Thursday, March 7, 2013

Adelfo Cerame - 11 Days Out & Looking Back: 2012 vs. 2013, Things I Made Different & Things That Made a Difference

2013 ain't 2012: Different diet, different training, different macros, different physique... different placing!?
I am not sure if all of you read yesterday's SuppVersity Exercise Science Quickie, but those who did have probably already told their boss that they don't need an extended lunch-break today to listen to the "Thursdaily" 1PM EST installment of the SuppVersity Science Round Up on Super Human Radio. My voice did recover somewhat within the last 24h, but after a hefty dose of NAC I am now sniffin' and snortin' 24/7 - probably not exactly what you want to hear, I guess.

What you want (at least I'd suspect so) to read, however, is Adelfo's last blogpost before he is making his third and imho by far best-conditioned and thus promising attempt on winning his pro-card at the NPC Wheelchair Nationals on March 16, 2013... ah, I guess, I'd better let him tell the story... enjoy!

Roughly 11 days out & looking back

I am approximately 11 days out from CJ’s NPC Sunshine Classic & Wheelchair Nationals in Palm Beach, Florida, where I will try to make another attempt at trying to win the overall and possibly earn my IFBB pro card for the wheelchair division. So far I feel great! My food intake is high, my energy is up and I’m very confident that I have made all the right moves, adjustments and improvements this year to put myself in the best possible position to take it all down this year ;-) I joined a great team in 3DMJ, and am being mentored by a great coach in Alberto Nunez, who is a seasoned and experienced bodybuilder.

So, let's recap a couple of key features of this to previous ones....

As I reflect on this years contest prep/ bodybuilding season, I thought it would be interesting to compare notes from last years season to this year.  

Nutritional Regimen - Which "diet" have I been following?
  • 2012 = IF (Leangains)
  • 2013 = IF (Leangains) + IIFYM (flexible dieting)
From a physiological perspective,  125g of carbs per day shouldn't be a problem for any non-diabetic - even if he/she does not work out (learn more)
In 2012 I followed an intermittent fasting meal protocol using a 16h to 8h fasting vs. feeding window. This year I used the same IF meal protocol (since I found success with it last year and it’s a protocol that works with my daily life schedules) but combined it with a flexible style of dieting that is also known as the acronym IIFYM "If It Fits Your Macros".

As I mentioned in previous posts, I don't abuse the IIFYM paradigm to stuff myself with all sorts of junkfood, my diet is still mostly clean, but the leeway it gives you is refreshing and takes away a lot of stress related to picking, preparing, packaging etc. foods (see next point, i.e. Food Choices, as well).

Food Choices - What type of foods have I been eating?
  • 2012 = Stuck to your so called “clean foods”  
  • 2013 = I am not depriving myself of any type of foods; I’m eating what I want but use a 80/20 to 90/10 ratio of whole “nutrient dense” foods to processed foods, or what you would call “junk” food but I don’t like the word junk so I call it “fun” foods ;-)
Last year; even though I started to veer away from the whole “eating chicken breast and broccoli and brown rice” mentality and began to broaden my horizons in eating more variety of whole foods, I still basically stuck to your so called "clean foods" and I was just in the beginning phases of getting over my phobia of carbohydrates since I consider myself coming from a high fat/ low carb camp for almost 2 years on a dietary regimen that was more or less identical to the "anabolic solution diet".

So yes, even though I was eating a greater variety of lean meats, fruits, veggies, fats and whole food carb starches like tubers, I still deprived myself of foods like bread, oatmeal, grains, cereal because I still believed that they were evil, when it came to a body composition standpoint or even just when it came to general health.

Believe it or not, but the quote on the left, is actually from Adefo's very first post, here at the SuppVersity.
However, as you all know if you’ve ever read my very first Blog here on Suppversity and I’ll quote from it:
"My diet and training methods have evolved and will continue to keep evolving, because of my willingness to keep an open mind and apply and experiment with new strategies, methods and philosophies to my diet and training" - me
(Yes! I just quoted myself! Hahaha!)  And that’s exactly what I did, I kept an open mind and gave IIFYM a shot just like I gave “IF” a chance last year, and guess what?

It all worked out for the greater good because the combination of an IF meal protocol combined with a flexible method of dieting has really taken me a step closer to that goal of finding a perfect diet that I can convert into a lifestyle and do long-term. Like I mentioned before… A diet should be able to synergistically co-exist with your daily life and social schedules, and is something that you can convert into a lifestyle and do long-term  - that's fundamentally different from a "dietary intervention", under which you can easily subsume all the fad, single-sided and unflexible dietary regimen that work in the short run, but have you plateau before you even see your abs.

Training - Which type, how much and how intense was my training regimen?
  • 2012 = Low volume/ high intensity – cardio was non-existent
  • 2013 = hypertrophy/ strength split using an RPE scale – cardio was all throughout prep
Last year the majority of my training was very low volume/ heavy weight. My training consisted of 5x5 and EDT’s and reverse pyramids. The highest rep range I ever flirted with was 6-8. This year, I’m doing a split between hypertrophy and strength training using an RPE scale, and I would say the majority of my workouts would fall into the high volume category by common standards.

Does rest matter? Study finds 7-9% greater increase in muscle size w/ decreasing rest periods (learn more).
The main difference this year was the frequency of hitting the muscles and using just a handful of exercises as my staple and improving on them.

Last year I barely did any cardio except for probably the last 4 weeks of my prep to try to expend a little bit more energy but that was it. This year I incorporated a cardio regimen all throughout my prep... but to be honest: it was very easy – I started the first 2 to 3 weeks with none, then Alberto eventually prescribed 2x cardio session per week for 9 laps each session around a track. I completed those at a self-chosen until a couple o weeks ago, when he reduced the volume by 50%

As you may imagine this type of cardio regimen really wasn't a big issue... nothing compared o my previous HIIT sessions, for sure. I still feel that the additional laps on the track allowed me to keep my food high via carbohydrates -- and if I've learned one thing from this prep, then it is that the higher you can keep your carbs up while dieting the more beneficial it is for your physique.

Calories/ Macros - How much did I eat at the beginning of the prep?
Caloric zigzagging? (Re-)Read Adelfo's guest post "How I Break My Fast, Plan & Time My Macros and Use Caloric Zigzagging & Re-Feeds on a LeanGains Inspired IF Regimen" and learn more!
  • 2012 = eeehhhh…??? around 1700/ 2000 kcal. (non-training/ training); 55-7g5 fat/ 150-200g carbs/ 150-200g protein (non-training-training) – skiploading style re-feed (basically eat as much high GI carbs as you can while keeping fat intake as low as possible.
  • 2013 = 1960 kcal w/ a re-feed day 1x/ week;  40g fat/ 200g carbs/ 200g protein – 300g carb re-feed
Last year I experimented with caloric zigzagging, so my calories were higher on training days with a higher carb/ low fat intake and my calories were lower on non-training days with a higher fat/ low carb intake. And I didn’t start incorporating refeeds till later towards my prep or until I got lean enough to feel comfortable doing refeeds. This year I stayed consistent with my numbers and just had one re-feed day – so I had low days and one high day

Calories/ Macros - How much did I eat towards the end?
Adelfo has already written about the beneficial effects of a higher carb intake on your physique in a previous post onThursday, January 31, 2013: "Intermittent Carbohydrate Modulation as a Stepping Stone Towards an Anatomy Chart Physique"(read up on the article)
  • 2012 = 1300/ 1600 kcal (non-training/ training days)
    50-60g fat/ 50-100g carbs/ 150-190 protein (non-training-training day) – skiploading style re-feed
  • 2013 = 2305 kcal w/ a re-feed day 1x/week
    50g fat/ 240g carbs/ 200g protein – 325g carb re-feed
Last year I floated around sub 100g of carbohydrates for about the last 11 weeks of my prep and this year I started to gradually increase my food intakes 5-6 weeks out. I used weekly 25g increments (I’ll explain the process of how I started to bring my food later before I wrap up my blog)

With regards to my re-feeds; it was a bit more controlled this year compared to last years Sunday carb feasts I use to have. My fats this year were also on the lower end but still 20% of my total calories and I feel that this was another of the decisive factors that contributed to the clear improvements in my physique - with the low(ish) fat intake, I simply had way more room for carbs in my diet.

Comparison of Adelfo's pre-contest physique 2012 vs. 2013 (photos (c) Adelfo Cerame. 2012-13)

Well that’s all I got for today! I hope you enjoyed the notes PrimalKid ;-) but before I sign off, as I said I would; here’s a brief overview of how I started to gradually bring my food up to where it’s at now.

At about 6-5 weeks out is when coach Alberto started to gradually bring food back up via carbs but prior to that I was on about a  2 ½  week intensive dig of 100g/ day, then we increased 25g (125g) for about a week and a half, then increased another 25 the next (150g), then increased by 50g (200), then increased by just 25g last week (225g)  and now increased by 15g this week (240g)… Oh and fat got increased by 10 somewhere during that week. lol.

But yeah… Coach Alberto felt that my body was lean enough for carbohydrates to start having a positive stimulating effect on my physique, and that my body was more capable of partitioning carbohydrates much more efficiently now that I am leaner.