Kelly Ryan's Corner - March 2003!

Kelly Ryan's personal area to answer your questions about getting into fitness.

March, 2003 Issue

Hey everyone! Thanks to all that attended our amazing Physique Columbus After party, it was a huge success again because of you, the fans!! Stay tuned for details concerning the "Night Of Champions" After Party in New York. Become part of history in the making. Now onto this month's Q&A session...

Q. Do the judges consider Taraxatone by Cytodyne as one of the diuretics they don't want us to use? I was at the Nationals and "that time of the month" happened for me, causing me to place low in the physique rounds. Could you tell me how to cut my water without getting into trouble? Thanks in advance for your help.

A. Well I must first say that I have never seen Taraxatone on the drug testing sheet for the IFBB. It is totally natural. I have also never used Taraxatone before and have actually never had to use diuretics before either. Being a fitness competitor doesn't require that ultra shredded look that only comes from using diuretics. Diuretics, both over-the-counter and not, will only do one thing, and that is take away all the spring in your legs and cause your routine to suffer terribly score wise. You need the water in your body to serve as a cushion for your joints as you bounce and land on the hard stages in the positions we do in our routines. I have been at many shows and witnessed girls cramping up so badly from diuretics and water pulling type supplements that they had to withdraw from the show altogether.

Here is the best and most healthy way to lose water for a show. Salt your food all year long so that your body becomes used to having sodium in it. Once you get close to the show, maybe the last week only, slowly reduce the added salt in your food. Do not remove sodium altogether!! By slowing down the amount of added salt, your body will pull in tight because of the subtle change in your diet. On the Friday night before the show, slow your water intake down as well, but keep sipping small amounts throughout the next day. This too will keep you nice and tight without cramping. Remember you are a Fitness competitor, not a bodybuilder. By the way, I had "that time of the month" at the Fitness Olympia and the Arnold Classic this year and still managed to stay nice and tight without using anything except my body's own natural processes. Let salt be your friend, not your enemy. Good luck with your next show.

Q. Thanks for all the great info about Pure Form Nutrition. Can you recommend a supplement program using their products? I need to lose about 45 lbs. of fat and want to gain solid muscle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A. Sure, no problem. What I would recommend for your particular goal is to stack a few of the Pure Form Products. For example, everyone should take their vitamins everyday so Pure Form came up with a fabulous "Liquid Vitamin" that contains all of your daily required vitamins, plus trace minerals, antioxidants, Co-Q10, Ginkgo Biloba, Grape seed extract, and Ginseng for extra energy in the morning.

In order to lose weight and gain lean muscle mass, you will need a Whey protein powder that is low in fat and carbohydrates, contains no aspartame, nor any added sugar. Pure Form's Whey also has 100 mg of Methoxyisoflavone in it. This is a two for one type of product because it is a protein supplement that will also help you build lean muscle mass at a faster rate. Pure Form Power Green Pro will help you with protein assimilation (break down of protein) and serve as a digestive enzyme. This product will also help you fight off free radicals that cause the body harms when you become stressed out in life. Glutamine powder will help you protect the muscle you are building from being used for energy while doing all of your cardio, and aids in muscle recovery after tough workouts. You need to take in protein at least every three hours, so you can use the Whey powder at least two times a day plus your meals. Use the Liquid Vitamins every morning and the Power Greens Pro every night before bed. Last take one scoop of the glutamine before and after your weight training and cardio. Good luck and keep me posted on your great results!

Kelly Ryan with Bryna DeLuca at the Arnold Classic After Party!

Q. I am an avid bodybuilder who is training my girlfriend that wants to tone up. We are both confused as to what the proper way for a female to workout is? Some sources claim (and she is mostly concerned with her lower body) that for legs, train by doing 3 sets of 15-20 reps. Other sources say to train by doing 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps to failure. I know what I am supposed to do to gain muscle, but could you clarify this for us please?

A. Let's see if I can clarify this for you. The difference between these two types of programs is the difference between building more muscle and sustaining what she already has. The truth is that by doing more sets and reps, you burn more fat and calories, which allow you to tone up. The 3-4 set, 6-12 rep to failure method will build muscle and yet keep a woman toned by burning fat and calories at the same time. If a woman already has enough muscle in her lower body, like myself, and not looking to put on any more, than the 3 sets of 15-20 reps method works. This method works because it stimulates the muscle I already have but the higher rep range doesn't allow for any growth and focuses more on endurance and strength of the muscle. The main issue for your girlfriend here is how much muscle she already has in her lower body, will determine which program to use. I hope this helps.

Q. First, I wanted to express to you how much my friend and I respect you and look up to you as a fitness role model. Second, we are working to build our athletic bodies. We have tried several things, but are having difficulties with our nutrition. What meal plan would you recommend to cut up? We are eating 5-6 meals containing protein and complex carbs with healthy fats. We read that cutting our breads and dairy will also help. In addition to the nutrition, what steps would we need to take in order to enter a fitness competition? Which one or what kind would be best for first timers? We do not have any gymnastics under our belts. We really appreciate your help, and thank you for being such a positive influence in our lives.

A. Thanks so much and it is an honor for me to be considered a role model when I absolutely love what I do for a living. What I see as the problem with your nutrition program is you should break up your meals according to what time of the day it is. Only include complex carbs with your meals if it is the morning or early part of your day. After lunch (being meal number 3), change your complex carbs to vegetables as your source of carbs and combine them to your protein for your last two meals. This is where your healthy fats will come into your meal plan as well. Do not combine fats and complex carbs in the same meals. They fight for position on which one gets used up for energy and whatever is not used up, gets stored as fat. It is true that cutting your breads and dairy will help dramatically! I only have a piece of bread or something from the dairy group on a cheat day, and the serving is very small.

Now onto the fitness related questions. If I were you, I would call the NPC office (412) 276-5027 (tell them I told you to call) and ask who the local NPC Show promoter is in your state and try to get in touch with him or her. Next I would attend as many of these shows to see what the competitions entail and how the local competitors measure up to your own skill level. Finally I would watch as many IFBB Pro fitness competition tapes (here) as possible to get ideas for your routines and to learn the mandatory movements are for the routine rounds. Try not to think about the gymnastics as being the skills you lack for the routines. There are lots of other parts to a routine that girls forget about like transitions, great dancing, superb strength moves and crazy flexibility tricks. Gymnastics should only be used in a routine to get you from one end of the stage to the other. Take a basic cheerleading-tumbling class at your local gymnasium for basic skills for a routine, and if necessary hire a private coach to keep your skills perfected and to critique you while running your routines for a show. My first show was the NPC South Carolina State show and this is the type of show I would recommend everyone starting out in. It is a local show and great for beginners and first timers! Good luck and I only wish for the best for you in fitness.

Q. What is type of all-natural, high quality supplement line is out on the market today? It seems as though every whey protein powder has aspartame and calcium castigate in it. Does aspartame have any side effects down the road?

A. I have been using supplements for as long as I have been competing now and that is about seven years now. What I have come to find is that almost all companies are using aspartame and casseinates in their whey protein powders because they are inexpensive to use and cost nothing to produce. I am a product developer for a company called Pure Form Nutrition, the only all-natural, high quality supplement line. They are one of the first companies I have come across that uses a Chinese herb called Stevia, to sweeten their whey powders. Stevia is very expensive ingredient to use because it is 400 times sweeter than the taste of real sugar, but has no side effects because of its natural origin. Aspartame has now been found as a known cause of stomach and brain cancer when consumed in large amounts over time. I myself was a user of aspartame until I learned what types of side effects it has on the body. I believe that supplements should only enhance what the body does naturally on its own. Protein shakes should not slow down your digestion or cause bloating after being consumed. That bloating is from the high levels of sodium and the lactose in the calcium castigate. My recommendation is for you to educate yourself on what is being put into today's supplements and read the labels more closely. Look for artificial sweeteners and high levels of sodium by products as a sign of cheap, low quality supplementation. I was completely impressed when I came across Pure Form Nutrition, and now as their main product developer, you will be too.

See everyone next month! Keep those great questions coming to and keep training hard!