Mike, I think your choice for now is relatively simple. Keep getting stronger. You just won't know yet, where you ultimate weight class is. The rest of this post is not aimed at you right now, and is a general look at weight classes in specifically single-ply powerlifting. Multi-ply seems to have a different tradition in terms of bodyweight, for whatever reason that may be. Multi-ply is something I don't know much about except just that the archetypal bodyweight seems to differ, so I won't comment on it. This is all aimed at single-ply powerlifting.
Originally Posted by MikeM
OK, very good advice. I (perhaps stupidly) didn't realize personal choice had so much to do with what people were doing.
Perhaps personal choice is a motivator. But what is more important than being the best you can be?
If a lifter competes at 90kg carrying around 7-8kg of fat, he is doing himself a disservice if he doesn't cut that weight. Even if he just cuts for the Meet and then weighs 90kg for the rest of the year.
I'm going to give you a visual look at some of the best Powerlifters in Britiain currently as a comparison. I'm purposefully picking these guys rather than world champions because they are all successful in national level drug-tested competitions. National being a very good level of competition, but not out of reach for people with a willingness to work and a little luck.
Phil Richards who has dominated the 74kg scene for years. He is relatively short from what I understand, certainly under 5 foot 7. You can see he is relatively lean in that picture.
Tom Martin, won one British championship at 83kg against very good competition. He also beat Ed Coan's long standing junior deadlift record. Tom is about 5 foot 10, and has not been in the sport very long. He will inevitably move up to at least the 93kg.
Mark Gregory. My friend from my hometown. He is a very thickly muscled 5 foot 10 and is a seasoned lifter having won many championships over the years. He lifts at either 93kg or 105kg and will probably stay around there.
Ben Banks. I met him almost 10 years ago. He is a tall lad, about 6 foot 2 he has grown into the 125kg category very well.
Dean Bowring. Another seasoned lifter. He lifts in the open class.
With the notable exception of Dean, every one of these lifters competes at a relatively lean bodyweight. In any class except the Open there is absolutely zero point to carrying excess bodyfat. You are correct in your observation that the guys in the 93kg's or 105kg's look like beasts because they are. If you're smaller or naturally light-boned then the lighter classes will ultimately suit you.
In addition you'll find the heights get progressively taller as they move up. Tom Martin also being another exception in that he hasn't been in the sport long and he has had to cut weight to make the 83kg class and is currently planning a comeback in the 93kg class.
Now these illustrations are not there to say what you should do. I mean just because Phil Richards is about your height doesn't mean to say you should diet down to 74kg. It does however give you some indication of 1) The direction your weight should be going based on your height, individual factors will be involved here and 2) Some indication of the kind of competition you would go up against at the higher levels.
Personal choice is all fine and well but when you're competing against guys who are going the extra mile to watch their diet and stay lean year round and on top of that are cutting weight to make it at the competition then a casual attitude will only give casual results. As the sport grows more and more exceptionally gifted lifters will be drawn to it and the field only gets stronger.
Will you do what it takes to keep up?