|Image 1: Adelfo Cerame Jr. survived the famine ;-)|
Low calories + low protein = no hunger, no sluggishness, no visible muscle loss and no acne!
As those of you who have been following my weekly updates (a new installment appears every Thursday) here on SuppVersity know, I picked up a technique I read about in Rob Regish's Blueprint and kicked the hot phase of my contest prep off with a famine/detox protocol. The idea behind this initially counter-intuitive dietary intervention was to give my digestive tract, as well as "Mr. mTOR" on his "AMPK/mTOR seesaw" (if you aren't familar with "Mr. mTOR" and his unique "toy", you got to read up on Dr. Andro's latest blogposts on Intermittent Fasting) a well-deserved rest, in order to reset and improve my body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients more efficiently. In combination with strenuous training, the famine signal, which is obviously a novelty for a bodybuilder who has been focusing almost religiously on getting his share of protein in every few hours for years, is supposed to shock and alarm the body. It's similar to what a beginner will experience, when he is first hitting the gym - stress-induced super-compensation is the name of the game.
|Figure 1: Macronutrient break down (protein, carbs, fats in g) famine and regular training day - what a difference!|
A Guru of my own - wandering in Gironda's footsteps
I broke the famine/detox on Saturday afternoon and treated myself to a Brazilian BBQ buffet. If you’ve never been to a Brazilian BBQ restaurant… it’s a meatgasm of all you can eat: cuts of rib eye, sirloin, brisket, lamb, duck, rabbit… and the list goes on! For the first 48 hours I loaded up on protein and quality carbohydrates, drank lots of water and popped liver tablets throughout the day. "Liver tabs, what's that?", if you are now asking yourselves that question, you probably belong to the post-Gironda generation. Vince Gironda, the "Iron Guru", himself, swore by those dessicated liver tabs for their high content of quality protein and highly bioavailable vitamins and micronutrients. While this may have been in the days before protein powders, BCAA caps and mega-dosed vitamin supplements became widely available, I feel like this completely natural nutrient blend still has its merit. As of Monday, I went back to my daily maintenance calories.
|Image 2: This is what a Brazilian BBQ looks like. Certainly, a decent contrast to a famine. So, just in case you ever happen to be starving, I guess now you know where to go to refeed yourself ;-)|
After those two weeks, I will evaluate my physique, take measurements and go from there. In that I will diverge from the usual approach, where you are gradually decreasing your calorie intake from week to week, and use what you may call "caloric zig zagging" instead. In essence, I hope to be able to forestall metabolic adaptation processes (it should be obvious that we are talking about reductions in energy expenditure, here) by keeping my energy/calorie intake up during my training days and using my off days to create the caloric deficit which simply is a necessary prerequisite to bring your body fat level down into the unquestionably unnatural lower single-digit range, where veins start popping and striations begin to show, where "normal" people would not even know they had muscles ;-) ... but as I said, I’ll figure out the details, based on the results of the next two weeks.
EDT = Escalating Density Training - well, why not give it a shot!?
|Image 3: Adelfo's personal EDT blueprint right from his secret training diary ;-)|
A pros pos intense: EDT is a program or training system that challenges you to do the most work per unit of time, which is supposed to be an optimal stimulus for muscle growth. Each session consists of two antagonistic or push/ pull exercises (for example, 1 chest exercise superset w/ 1 back exercise and 1 biceps exercise superset w/1 triceps exercise). You have 20 minutes for each exercise (which is called the PR Zone or personal record zone), to perform as many reps as you can. The goal is to try and beat your personal or PR zone, every workout session. Now, if you have not tried it yourself, two exercises, 40 minutes of training... that may not sound very intense... believe me, my experience from Monday's workout tought me otherwise: EDT is fast paced and intense. I was sweating and breathing hard, like I was running sprints back and fourth for 20 minutes. I haven’t felt like that in a long time from a weight training session…
And for those of you that are wondering. "Hey, and what about your other body parts? Deltoids, triceps, the individual heads, etc.?" Honestly, when you’re hammering your chest and back constantly within those 20 minutes… I can assure you that you WILL feel that your deltoid, triceps, and biceps are getting hammered just as well. And FYI… you cannot change the shape of your muscles or restructure your muscle bellies by exercising body parts from certain different angles - you may be able to make up for minor imbalances, but when it's all said and done, all you can do is shed off the body fat and showcase what you have made out of the body God gave you.
Abs, abs, abs,... is that all people want?
|You think you could use some advice on your own training, diet and supplementation regimen and want it from someone who obviously knows what it takes to build muscle and lose fat? You can reach out to Adelfo via Facebook.|
Now, obviously, I depend a lot more on my core to hold me up and balance myself, since I cannot use my gluteus and legs. When it comes to "training" abs, this is an advantage, because I am utilizing my core more than most "healthy" people do, just to keep my posture up and balanced... I let my diet take care of the rest! Always remember: Abdominals are built in the kitchen, but that’s stuff for one of the next installments ;-)