Kelly Ryan's Corner - April 2004!

Kelly Ryan's exclusive area for answering your fitness questions.

Hey everyone and hope you all had a wonderful Easter! Craig and I just returned from a fantastic appearance in Tallahassee, Florida. I want to personally thank the owner/president of PHATMUSCLE and the staff at the booth for all of my great outfits and cool beanie caps. I love beanies and the PHATMUSCLE ones are super cute! Check out all of their amazing clothes at, or I am wearing my sweet, hip- hugger sweat suit as I type right now.

On another note, Craig and I just signed a multi year deal with Olympic Competition Tanning Products. I look forward to showing everyone at the GNC and Fitness Olympia my new tanning product. This product goes on as foam and has the staying power to not let your color fade under the hot stage lights. Craig and I of course tested the color before signing; this stuff blows Pro Tan or any other stain out of the water.

To Build Muscle, Get A Tan!
If you're looking to build lean muscle, I want you to first work on getting a tan. Let me save you from stares of confusion from the salon owners. You're not going to build muscle just from sun tanning...
[ Click here to learn more. ]

For those of you traveling to this year's new IFBB Pro show, the Orlando Extreme May 1st, wait until you see Craig's color on stage. I always say, "Actions speak louder than words." I will be making this tanning system available for purchase on my brand new website, www.KellyRyanFitness.Com within the next few weeks. Lastly I will be guest posing at the Emerald Cup April 23rd. I hope to see everyone there. I will be at the Pinnacle/Cytodyne booth so come and say hello :

Okay, okay, enough talk- here are your great questions for this month:

[ Q ] Dear Kelly, I am Nicholas Caggia and I am 24 years old. I used to weigh 327 lbs. and have been dieting since January, when I broke my forearm in a martial arts tournament, and have so far lost 58 lbs. I have been eating mostly protein and less carbs and doing between 2 and 2 ½ hours of cardio a day at the gym.

My abs are my weak point on my body so my question to you is how many abdominal exercise should I do a day, and when do you think I will be able to lift weights again. I feel that my upper body has become weak from my injury and hope that it will come back once I start training again. Thank you for your time, and I wish you the best of luck at your shows this year. (

    A. First I would like to say, way to go, and you should feel really good about yourself for taking charge of your life. Without knowing the exact details and amounts of each food group (protein, carbs, and fats) I believe you are on the right track. Make sure your meals are balanced between protein (6 oz) and carbs, both complex and fibrous. To lose weight eat your first two meals with about 30-40 grams of complex carbs and finish your last three meals with fibrous (mixed vegetables).

Effective Fat Loss: Eat Your Veggies!
Many people in the gym have a good idea about how to gain mass, yet nearly everyone seems to be in the dark about getting ripped. If there is a secret, it can be summarized to just one word: vegetables!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    Also do not forget to add in your fats (good) like almond or cashew nuts, or olive oil, or flax seed oil with your last meals. This will allow you to burn calories without slowing your metabolism down.

    To answer your question about how often to train abs, I would do abdominal exercise three days a week because they are considered a small muscle group. Abs can definitely be overtrained so you want to restrict how often they are worked.

    Perform three different exercises that incorporate weighted resistance to see the best results. If you broke your forearm in January, depending on your healing ability, I believe that once you get your cast off, and with clearance from your Doctor, you will be able to go back to the gym right away.

    Remember that muscle has memory but can atrophy form not being worked. Your injured arm will be a lot weaker than the other so do not let that discourage you. Focus on your injured arm when training, and try to work with free weights to balance out your upper body strength. Again keep up the great work and let me know how everything works out for you.

[ Q ] Hey Kelly, sometimes after my weight training, certain body parts do not feel that they have been worked. They don't have that lactic acid "burn" that signifies the breaking down and rebuilding of muscle. Is this okay, or do I need to increase the mount of weight that I use? If so, how heavy should the weights be? (

    A. I have been asked this question quite a bit and feel that this is not something unusual. You will not always get the best pumps from your workouts nor will you feel this muscle soreness every time you train. A lot of things can determine the results of your training.

    First, how often are you training each body part? When people train their upper body on one day then lower body on the next, and repeat this cycle, it doesn't allow enough time to recover in between training days. You might be feeling the symptoms of overtraining. Also your results depend on the amount of calories you eat every day.

    When people lower their carbs (complex) so much, there is not enough glycogen in the muscle to work it thoroughly, thus not feeling any type of lactic acid burn afterwards. Nutrition is 80% of your program and dictates the results from your workouts and cardio sessions.

    In conclusion, I feel that the amount of weight you use should be determined by what you can and cannot control technically speaking. If your goal is to look fit and speed up your metabolism, then you should be training heavy enough to feel fatigued at the end of a set of 10-12 repetitions.

    Concentrate on your form and technique when training. It is not always about how much weight you use. I have been through workouts where I used 5- 10 lb dumbbells and threw up afterwards because of the intensity of the workout. Sit down and evaluate each of these parts of your program to get to the bottom of this.

    Do not worry, we have all gone through what you are feeling and can be cleared up easily if you take the time to asses your regiment. Good luck.

[ Q ] Hi Kelly, I love your new website! My question to you is that I have stress fractures near my Achilles and tibia, and I want to know if using the elliptical trainer okay? What strength training/ cardio exercises would you recommend I focus on? When I use the bike, it puts a lot of pressure on my knees and hurts. Also keep in mind that I do not have access to a pool. Thank you for your time. (

    A. I am so glad you like my new site, it is not all the way finished yet, and I have just had a web cam installed in my home gym so that my members can watch my actual training sessions. This goes for Craig's site as well. I am sorry to hear about your injuries, it can get quite frustrating trying to work around them. Before you do any other type of training or cardio, I would see a podiatrist and have your feet looked at right away.

    Certain impact exercises can worsen the injuries you already have, or create new ones. A doctor can make orthotics for your feet to lessen the stress on certain areas of your body. Also, a chiropractor can do ultra sound treatments to help heal your stress fractures. I had stress fractures on my wrists two weeks before the Jan Tana Classic in 1999.

Why Chiropractic Is Critical To Your Success!
In this eye-opening and revealing interview, Dr. Lee tells us why chiropractic is critical to athletic success and a long and healthy life.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

    I had the chiropractor at my gym do ultra sound treatments and that helped tremendously in such a short time period. He also prescribed a great anti-inflammatory called Celebrex for the pain. If I were you I would stick with the recumbent bike for your cardio until you got your injuries under control. This type of bike supports your lower back, and keeps the pressure off of your knees by the position the pedals or in.

    I love the recumbent bike because it works your glutes and hamstrings as intensely as your quadriceps, which differs from the upright or regular bike. Try to go see these types of Doctors, see what they say, and in the meantime, stay off of your feet and ride the recumbent bike. The less impact the better. I certainly hope you start to feel better.

[ Q ] Dear Kelly, I am writing to you on behalf of my fiancé'. She desperately wants to compete but cannot get the diet part of the preparation down yet. My fiancé always and I mean always eats clean. She is by no means out of shape.

She teaches several different aerobics classes a week, and attends several others. Her program also includes weight training. She goes about everything very carefully and has a medium metabolism. Like I said she is in shape but really works for it. My fiancé gets so frustrated and I feel for her because I want her to be happy. Any advice is welcome. (

    A. First of all, I think this is the sweetest thing I have read in a very long time. I commend you on your love for your fiancé' and want to you to know that your concern for her well being is going to equate in your marriage's success. Believe me when I tell you we have all been there, but with a few changes to her program, she will be right on track and feeling great in no time. The first thing I would change is her diet. She is actually slowing her metabolism down by eating super clean all the time.

    Strange as it may sound, this is true. Have her add in a cheat meal once a week on a Wednesday or Sunday. I like these days because -Wednesday is in the middle of the week and breaks up the monotony of the weekly ritual, and Sunday is a nice lazy day for your body and mind to relax. She can have anything she wants just as long as it is a meal, not a whole day's worth of eating.

    Second, have her minimize the amount of classes she is doing. I would have her teach her classes, and use them for cardio, then eliminate the others and focus more on her weight training.

    You see the more lean muscle tissue you create, the faster your metabolism becomes and the more body fat you will lose. I would lastly add in some supplementation such as a great whey protein powder, multi vitamin/multimineral, and a thermogenic/fat burner. These are your basic staple supplements and won't break your bank account. You get what you pay for, so go for great quality and amazing taste. Pinnacle makes a fantastic, high quality protein powder called Juiced Protein. Any of the flavors taste great, I happen to be a chocolate lover myself.

    The Omega VM is the multi vitamin/multi mineral with essential fatty acids as well. This will keep your fiancé really healthy and her hair, skin and nails beautiful. The thermogenic rockin' the market right now is the Xenadrine NRG. Since the removal of ephedrine, Cytodyne (Xenadrine NRG) is the only company to come up with a formula that you can feel working. Believe me when I say that this should really help her out, so keep me posted on her results and continued success with your amazing relationship. She is one lucky girl.

[ Q ] I have recently had some injuries, a pinched sciatic nerve and tennis elbow. My sciatic nerve condition has gotten much better; however, my tennis elbow has not at all. Each day that I attempt to do any weighted exercises it really hurts. I have lifted weights for years, I am built like a "quarterback" LOLOL not really, but I do have a broad back, shoulders, and am not overweight.

My body fat percentage is around 19-21%. My questions to you are, I would like to achieve a leaner appearance and have considered taking Pilates. Have you heard that Pilates is any good? How much cardio should I do if I do Pilates? Would you ever suggest staying away from weight training for a short amount of time or limiting the amount of weight training because of the muscularity I already have? Any information would of course help, and thank you so very much. (

    A. Thank you Karyn for writing such a sweet e-mail, the support of my career, and for writing this great question. First things first, I would get that tennis elbow taken care of. Check out the question above (#4) and see a Doctor about this chronic injury you have. Pilates is a great workout but also involves resistance training. Pilates differs from weight training in that it builds the strength of your core muscles and tends to lengthen your muscles rather than build size. It is a great way to stay toned, and might be a nice change up from all the years of training in the gym.

    I would suggest trying this type of workout for your body type, but it concerns me that you injury (tennis elbow) has not gone away. I feel that even Pilates will cause you some pain. Once you see a specialist, you will be able to decide how often you should go to do Pilates. Your cardio should stay at 4-5 times a week for at least 45 min to an hour if you desire a leaner look. Keep in mind your nutrition as well.

    Eat five to six small meals a day, all containing approximately 4 ounces of protein, and 30 grams of complex carbs with only your first 2-3 meals of the day. The rest of your afternoon/dinnertime meals should be vegetables, protein and fats. To get leaner you need to examine your diet as well as your activity levels. Better to be safe than sorry in the long run, so get your injury under control, and then have a blast in your Pilates class!

That's all folks, see ya next month and until then, keep training hard and staying positive.

p.s I hope to see some of you in the Seattle area April 23rd at the Emerald Cup, and in Pittsburgh May 1st.