Thursday, July 12, 2012

Adelfo Cerame: Is Intermittent Fasting 'Bulk-Compatible'? Plus: Adelfo's 3-Months Intermittent Bulking Plan With Macronutrient Ratios, Meal-Timing and Sample Plan

Image 1: " Goodbye and take care Mr. Abs! Until we see each other again in a couple months." *Bwahahaha* ... if you can't believe what you just read, I suggest you read the rest of Adelfo's guestpost, as well!
After last week's life-extending, stress-reducing meditation break (see "Chronically Fatigued? Take a Meditative Timout")... well, sort of. SuppVersity guest lecturer Adelfo Cerame Jr is back in the house, today, talking about his plans for the "off season" and how he is going to tweak his intermittent fasting protocol for optimal lean gains -  which is, contrary to what the name of Martin Berkhan's highly popular website would suggest, probably is not the strength of this protocol.

Adelfo Cerame: "I've carried the burden of 6-pack abs for too long now!" ... wtf?

I know 3 months is not that long of an off-season, but I plan to start prepping for the Wheelchair Nationals again starting October, the same way I did last time. So whether I like it or not, I’m going to have to just make do with the 3 months I have to bulk up.

Since my window is so small, I’m not really worried about putting on too much body fat and I really don’t mind losing the ripped abs for a while - plus I’ve been carrying that burden of a thing for over 7 months now! Lol. It’s time to let my abdominals hibernate for a bit before they have to come out and play again in the fall. But all jokes aside; if I want to put on more muscle, I have to eat more *fullstop* I know my physiology well enough to be aware of the fallacy of going all overboard, eating everything in sight as a classic bodydbuilding "bulk" would have it, though. I will rather have to try and nail the point of maximal returns, i.e. a slight caloric surplus where almost all of the weight gain I am making will be from lean, instead of fat mass.

Intermittent fasting + "bulking" = NO or GO?

Hard to believe that it has been more than seven months now, since Adel whom I knew by then only as Dr. Andro messaged me on Facebook, asking whether I would be interested in documenting my contest prep in a couple of blogposts on the SuppVersity (click here to review all of Adelfo's posts). We got into talking about this and that and eventually, it was also him who convinced me to give the IF protocol I had only read the fundamental basics about, before a try.

At first I was skeptical, but thought "What the hell! The hunger can hardly be worse than on the lame 10x mini-meal strategy! I'll just give it a try" But to be honest, at that time, I still thought this was just another fad and I would probably be going back after a couple of weeks... well, as you all know those weeks turned into months and now 7 of these months later, I am still fasting intermittently on a daily basis and am convinced that this is something I certainly could do for the rest of my life, if...
Image 2: It took less than three months to cut down from the slightly chubby standard BB bulk-form to the shredded intermittent fasting almost contest-ready guy on the right; check out his post from January 5, 2012 for more details.
... if I knew it would be working on a bulk, as well. Up to know I have been dieting and trying to maintain my weight - I have never tried to really build muscle in the past 7 months and I am afraid that this may eventually force me to break away from my current routine and revert back to a classic eat all-day long routine. After all, it's not exactly easy to squeeze the 3,000kcal I am aiming at into an <8h feeding window without running the risk of increasing the carbohydrate load of individual meals past your individual fattening threshold - now, I am not saying it's impossible, since I did not even try yet, but I am determined not to force feed myself just to get hit that more or less random number!

Rather than that I will be increasing my energy intake gradually in ~300kcal steps from week to week and when I realize that it becomes increasingly harder for me, resort to one of the following strategies to "hit" my targeted energy intake:
Shameless plug for Adelfo's sponsor Myotropics. Just in case you are interested mirroring his supplement regimen this would be a good time to make use of one of the Performance Stack offers.
  • Get some of the additional energy from liquid foods and supplements - It’s a lot easier to drink my calories than to eat them, so before I decide on extending the fast, I may want to drink more of my calories - and this is where the Myotropics Physique 2.0 and ThermiCarb will come in handy; I can easily just add 1-2 more scoops of Thermicarb into my pre-workout shake, intra-workout drink and pre-bedtime shake to get some non-fattening long-lasting energy in.
  • Extend the feeding window beyond the 8h threshold- Even when I go from an 8 hours to an 11 hours feeding window, there will still be plenty of time "AMPK to come into it's own" - as Adel would probably say it (read all about AMPK, here at the SuppVersity) - and I will have plenty of time to sneak in one, if not two, extra meal(s).
  • Time macronutrient intake appropriately - I will eat 1-2 protein + fat meals early in the day/ and distribute the lion's share of my daily carbohydrate intake as part of my  peri-workout nutrition. In general  this is not much different from what I have been doing all the ime - eating my carbohydrates Peri-Workout, but the 1-2 big protein + fat meals early in the day are a novelty. So I’m spreading my protein and fat intakes evenly throughout the day, and eating all my carbohydrates as part of my peri-workout nutrition (pre – immediate pwo – pwo meal – bed time nutrition)
So far my current caloric intake has been around 1700-1800 kcal at around 165g protein, 150g carbs, and 50g fat on training days and on my rest days I just slightly drop my carbs, and slightly increase my fats and keep protein intake the same.
Table 1: Approximate Macronutrient intake before (pre), during (intra), immediately post (immediate pwo), ~30min-1h after the workout (Pwo) and last meal of the day (before bed)
I still haven’t reached my maintenance energy intake yet, but once I hit my maintenance mark and start increasing my surplus, the macronutrient distribution (and timing) will probably look somewhat like what you see in figure 1. With the exact meal plan looking like this:
  • Pre workout: Physique 2.0 + Thermicarb + RAW honey + 1 tbsp coconut oil + 5g Creatine 
  • Intra workout: BCAA’s + 5g Creatine + Braggs RAW apple cider vinegar + Thermicarb + 4-8 oz of tart cherry drink. 
  • Immediate PWO: 25g of whey + 2 bananas + 5g glutamine + 5g Creatine 
  • PWO meal: 8 oz lean steak  + 8 oz tubers of any type +2 cups of fruit + veggies 
  • Bedtime nutrition: Physique 2.0 + Thermicarb + 1-2 cups of RAW milk
As of now this looks doable during my 8 hour feeding window, but we will see once I start to ramp up the calories, but don’t want to get ahead of my self so stay tuned every Thursday (my day, here at the SuppVersity) as I keep you up to date with my 3 months bulk plan.