Eat for Energy

Dear M & F,

I have been training hard and want to reach new personal records for bench press, squats and deadlifts over the course of a week. How should I eat to have the best chance of surpassing my old numbers?

– Mike S., Long Branch, NJ

I've written lift diets for years, but to make sure you get the best possible information, I've consulted some of the strongest men in the world to answer that question. Jo Jordan, Vincent Dizenzo, and Brian Carroll are elite power-fighters who all put around 800 pounds on the bench and squat 1,200 so they know how to eat when it's time to get the most out of it.

Their basic strategy: Increase carbohydrate intake during the night before testing a large lift and take supplementation. Increasing your carbohydrates is critical to achieving great personal records. Your body uses carbohydrates for energy. If you have not saved enough, you can not lift the heaviest weights. However, they do not have to be loaded with carbohydrates for days, as is the case with some athletes. Your body will use what it consumed a few hours earlier as fuel.

Eat a carbohydrate-rich meal in the evening before training along with some protein and healthy fat. On the day of, you eat most of your carbohydrates just before, during and immediately after the workout. Go for 2.5 grams of carbs per pound of body weight and one gram of protein per pound this day. If you consume more carbohydrates, you may feel "drunk" and sluggish during exercise. If you think the carbohydrates are not enough, you can increase the load by 0.5 grams per pound. (Reduce your carbohydrate intake by 15% to 20% between rest periods on rest days.) During the workout, drink a shake containing carbohydrate, protein, BCAA, and glutamine, then stop.


So eat on days when you test a lift.


1 whole egg
5 egg whites
1/4 cup of steel oats
1/2 cup chopped paprika
1/2 cup blackberries


1 medium apple
1 ounce of almonds
11/4 scoops (30 g) whey protein powder


4 ounces of lean beef
1 medium apple
Small salad
1/2 tbsp olive oil
11/2 cup of quinoa (cooked measure)
1 ounce black beans


1 medium apple
5 egg whites
3/4 cup of steel oats
1 small tin of raisins


21/2 scoops (60 g) carbohydrate powder
11/2 scoops (35 g) of whey protein
5 g – 10 g BCAA
5 g – 10 g glutamine


11/4 cup of sweet potato puree (raw)
1 cup broccoli raven (raw food)
5 ounces chicken breast
1/2 tbsp olive oil


Calories: 3,184
PROTEIN: 213 g
FAT: 65 g
CARBS: 432 g


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