Thursday, April 4, 2013

Adelfo Cerame - Prelude to the Off-Season: "If I can Make the Improvements I'm Striving For, I Can Be Competitive!"

It's not only unlikely, but probably totally counter-indicated to try ans stay in (near-)contest shape during the off season (suggested read: "Scientific Bodybuilding Coverage")
Good news first! Despite the fact that Adelfo is probably not going to compete again before next year, his bi-monthly blogposts will keep coming. As you are going to learn in today's installment Adelfo believes in the value of an extended off-season and I am pretty sure that Adelfo is going to let participate in and learn from the one-year period of serious muscle building that's lying ahead of him... I mean, let's be honest, don't we all dream of adding some size to one or another body part?

Before we do yet take a look what Adelfo's got in stock for you today, I'll have to tell you the bad news as well. Due to scheduling issues, the SuppVersity Science Round-Up is going to take a break today, but will be back next Thursday at 1PM EST with the regular truckload of news from the realms of exercise, nutrition and supplementation sciences.

I am not sure how disappointed you are now, but I'd hope at least a little and would suggest you head over to the SuppVersity Facebook Page to devour a couple of the latest short news I've piled up over there (just in case you did not know that there are 6-12 exclusive items on FB every day!)...
  • premature ejaculation - suggested read (free full text, as usual) on the etiology and currently available treatment options of / for the "fast guys" (read more)
  • insulin resistance, salt intake & high blood pressure - study suggests that only insulin resistant women develop BP issues with high salt intake (read more)
  • dairy & dietary calcium in general not a problem for your kidneys - other than it is often said dairy calcium is not associated with an increased kidney stone risk (read more)
  • testosterone for body composition & health, not performance - at least in healthy older men with low-normal levels TRT is no performance enhancer (read more)
  • 5% reduced diabetes risk per 500mg/d flavenoids - regardless where you are getting them from, increasing your dietary intake of flavenoids could protect you from diabesity (read more)
I know it's not the same, but contrary to the radio show it's even interactive: I post, you comment, I reply, ... you know the spiel, don't you?

Is there a life after winning the pro card? Yes there is! So what’s next?

Without a thorough understanding of the AMPK/mTOR seesaw, you will hardly find a protocol that yield 95%+ lean mass (learn more) and don't forget to complete your studies with the foundations of skeletal muscle hypertrophy (read more)
I’ve felt that I never really had a true or solid off-season because I was always competing on a yearly basis trying to chase my pro card. Prior to this year, it was always an annual repetitive cycle of competing and falling short, then back to the drawing boards to try and chase it again, so for the past 3 years I rarely had more than three to four months in-between shows. I tried my very best to make improvements during that tie, but before those really payed off it usually was about time to diet down for the next prep, again...

"This off-season is really going to do me some good."

It's simply high time for a well-deserved extended off-season. I really feel as if it was time to take a break from competing it was overdue for me and I am planning to take a whole year off to fully dedicate myself to putting on the size and making the improvements I need to make in my physique in order to be competitive at the pro level.

I’m really going to enjoy this long off-season, because I’ve finally achieved my goal at becoming an IFBB wheelchair pro and can now that the monkey is off my back finally move on and set new goals for myself to accomplish at the next level.
This is the best of the best when it comes to wheelchair bodybuilding. As you can see, everyone brings their “A” game at this next level of competition! So, I better make sure I do the same.

I feel that I’m really going to maximize my potential for growth which is something that I I’ve never had a chance to experience, yet. Like those guys who train day in and day out so afraid of gaining an inch on their waist that they never actually make progress, I’ve been competing and thus dieting for the major part of the past years. Under the watchful eyes of coach Alberto, I’m confident that the next 12 months are going to change this and allow me to take my physique to a level where I can stand next to the best without always being the ripped, but undermuscled light weight.

My goal for the off season: Bringing up my back

Did you know that prioritizing a weak body part does not necessary entail neglecting or even losing your strengths? I've talked to coach Alberto about this and we both agree that your "gifted body parts" often even grow, when you taper down on the volume and tension to devote the training resources to other less developed areas of your physique.
Coach Alberto and I both agree that it is best for me to take advantage of this long overdue opportunity to make improvements in my physique. We both are being practical and realistic, I’m never going to be as big (muscle mass wise) as some of the biggest pros in the business, but Alberto feels I have an overall good structure and flow in my physique and since the back has a longstanding history of making the difference between victory and defeat in bodybuiling, it’s really one of my primaries to improve on this key area.

"If I can make the improvements I am striving for in this off-season and bring in my usual conditioning, I am confident that I can be competitive."

Aside from it's general importance in the sports of bodybuilding my back has always and still is my weakest area. That's something both, coach Alberto and I agree on. The back is therefore going to be the #1 priority in the upcoming off-season and a lot of my training will be accordingly prioritized, even if that means keeping my other body parts at maintenance.

Post-contest/Reverse dieting

Here was an email interaction between coach Alberto and I and a brief description of what he wanted to accomplish this off-season.
I am about 3 weeks into my post-contest and reverse dieting and so far so smooth. As I mentioned in my previous Blog that it was a smooth transition… And it was a smooth transition because I dieted the smart and healthy way, which in turn will allow me to maintain my leanness for the long-term while still keeping my sanity. Obviously I’m not going to be maintaining my stage ready physique however I will be able to hold a sustainable body composition that my body can agree with.

As of today my current macronutrient ranges are
  • Fats: 45-55g
  • Carbohydrates: 275-300g
  • Protein: 190-200g
But prior to these adjustments Alberto had me on a little spurt for a couple days, which started last Wednesday, where he wanted me to increase my carbs by 25g per day until my next check-in with him which was yesterday.
Bulking for non-bodybuilders: Adel wanted me to touch on “bulking” for non-bodybuilders and whether I feel that there is a way to really improve your physique without sacrificing your abs for a couple of weeks/months…. I touched on this before, when I was talking about being in a caloric surplus, but one thing you should never forget is that genetics plays a big part in how much of your abs, i.e. the guide I would recommend to use to judge your "body fatness", you can keep visible during the off-season. Some can hold on to a full 6-pack, while others will only have a shade of their abs remaining visible during the off-season.

Whatever your individual genetic make up may be, once you've been there, you can definitely maintain a lean beach body physique while making improvements to your physique, you just have to be really disciplined and patient. That this "beach ready look" will never be anywhere close to the more or less cut look you may have delivered at the end of your previous prep should be obvious, though. Just don't take this as an excuse to let yourself go completely.
The following Monday after the weekend of my show, I went back to my old dieting numbers prior to my peak week, so when I jumped back on my diet I picked up where I left off at 60fat/240carbs/200protein – I stuck to that for about a week and a half or 10 days to be exact, then that’s when I went on my 25g increase per day. So I started at 240 carbs last Wednesday and made daily 25g increases until my next check-in with coach Alberto
    Don't forget to read Adelfo's previous post on "Intermittent Carbohydrate Modulation as  Stepping Stone Towards an Anatomy Chart Physique" (go back)
  • Wednesday – 240g
  • Thursday – 265g
  • Friday – 290g
  • Saturday – 315g
  • Sunday – 350g (refeed)
  • Monday – 340g
  • Tuesday – 365g
  • Wednesday (yesterday) – leveled it back to 275g-300g
We basically did this to get me out of the ranges of what Alberto called “non-safe body fat stores or what you would call, not a good place to make great gains from” and to also put my body at a place hormonally.

In short, if I want to make the gains and improvements I want to make this off-season it would be counterproductive for me if I tried to stay at the body fat percentages I was at. Eventually I have to let my body adjust and find a happy and healthy body composition that my body can agree with that would benefit me in making great gains.

Week 3 of post-contest dieting pictures
And NO, when I say happy body composition, I do not mean being a fat ass! Lol, but I am going to have to accept the fact that in order for me to grow, I have to be at a caloric surplus and when you’re at a caloric surplus, you’re going to have to sacrifice some leanness and embrace a little bit of body fat ;-) However it can be very controlled and you can keep fat gains minimal if you approach your off-season with a mentality of making improvements rather than bulking because in my opinion bulking is just a term for being a fat ass!

I’m close to recovering hormonally and metabolically at this point during my post contest prep. I notice my energy and strength levels climbing back up and I’m starting to supplement with d-aspartic acid to help with the process. As you as a regular reader and someone who listened to my interview on SHR will know, I started actually supplementing with d-aspartic acid two weeks out from my show when I started to notice my energy levels take a dip.

Honestly, I am curious what the next weeks and months are going to have in stock for me and I would hope that you will enjoy following my progress. On a side note, in view of the fact that I may not have groundbreaking news or progress photos for you in every week, why don't you pose a couple of questions you want me to address in the future episodes of this series? I am looking forward to your suggestions.

Your's truly ;-)

Adefo Cerame