Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adelfo Cerame - Road to The Wheelchair Nationals '12: Back From Thanksgiving and in Better Shape Than Ever!

Image 1: Some people just know how to improve their physique even when pigging out on thanksgiving. Or can you see any collateral damage the turkey, the pie and the pie and the turkey from last week have done?
Assuming that all of you have eventually overcome the physical and psychological consequences of your thanksgiving festivities, you should be about as ready as can be to kickstart the last three serious training weeks of the year. It alway amazes me how long some days (especially those without lectures and tons of paper work in the office) appear to be, when weeks and months fly by like nothing. I remember back in the day, when I first contacted Adelfo on behalf of the Suppversity Student Spotlight and we came up with the idea for this series, I was thinking to myself: "Damn, 2012? That is a going to be a hell long series of blogposts! Let's hope people will like it..." And now? Well, the title of the email I just received from Adelfo is "2 months down! And 3 1/2 more months to go!" And the positive feedback we are receiving week by week is overwhelming (keep it coming ;-). So what more can I say? I guess I better say nothing and let just Adelfo tell you what he has been doing the last days to make sure to pocket his pro-card at the 2012 Wheelchair Nationals...

Time flies by! 16 weeks out and keepin' it rollin'!

I am 16 weeks out from my show. Man! Am I glad that I started my prep 2 months ago, because it feels like the next 16 weeks are going to fly by. Today is the first of December and, as I mentioned in my last blogpost,  I have cut back another 200kcals from my diet and am now at daily caloric intake of only 1600 kcal. I actually have already the first day with 1600kcal under my belt, and it felt.... it felt like this is going to be a walk in the park! Although my carb-, and with the latest cut, even my fat-intake are pretty low, now (160g protein/ 50g CHO/ 75g fat per day), I still manage to get my schoolwork done, help my clients throughout the early part of the day and still have tons of energy to burn when I train later in the afternoon. Two years ago I would’ve been dead tired by the time 4 o’clock pm came around and would have just gone through the motions at the gym.
Figure 1: Adelfo's current macronutrient breakdown. Since December 1st, he is at a 1600kcal/day level.
I feel that I have been able to perform efficiently throughout the day and train optimally in the gym ever since I realized that my body prefers fat as a better fuel source than carbohydrates. I also feel that my body has adapted to using fats more efficiently, the reason why I really don’t get affected when I have to drop my carbohydrate intake. Since my body is now adapted to being a fat burning machine, it does efficiently utilize its own body fat stores as a source of energy, when carbohydrate and dietary fat intakes are low. And while I have deliberately not gone all the way, now, i.e. I have not yet dropped my carbohydrate to zero and my fat intake to similarly low levels, this may still happen in the last week(s) of the prep and I am confident that, even than, I won't be the walking Zombie I have become in the course of classic high-carb preps, where your energy levels plummet when you eventually have to drop the carbs to get stage ready.

Intermittent fasting gives me balance - physiologically and psychologically

In that, I am convinced that the high(er) fat approach aside, my decision to switch to an intermittent fasting protocol also has a lot to do with how smooth my prep and dieting has been going so far. I honestly can say, that I rarely feel hunger pangs, if any at all. I’m not pre-occupied with what I’m going to cook or eat next. My mind is not distracted with thoughts of food. I can even go a whole day without eating and I feel fine. When I take a look back, it’s amazing how much my diet controlled my everyday life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the science of nutrition, eating smart, making healthy food decisions and preparing for bodybuilding shows, but when you start getting OCD and letting the diet determine and control how you live your life. Dieting sometimes even goes so far that it starts to alter your personality! And this is, when you should now: It's time to make a change!

Natural hormone optimization - a new asset in my portfolio!?

Video 1: Mike Mahler's "Hormone Optimization" seminar on YouToube (click on the navigation on the right to see all parts). Big kudos to Mike for sharing so much great information for free!
So far everything from diet and training is going great. The one thing though that I’ve noticed that needs improvement in my prep is sleep. For some reason I’ve been having trouble sleeping…while searching for a solution to my issue and trying to find a reason why my sleeping patterns were so out of whack, I ran into a YouTube video by Mike Mahler, where he discusses hormone optimization in quite some detail. Leptin, insulin, adrenaline, cortisol, ... he covers them all and I thin that I may have found possible reasons for my suboptimal sleep patterns. In particular, I realized that my cortisol and adrenaline levels might be too high during the night. I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep but most of the night I’m tossing and turning. I don’t necessarily feel that it’s from stress, well nothing negative at least. I do think about a lot things at night though… like I said nothing negative, more like thoughts of future endeavors, excitement to compete, how I can make my business successful, ways I can improve training and nutrition… like thoughts of that nature.

Eventually I found myself digging deeper into this subject of hormones and hormone optimization trying to learn and educate myself on a topic I know nothing about, but yeah… anyway, I think I’ve found a subject that peaks my curiosity and will probably keep me busy for a couple of weeks trying to learn as much as I can and will most likely distract me from my school work ;-)

End of November: 4 weeks paying off...

A pros pos work, it's also time to evaluate where a hell lot of hard work in the gym has gotten me in the past couple of week. So here are some recent progress pictures that I took yesterday, as well as comparisons from the beginning of the month.
Image 2: Picture on the left hand side was taken on November 15, 2011, and the picture on the right hand side was taken yesterday on November 30, 2011 (photos by Adelfo Cerame, 2011).
As you can see with the most recent picture, the 2-day Thanksgiving holiday feasting I engaged in last week did nothing to hamper my forward progress.With the front pose, I definitely can see a difference especially my abdominals. Since I don’t have the luxury to weigh my self often, I always use my abdominals as marker to gauge and monitor my progress… and I advice that you should do so, too. Don’t get too pre-occupied on scale weight. The smaller your waist gets, the lower your body fat gets. Losing body fat and maintaining lean muscle mass is what’s important, not what the scale reads.

... yet a still not at my short-term goal of outperforming my friend Duong ;-)

To be honest from looking at the comparisons, I feel that I certainly could afford to stay at 1800 calories and still make some good progress by the end of December. In fact, I was tempted for about 5 minutes, but then I reminded myself of  the short-term goal that I set for myself, which is to achieve or better outperform Duong's already phenomenal physique by Christmas, which also happens to be the 12-week mark in my contest prep (sorry Duong, just my competitive nature ;-)
Supplement reviews: Since this past weekend there was a black Friday/Cyber Monday sale online @ TFSupplements (by the way, although I do not even get a discount there, I still want to mention that this is a very cheap place to shop for supps ;-) I picked up a bottle of Liquid Clenbutrx by VPX (yeah I know… the name sounded pretty sketchy to me also!), and a tub of Anadraulic State by LG Sciences. Both were at a very affordable price compared to retail.

Note: I just started on both supplements this week,
so you’ll have to wait until I finish them for a full review.

Image 3: VPX Clenbutrx, a solid product with a more than questionable name, which will yet have to showcase its fat burning magic in the weeks to come.
Liquid Clenbutrx: My initial thoughts were…  name and bottle alone of the VPX product (with the little injection dispenser) looked and sounded suspect to me. I mean look at the name… rhymes with clenbuterol right? And look how they make the bottle look all-pharmaceutical like with the injection dispenser to the side… "It looks like it can be illegal, so I guess it must work!" *rofl* Even with all the signs directing me to stay clear, the price was right, the majority of the reviews were positive (on a side note… when I read supp reviews I take into consideration the physique of the one making the review. You usually can find their profile picture on the left hand side of reviews), and even Mr super-critic Dr. Andro considers VPX among the most reputable companies in a business, where shady names of obviously have become part of the game...
  • Taste: Tastes like shit and Nyquil mixed together! It’s gotta work if it tastes this bad right?
  • Energy: So far for the past 3 days since I’ve been taking it… my energy is literally through the roof. In fact this elixir kept me up all night for the first day, because I took the 2nd dose to late in the afternoon… and I guess taking anadraulic state 30 minutes after does not help either - though this is actually a "non-stim" pre-workout product. I am, by the way, curious on how long these potent effects are going to last and whether they will have worn off before I will have gone through the whole bottle. Keep checking back for more info in the posts to come.
  • Fat Loss: Don’t know yet, until I finish the bottle, but I get a good sweat in the gym.
  • Side notes: So far no jitters throughout the day or while I workout. And so far it hasn’t ramped up my metabolism in the Ferrari-like way it claims to do. But hey - should I really have believed that? I guess no. So, not a bad product, so far.
Image 4: LG Sciences' Anadraulic State GT - for the 14$ I would hardly have gotten the 720g of ingredients in bulk.
Anadraulic State: My initial thoughts… Another pre- workout supplement that’s worth a try because 720g for $14 and a really sound ingredient profile, this was obviously a bargain!
  •  Taste: Strawberry lemonade, well at least that is what the label says. I guess it's a good thing that it does not taste as if it was mixed with battery acid, though ;-)
  • Energy: I did not buy it for the energy factor. It's a non-stim and with the potent effects of the Clenbutrx I really can't tell if you would feel some kind of energy rush from Anadraulic State, as well.
  • Pump/ vascularity: I can’t really tell either because my body gets a good pump or gets pretty vascular even when I don’t take pre-workout supplements.
  • Strength/ performance: So far it’s all me. But given the fact that the ingredients are meant to do their magic over time, I did not expect to notice it until being on it for at least 2-3 weeks.
  • Side notes: Nothing to really report or rave about yet.  
I will keep you updated on the impact these two have on the results I am seeing in the mirror, as well as the gym in the future installments of this series. Every Thursday, right here at the SuppVersity - remember that ;-)
Image 5: Not exactly hitting the macro ratio is an issue only OCD bodybuilders will worry about... and as Dr. Andro likes to say "The stress due to too much thinking about what to eat and what not to eat is much worse than the one wrong food choice you could make".
If you want to know how this little precontest-contest turns out, I suggest you come back next Thursday and see how far I've gotten already, because, for today, that is all, folks! And with the supplement feature being this week's special, I will skip the weekly recipe and just leave you with a picture of 2 big ass turkey legs from the last of my holiday leftovers that I’m about to eat before I begin my fast.

I usually like to track my macros and actually don’t mind doing it, but since my last meal before I start my fast and hit the sack are P+F meals. It’s usually pretty easy for me to eye it and guesstimate my macros. My macro meal split for my protein and fat are around 50g protein, and 25g fat. I’m guessing these 2 turkey legs are a bit under my protein and fat, but I’m not too worried about it... buon appetito!