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First powerlifting comp 101

This article will aim to shine some light on what it is like to prepare for your first powerlifting competition.

In summary, the article will cover.

  • Choosing Federation and membership.
  • Equipment and food on the day
  • Openers and having fun
  • Meet day prep
  • Useful links

First things first you have to decide on the basics, will you compete in a drug tested federation or a not drug tested federation. After that, it’s pretty simple to sign up to your local governing bodies such as the GBPF (Great British Powerlifting Federation) in the UK and USAPL  (United States Powerlifting )  USA these being the easiest examples for me to use. Right so once we have a location, date and time as well as training has been or will be leading up to this point. The next thing to remember is even though powerlifting does have weight categories do not stress over it too much first time you compete. Just focus on enjoying the experience and getting some numbers on the board after all anything on the board will be a PB either way. Make friends enjoy the day and learn from it.

The day it self-does requires a few things from you such as your membership card which you should have on you all times so you can tell your friends you belong in a cool club of strong people. The last thing you want is to show up on the day and not have your membership card with you, believe me, I have seen it happen.  Let’s talk food and equipment

Powerlifting comp equipement1.png

As displayed above here is some standard equipment you might see on the day, along side addipower lifters or Reebok lifters. Now it is important to know all of this equipment is optional so if you are not used to it or simply prefer to lift without a belt or knee sleeves then, by all means, go for it.  Each piece of equipment does have its own use and advantage. In terms of food, pack light and easy things to digest and eat, bananas, salty crisps sugary energy drinks such as monsters or red bulls. You want to be fueled through the day but not full so you throw up or feel sick on the platform.

Equipment sorted, you are at the venue and registered, weighed in and all set to go. So what to expect next. Well depending on the federation you are lifting in, chances are you have a few hours before the comp starts (some comps allow a 24 hour weigh in, but we won’t get into that for now). This time you will use to just plan the day, you will have an allocated warm up area and depending on which weight category you are competing at, as well as your opener, will determine how late or early you start the day (unless you have multiple platforms on the day, but even then you might start a few hours later). Let’s imagine you start 10 am and you have about 1 hour to get ready, this is the time you will use to warm up and get everything ready.

One thing we can’t forget is choosing openers, now these should be based on a weight you have done multiple times in the gym and even on your worst day you could nail it or another way to see it as is 95% of your 1 rep max or there about. If you have a coach chances are they will choose them for you and have a good call, but if you are alone and unsure you can use resources such as The Strength Athlete TSA they have a freebie excel sheet you can download and use as an attempt calculator.  Second call outs will be based on how the openers moved and thirds will follow the second call outs. Most of it will come down on the day how you feel, whether you had good rest a good prep to the comp and just how much you actually want to push your self.

Lastly, we wish you the best of luck in your journey of powerlifting, have fun stay strong and natty. Below are some useful links we thought might be good to include.

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What is flexible dieting and how to use it?

IIFYM or If it fits your macros if a term referred to when certain food groups fit into your daily allowance if you will.  Macro nutrients make up the total calories we consume and they are made up of carbs 1g = 4 cal , protein 1g = 4 cal and fat 1g  = 9cal. Alongside that we have micronutrients which are the vitamins and minerals which our body needs to remain healthy.

As long as you understand that food contains calories and those calories can make you gain, loose or maintain weight then you can start applying steps towards your goal. You know the phrase your body is a car and it needs fuel to survive, well to an extent its true how ever it does not mean that you need to eat 6 small meals a day to keep yourself full of fuel and not loose any muscle or start shrinking. Some people based on their lifestyle or preference will eat their total amount of calories through the day in 6 meals while others do that in 3 bigger meals. I even know people who fast for 16 hours to fit their meals into a 4 hour gap. Again its what ever suits YOUR need and lifestyle not what is the best diet.  The best type of diet is the one that works for you and you area able to sustain for your needs.

There is plenty of research to show no negative effects of fasting ( if anything a lot of the time its positive out comes of fasting ). At the end of the day food is a number of x amount of calories and those calories will make you gain or loose. Ill give you an example  below.Cream egg vs Avocado.png

The natural instinct is to say that the avocado is the healthier more natural version, which yes it might be true. How ever the calorie content is almost the same in both. If a person were to consume more calories than they needed and a large portion of those calories were to be made up of avocados then chances are they would be gaining weight the next day.  Its being calorie aware and understanding what calories, that is the important part.

Now am I saying you should totally be living of creme eggs, well that would be  the good life however the avocado has a lot essential fats that we need and it aids with our micros, so it does need to be part of our diet, with moderation of course. IIFYM type of lifestyle if about moderating things and being able to fit them into your lifestyle and diet. It gives you the freedom to eat a slice of pizza ( or half a pizza ) and still be able to loose weight.

Now then onto how to actually do this and work it out and apply it. First things first we need to find out your BMR ( basal metabolic rate) Essentially with your current lifestyle what is the amount of calories your body requires to maintain your weight. The more active you are the more calories you get.  There are a few ways and apps such as Myfitnesspal or online calculators found here . Entering some basic data about yourself will give you a number, lets say you have an allowance of 2000 calories for the day.

2000 calories will then be split into 3 macros and their appropriate percentages i.e. protein 35, carbs 45 and fats 20. This being an example split as the way you split up those macros will vary on individuals and their needs. Some people like to have more fat in their diets while others don’t need to much.  Now with this allowance you can plan your day of eating a head and pretty much as long a those foods fit your numbers by the end of the day you will be on track to your selected goal. So potentially you could go and eat a whole dominoes pizza one pizza being 800 calories, which takes a huge chunk out of your total amount as well as that it will not keep your full for long. How ever if you were to split the 800 into 2 400 calorie meals which were made up of rough example recipes found here and here, you not only did you fit 2 smaller meals in but they automatically made you feel fuller as they were more frequent. Again this type of dieting and lifestyle is all about flexibility where by you have to plan things ahead with meals and have control, its about fitting your lifestyle.

Another example to fit alcohol or late night junk food after a night out.  I don’t expect you to be 100% on point with tracking, I mean if you are then awesome good job but most of use want freedom and don’t want to feel like these calories are controlling our lifestyle. What I would recommend for that is to set a site an good part of your daily calories aside for the night out, in my 2000 daily calories I would consume roughly 600 by dinner time so if I was to go out by 8 pm I’d have 1200 calories left to play with so that way even tho I am enjoying my night and chances are ill go over that 1200 allowance but the extra calories won’t have been as big of a difference if I had not left that much of an allowance.  Its planning ahead thats what makes dieting and weight loss or weight gain easier.

I hope this shed some light into the lifestyle of macro nutrients and calories and gave you some understanding of things.

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5 ways to improve your training

What are you to expect : Short and to the point.

Time to read : 5 min




Keeping track and logging your training and nutrition are essential as they are ways that you can judge in which direction you are heading in. Common issue I deal with is going of by the top of your head, which is impossible. With the amount of information our brain goes through a day, you can’t expect to remember all your squats from 3 weeks ago. Same goes for your calories and food. Note book with a pen or your phone and an app.


Finding a program

The thing that separates people who last in training ones who jump between places is a good solid program. It can be powerlifting based such as Wendler 5/3/1 or bodybuilding based or what ever type of training you are aiming at.

Hiring a coach

The best athletes in the world in any sport have a coach. Think about it, tiger woods, NBA players NFL athletes football players etc.. the list goes on. The top are give a set program and do the work. Doing your programming is a great skill to have however there are to many variables that can affect it. For example, one week the weight feels light and you decide to increase it for next week. This was a choice based on emotion of feeling great and motivated. You go in next week and the weight moves slower than you thought and you think to yourself what is the issue. Well you have just fallen into the emotional trap that is doing your programming. It happens to everyone, learning to manage that skill takes time.

Filming yourself

Getting a 3rd person perspective on how you are lifting can be extremely eye opening. You can look at how you execute the exercise, be more body aware and generally get a better idea of your own training. I recommend trying out side angles and front angles as that way you will get a good idea of where you are.


Asking is probably one of the hardest things we can do, if you are struggling you should ask a coach or a forum or an expert on what you can do to make things easier or better for yourself. Without asking the answer will always be no, right ?.



5 Things new lifters can do to improve progress.

This post will be aimed at new lifters, people who are starting out straight away. Some of the information will be very basic or you might of heard it already.

1.Write things down.

Keeping a track of progress and training is key, going week to week by remembering weights in your head or the reps you did last week will be your downfall long term. Use a notebook or a your phone notes section. These days there are plenty of gym log apps. Write weights down ,the sets and reps you did as well as any notes i.e. weight felt smooth today.

2. Track your nutrition.

Same principal as the point above, tracking is key. Keep a diet log of the food you consume. Forget dieting or anything else just use that log to get a base of where you currently are with your nutrition and from there you can make adjustments as you go.  Chances are most people under eat certain macro nutrients ( these being protein  ,fats and carbs  )

3. Film yourself.

Filming yourself lifting is a great tool to get an idea of where your lifting technique is. It also gives you a 3rd person perspective of viewing you while you train. Not only can you track progress with it, but increase chances of reducing injury by avoiding doing exercises wrong.

4. Get a program.

There are plenty of FREE training programs such as wendler 5/3/1 and 5×5 stronglifts  both are great, free and novice friendly programs. Another option is hiring a coach such as The Strength Athlete  or Coach Farncombe .

5. Aim for something.

Setting some goals will give you direction and keep drive going on those tough training sessions. Goals vary from increasing your total              ( squat + bench + deadlift 1RM = Total) to increasing technique.

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Deload, what is it and how do we use it in training.

Firstly what is a deload? It is a period of time usually a week or training sessions within a week.  For example an individual trains 5 times a week his frequency would be taken down to 3. During that training period, adjustments to his or her training will be made to severely reduce the amount of volume ( sets x reps x weight ) or total work being done during those sessions.  How ever intensity will remain similar or slightly drop. The aim of this is to let the athletes body and central nervous system recover.

Weight training is a form of stress on the body and there is only so many weeks you can increase weights, sets, reps and so on before you fatigue, over train and start to regress.

With a planned deload, which can be as often as every 4th week or every other month. You aim to manage that fatigue and avoid reaching over training.  As with everything planned your deloads should be planned accordingly to your training and goals.





All Things Strength.


What we are?

ATS is an online coaching service, simply put we train people from all over the world. We program training plans, we arrange Skype catch up sessions, we manage nutrition and create a community among our members.

Who we are?

Coach Lukas here, I run the show. I organise training for my clients, update their nutrition and manage all the check ins. As well as updating the blog and managing my own training.

What is the vision/ objective of ATS?

Out aim is to make people stronger physically and mentally our training methods take a holistic approach, where we take your lifestyle into consideration as well as physiological aspects.