What is Powerbuilding?

...and why is it one of the most effective forms of training for women with goals of body recomposition?

Powerbuilding combines powerlifting and bodybuilding to generate both strength and aesthetic results, making it easier for women to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. The fitness industry used to think this was impossible, but new studies have proven this specific method of training often produces an adaption called body recomposition. Pretty cool, hey? 

What is body recomposition?

Body composition refers generally to the ratio of fat within your body to fat-free mass (everything that’s not fat like muscle, bones, blood, organs and fascia). In the past, women seeking to radically change their bodies were often led down a path of very-low-calorie diets (VLCD) and excessive amounts of cardio. This is a recipe for poor overall body composition with high amounts of fat relative to total body weight (aka the dreaded “skinny fat” appearance). When most women say they want to appear slim or “toned” what they really mean is they want to appear visibly lean with muscle definition. The only way to achieve this healthily is to build up your muscle base while gradually lowering overall body fat levels aka recomposition or ”recomping” as it’s commonly referred to in the industry. 

My Personal Experience

Anecdotally, this has been my personal experience with Powerbuilding, which I used to coach myself through a significant personal and lifestyle transformation. Utilizing the “Big Three” movements from powerlifting (squat, bench and deadlift) along with accessory lifts from bodybuilding (and following a calorie-controlled, high protein diet) I lost over 35 lbs of fat and added 25 lbs of lean mass to my 5’8 frame. I never had to diet aggressively or cut out whole macronutrient groups to achieve great results, and I still got to enjoy all the foods I love, in moderation. 

I utilized a combination of low volume, heavy-weight workouts and high volume, moderate weight training; programmed using undulating periodization (planned periods of overreaching & deloads). This allowed me to approach the upper ranges of my strength and endurance capacities and expand them over time with minimal injuries or training setbacks. I integrated minimal amounts (about 30 mins per week) of low intensity, steady-state cardio; mostly via activities that I enjoy doing recreationally like cycling, dancing or swimming. Five years later, my body composition remains steady around 24% body fat and I’m able to maintain a healthy, stable bodyweight year-round for optimal performance while still looking (and performing) like an athlete.

Lifestyle Implications 

There have been other effects of this lifestyle intervention that were unexpected - hormone and insulin regulation, bone density increase, mood improvement, improved relationship with food and an overall increase in confidence and self-efficacy. Whereas solely training in one style can get boring after a while, having multiple different modalities from which to program workouts and challenge my body has kept training interesting. As a result, I’ve never taken a break longer than 10 days from the gym since I started training (with the exception of accidents unrelated to fitness). 

Who can benefit from this type of program?

Anyone can greatly benefit from Powerbuilding programming, but I think it’s especially effective for women in a few cases, such as:

  • Those who want to lose weight and achieve a “toned” look (meaning you want to have visible muscle definition)
  • Those who want to get stronger physically
  • Those who want to counteract the effects of disorders like PCOS, anxiety/depression, hypertension, osteoporosis or obesity
  • Those who want to feel more confident and capable in their everyday lives
  • Those who want to support and improve their performance in other sports
  • Those that thrive from setting and beating performance-based goals
  • Those that want to restore a healthy and balanced relationship with food


Are you interested to see what my 12 Week Powerbuilding Program could do for you? 

Book a free consultation with me today!