For our third Q&A with Justin Harris and Dave Tate, there are two topics:

  1. Problems lifters encounter trying to get carryover from a box squat to a free squat.
  2. Working with a nutrition coach.

Dave takes on the first question and names the biggest issue he sees between the box squat and the free squat: most lifters don't perform them the same way. To demonstrate this point, Dave speaks about the fact that more and more world record squats are being broken by raw lifters letting their knees shift forward — unheard of in equipped powerlifting, which emphasizes sitting back as far as possible. If these lifters did a box squat in the traditional way—sitting way back, no forward knee movement, shins perpendicular to the floor—they would likely not see much carryover. But if they make the box squat look more like their free squat, they'll start to see both improve. No matter how you squat, they need to look the same.

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Dave also covers additional rules, such as not slamming on the box. He points out that even with all of these things performed correctly, it might just not be the right training stimulus for you. You'll have to learn how to adjust and find the methods that work best for you as an individual.

Continuing the topic of coaching yourself, Justin discusses how to work best with a nutrition coach. He shares the way that he structures nutrition planning for his clients, and explains that making legitimate changes in your body over a long period of time requires the ability to make adjustments on your own. For instance, you can ask your coach to give you a specific recommendation of how many cups of brown rice or how many ounces of ground beef you need per meal, or you can simply know the carbohydrates and protein you need for that meal and decide from a variety of options which foods you eat. As long as your protein comes from a complete source, your carbohydrates come from a relatively complex source, and your fats come from a healthy source, you can make general adjustments and see the same progress.

This is why Justin Harris creates a food list for his clients and allows them to adjust each meal to fit their lifestyle and food preferences. If you want your protein in Meals 3 and 4 to come from beef or egg whites instead of chicken, that's no problem. If you want sweet potatoes instead of oats, it isn't a deal-breaker. As long as you aren't a competitive bodybuilder in the final four weeks of prep (and you don't try to somehow make Oreos fit into your diet), this method of slight dietary freedom has proven to work very effectively.