Thursday, March 8, 2012

Adelfo Cerame - Road to Wheelchair Nationals '12: The Final Countdown! Plus: The "No-Bro" Approach to Peak Form

Image 1: Adelfo now, 9 days before the show. Even if he had not been bedridden, when he began dieting, this is an awesome result - the work of a true pro! And wherever he is going to place in Florida, I am proud to have Adelfo aboard, here at the SuppVersity! (Click here to learn more about his journey!)
As of yet, I don't have kids, so I don't know how it feels, when you have been seeing your son or daughter cramming for the finals, have given stupid advice and have offered all the help you could, but I guess, it must feel somewhat similar to the way I feel now, nine days before my "kid", or I should say, my friend, Adelfo is going to his "finals". I am excited and anxious at the same time. I am convinced he is going to take away his pro-card, but in the end, its up to the judges to decide whether or not Adelfo will be able to top this awesome contest prep off with an unequivocal "#1" on the scorecards of the judging panel. This is part of why I am all the more excited that Vince Andrich, with whom I have already worked on the BodyRX Show and who shares my appreciation of Adelfo's classic physique, signed Adelfo as one of the faces, or rather "physiques" of his new company Myotropics. For me, however, neither Adelfo's signature under the contract nor the pro-card, of which I am convinced that he is going to bring it home from Florida (and in case the judges don't have their glasses with them, from a later show ;-) are what makes my friend a "pro". What makes Adelfo a pro are his work ethics, his consistency and his positive mindset (the mindset of a true champion) which have allowed him to overcome every obstacle and make constant progress, both physically and mentally... ah, before I get too paternal, here, let's hear what Adelfo has in stock for us in his last blogpost before the big event.

The Final Countdown - Don't Panic, It's Going to Work Out!

Well folks, a week and a half left or, I should say, just 9 (in words "nine" ;-) days left until it's going to be show time! And for now, there's nothing else for me to do, than simply keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past 4 months now: Staying on the course. As some of you who have been in a similar situation may know, this "simple" exercise can sometimes be really hard, though... I mean, you know about how important this event is going to be, you want to look your very best and everything you can / shall do is keep on rolling? I guess, not everyone will sympathize with having difficulties not to but back on calories anymore, not to reduce your carb intake to absolutely zero and not to try out any other stupid things of which you consciously know that they won't help and yet still feel urged to to them.
Although I know that Dr. Andro is probably going to address this in his introduction, I want to take the chance to tell you in person that I am now a sponsored athlete for Myotropics Physique Nutrition. And I would like to thank Vince Andrich for giving me the opportunity to represent his brand.
The best thing to avoid being in mischief, is to reiterate your plan over and over and that is what I am going to do now: The coming week - starting on Sunday, is going to be my peek week, in which I will finally cut out all starchy carbs except for the roughly 40g of carbs from 1 purple potato or 1 banana I eat right after my workouts. As I have pointed out before, I don't even count vegetables, so that the rest of my meals (in my way of "calculating" my macros are "carb free" protein + vegetable meals with a moderate amount of fat (45-50g).
Image 2: By further reducing my starchy carb intake, I hope to lose the little subcutaneous water that is still left.
The reduction in carb intake in the day before the contest, on the other hand, make it even more important to carb load, in time. I decided to to do a front load, which means I am not taking the risk of "spilling over" (and stepping on stage like a wet sponge), but will load up early in the week. This was also reason why I have done all my re-feeds on Sunday in the last couple of months. That allowed me to practice or I should say evaluate my bodies reaction to different foods / amounts of carbs / macronutrient combinations, log everything and build my nutritional regimen for the peak week around what I learned from that.

For bodybuilders, playing with water and salt, is like playing fire

Other than the reduction in carbs, of which I expect that it will help me lose the last milliliters of water I am still carrying under my skin, I will not make any of the bro-scientific stupidities, like cutting back sodium or pounding gallons of water. And even my training will stay the same, at least until Wednesday, when I will start to taper the intensity, to avoid last minute injuries (I mean, who wants to compete with a "torn" biceps ;-) or running out of glycogen, which would put me into the very unfortunate position of having to "re-load" (meaning to replete my glycogen stores) right before - thus exactly what I am trying to avoid by doing the front-load.

Video 1: The "Burn Machine" is part of my HIIT cardio regimen (click to watch)
"So you are doing nothing to get even more 'disgusting'"?

I must admit there is one thing, I did not tell you... but this is something I did already change, so no stupid last minute change, here ;-) I have stepped up, or, for someone like me, who actually never does any cardio, I should say, I started doing cardio these past 3 weeks. Not being a big fan of cardio, but a firm believer in doing what it takes to get shredded by diet and high intensity lifting, alone this is actually quite a novelty for me - if nothing else, because I can do none of the "classic" cardio exercises: Jogging on the treadmill? No! Fidgeting around on the crosstrainer? No! Taking steps on the stairmaster? No!

Not much left, I could do for "cardio", right? In essence, that's what I've been telling myself, as well, but I did not want to miss any chance to improve my conditioning and thusly came up with two forms of HIIT cardio which work pretty well for me.
  1. HIIT with the "Burn Machine": Assuming that most of you have no idea what this small beast is and how it works, I suggest, you take a look at video 1. In essence, the burn machine is no more than a 10-pound hand cycle that can mimic using a hand cycle or even hitting a speed bag. It combiines aerobic and anaerobic work and is perfectly suited for HIIT training. This is like sprinting with your arms, and I do it for a total of 20-30min
     
  2. Image 3: The cardio may have helped a little, but nutrition still is the #1 factor if you want to lean out.
    Swimming and hitting the heavy bag: Apollo Creed knew what he was talking about, when he told Rocky Balboa in Rocky III that swimming would work muscles that he thought he never knew he had before - I can attest to that and have been a huge fan of swimming, ever since the inhuman soreness after my first laps subsided *lol*... But all jokes aside, I really do enjoy swimming and I believe you can also see that in the video footage I took for you (click here to watch the video). Swimming gets my heart rate up and my muscles stimulated. Plus, I really feel my back muscles working, when I swim. In fact, my back begins to get really tight after a couple of laps and I get an awesome pump! It would be great if I could swim a lap or two before I roll on stage to pose... to swim a couple of laps and then hit the heavy bag, an exercise which also helped tremendously with the conditioning of my arms, shoulders and chest. Its conditioning effects aside, it also keeps you from biting other peoples ears off ;-)
I don't know how much of my progress within those last three weeks is actually attributable to the additional cardio training, but despite the fact that I am dieting now for more than 5 months, I am still making progress from week to week. I have come a long way from October. I have learned a lot about myself, and my body. My knowledge of nutrition and fitness has increased 10-fold due to the tutelage of gentlemen like Dr. Andro, Rob Regish, Jack Gurlekian, Skip Hill, and Josh Trenetine - to just name a few.
Image 2: I have come a long way along which my physique was by no means the only thing that changed.
I have witnessed my physique improve beyond what I thought were my limits, and I feel that I have only scratched the surface of what the future is holding for me. But most of all, I have been blessed and humbled to be able to share this experience with the you, the SuppVersity readers, who have been critical yet always supportive commenters, for which I want to thank you now, since due to me traveling next week, I will not be able to do my regular blog next week. Keep your fingers crossed and follow me on facebook, if you cannot wait for the SuppVersity exclusive full report on what happened at the nationals in the days after the show.