Thursday, April 12, 2012

Adelfo Cerame - Road to Wheelchair Championships: Eight Stupidly Simple Commandments of Successful Dieting

Image 1: Adelfo follows his eight commandments of stupidly simple dieting and it is hard to argue about the results.
Another Thursday and thusly time for Adelfo's "guest lecture" here at the SuppVersity. Today's topic is diet and nutrition. Your diet and your nutrition, to be precise. While I often refer you to Adelfo's blogs as a source of inspiration for your own diet (and as an example that it does not take many supplements to build an astonishing physique), much of what he does is... well, let's say it is "very bodybuilding-specific" and not necessarily practical for the average man or woman, just trying to get (back) in shape. So, in case this is you, you better perk up your ears and listen ... ah I mean cock your eyes,... ah, well - you know what I mean ;-)

Dieting must not be overcomplicated

As of late I have been getting a lot of messages from people who want to get back in shape again. Some of them have been following my blogposts here at the SuppVersity and have pretty specific questions, others however feel lost in the heap of information that is out there and don't even know where to start. To make it easier for those who asked and those of you who maybe did not dare bothering me with their questions, I decided to use this week to share a few of my personal thoughts on what a basic nutritional regimen should, or maybe I should say "could" look like. You can call it a guideline, a foundational regimen, a template or a blueprint - whatever you like better - but remember this is nothing that is set in stone.
Figure 1: My current interpretation of the KISS principles a four-meal nutritional regimen. Nothing you necessarily need to copy, but maybe something to inspire your own nutritional regimen. And for additional inspiration check out the recipe of the week Taco Tuesday Tilapies
Many of the techniques I have been writing about in the past are pretty bodybuilding speficic. The exact  calorie-counting, even I have been letting slide as of late, the intermittent fasting and my meticulousness with respect to "my macros" (as I like to call the macronutrient ratios) are things which may be of utmost importance when you are about to step on stage, yet more often than not overwhelming and frequently counter-productive for the average dieter who is "just" trying to get back in shape. The foundational principle of the following guide is thusly the well-known and largely under-appreciated K.I.S.S. principle.

KISS (Keep It Stupidly Simple) the eight commandments

You think you could use some more advice on your  training, diet and supplementation regimen from someone who knows what it takes to build muscle and lose fat? Reach out to Adelfo via Facebook as long as he is still taking clients!
By no means do I want to imply that you are stupid - on the contrary! Keeping it stupidly simple is the exact opposite of making it stupidly overcomplicated ;-) ... seriously, when starting on a new nutritional regimen, there's no need to overwhelm yourself. Take baby steps and learn as you go. Get into the routine of doing one thing, then move on to next once you’ve turned it into a habit or routine…

For example…When I am working with clients, one of the first things that I am going to tell them is to start getting into the habit of not eating out, ordering food for take out, or purchasing food through a fast food drive through. For the first couple weeks or month, this is what I have them focus on; not eating out, making their own meals at home and packing and making their own meals, and that’s all they would focus on, nothing else. Then, once they get into the routine or habit of that, we move on to the next step, such as eliminating processed junk foods like soda, fruit juices, pastries…  and then, once they’re in the habit of that…  You see where I’m getting at? Take it step by step; don’t throw the baby out with the bathtub. You are not only making things more difficult for you, you are also forestalling constant, and thusly highly motivating progress.

KISS these eight simple rules

Taking baby steps and keeping things stupidly simple is the most important of the eight guidelines, I am going to give you. It is yet not the only one that is going to help you get on and maintain a healthy and balanced nutritional regimen:
  • #1 K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) – Don’t go “Gung-Ho” and try to do everything at once. You will stress and overwhelm yourself, and it will most likely lead to failure. I’ve seen it plenty of times, where people are so eager and excited about a new fad diet they just found out about (which isn’t a bad thing), but go pedal to the metal, and then you’ll see them 3 weeks later stuffing their face with a bag of McDonalds shrugging their shoulders at you, with an “awww fuckit!”  look on their faces.
  • #2 Limit Junk/ highly processed foods – There’s a time and place to satisfy your cravings for sugary pastries, but it can’t be everyday and every meal… And yes I know of such a thing called IIFYM (if it fits your macros), and I do it from time to time in moderation (which is another one of my guidelines but I’ll hit that later) during my off-season, but again this is a guideline for a newbie, someone who is likely to fall of the wagon, once he steps aside once. So don't use "IIFYM" of other funky acronyms to cheat on your diet, folks ;-)
  •  #3 Eat whole “real” foods – This pretty much goes hand in hand with #2, because you’ll eventually start to transition from the processed microwave "food" (or should I say "industrial waste products"?) into eating real food.  Once you get used to eating things without tons of MSG and other flavor enhancers (I warn you this can take about 2-3 weeks), you will slowly come to realize that the stuff you buy at the fast food outlet or prepare in your microwave oven was the reason that you have never felt satiated, let alone satisfied in the past… I mean, think about it: Have you ever tried eating a box of kids cereal, or a whole loaf of Hawaiian bread and still felt ravenous, like you can eat two more boxes or another loaf? Well that’s your body telling you that it's not getting the right nutrients it needs to be satisfied. So you can eat all the pop-tarts and honey-nut cheerios you want, but if you’re not giving your body what it needs, you’re still going to be hungry…  Eat a nice big steak (make it grass-fed if you can afford it, but don't use your budget as an excuse not to eat steak at all!), with a large baked sweet potato, a plate of veggies, some fruit, and wash it down with a glass of RAW milk, and let me know if you’re still hungry? The rule is easy: When you look at your plate and there is nothing processed on it, you are right on track!
Image 3: Serge Nubret is living proof that eating just one square meal will not only suffice to lower your body fat percentage, but will also allow you to build muscle - well, as long as it contains >4pounds of horse meat, rice and beans *rofl*
  • #4 You don’t need to eat frequently or eat small meals every 2-3 hours to lose weight or be healthy, I mean you can (there’s million ways to skin a cat), but it’s not necessary. Eating 3 to 4 meals that consist of whole real foods works just as fine. In my opinion, you could even eat one really big meal per day - if its 100% real food and nutritionally dense, it will allow you to roll for 24h up to your next "feeding". Take Serge Nubret, for example, he only ate one meal per day that consisted of 4 pounds of horsemeat with rice and beans, and his physique looked pretty damn good - no!?
  • #5 Cheat days – Give yourself a day where you eat whatever you want. I usually use one of the days during the weekend, because it just makes sense for a social standpoint. This is not necessarily a "re-feed", which would be a day that is strictly planned, with a high carbohydrate, minimal fat and moderate protein intake, as you would have it, when you are following a low(ish) carb diet during the week. In the end, it does yet mostly work out like it was one, because carb intake is usually higher during these days. For the average dieter, however, the macros are secondary - the "cheat day" will keep you sane and provide psychological relief, while simultaneously signaling your body that you are not in a constant state of famine.
  •  #6 Consistency – Stay consistent folks! Just because you mess up or have one or two days of eating badly... when you fell off the wagon, stand up and get back on. These things happen, nobody is perfect and the desire to make everything right should not prevent you from doing at least something right - right ;-)?
  •  #7 Balance & moderation – When people first diet or try set up their nutritional plans, they try to take every concept or apply every method to the extremes, and forget about balance, moderation and finding their happy medium. The most common fallacies are 100% low carbers, paleo eaters, RAW foodists, gluten free dieting, etc… I fell for the extremist approach myself - in my extreme low-carb, high fat phase, about a year back. Looking back, I can only honestly say that I became carbophobic. Only on my cheat days/re-feed days would I allow my glycogen deprived body a minuscule amount of carbs, and even then, I felt guilty afterwards. Don’t get me wrong, keeping my carb intake under control still has its place within my nutritional regimen, but I've learned about its inevitable downsides the hard way and thusly apply it only, when I need it. I mean hey! I also like to do RAW, paleo, low carb, re-feed, cheat days, IF, organic, lol. I even like to mix it up with gluten free foods from time to time but I do it all with balance and moderation.
  • #8 Make your diet a part of your lifestyle – Find a healthy balanced nutritional regimen that you can live with and implement it into your lifestyle (don't plan your life around your diet!). Health and the physique of your dreams do not come with one of those 12-week dietary interventions and this is exactly where, I believe all those fad diets go wrong; they’re structured to be temporary programs lacking the balance and moderation of a healthy nutritional regimen. I mean, everyone wants to look good naked and feel sexy, yeah... but all that is worth nothing if you have to sacrifice your physical and psychological health for it.
I guess, some of you are probably disappointed, now. "Eight rules and nothing new!", is probably what you are thinking. But be honest with yourself... have you been following all eight rules for the past 12 months and still not seen any results? I would be very surprised, to say the least!