Kelly Ryan's Corner - April 2003!

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

April, 2003 Issue

Well I have just returned from the Jr. USA's in Charleston, South Carolina, and I must say it was great to see my old friends from home. Even though I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, I lived in South Carolina for 11 years and pretty much consider it my home state. Congratulations to Ken Taylor, Tres Bennet and his wife IFBB Fitness Pro Shannon Meteraud on a first class job with the show. They had 150 competitors and the show ran extremely smooth. Way to go you guys! Good luck for next year as well!

On another note I received over 30 questions for this month's column which lets me know we are making a difference together in fitness so keep them coming and I will do my best to answer them all! Here are this month's questions:

Q. Hey there Kelly, I would like to know other than eating a clean diet, and performing at least 30 minutes of cardio, what is the best way to conquer the six pack? I know that genetics play an important role in this matter. I have heard that we should train abs hard three days a week. What would you suggest? Thanks for your help!

A. I agree that genetics do play a part in having great abs, but so does your training and nutrition. It is important to have enough protein in your diet every day so that you are able to put on muscle and maintain your own natural muscularity. I also believe that you must consume some type of protein (30 grams) at least every three hours. Your nutrition should be your base for change, and your cardio should be bumped up to at least 40-45 minutes per session. It takes at least 40 minutes for your body to reach its fat burning zone, so by cutting it short you are losing the possible results achieved with cardio.

Last your abdominals are a small muscle group so it is possible to over train them just like any other muscle group in your body. You should also train abs with some form of resistance, either being your own body weight against gravity, or weighted. Adding resistance to your training will increase the density of the muscles and the denser the muscles become, the better. In an overview, the more lean muscle tissue you have, the faster your metabolism becomes which makes you leaner and more defined. When I am dieted down with as little body fat as possible, that is when my six pack is most defined. Keep in mind that when you see people with ripped up abs, it is usually from a competition (for a girl) or a photo shoot for a guy. Keep up the great work; you are well on your way.

Q. I am 5'5", weighing 135 lbs. and I was told to take in 1125 calories per day in order to lose weight. I want to lose 20 lbs. and tone up. So far, I have done this with five small meals a day, but I do come across some days when I'm short 400-500 calories. Is this bad? Will I lose weight quicker getting fewer calories than recommended?

A. I honestly believe that if you restrict your calories too much it will have adverse effects on your body. First your metabolism will slow down and your body will go into its natural defense mode of holding onto food as much as possible instead of burning it off for energy. When the body thinks it is not going to get any more food, it holds onto to it as much as possible, making the ability to lose weight and tone up impossible. For your height and weight, I would still do the five small meals with protein in each and complex carbohydrates in the morning to afternoon meals only. Use green leafy vegetables for your carbs after lunchtime and dinner. Get yourself on a good training and cardio regiment so that your activity levels will allow you to burn more fat and calories each day. Use your activity rather than restriction of calories to lose weight and tone up. You will have much better results and a healthier metabolism in the long run.

At The 2001 Fitness Olympia / Posing For Titus Photography

Q. What is a great workout for my girlfriend? She has a normal build with nice thick legs and would like to tone up. She is also taking Hydroxycut, but recently stopped to take apple cider vinegar. Which is better for her to take, Hydroxycut or the apple cider vinegar?

A. A great workout for your girlfriend would be a three day split to start off with. She should train Back/Biceps one day, Legs the next and finish the week with Chest/Shoulders/Triceps. There should be a day of rest in between each day and she should do 3 sets of 12-15 reps with each muscle group. This will allow her body to get into a rhythm with training and with the split training, prevent her from overtraining. Her cardio should be 4-5 sessions of 45 minutes to an hour per week, and walking on an incline treadmill (15% grade) at 3-3.5 mph is best to help tone up the legs and burn body fat.

Now as far as the question about Hydroxycut versus apple cider vinegar goes, I have never heard of taking apple cider vinegar before for weight loss. Hydroxycut is a fantastic product for speeding up the metabolism and intensifying workouts. I do not recommend taking this all the time though. I would cycle them into a program for about 6-8 weeks, then slowly come off of them by reducing the amount taken daily down to one pill a day for about a week before stopping them all together. Once again I would recommend Hydroxycut over the apple cider vinegar for weight loss and use the training and clean nutrition to support the supplementation in her program. Good luck.

Q. Dear Kelly, I broke my nose and had it reconstructed. I waited 4 weeks until I started training hard in the gym again. I started taking Creatine again and noticed that my nose swells up where the reconstruction was done. When I stop taking it for a few days, the swelling goes back down. I am aware that it takes up to a full year to see the final results of the surgery. My question to you is how long after you had your nose done did you wait to take Creatine, and if I continue to go off and on like I am, will the swelling eventually completely heal? Or will it continue to swell or not depending on if I am taking Creatine? I would just like to know if I am damaging long term results because Creatine cannot create cartilage so am I just temporarily slowing the healing process.

A. Good question. From my experience with nose surgery, the Doctor instructed me to be careful, even after 4 weeks of healing time. I was instructed to keep my body upright and avoid any positions while training that would make fluid or blood flow toward my face, meaning being bent over or upside down. Blood flow to the face doesn't allow proper healing to take place no matter how long after the surgery. I was also instructed to do non-impact type of cardio to ease the healing as well. If you are going to go right back to the gym, try to train as careful as possible. It is not worth going back under the knife again just because your training has to be postponed for a couple of days or weeks.

Creatine causes the body to hold water if it is not the effervescent type. Creatine monohydrate is typically what people take and you retain much more water with this particular type. Because you have sustained some type of trauma to your nose, the body heals itself with swelling. Because Creatine has something to do with your body retaining water to increase muscle stamina, this is what is causing the swelling to go to your nose in particular. I would allow your nose to heal completely before going back on Creatine all together. There are other types of supplements to take like Methoxyisoflavone in order to help build muscle. If you are an athlete of some sort and are using the Creatine for endurance, simply replace the Creatine with Calcium Pyruvate. It is a much safer product for you to take right now with your situation. It is better to play it safe than have complications down the road, trust me.

Q. I am 5'2" and weigh 106 lbs with 12.4% body fat. I am very tiny, but my main goal is to put on some muscle and some day enter a fitness competition. During my last body composition test, I had lost 3 lbs. of muscle. What supplements besides a high protein diet can help me maintain and gain some muscle? My other question to you is what are some contact numbers in Minneapolis that can help me get started down my path of fitness goals?

A. What I would recommend to you for gaining muscle is to start taking Methoxyisoflavone and Effervescent Creatine. Both products are great for building muscle size and strength. The Methoxyisoflavone helps provide your body with a positive nitrogen balance (necessary for building muscle) and protein synthesis, while the Creatine (effervescent) helps with muscle size and performance without retaining water in your body. I would also recommend taking Glutamine which helps in muscle recovery and protection of muscle during cardio activity. Women do not have the amount of testosterone that men do, so it is important for women to protect their natural lean muscle tissue as well as the newly acquired muscle. Glutamine helps put the body into a protective state and keeps it from going catabolic (muscle burning) for energy. All three of these products should be taken prior to a workout (30 minutes) for maximum absorption, and consistently for the best results over time.

To answer your second question, I was only born in Minnesota and lived there for only one year before my family moved away. I do not know any contact numbers in that area, but here is the NPC office number to call for info instead: (412) 276-5027. Tell them Kelly Ryan told you to call for information on fitness competitions in your local area to start out with. CJ is my competition suit and costume designer and she can be reached at (954) 786-9977, and also tell her I told you to call. She is the best and the ONLY person I would use. Good luck and train hard!

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