Thursday, September 8, 2011

Adelfo Cerame - Pre-Contest-Prep Experimentation Time: Initial Impressions of RAW Intermittent Fasting

Image 1: Adelfo Cerame, your man at the Wheelchair Nationals 2012 in the first week of his pre-contest experimentation phase (Adelfo Cerame, Sept. 2011)
Just about a month to go, until Adelfo will start the acute phase of his preparation for the Wheelchair Nationals 2012 in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. So just about the right time some serious pre-contest-prep experimentation with raw foods on an intermittent fast. As you remember from last week's student spotlight that was kind of a teaser to this series, this is going to be Adelfo's first contest prep without OCD-like 3-4h feeding schedules. And it will - at least to my knowledge - be the first meticulously documented raw foods contest prep of a promising candidate for the thought after procard that is going to be awarded to the winner of the over the overall (all classes) in March 2012 in sunny Florida.

If you read some or all of my Intermittent Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting, listened to my interview with Carl Lenore on raw milk or read the respective article on the SuppVersity, I assume you will be similarly excited to hear right from Adelfo, how this stomach, training intensity and overall feeling have been on his first week on the combination of uncustomary feeding schedules, raw eggs, meats, milk and honey ....

Experimentation Time - Raw Foods + Intermittent Fasting = ???

Even though I will not start the strict phase of my contest prep until October, 1st, I plan to use the weeks to come to play and experiment with intermittent fasting (IF) before I literally put all my raw eggs into the intermittent fasting basket in the weeks to come. I have already begun to incorporate raw foods into my nutrition over the last few months, and must say that I have been very pleased with the results. The things I liked most, however, were...
Image 2: Looks like Adelfo is right: the raw foods obviously helped him to keep the fat off during the off season (photo by Adelfo Cerame, Sept. 2011)
  • the efficiency of not having to cook meals or prepare meals the night before - just being able to put food on the plate and eat (less prep time) is a novel and appreciable convenience for me
  • a noticeable increase in strength and performance at the gym
  • an unexpectedly prompt increase in arm size (I have already put on a whole inch! from 16" to 17")
  • the ability to stay fairly lean in these last weeks of the off-season - I can still see parts of my abdominal muscles, although I did not really pay attention to my caloric intake
One thing that I have also noticed is an improvement in my "internal functions" - most prominently digestion and sexual function... when you get a spinal cord injury, a lot of your internal functions are disrupted or damaged. Ranging from bowel and bladder control to sexual function - things change overnight.

Breaking the Fast Raw Foods Style

Image 3: Adelfo Cerame's magic pre-workout formula: raw milk; 3 organic eggs; 1 tbs. raw honey; 1 tbs. raw coconut oil; no propriety blends, e-numbers, artificial sweeteners or colorings folks, just plain good old healthy whole raw foods and above all, it does not take longer to prepare than your average whey protein shake ;-)
Prior to raw foods eating, I was able to improve my digestion and bowel frequency by increasing my intake of fibrous foods and being particularly keen about what to eat and what to avoid. The incorporation of more and more raw foods into my diet did yet improve my digestion and bowel program way beyond what I had been able to achieve with processed foods and supplements alone. It may be difficult to understand for a non-paraplegic, but staying in the bathroom "forever" is a serious and enervating issue most paraplegics and quadriplegics have. And as far as sexual function is concerned, I was still able to get erections before, yet not without the help of E.D. medications. Rotating more and more raw foods into my diet, helped with that issue tremendously. Even without the help of E.D. meds., I have now longer and stronger erections than before.

If you consider not having to cook all your meals "convenient", then not having to worry about prepping your meals or to think about what you will be eating within the next three hours is pure luxury. 

The practical benefits aside, I was positively surprised that, at least in the course of this first week of intermittent fasting, I did not notice any loss in strength or energy. Lethargy or a lack of motivation, problems that are supposed to occur especially in the initial phase of intermittent fasting were not an issue, at all. The only actual "problem" (if you would like to call it thus, when you are on a diet) was that I found it really hard to fulfill my daily caloric needs with the 3 meals, I could squeeze into my feeding window.
If you are interested in some more information on dos and donts, as well as the science behind and around intermittent fasting make sure to follow both the weekly updates of Adelfo's contest prep documentation, as well as my Intermittent Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting series on the SuppVersity
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If you read the third part of the Intermittent Thoughts on Intermittent Fasting series, you will be familiar with the female athletes from the Ramadan study by Memari et al. having similar problems, i.e. they did not meet their exercise-related caloric demands on their fasting protocol. Other than Adelfo, who is well aware that putative (or I should say "perceived") overeating in the feeding window is a necessity, the ladies in that study were yet not able (or unwilling?) to nourish their bodies appropriately - the unfortunate result, I already mentioned that in my analysis of the study, were fat gain and a significant YoYo-effect, when they eventually broke the fast. So, if your goal is to lose fat, not muscle, and you decide to go on an intermittent fast, make sure you copy Adelfo's rational approach to intermittent fasting instead of turning the whole thing into yet another anorexic low-calorie diet.

Whole Raw Foods - Convenient, Healthier and Cheaper than 1001 Supplements

What I'm also really excited about is that, in this first week, the combination of intermittent fasting and raw food eating turned out to be really economical. Something, I suppose you would not have expected!? I remember having to spend loads of money on foods and protein powders just to make sure that I could eat my 6-7 meals a day. Now, all I have to worry about are 3 meals pre-workout, post-workout and another meal before i go to sleep. And the money I save on the boatloads of protein powders I used to buy is better spend in some quality whole-foods, anyhow.
Image 4: This is what a real post-workout meal should look like ;-)
I assume that some of you have difficulties to imagine how a sample meal plan could look like, so here is an example:
  • pre-workout = breaking the fast @ 2:30 pm: shake with raw milk; 3 organic eggs; 1 tbs. raw honey; 1 tbs. raw coconut oil
  • post-workout meal @ 6:40 pm: 8 oz steak, large yam, handful of pineapples & carrots, 1 tbs. raw honey & coconut water

  • before bed @10 pm: 1 c. raw milk, 2 eggs, 1 tbs. coconut oil, 25g protein powder
If you want to know how things are working out for Adelfo, don't forget to come back next Thursday for the next installment of this series featuring more information about Adelfo's diet, the first progress chart for you to follow his weight, body fat % and muscular development and a sneak peak on how our man at the 2012 wheelchair nationals trains. Until then, feel free to share Adelfo's reports via Facebook, and to leave your appreciations, comments and questions in the comments area of this page.