Thursday, January 26, 2012

Adelfo Cerame - Road to The Wheelchair Nationals '12: Vince Gironda's Hawaiian Diet. Or, Caloric Zig-Zagging Intermittent Fasting Style. Plus: Crime Scene Las Vegas!

Image 1: Adelfo's trip to Vegas did not end up just as bad, but it still had some CSI-ish elements ;-)
Assuming that many of you have already been waiting eagerly to hear, or I should say, read if and how Adelfo has survived his trip to Vegas, I guess it would be best if I put you out of misery right away, but before I let Adelfo tell you his Hollywood-style story, I want to mention that in Adelfo and myself are going to be on Carl Lanore's Super Human Radio in about 2h, i.e. 7pm EST! So, in case you are reading this in time, make sure to tune in live (update: for everyone who missed the live show, click here to download the podcast)! But enough cross-marketing for now, let's hear what our common friend has gone through in gambler's paradise...

"The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly"

If you’ve ever seen the movie, that’s pretty much how I you could sum up the events in Vegas. As wild, and fun as it was, it also got pretty ugly towards the end. Someone broke into our hotel room early Sunday morning while everyone was still out and ... no, not training, but partying ;-) And when we finally came back to the hotel at around 7 am, we were so intoxicated that we didn't even realize that we got robbed. Only after we all got some shut eye, and woke up a couple hours later as we started packing our stuff to check out, one of my boys realized that someone must have had opened his bag and after had taken his iPod.

Image 2: Would you steal a Laptop
from this guy?
It took us only a few seconds to realize that all our bags had been searched through, and it struck me like a 200lbs dumbbell, when I went I looked towards the table, where my MacBook had been sitting and saw ... nothing. The damn thing was Gone! And with it 4 years of my life's work. From school stuff, research papers, personal projects, client portfolios, pictures, etc. that and much more, it was all on the hard-disk of that damn machine. What really saddened me most, though, was that my whole documentation. All the photos, nutrition and training plans, I have been documenting since late summer for my 2012 contest prep, all that was gone. I had kept an in-depth journal documenting my 2012 contest prep. It had everything from progress pictures, stats, calorie intakes, macros… Everything Gone!

I could care less about my laptop, materialistic things can be replaced, but there was a lot "in" that laptop that had a lot of sentimental value to me… well, I guess this is a case of "another one of life’s lessons learned". And if there is anything that I have learned since my spinal cord injury, it is that you can't cry too long over spilled milk. You got to stop thinking about problems and begin to work on solutions. In my case this does unfortunately mean that I have to start all over again, while trying to recover as much information as I can from the last backup I have (about 50% of the data), Facebook, personal and professional email transactions and obviously my blog, here at the SuppVersity. If I am lucky I will thusly be able to recover 75% of what I have lost... and most importantly: I able to find was the "before pictures" I took, when I first started my prep...

Vodka, Tequilla and only 8 weeks to go!

A pros pos prep! Just 8 more weeks to go to the big day. My big day at the Wheelchair Nationals in Palm Beach, Florida, and I know what you are thinking now: "8 weeks out and this idiot heads to Vegas and gets so hammered that he doesn't even realize he has been robbed? What kind of bodybuilder is that?" I guess the best answer I can give you would be: "One who is passionate about training, but does not live to train, but trains to live!" And, at least judged by my latest pictures, the weekend with Vodka and Tequila Sunrise instead of protein shakes does not seem to have hampered my progress at all - wouldn't you agree (and remember contrary to political elections, bodybuilding contests are not won by the guy with wit the nicest smile ;-).?
Image 3: The Monday after… Not bad for someone whose diet consisted mostly of Vodka and tequila sunrise cocktails during his feeding hours! And since I have a brand new laptop now too. The picture resolution is a lot better ;-)
As for how my nutritional regimen went…well on Thursday night, I broke my fast with a couple shots of vanilla vodka, cocktails, a slice of pizza and a set of sexy painted toes attached to a pretty young thing for dessert ;-) [Toes are calorie and carb free with no nutritional value by the way… lol], and I think I had a burger and fries at a local burger joint at the hotel, where we were staying at for Friday and Saturday night. Overall, everything went just as planned... pretty chaotic! But I stuck to my fasting and feeding protocol and made good use of the flexibility it allows for by making a habit of braking my fast with a couple of shots of vodka, instead of food.

Getting back from Vegas and back on track

The Monday after I decided to go on a strict veggies and protein only diet for the next couple of days. I pounded a lot of water, to rid whatever excess water I may have retained during the weekend (although I honestly did not see any) and then reintroduced my post workout carbs on Wednesday night after the workout. It didn’t really hit me how close my show is and that 8 weeks is not that long, so I started playing with my caloric intake and macros again while trying to update everything on my new laptop. When I was reasoning about the macronutrient ratios, I realized how much of a difference the reintroduction of carbohydrates had made in terms of the way I looked and the intensity with which I trained.

When you are getting into the single-digit body-fat realm, small dietary (or supplement) changes often make a big difference.

For me the ~100g of carbs make me feel much fuller and tighter. The increase in glycogen content goes hand in hand with an increase in vascularity and my muscles look overall much grainer. At the same time, I know I have to keep gradually dropping my calories to lean out, if I want to be beyond shredded by show time. I will therefore start to cycle my calories between 1500 kcal to 1200 kcal - with the higher, 1500 kcal intake on workout days, and the lower 1200 kcal on non-training days.
Table 1: Energy intake and macronutrient composition on workout days; * trace carbs, # starchy carbs & fruit.
The 10g of carbs are trace carbs from my whey protein; I usually wouldn’t count it but when it gets down to the final weeks, it gives me the peace of mind that is necessary to keep cortisol at bay ;-) All 65g of my PWO carbs will come from organic russet white potatoes (about 55g), and the rest of the 10g I’ll use on light fruits like berries, papayas or pineapples (about ½ a cup to add to my cucumber salad that I make… I still don’t count veggies by the way).

65g of starch carbs is all it takes to let make muscle pop

"Only 65g of starchy carbs?" Is probably something the carboholics out there are just asking themselves!? For me it is plenty to get me full and satisfied. The cucumbers and zucchinis will then do their share to fill up my tummy, while the carbs from the potatoes find their way right into the bellies of my muscle, so that I can even feel the muscle contractions pop, when I flex! An unexpected yet very appreciated side effect, by the way, is that along with increased vascularity, even the excess skin that I can pull in my lower abs magically disappears when the muscle beneath it gets its share of the glucose that is floating through my veins.
Table 2: Energy intake and macronutrient composition on non-training days.
The zigzagging, as far as calories goes (cf. workout and non-training days in tables 1-2) is actually an old trick of Vince Gironda. He called it the Hawaiian Diet. The Hawaiian diet consists of red meats, chicken or fish, with either pineapples or papayas. The macronutrient foundation of every meal is protein + fat meal - the exact food combination vary, though. In that Vince deliberately selected pineapple and papaya for their high enzyme content, of which he believed that it would help with fat loss.

Image 4: Vince Gironda,
the Iron Guru
The reason this protocol appealed to me is that both the macronutrient composition (mainly fat + protein), as well as the foods you are supposed to eat, are pretty much identical to the interpretation of intermittent fasting I have come up with in the course of the past weeks and months. And although I am repeating myself here, all geeky science, AMPK and mTOR stuff aside (I'll leave that to Dr. Andro ;-), it's major advantage over your usual contest-prep diet is its ingenious simplicity and convenience... 50g of meat, 20g of fresh pineapples, and 15g of raw coconut oil - how much easier could dieting for fat loss possibly get? Having the total caloric intake and the macronutrient ratios in check, I am pretty confident that the caloric zig-zagging and the weekly re-feeds on Sunday will compensate for the overall borderline low calorie intake and prevent my metabolism from slowing down over the course of the next week.

When adaptation occurs, stagnation begins

Obviously, my training will have to complement what I am doing diet-wise and thusly I have revisited the results from the 5x5 routine I have been following as of late and decided that it may be about time to switch to a higher volume / rep range program for some time. Aside from the higher rep ranges I have been using on a few auxiliary exercises, I stuck to the 5-6 rep range for the whole contest prep. And although it has worked fine for now, I start to notice that both the escalating density training (EDT, cf. "Things Begin to Escalate"), as well as the 5x5 training don't feel as intense or tiring as they used to. I have gotten stronger, my stamina has increased and my body has adapted... and while adaptation means progress, it will entail stagnation, whenever you fail to provide new stimuli to which your body will have to adapt. For me, an increase in training volume will hopefully do just that. I will yet still have to figure out how I can make sure that the intensity of my training sessions does not suffer from that. So, in essence, I will try to lift as heavy as I can, but with 8-12, instead of 5-6 reps. The exact training schedule is yet still in the works, but I will have it nailed down before next week.
Just wanted to let everyone know: My Facebook page is always open to anyone who has questions or needs pointers or advice on anything! Don't be shy, I won't charge you ;-)
So, with all my pictures and recipes being on the laptop that was stolen from my room in Vegas, the promise that I will address my revised higher rep, higher volume training regimen in next week's installment of my weekly contest prep blog, here at the SuppVersity, is the only thing I have in store for you this week.