Kelly Ryan's Corner - September 2003!

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

September, 2003 Issue

Well it seems as if this summer has just flown by and we are moving quickly into the fall season. I really don't think this is such a bad thing considering it is always about 100 plus degrees out here in Las Vegas. They say that time flies when you are having fun, so that is what I will call my summer... really fun! I also cannot believe that we are seven weeks out from the Olympia weekend, and for me the amazing Fitness Olympia. This year will be my fourth, can you believe this? It seems as if just yesterday I was sitting on the edge of the stage before the night show, crying from the excitement and overwhelming joy of just qualifying for my first Fitness Olympia.

Every year the show becomes more and more special to me and I am really looking forward to meeting more new people this year. Craig and I have been guest posing like crazy this year and I cannot wait to see all those people that we met throughout the year as well as my family and closest friends. The Olympia weekend is a great time for anyone who has any interest in fitness or bodybuilding. It is an experience that should not be missed.

By the way, Craig and I have been working sooooo hard on this year's Official Olympia After Party at the House of Blues in the Mandalay Bay Resort. That's right you heard it correct, it is in the actual casino so you don't even have to leave the hotel to have a total blast. Stay tuned for more details and check www.Wantickets.Com for any info on buying tickets ahead of time.

Now on to this month's questions...

Q. I have a question in regards to routine shoes. I too was a gymnast and ever since I have been competing the past four years, I've opted not to use shoes for my routine. I find that I cannot tumble in my routine but I can do aerials, cartwheel layouts (beam stuff) on the hard floor. For those of you that are not familiar with gymnastics terminology, these tricks are usually performed on the balance beam. Tumbling on the balance beam is different from tumbling on a spring or non-spring floor because there is less impact and no need for shoes for support. I'd like to incorporate tumbling this year however. Can you recommend a brand and type of shoes that you use that are light weight and flexible? Gotta point them toes! All the best at the Olympia!

A. This is such a great question and couldn't have come at a better time. The number of fitness competitors has dropped off greatly and I believe it is due to the lack of information which adds to the anxiety of performing an actual fitness routine on stage. A lot of women have turned to figure competitions because of this very thing.

What I would recommend to you is to find a very comfortable and supportive aerobic type shoe. Reebok, Nike and Ryka make the best. Find the brand that fits your foot best, and then go for the solid white or solid black version of their most lightweight aerobic type shoe. No cross trainers or walking shoes please. You'll thank me later when your knees are still healthy after nine years of competing. If you really have to be able to point your toes, Capezio makes a great fitness routine shoe with a split sole. A lot of the Pros wear these instead of what I wear. Like I said, wear what feels the best for you. Everyone is different. Keep in touch and good luck!

Q. I am trying to lean out and I have a few questions. I read in one of your articles that you do not eat dairy or fruit. Can you tell me why? I thought that both dairy and fruit (well some fruit) were very low glycemic... at least lower than potatoes and other starches. Also I've read that you can subtract the amount of fiber from the total amount of carbs in a serving? Is this true? I was going to eat a high fiber cereal like all bran or fiber one for my grains instead of other starches. Is this a bad idea? Thanks so much.

A. I will start by saying that I do not eat fruit or dairy on a regular basis because I find dairy products very hard to digest and I always feel sluggish the very next day after consuming them. I rarely eat fruit because of the sugar content. Simple sugars are great for bodybuilding because it speeds up recovery and keeps the glycogen storage at a high level. Fitness is slightly different than bodybuilding because we are not required to be so muscular and as anabolic as a bodybuilder. I personally stay away from these foods because I have seen and felt the results when doing so. If you are a bodybuilder, than your requirements will differ from mine.

The amount of weight you put on in the offseason will enable you to put on the muscle you need to compete with. You need calorie dense foods to put weight on, and with all the anabolic activity, your body will burn fat and calories at a faster pace, without becoming fat. I have gotten my body into a rhythm where a slight increase in activity and decrease in cheat days will allow me to be close to a competition weight and body fat. The extra weight from a change in diet affects my joints when I am guest posing. The heavier I get the harder on my body the routines become. I hope this clarifies this up for you.

To be honest about the second question, I have never heard of this before. I eat oat bran, oatmeal and cream of rice for my breakfast foods and have always counted the carbs by the actual amount measured before cooking. I have never subtracted the fiber from the total amount of carbs when planning my meals. I pick the type of carbs that will provide my muscles with the best possible glycogen for my workouts, and those are the types of cereal I mentioned before. I stay away from cold cereals because of the milk and higher sugar content. Not for any other reason. Keep training hard and reaching for your goals.

Q. I have a question about women using creatine. I know women don't put muscle on like men. Would creatine build muscle and lean a woman out at the same time? Thank you for the tips on cutting up too! I am still working towards a competition one day, but those tips really helped me out with just being healthier day to day. Thank you!

A. Your question was such a great one that I had to include it this month. You are correct about the fact that women do not put muscle on like men. Men have higher levels of Testoterone which allows them to build muscle easier and faster. Creatine is a great supplement that I truly believe works. I use creatine for two things; one, to build stamina for my grueling fitness routines for competition, and two, to allow me to push through my fatigued states and increase my muscular endurance for my workouts.

I am currently using Juiced Creatine by Pinnacle because of the way it doesn't upset my stomach and for the way it tastes. It comes in two great flavors, orange and berry, mixes well with water, and goes down as easy as it mixes. This particular creatine also has glutamine in it, so you are getting two for the price of one. A supplement that will increase the amount of muscle you put on and aid in the recovery at the same time. What more could you ask for? The philosophy behind the getting lean part from Creatine comes from the increased amount of muscle you should be able to put on by using this supplement. The more lean muscle tissue you have, the faster your metabolism becomes and easier it is to get lean. They all work hand in hand with each other. Keep us posted, and go get em!

Q. I have heard that you and Craig have built a gym onto your home in Las Vegas. Is this true? If so, what types of equipment are you putting into your gym and why?

A. Wow, word gets around fast, but to answer your question, yes, it is true. Craig and I have designed a state of the art gym to decrease the amount of time we are on the road during the day. In Las Vegas, the Gold's Gyms are at least 30 minutes away in each direction. The time we spend driving to and from a gym, can be very frustrating so we took it upon ourselves to ease the situation instead of complaining about it.

Our gym is 500 square feet and it is an enclosed room with 4 inch thick solarium glass windows. These windows are patented for their heat reducing ability... very cool, ha-ha-ha. We have chosen four companies because of their amazing quality and super effective design. Mega Tough USA, Torque Athletic, and Apex customized certain pieces for us to take our training to the next level. It is not just good enough any more just to train on any machine. Our machines were designed specifically for increasing range of motion without hindering joint flexibility. Power Tec provided us with probably one of the best squat machines I have ever used, and their bicep, chest press, and shoulder press machines rock with their smooth motion and quality construction. Theses are all commercial grade pieces. I tell you all what is so crazy, Mega Tough USA designed a Megatransformer that folds up into a 2 ft by 9 ft space. Once opened up, you can train every body part with a 400 pound weight stack, multi cable, and multifunctional cage. It is truly unbelievable what this piece can do! For the serious home trainer, these companies are the absolute best, no doubt!

This gym should be finished by the middle of September and Craig and I will be taking on clients to increase our monthly income. We already have certain weekends booked for out-of-towner's coming in for serious training. Craig and I are extremely excited about the gym and the convenience it is going to provide for us. Thanks so much for asking!

Q. I am an amateur fitness competitor and have been so for about two years now. I have high hopes of becoming a Pro like you one day and would like to know what I should expect from the step up? Is there really that much of a difference in the level of competition? Thanks and good luck at the Fitness Olympia this year!

A. Thank you very much for the "good luck", I will always use it. As far as the step up in levels of competition like you say, yes there is a huge difference between the Pro ranks and amateurs. Unfortunately it is more unspoken than you would think. The transition has been very tough for many of my girlfriends who compete with me. The first thing you should be prepared for is the 45 second Mandatory Routine. Six skills demonstrating flexibility and strength have to be done in a specific order to receive full credit for them, and they have to be performed to a 45 second long piece of music. You are also required to wear a long sleeve black cat suit (shown to the right) during this round. The cat suit is to standardize the competitors so the judges look only at the skills, not the physique. This round of competition brings the number of judged rounds in a show to four rather than three, so be prepared for another make-up or hair change as well. Check out my column in Oxygen Women's Fitness Magazine each month for the exact description of each move required in the Mandatory routine, plus transition options and Do's and Don'ts.

The judging seems tougher in the Pros because there are more experienced women competing in every show. There is little margin for error and everyone is good at what they do best. What I mean by that statement is that whatever got the person into the pro ranks is now compared to everyone else's best stuff as well. Do not take this as a negative, it will keep you on your toes and make you work harder. I really enjoy challenges and pushing myself to the max in order to be competitive. The best part of being a Pro besides competing in shows all over the world is the money you can make. There is prize money to be won at every show, with purses in the amount of $20,000 at the Arnold Classic (Fitness International) and Fitness Olympia. Endorsement contracts, guest posings, modeling, appearances/seminars are all the fringe benefits of being a Pro as well. So you see, you have sooooo much to look forward to so keep training hard, drill all of your mandatory movements starting now, and get ready to have the best time of your entire life!

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