Kelly Ryan's Corner - May 2002!

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

May, 2002 Issue

Welcome to another column of amazing questions sent in by you the readers. The May 5th Southwest Texas Pro Show, put on by Ed and Betty Pariso, was a huge success. (Full Results) Fifteen of the toughest IFBB Fitness Pros showed up to go head to head for the title and qualification for the Fitness Olympia in Las Vegas Nevada.

Here is how the top five placings went down: First place Kelly Ryan (me ), Second place-Jen Hendershott, Third place- Stacy Hylton, Fourth place- Kim Chezevsky, and Fifth place- Carla Sanchez. I know I can speak for all the girls when I say a big, huge "THANKS", to the Parisos and to all the fans who showed up to yell for, and support their favorite fitness athletes. What a great weekend and what was best about it besides winning was that throughout the routine rounds, we all cheered for each other. It was the most positive competition I have ever been involved with, and I hope this type of camaraderie continues throughout the season. Enough about the show- let's get to the questions!

Q. Dear Ms. Ryan, my name is Kristen and I am 20 years old. For a few years I have been reading Muscle and Fitness magazine, and am very interested in how to get started. I dream of doing competitions, so where do I begin?

A. Well Kristen you have come to the right place. I too started out my interest in fitness through the magazines. I read every piece of information I could get my hands on if it pertained to nutrition, training, or competitions. The best thing to do first is to go to a competition and watch it in person. There are always flyers at your local Gold's Gyms that will tell you when and where the next local NPC fitness and bodybuilding show is. You can also search for competitions in your area on right here. After the show, contact the promoter and tell them you are interested in competing and they can usually connect you to the right people in your area. Other than this, keep reading up on the material, it will only familiarize you better to the industry. Great magazines for fitness information are Oxygen, Muscle and Fitness Hers, and the NPC News. In these you will find diet and training tips, competition listings, and where to get your competition suits and costumes. Good Luck!

Q. I know you are busy so thanks for even reading this. I was wondering if you could tell me how to get my body fat from 15% to 4%. I am a male who wants to compete; do you have any advice?

A. Well it sounds to me like you already know where your body needs to be in order to be competitive. That honestly is half the battle, then getting there is the other half. A lot of times when people first begin competing, the whole experience can be pretty traumatic. The expectations and workload are overwhelming at first because you have never done anything like this in your life before. After the first couple of shows, the contest preparation becomes second nature and a way of life. The best way for me to tell you to lower your body fat, and to such extremes as a bodybuilder needs, is through diet, training, and cardio. Your nutrition will be 80% of the program, and depending on your metabolism, will usually take 12 weeks to prepare for a show. You should be doing weight training on a certain schedule like 3 days on and 1 off and always split up your body parts so that you do not over train. I recommend working your way up to two hours of cardio a day. Start off with 30 minutes in the morning, and 30 minutes at night, and as your body gets used to a schedule, increase the time in both sessions. Set a time schedule in which you eat your meals by and stick to it as well. This will help speed up your body's metabolism, and get your body into a rhythm necessary to burn fat and calories efficiently. I hope this will get you started on your way and for any further consultation feel free to contact me at Good luck and go get em!

Signing autographs at the 2000 Olympia. (C) Avidan

Q. My name is Ryan and I live in California and I just wanted to compliment you on a great job on Fox Sports Net with the Fitness Olympia, and congrats on a great routine too. Do you see yourself doing more jobs like this in the future? Will you still compete in shows in the next years to come?

A. Ryan, thanks for writing and watching the program on Fox Sports Net. It was an honor to be involved with the production and my first experience commentating on television. I truly enjoyed being able to talk positively about my fellow competitors and explain to the public the breakdown of a fitness competition, especially one like the Fitness Olympia. This was the first time an IFBB Fitness competition was shown on mainstream television and, on a network as influential as Fox Sports Net. is the website which lists the air times for each state, and will be the point of reference for future competitions on Fox Sports Net like the Arnold Classic. The men's bodybuilding will air in June and the Fitness International will air in July. I was injured for the Fitness International so I did the commentating instead. I do plan to still compete for the next three years, but will be heavily involved in future productions by Physical TV. My passion is fitness and I will do everything I can to insure the growth of a sport I love and support.

Q. First congrats on all your hard work and the rewards it has brought you. You are a terrific role model for women. I am a 20-year-old female, college student, and run 15 miles a day as part of my training on the school team. I am 5'2", 125 lbs. and have 15% body fat. Now that I am not running competitively, I have stopped taking fat-burners and my weight has increased to 138 lbs. and 18% body fat. Is this a side effect from using them? Should I resume taking them? I follow a program of weight training and cardio for 30-60 minutes 4-6 times a week, and a diet high in protein. Do you have any suggestions?

A. Thank you Becki and I always believe that if you work hard, it will always pay off in the end. To answer your questions, I believe it is a combination of a change in your activity levels and the use of fat burners. Your activity level when you were competitively running was extremely high. Going from 15 miles a day to maybe 3 miles max in an hour of cardio is a big difference. By incorporating weight training though, you have now added an element key to stimulating your body's metabolism. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the more fat you burn daily. It takes more work for your body to exist when you have more muscle, which means your body burns more calories too. Diets high in protein are good but do not cut out all complex carbohydrates. It is best to include one serving of complex carbs in each of your morning meals equaling 25-30 grams a meal. Complex carbs give you energy and glycogen for muscle building. Use this glycogen for your weight training sessions and do your cardio afterwards to burn fat. Taking fat burners year round is also not a good idea because your body becomes dependent on them. Use your meal schedule, and new training program to re-stimulate your metabolism. Also try walking on an incline instead of running all the time and see how your body reacts. Keep track of your results and let me know how it is working. Train hard and give your body a little time, you'll be right back where you were before.

Thanks again everyone for these great questions. Keep them coming and I will do my best to get you the answers you're looking for. Together we can accomplish anything we put our minds to!