Thursday, July 19, 2012

Adelfo Cerame & Mr C: A Basic Workout + Nutrition Plan for Average Joes Trying to Get Stronger, Leaner & Healthier

Image 1: Don't worry, since this is a new series, you will soon know who "Mr C" is ;-)
I assume you will be wondering about the title, right? "Adelfo Cerame & Mr C"? Who the f*** is 'Mr C'?" Well, I guess you will have to read the whole post to find out who this mysterious rookie is, but before you do so, I just want to point out that I was really happy that so many of you took the chance, last week, and asked Adelfo for advise, questioned why he does this and not that and asked him to comment on your own training routines. I know that many bloggers either don't have the time or are simply not willing to reply to the inquiries of their visitors. Even I sometimes miss comments or file them in my infamous "to-do" folder ... long story short: Don't be shy and pick Adelfo's brain and if you like what you read, share this and other blogposts on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Digg, Reddit and co.!

Another New Week a Whole New Endeavor

Things seem to be coming along quite well as far as my efforts to broaden my horizons and gain more experience and expertise not just as a trainee, but also as a trainer within the nutrition and fitness game are concerned. As I mentioned in my post last Thursday, I intend to use the current off-season not just to grow physically, but also mentally - to accumulate knowledge, to learn how to better myself and how to help others find and make their way to a leaner and healthier self.

Image 2: Should no be too difficult to locate Adelfo among the huge team of fitness professionals, at Epic Inc.
I knew that to achieve these goals, I had to find new endeavors, something different from my previous day-in-day-out schedule of eating, training, sleeping and spending some time with family and friends ...and as of last week, I was hired on as a nutrition coach for a company.

No, I am not working for Herbalife, now ;-)

It’s a fitness-based company called Epic Inc. They do everything from strength and conditioning programs for the general public, to football training camps, and also have a program that helps student athletes with the opportunity to receive scholarships and I'm honestly pretty excited to be part of a coaching team that consists of ex-collegiate and professional athletes that have played abroad professionally and in the NFL.

Basically I’m going to be getting paid to hold nutritional workshops every other week, and offer nutritional advice for their clients, and at the same time a great opportunity to build my own clientèle.

Dear SuppVersity Student, Meet Mr C - The Subject of Our First "Case Study"

Speaking of clientèle, Adel (Dr. Andro) suggested that instead of just talking about me, I could tailor my  blogpost a little more to the non-bodybuilder average Joe who does not necessarily ever want to step on stage by presenting something he aptly called a "case study" - coincidentally I happen to actually have a new client. We will start to work together in about two weeks and he agreed that I could use him (without mentioning his name) as the subject of this new mini-series.

Mr. C's Stats
  • Age: 32, 
  • Height: 5’8’’, 
  • Weight: 175, 
  • Waist: 36"
Details (before):
  • works from 9am-5pm at a hospital
  • eats only twice a day (lunch & Dinner)
  • lunch consists of cafeteria food, such as tuna melts, chicken sandwiches, and the occasional salad
  • dinner consists of fast food and take-out – McDonalds, Jack in the box, Taco bell...
  • trains rarely, but if he does, it is at a friend's makeshift gym in a garage at about 7pm-8pm
I’m sure you guys would be interested to see how an average Joe (and when I say "average", this just implies that we are not talking about your typical physique athlete or your hardcore gym rat or fitness enthusiast -  so, by no means "average" with a depreciative connotation, though!) transform his physique. Just a regular guy like you (and me, back in the day) trying to improve his health and physique who hardly knows where to start. An honest, hard working family guy that does the daily 9-5 grind - that's Mr. C.!

It's going to be hard work, for both of us!

I must admit that this is the first time I am working with a real "rookie". Almost all my previous clients had already some experience with training and nutrition - not so for Mr. C, though. For me that means that I will have to teach him everything from scratch: From how you can easily keep track of your macronutrient intake to how to perform a bench press. And above all, I got to keep things simple and practical.

His goals, my goals, our goals!

"Every journey has a destination!" As stupid as this may sound, you may remember from either
that one of the most common mistakes trainees make is not to define clearcut goals for themselves.

Trainer or trainee - always know you goals!

Too many of my colleagues approach their clients planless, in the most literal sense of the word, and with a cookie-cutter-plan in their hands, let alone in an automated email they had an assistant write for them, as Carl Lanore mentioned it in his Super Human Radio interview with Molly Galbraith, yesterday....but I am getting derailed, here. Let's get back to my plans for Mr. C:
  • Starting him off slowly - I got to work his new regimen into his everyday obligations and old habbits, but only for as long as those will not hinder or sabotage his progress; this means he will have to meet me halfway, so that we can create a plan that will work for him for more than the initial 2-4 weeks of dopamine driven enthusiasm and outstanding results.
  • Finding the optimal nutrition regimen - Although you may say that this is just my interpretation of "intermittent cookie cutting", given his work-schedule and current primer on fatloss Intermittent Fasting is simply the logical and best choice here, so that’s what I’ll structure his schedule on.
  • Writing a custom-tailored workout program - With a primer on simplicity and a challenging, yet manageable workload we will be starting with a 3-4x/ week. Moderate volume (5-6 exercises), moderate intensity workout regimen that's structured around the most fundamental movement patterns: Pressing, squatting, rowing.
As you can see below, I have already done my homework! I do yet have to admit that the nutrition and workout routine below is still a "work in progress" and will probably change even before Mr. C. and I are going to start to work together in two weeks; and they are certainly going to change in the weeks let alone months to come - I mean, why would the "new", transformed Mr. C. of say December 2012 train the same way as the slightly chubby rookie Mr. C. trains now?

Mr C's First Real Nutrition Plan

As I mentioned earlier, I want to keep things as simple as possible, so no caloric zigzagging – I would just risk to confuse him with all these numbers and that for an (at the moment) negligible benefit; maybe later down the road but not yet - here are the main features of the plan
Whole Foods, no fast-food!
Training days PROCHOFAT
 Meal 1655016
 Pre-workout655016
 Post-workout6510016
 Total19520050

Non-training days PROCHOFAT
 Meal 1655016
 Meal 2655016
 Meal 36510016
 Total19520050
  • Energy deficit of ~20% - we’ll play with these numbers for the first 2 weeks and adjust as we go in order to find set numbers that allow him to lose about a 1 lb. to 1.5 lb. / week 
  • Similar meal frequency as before - the timing is more rigorous and the structure will make it easier for him to get along
  • Food quality over quantity - more whole “real” foods, no more McDonalds and Jack in the Box on a daily basis
  • Macronutrient awareness over calorie counting - based on his newly acquired knowledge of the average macronutrient content of whole foods Mr C will have to learn to estimate portion sizes and combine foods to "meet his macros" (at this point still only roughly)
The structural elements and the similarity to his previous habits will make compliance easier. Compared to the meticulous calorie-counting, the quality over quantity approach is a sustainable way of tracking your food intake. And with given ratios and a primer on whole foods, Mr C is going to see changes in his physiques within 2 weeks (4 weeks from now, as you may remember)

Mr C's First Real Workout Plan

Just as with the nutrition routine, I also tried to keep the workouts simple. Keep in mind that Mr. C is a beginner. This means that he will probably be struggling to perform the lifts properly, but it is now that I am working with him, when he can and has to learn how to do the muscle building compound movements I packed into his workout routine right! Now, or never, so to say ;-)

5x5 - PushSetsxReps
 Flat bench5x5
 Dips5x5
 Squats5x5
5x5 - PullSetsxReps
 Pull or chin ups5x5
 Deadlifts5x5
 Dumbell rows5x5

Hypertrophy - PushSetsxReps
 DB bench press3x6-10
 Military press3x6-10
 DB side laterals2x12
 Leg press3x6-10
 Leg extensions2x15
 Skull crushers3x10-12
Hypertrophy - PullSetsxReps
 Bent over barbell row3x6-10
 Lat pulldown3x6-10
 DB reverse fly2x12
 Straight legged deadlift
3x8-12
 Barbell curls3x6-10
 DB Hammer curls2x15
That being said, his workout regimen resides on two pillars, I picked according to his goals to get stronger, leaner and more muscular:
  1. 5x5 fundamental strength workouts - since one of Mr. C’s goals was to increase strength, the first part of his routine has a clear focus on building just that; with 5 sets of 5 reps on three basic lifts, there is no way, Mr. C. is not going to see magnificent strength gains within weeks
  2. Push / pull hypertrophy workouts- the foundational strength regimen is compounded by hypertrophy-specific work later in the week to make good use of the strength gains in order to pack on a few lbs of muscle aka "metabolic currency" in the weeks to come
When you look at the workout on the right, you got to keep in mind that this is still work in progress. Especially the fact that Mr. C. trains at his friend's makeshift gym in a garage, could become a problem, because, as of now, I simply assumed that he will have all the equipment available. When this is not the case, we will have to tweak things accordingly, but those and other tweaks will have to wait until we are starting to train together.

It's going to be an exciting time for Mr C. for me and - as long as you don't forget to come back every Thursday for my weekly updates - for you, as well! So, stay tuned!