Thursday, October 6, 2011

Adelfo Cerame - Road to The Wheelchair Nationals '12: Starting Off With a Shocker - A Five Day Famine to "Detoxify" and Prime Your Body to Grow

Image 1: Adelfo at the '09 Wheelchair
Nationals - not only without a bruised
biceps, but also in better shape than
some pro-bodybuilders ;-)
It's Thursday and you know what that means: Adelfo Cerame Jr. is back at the SuppVersity for one of his "seminars" ;-) Well, I guess if this was a real University, I'd invite invite him as a guest speaker to one of our colloquiums and would announce today's lecture as a lesson on how the pros learn from other pros - or, in other words, how above all bodybuilding veterans have to constantly expand their arsenal of proven dietary and training strategies, if they want to stay on top of everyone's game. As you will see, for Adelfo, this turned out to be quite a detoxifying experience...

Back for good - so let's get started!

It's a strange feeling, on the one hand, I know that the weeks to come are gonna be tough. You cannot take your contest prep lightly, if you really want to win. On the other hand, however, I am really excited! The week off did me good! I feel refreshed and all my nagging aches and pains has disappeared... and no I did not lose any muscle... ;-)

Image 2: Adelfo has been digging Rob Regish's blueprint lately. If you are interested in a sneak peak I suggest you listen to Rob on Carl Lenore's Super Human Radio:  Blueprint, Calorie ZigZag, Breaking Plateaus
I've spent the last week wisely and have really streamlined my plan of attack. And, as you would have expected, I've come up with a few minor tweaks to my dietary regimen that have been inspired by suggestions I picked up in Rob Regish's Blueprint in the past week. It's always good to check which dietary and training strategies have worked for others and the "famine/detox" protocol Rob outlines appealed to me as being a sound foundation not only for what Rob calls "the best workout design to make the fastest muscle gains" *lol*, but also to reset my own metabolic switchboard in the first week of my contest preparation. And, in the end, what do I have to lose? If it works, I have another powerful "weapon" in my ever expanding contest prep arsena - if it doesn't work, I've found yet another dietary tweak that works for some, appears sound and scientifically valid, but just is not form me, as an individual. It would be great, if some magical "one size fits it all" solution would make trial and error obsolete, but after all, your success in the bodybuilding world will always depend on knowing what works best for you, or the very client you are working with.

Cerame + Regish = Raw Foods, intermittent famine/detox ;o)

For the past five days I've now been following my modification of Robb Regish's "famine/detox" protocol, which prescribes a very low calorie intake (<1,200kcal, famine) with minimal protein intake (<50g, which as you know is still more than enough if you asked the USDA ;-) and A LOT OF WATER. The idea behind this five day phase, as Rob states it, is "to initiate a mild state of muscle tissue breakdown in order to accelerate the entire protein turnover cycle". Something that - also in view of what Dr. Andro has been writing about the AMPK/mTOR seesaw in the last installments of the Intermittent Thoughts - makes a lot of sense to me.

Image 3: Do you remember the time, when you were a new booty in the gym and the gains came easily?
It's similar to when you were a new booty in the gym, lifting weights for the first time. Do you remember the first couple of months, when you were making really good gains and building tons of muscle? Awesome, wasn't it? It was enough to look at those "heavy" (what was heavy for you back then) dumbbells and bang, you biceps grew ... but then as the months and maybe even years went by and you eventually became a veteran to the iron game, you noticed that you're not getting those same gains as you did when you first started. Am I right? Of course, I am, because this is the way things are - unfortunately.

Now, if you think about it - what were the underlying reasons that, as a rookie, you grew like crazy, although you may have been making all those mistakes every bloody beginner is making? And then, when finally you got a good routine set up and your diet and supplementation in check, your gains began to slow down, like you were hitting an invisible wall?

Well, when you're new to weight training, you are literally shocking your body in each and every training session, your body screams "WHAT? I have to lift that?" and yet, bang!, you still squeeze out another rep - super-compensation is the name of the game and it is working so damn well in the beginning, simply because about everything you do in the gym is "new" to your body. After years of training neither the next 5 pound plate on the barbell nor another 20g of protein per day are going to produce anyway similar productive shock moments. It is in this scenario, where a bodybuilding veteran could benefit from something that may initially appear completely counter-intuitive: a famine phase!

5 days of fruits, veggies and gallons of vegetable juice
Image 4: Not what you would expect a bodybuilder to eat...and, actually, that is what could make it work - it's about change and giving your digestive system and the mTOR pathway an extended (beyond intermittent fasting) break.

So, I've been eating tons of fruits (pineapples) and veggies (carrots) and drinking gallons (well, I've been trying ;-) of vegetable juice (V8), in order to prime my body for a short growth spurt at the beginning of my prep. Training-wise, I've put a deliberate focusing on strenuous weight training; trying to really deplete my muscles, without overdoing it on negatives or static holds.

Interestingly, I have not noticed any negative effects from my low calorie, low protein detox protocol so far. I am strong as an ox and guess that this may in part be due to the fact that my body has already accustomed to tap into its (still visible ;-) fat stores, in the course of the preceding weeks of intermittent fasting. No hunger pangs, no serious cravings... and that despite the fact that I live by a Lucille's BBQ, so I'm smelling that shit every time I stroll outside! And... don't get me wrong... it smells damn good ;-) But I just brush it off... and trust me 2 years ago I would've went postal!

"Detox" or well deserved rest - the main point is that it works

What I am noticing, though (although this could of course be in my head) is that I now as the end of the famine approaches, I have gotten pretty flat, which would obviously make me look less jacked... but hey, isn't that the way every scrawny beginner looks like, when he makes his best gains? And after all, doing a "cleanse" - I'd prefer the expression "giving your digestive tract a break" - from time to time is a healthy thing to do, anyway. And when could be a better time to let your bowel rest than right after you gave your muscles a break from the gym?

With all the high protein food we consume (especially a bodybuilders diet) and the occasional processed poison that we eat for our cheat days, our tummies work about as hard in our "off time" as we are when we are in the gym. It seems only reasonable, that this could eventually take a toll on our digestive system and lead to malabsorbtion and constipation - I mean, it's not for nothing that digestive aids sell like crazy in the bodybuilding community... and you know, what is best for you? You have me as a 150lbs guinea pig, who will be reporting back on the real world results of what, at least on paper, certainly appears to be a promising "dietary self-chastisment", next week and in the weeks to come ;-)