Thursday, May 17, 2012

Adelfo Cerame - RtWC: 5 Tricks to Ignite Your Competitive Nature and Attain Things You Never Thought Possible

Image 1: Hard to imagine, but this man was not born with outstanding abs and even believed it was "not in his genes" to attain a physique like this.
I don't know if you have noticed, but our common friend Adelfo is stepping up his game. I can still remember when it took him a week to come up with an article which still needed way more than just some superficial editing. These days however, he is not only training and dieting harder than ever (and I am absolute certain, this time the judges won't be able to place him second!), he is also making himself a name as an author, both here, at the SuppVersity, as well as over at his sponsors' Myotropics Physique Magazine. His latest article on Confidence as the key to a "sexier you" is as much of a motivational slam-dunk, as today's installment of the Road to Wheelchair Nationals series, here at the SuppVersity. So, after you have internalized, or as Adelfo wrote "packed away the psychological wrenches", head over to the Myotropics website and check out how being comfortable with your self alone can turn a shrinking violet into a beautiful swan ;-)

Rediscover your competitive nature!

It's still six weeks out and yet I am already feeling it: My competitive nature is kicking in; not that it was lacking prior to this week, I just have a more heighten sense of things now, that my second and last competition of the year draws nearer. Just one last crack on my pro-card before the end of this competitive season and, one last crack on the overall! If that's not enough for my competitive juices to fully kick in, what else?

Image 2: As long as you really want it you can achieve all sorts of marvelous things ;-)
Still, even though I’ve been doing things right and have never gone astray from my constantly revised game plan, I have been missing this urging feeling deep down in your soul, this craving, the desire, the absolute determination to win, which will keep you pushing and pushing as the show approaches.

It’s either you want it or you don’t! And if you don't want it, you won't get it.

In the end, it's always you will that will help you overcome whatever will come into your way. Let  your competitive nature take over: Let your will be your engine and your mind be your steering wheel and achieve feats you would never have deemed possible.

Constant progress and success will keep your will alive

On your journey, seeing constant forward progress can be a great motivator. When you’re constantly seeing changes in your strength and in your physique or even improving your own well being, this will add more fuel to the fire. It will keep you motivated and allow you to push even harder.
Image 3: My progress from the pre-bodybuilding era in 2005 (left) before and 2006 (middle) after my accident to my last contest, the Wheelchair Nationals in Florida, earlier this year (right). If it had not (re-)discovered my competitiveness taken up bodybuilding and learning about training and nutrition, I would probably still believe that my genetics would never allow me to surpass the form I had in the image on the right
I can still remember the day I saw my abdominals appear for the first time in my life. It was one of these rare "once in a life" moments, a moment that made me realize that I was able to accomplish a feat of which I had always believed it was impossible. And yet, having accomplished the impossible did not make me complacent. Seeing those abs just stoked up the fire, I wanted to see how much further I could push, what else would be humanly (or inhumanly ;-) possible!

Achieving the impossible: If I can do it, you can do it, as well!

I am well aware that not everyone of you will have the courage or desire to step on stage, which is why I have compiled a list of tips that will help you harness your competitive nature, even if competing does not really seem to be an option for you, right now.
Figure 1: Here is an example of one of my food logs on myfitnesspal.  These are my daily caloric intake and macros and food staples; if I’m seeing forward progress every week with these settings, then I keep sticking to it, if progress halts or digresses then I evaluate and make adjustments.
  • Try to set personal records in the gym every week – whether you increase the weight by 10lbs or just 2½ lbs, every week doesn't really matter; even that one rep more or a slight improvement in form, volume, intensity... all that is forward progress that will keep your fire burning. Go ahead, outdo yourself! 
  • Keep a food log, and keep track of your calories, macros and the types of food you eat. Use a free calorie counter application like “my fitness pal” (this is the one I use). It’s easy to use and holds you accountable to your diet. It allows you to evaluate what caloric intake; macros and food choices work well for you to help you propel your forward progress. Make yourself accountable!
  • Take progress pictures every other week, so you can evaluate your current progress by placing pictures side by side (see images 3 + 4). I can't exactly tell you why, but this allows for a way more objective evaluation of where you came from and where you are now, than the mirror - let alone the scale!
    Personally, I have made a habit of taking my progress pics every Sunday morning before my re-feeds; and while it does not have to be Sunday for you, it is advisable to always take them in the morning (before whatever may have happened in the course of the day can have messed with the way you look), with the same camera and lighting. Otherwise, you may have a bunch of pictures, you cannot compare because on one of them your abs shine due to the flattering lighting conditions, on another one you just have been carb-refeeding and look bloated, ... Track and evaluate your success objectively
  • Image 4: My 12 week transformation (left); Duong's 12 week transformation (right);  I followed his progress step for step like a stalker and made sure that my weekly progress kept up with his or even better; I even emailed him for f#cks sake at one point and asked what was his caloric intake was during a certain week! *lol* – Now you get a picture of how competitive I can get.
  • Find a photo of someone with a pretty impressive physique, but make sure that it is realistic and attainable. Post that picture on your wall, fridge or use it as your screen saver. This photo will remind you of your goals, it will motivate you and propel your training, it will help you to keep on track as far as your diet is concerned and it will serve as a yardstick you can compare your progress pictures (see previous bulletin point) to. Take myself for example – I used my friend Duong’s photo (see image 4) as one of my tools to help harness motivate me and drive competitive nature. He transformed his physique in 12 weeks using an intermittent fasting protocol. I wanted to do the same, and then some! So for those 12 weeks, my goal every week was to be one step closer to attaining Duong’s physique. Find yourself a virtual competition or role model! 
  • You just have to want it! There’s nothing more competitive than wanting something so bad, that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it – heart; desire; passion; drive… all should be geared towards that one end.
    Dedicate yourself whole-heartedly! 
With these 5 strategies, you've got a whole compilation of psychological wrenches in your ever-growing toolbox. Put them into the "mindset" compartment, right next to the overcrowded supplement, nutrition and training compartments and use them wisely.