rich foods (n = 159; 74.5%) for the purpose of feeling less hungry and/or boosting energy levels during training (n = 129; 61.1%). Most powerlifters reported paying attention to postexercise nutrition (n = 244; 80%), by ingesting more protein rich foods (n = 182; 74.6%) for the purpose of recovering better for the whole day (n = 152; 62.3%) and enhancing the benefits of training (n = 149; 61.1%). Most powerlifters did not complete training sessions in the fasted state (n = 262; 85.9%). Most powerlifters reported paying attention to supplementation before training (n = 237; 77.7%), of which preworkout formulas (n = 137; 57.8%), energy drinks (n = 101; 42.6%), creatine (n = 88; 37.1%), and caffeine pills (n = 70; 29.5%) were most reported. Supplementation was used to assist in training performance (n = 197; 83.1%) and increase wakefulness/alertness (n = 183; 77.2%). Males reported more often than females that they informed multiple elements of their nutrition practices with the information they read or watched somewhere (P = 0.002–0.012).

Conclusion: The periworkout nutrition practices used by competitive powerlifters followed current sport nutrition guidelines, by using CHO sources to fuel for training and ensuring the provision of protein postexercise. Competitive powerlifters may wish to exert caution with supplementation, as there is a risk of harm or inadvertent doping.

Nutrition knowledge , Nutrition strategies , Powerlifting , Resistance training , Supplements , 32 Biomedical and Clinical Sciences , 3210 Nutrition and Dietetics , Nutrition , Prevention , Complementary and Integrative Health , 11 Medical and Health Sciences , Nutrition & Dietetics , 3210 Nutrition and dietetics
Nutrition, ISSN: 0899-9007 (Print); 1873-1244 (Online), Elsevier BV, 122, 112389-. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2024.112389
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© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)