Thursday, December 22, 2011

Adelfo Cerame - Road to Wheelchair Nationals '12: Getting Ripped For Christmas! Plus, Taking a Week Off Takes Some Courage, But Believe Me - It Will Pay Off!

Image 1: Adelfo at the Buckeye Classics, last year.
Actually, I wanted to start this installment of Adelfo's weekly contest-prep blog along the lines of "another Thursday, another ...", ... well, I guess that won't work out, because exactly those lines were the first words in the email with the weekly write-up Adelfo just sent me. So, I guess, I will just take the chance to sneak in a last-minute tip for a gift. Assuming that you have a friend or family member who really wants to make a change to the way he looks, feels and performs in the coming year, I think Adelfo is still taking new clients... but before he gets mad at me again, because I am pimping his services way too much for his liking, I better shut up now and let Adelfo tell you how he has been preparing for Christmas and his 12-weeks out mark on Christmas Day ;-)

Another Thursday, another blog…  

Damn! Aren’t you guys and, of course, girls ;-) getting tired of reading these Thursday write-ups? Well I hope not because there’s going to be about 13 to 14 more Thursday segments from yours truly ;-)

As you all know from the last installment of this series I am using this week as sort of a benchmark or test run for the show. With Christmas Day I will be hitting my 12-week mark and hopefully make myself an awesome present in terms of just about as lean and mean as possible before, ... well, before I will cram myself with every- and anything my little heart desires. What? You think that sounds stupid? Why would one diet down, just to ruin everything within one day? Well, I guess you have not read the previous installments of this series then. As I've already mentioned repeatedly, if you stay lean year round, keep your body accustomed to burning off extra calories by carefully planned cheat- and refeed-days and don't skimp on your workouts, the occasional holiday binge is not going to have any long-term detrimental effect on your physique. Enjoy your holidays - you have done your homework. It's the lazy rest of the world that's got to feel guilty, not you!
Image 2: No reason to feel guilty! I guarantee, "My 5 Simple Tricks For Guilt Free Thanksgiving Celebrations" will work for every holiday ;-)
How to minimize damage or even progress over the Christmas days? If you have not read them already, I strongly suggest you go back to"My 5 Simple Tricks For Guilt Free Thanksgiving Celebrations", where I describe in some detail how intermittent fasting and keeping your diet in check in the days before and after the holidays will help you to not only compromise your progress, but how you can even make use of a holiday binge as a strategic way of refueling your body and soul ;-) That being said, a related resource you may enjoy are the first issues (esp. Part 2 and Part 3) of the Intermittent Thoughts series, in which Dr.Andro digs into the physiology of intermittent fasting, which - as you all know - has helped me tremendously during this first half of my prep.
With only two more days to go, I am very pleased with how things are working out for me. It looks like I will be hitting my mark… As for the water retention issue, I have been seeing improvements in my physique this week, as in vascularity and separation within my shoulders, forearms, triceps and upper abs. I’ve been pounding at least 2 gallons of water a day to try and flush out as much water as I can. We will see what the end-result on Sunday will look like. I know that I will not be hitting my full potential in conditioning - if I did, the chances that I will be both as muscular, as well as as ripped as possible, on the day of the show, in 14 weeks would decrease, anyways.

Nevertheless, I do feel that I look now about as ripped as when I did the Buckeye Classic last April (cf. image 1). With another 13-14 weeks to improve, I am pretty damn sure that time (and obviously consistency as far as diet and training goes) will take care of the water retention and stubborn body fat I am still carrying. But enough about my 12-week mark! I’ve been bumpin’ my gums about it for the past two weeks, and I’m pretty sure you’re tired of it too. Note: I’ll have pictures up next Thursday on how my physique turns out this Sunday - promise ;-)

Rest, Rest, Rest... and? Well, I guess REST!

Rest, or what some people simply think of as "doing nothing", is in fact one of the most valuable training tools you have. More often than not, it is however taken for granted even by professional athletes and even I commit guilty of taking it for granted in the past, because I had that “gung-ho”,  “rest is for the weak”, or “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” type of mentality. Don’t get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with having a “gung-ho” mentality, but you should be aware of when your body is already "dead" and you begin to take steps back- not forward with every heavy lifting session... train hard, but train smart! Rest, when it’s time to rest, and learn how to listen to what your body wants.
Image 3: A brief update on my initial experience with Slinshot, Recycle and D-Pol by Purus Labs
Quick PurusLabs supplement update (Recycle, D-Pol and SlinShot): For my liking it is still too early to draw any conclusions, but as I promised to keep you up-to-date as far as my newest supplements are concerned, I thought I'd mention that I’ve been getting some pretty decent pumps in the gym, lately. While much of this could obviously be just in my head, I want to remind everyone that this is my deload week, so I’m basically just doing sissy workouts and lifting real light - still, the pump is really noticeable. And when I am practicing my poses, I feel like there was a major improvement in what people like to call the "mind and muscle connection", which is the ability to contract and flex individual muscles intentionally. As with every N=1 experiment, it is however difficult to judge how much of that can be ascribed to Recycle and D-Pol and what may be due to other parameters. With regard to the tarragon based insulin-sensitizer SlinShot, of which I told you that I'd save it for my refeeds, I will probably be able to tell you next week, whether or not it is working. I mean, the plan is to EAT BIG on Christmas, so we’ll see how much "damage" I can do, and whether or not SlinShot can help in repartitioning some of the "damage" into muscle glycogen ;-)
For me the incorporation of carefully planned rest days before it was too late, was the key to what I think is the most profound growth-spurt I have undergone in the past couple of month. Before, I did not only train 6 days a week, I also totally overlooked - or I should say - ignored the value of rest or deload weeks. Not hitting the gym for more than one day? Taking it easy, when you are not hurt? Impossible... no wonder I always felt burned out and sometimes even utterly unmotivated.

Taking more than a day off and the irrational fears of muscle loss, fat gain & co

At first I feared taking too many rest days, especially during contest prep, would hamper my progress. That being said, rationally, I was not even sure what the exact reasons for this gut feelings were. Maybe the fear of...
  • losing muscle, when the latter was not constantly challenged during my diet
  • not being able to get the most out of my body, or
  • not having enough training days to help burn body fat, since I rarely did cardio. 
And, yes, I was one of those guys who used to lift weights constantly thinking about how that would help him burn off body fat, how many calories he would have "left at the gym" and what foods he was now "allowed" to eat after burning X amounts of calories in the course of his last workout. Thus, rather than focusing on increasing my strength and trying to build some lean muscle or at least maintain it, all my efforts in the gym were aimed at simply burning calories - a futile concept, as I have eventually come to realize.

The thought of not having done enough, alway hampered my progress

I know this may sound somewhat ridiculous, especially for the lazy guys out there, but it actually took me a whole lot of courage to finally incorporate more rest days into my training regimen, to take a week off or tick to a pre-planned deload week every 6-8 weeks. The results, however, were well worth it. Adequate rest alone, helped me to ...
  • continously increase my strength on all major lifts
  • make greater and more consistent muscle gains
  • be able to hit the gym motivated and refreshed
  • lift really heavy and not just heavy as my exhausted body would allow
  • keep injury free
The latter, i.e. the ability to avoid major (and minor) injuries, may in fact be one of the most fundamental benefits you will get if you allow your body to fully recuperate. After all, what could be worse than not being able to hit the gym at all (look at Branch Warren with his torn quads!) For someone like me, who always seems to attract nagging aches, pains and tweaks during long hauls in his training, it was like a revelation, when I noticed that by just taking the necessary week off , I could totally avoid those tedious injuries.
Recipe of the week: In the good spirit of the Christmas Holidays & the birthday of Jesus Christ… I have put together a classic holiday recipe for you: Eggnog, but with an anabolic twist. Cheers!

Image 4: Eggnog - a classic recipe with an anabolic twist!
Anabolic Eggnog - ingredients:
  • 4 whole organic eggs (blend in blender till frothy) 
  • 1 c. non-fat milk 
  • 40g of vanilla whey protein 
  • 2 tsp. organic vanilla extract 
  • 1 tsp. stevia 
  • powdered or ground cinnamon (sprinkle to liking) 
  • nutmeg (sprinkle to liking)
  • Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum is optional ;-)

    Macros: 71g protein / 12g carbs / 20g fat
After blending the eggs till frothy, add all the other ingredients and blend till frothy, and you can add a couple more sprinkles of cinnamon on top to make your drink look fancy. ;-)
And just to make sure, you are getting the message: The type of Rest, we are talking about, here is not the time it takes to take a nip from your water bottle in-between sets (even if it has BCAAs in it ;-) It also does not mean hitting on the beautiful girl on the stairmaster instead of finishing you HIIT session. Rest, is the time you are spending out of the gym. A day, you spent with friends or family, where you treat your run down body with good nutrition and extra sleep. A day, where you get yourself a massage, take the dog for an extended walk and take your girlfriend out to a fancy restaurant that also carries bodybuilding friendly foods. And of course a day, where you have lot's of time to go and check out mine and Dr.Andro's posts, here at the SuppVersity, to learn new things about exercise and nutrition and to join the discussion... so, what are you waiting for, then? Go for it and rest... Merry Christmas, everyone!