Hi, Adelfo, could you briefly introduce yourself?

Well, I’m a competitive wheelchair bodybuilder that has a passion for the physical culture lifestyle.

When did you start training for bodybuilding?

I started bodybuilding in 2008.

I read that you suffered a car accident, which left you paralyzed. That must’ve been an incredible challenge, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Did that experience make you a stronger person? Has it motivated you to achieve more in your life, to work even harder?

Yes, I was involved in a car accident back in 2005 that left me a t-12 paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down. The reality of the situation was an emotional roller coaster, and it did break me down physically, mentally and spiritually, but I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and for a purpose, so obviously I feel strongly that there is a reason for why what happen to me happen. I have a strong relationship with the Lord, and I know that he only gives you what you can handle, so it motivates me to know that I’m strong enough to handle my situation, which does make me want to achieve more and to work harder.

How do you approach your diet in the off-season?

I approach my off-season diet the same way I approach my contest diet. I follow the same protocols, but the only difference is that I’m not on a caloric deficit and I’m a lot more flexible with my food choices.

What do you change when you diet for a contest?

I like to stick to whole “real” foods when I diet for contest, with weekly re-feeds every Sunday.

What does your training split look like?

I do a combination of strength and hypertrophy training. Here’s an example of one of my training splits.

Monday: EDT

* Smith machine incline press (4-6 reps) + superset w/ DB rows (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

* Hammer strength shoulder press machine (4-6 reps) + superset w/ reverse DB fly’s (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

* DB curls (4-6 reps) + superset w/ seated DB triceps extension (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: EDT

* Seated chest press (4-6 reps) + superset w/ seated rows (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

* Hammer strength shoulder press machine (4-6 reps) + superset w/ DB side laterals (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

* Hammer curls (4-6 reps) + superset w/ seated triceps extension w/ EZ bar (4-6 reps): Do as many sets (cycles) as you can w/in 20 minutes

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5×5 Chest/ Shoulders (front)/ triceps

* Flat press: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Incline press: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Decline press: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Bradford press: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* BB jammer presses: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Any triceps exercise: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

Saturday: 5×5 Back/ Shoulders (rear)/ Biceps

* Weighted chins: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Seated rows: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Shrugs: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

* Reverse pec deck fly: 5 sets of 5

* Reverse DB or bent over cable fly: 5 sets of 5

* Any biceps exercise: 5 sets of 5 (Heavy)

Sunday: Rest

Do you train the same way when you’re dieting?

Yes, I still like to lift heavy.

You recently placed 2nd at the Wheelchair Nationals, were you happy with that?

[Laughs] I don’t think anybody is ever satisfied or happy with being 2nd. I’m a competitor, so when I compete, I compete to win! It’s no different from when I played football. Obviously the placing was disappointing for me, but I was not disappointed in what I was able to achieve during the months of preparation and the way I showed up the day off the show. I was very pleased with my conditioning.

What improvements do you want to make, going into the USA Wheelchair Championships?

I really want to push the envelope and see how much further I can take my conditioning this time around.

What’s the biggest mistake that you’ve learned from?

Taking one approach or the other to an extreme.

If you could give one piece of advice for someone new to weight training, what would it be?

Be like a sponge, and soak up all the knowledge you can, throw out what doesn’t work, and apply what does. Find a training and nutritional regimen that works for you.

Thanks, Adelfo!

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4 responses to “Interview with Adelfo Cerame Jr.

  1. Thanks, Ben! I really like Adelfo’s approach to training and diet, and of course he’s just hugely inspirational.

  2. He’s a true inspiration, despite what happened he still managed to cope up and look on the brighter side of life. I agree, everything happens for a reason and in time, all will work out just fine. Adelfo’s story moved me. It was worth my time reading the interview, thanks!

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