Thursday, November 24, 2011

Adelfo Cerame - Road to The Wheelchair Nationals '12: My Five Simple Tricks for Guilt Free Thanksgiving Celebrations. Plus: Four Dietary Supplements You Should not Miss!

Image 1: Adelfo on Wednesday before the feast began. We will see how he looks next week ;-)
I guess, this blogpost should actually begin with the words "Happy Thanksgiving" in big, bold letters, but for us Europeans - and me as a German, in particular - today is a regular working day. Nevertheless, it is a day to celebrate, because THIS is actually post #600 here at the SuppVersity and I am in fact grateful (and thusly giving thanks) that you, my dear students, readers, followers or however else you want to refer to yourselves, are still interested in my perspective(s) on what is going on in the world of fitness, bodybuilding, sports and exercise science.

That being said, I do still hope that all of you (who actually have a holiday) are having a good time with your friends and family, just like my friend Adelfo, who has sent me his weekly contest-prep update and his best wishes to all of you last night, already ....

Turkey, pie, ... pie, turkey, ... turkey ... and some supplements!

Ok guys, I’m going to try and make this real brief because I actually started my Thanksgiving Day Feast a day early, so that I’ve been falling in and out of sleep from all the turkey and pie and still have to prepare for another day of furious eating again tomorrow, in order to "peak" (just to stick to the bodybuilding terminology) right on Thanksgiving!

Image 2: I like protein blends and Lean Supreme is one of my favorites. I gets it for $32 for 4.2lbs at my local Nutrition Zone.

As you know from the previous installments of this series, I have planned these 2 cheat / refeed days long ahead. In fact, being able to go somewhat overboard on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years Eve and my birthday was part of the reasoning behind starting my contest preparation so early.  But before I give you guys some pointers on how to approach these holiday feasts, I thought it was about time to address the subject of supplements. I know I've hinted at being on a budget and cutting back on my usage of protein powder in a previous episode; luckily I have recently been able to stock back up on my four staples, i.e. those supplements, I think are really worth spending your money on.

For me the "basic four" are
  • a high quality protein powder
  • a bag of bulk BCAAs
  • a quality multi-vitamin, and 
  • the good old creatine monohydrate
Protein powder, BCAAs, a mulit and creatine are what I would call the "foundation" of my supplementation regimen. If I cannot afford all of these, I am not going to buy any other  supplement - "prioritizing" is the name of the game. If my budget allows that I am yet planning on experimenting with a few other products in the weeks to come. What I currently have on my mind are a decent fat burner, some bulk D-Aspartic Acid and a test booster if I can find one that actually works...
Image 3: Protein powder, multi-vitamins, creatine monohydrate, and BCAA’s, combined with good training + nutrition, and that’s all you need to build your physique… well at least for me it is ;-)
Remember, all four, the protein powder, the BCAAs, the multi-vitamin and the creatine are add-ons; they are not part of what I call my "nutritional regimen". They do not replace any nutrients (as Dr. Andro would say: "They are called supplements not replacements" ;-) and I am well aware that I won't get anything out of them, if my diet and training are not 100% in check. Never fool yourself into the false security that you are taking supplements, X,Y and Z and could thusly let your nutritional protocol slide. No supplement gives you the excuse to eat like shit or skip a training session! You can do without quality supplements but you can’t do without quality foods - although the colorful adverts in some of the muscle mags, try to make you believe otherwise.
Image 4: Huge thanks to Jack Gurlekian and Dr. Andro for helping me out on the supplement side.
Before I get started on Holiday feasting, I’d like to give a shout out to Jack Gurlekian and thank him for hooking me up with some of the supplements that he distributes and makes himself… I’d also like to thank Dr. Andro himself for helping me out with finances to help me purchase some supplements that should hold me off for a couple months : Creapure(TM), glutamine peptides & ZMA from True Protein. Inner Armour supplements and Jack’s very own amino acid blends! [A note by Dr. Andro: Additional sponsors are always welcome ;-]
My holiday season feasts 101!

The holiday season is approaching and you all know what that means? Epic holiday feasts and it starts with Thanksgiving, continues on Christmas and ends with New Years Eve. And when it’s all said and done, all you’re left with is a GUT full of regret! In order to help you to keep both the gut, as well as the regret at bay, I want to share with you how I like to prepare myself for the holiday food gauntlet…

Image 5: This thanks giving plate looks way better than the government's MyPlate
Actually it all begins with keeping myself in good physical shape and keeping my physique as lean as I can year round. If you read the last installment of Dr. Andro's Intermittent Thoughts Series on "Why to cut before bulking" you will be aware of the hormonal and metabolic advantages which come with being lean. That being said, there is actually little reason, why I could not enjoy occasions like this without any regret, if it's not just a few days out on the next contest, which obviously isn't yet the case... and if you have been following the whole series since September, you will also be aware that I am exactly on schedule - a schedule that allows for a long consistent cut, precisely because I knew that Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve were coming and being in decent shape by then would allow me do some serious and more importantly guilt free eating ;-)

5 simple rules to survive the feast without too much damage

Being on an intermittent fasting protocol does help here as well, I have already touched on that in a previous installment - when you pack your complete caloric intake into a small feeding window "overeating" (no, not eating like shit!) is part of the game, anyway. Ok, the foods are probably different on Thanksgiving, but the caloric intake may in fact not vary too much. Moreover, the muscle specific improvements in insulin sensitivity that come with training fasting make it less likely that you store all the good and not so good nutrients you are about to eat today in the form of glycogen or even new muscle tissue, rather than as triglyceride droplets in your love handles.

Personally I do adhere to the the following 5 principles for intermittently fasted holiday celebrations in order to keep any potential damage to my physique at a minimum:
  1. I give myself a caloric buffer throughout the week before the big day. I don’t starve myself but I don’t eat as much. I try to be like around 200-300 calories shy of my daily caloric intake (1800 kcal). And being on IF, I do not even notice this 200-300 calorie reduction as far as my appetite is concerned.
  2. I stick to proteins and moderate fats throughout the week before the big feast. Just sticking to proteins, moderate fats, veggies and fruits, will help you with making that caloric buffer, simply because they are satiating. I still had my PWO chocolate milk, and PWO carbs with my meal.
  3. I fast before the big feast. You may want to even throw in an intense and heavy weight training session before, so you can get more bang for your buck when you eat! (Though I wont be doing that because it’s my rest day)
  4. Once I get to the party and begin my feast, I focus first on filling up on protein like turkey, chicken, roasts, fish and BBQ meats. This way I’m sure to hit my protein macros and to fill up with some good protein, then I’ll have my desserts like cakes and pies … and a couple shots of liquor and a couple glasses of wine ;-) But once I’m full… That’s it! I wont force myself to eat more just because there’s a lot of food. I’ll wait a couple of hours like I would normally do (on regular days), until I’m hungry again before I’ll eat again. I try to get in the same amounts of meals that I usually would during my feeding hours (3-4 meals) but obviously the meals will be much bigger... yeah, and with a little bit more junk ;-)
  5. I push away the remote thoughts of guilt and enjoy the day! I mean, you train hard and eat smart year round to keep yourself lean & mean. One day is not going to reverse all your efforts, maybe some bloat and a little water retention, but that will subsides in a couple days. Other than that… Enjoy your Thanksgiving, because I know I will!
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! Eat responsibly and don’t eat & drive full ;-)