Kelly Ryan's Corner - October 2002!

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

October, 2002 Issue

Well, I can't believe it folks but it is already Olympia Weekend time! It seems as though this contest season has flown by, but maybe that's because I have had so much fun competing and guest posing at shows this year. Everywhere I travel to people comment on this column and say how much they have learned about training and nutrition. This is simply because of the great questions I am e-mailed, and the awesome participation by you the readers each and every month. Together we have made this column a huge success. Thank you!!

To top off this positive intro to this month's Kelly's Corner, Craig and I are throwing the Official Olympia After Party on October 19th. We have quite a night planned for bodybuilding and fitness fans which have traveled from all over the world to see top ranked athletes compete at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Thanks to our sponsors, (especially we spared no expense on our party. Check out our flyer here for details and tickets. Don't miss out because when the Olympia ends, the party begins! Craig and I hope to see everyone there!!! And, don't forget about the GNC Pro Show After Party at Twi Ro Pa in New Orleans. The club was rated in New York Times as one of the hottest night clubs in the USA. Craig and I will be there right after the competition.

Q. Dear Kelly, I have been inspired by the women in the fitness industry like yourself, since I was a teenager. I am 24 yrs old, 5'4", and 140 lbs. I recently read a book by Jay Williams PH.D called "The 24 hour Turnaround". I have been following what she says in the book and training in my heart rate zone. It seems so slow and makes me wonder if I am working out hard enough. My workout program is as follows: I weight train 25-35 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week. I do 1 hour of cardio a day, 4-5 days a week as well, and eat about 2,000-2,500 calories a day. I would like to lose 15 lbs of fat. I've tried to eat only 1500 calories a day to lose weight but always get too hungry. Could I be working out wrong or eating too much for my height? I also eat a lot of sugar, but haven't figured out how to stop the cravings yet. Anything sugar free tastes terrible to me.

A. I first must say that I have never read this book. I do know for a fact that training in your target heart rate zone can be very effective. Without me knowing your exact weight training regiment, or the time of day you do your cardio I still have a few suggestions that I know will help. First, I would like to suggest that you do your hour of cardio on an empty stomach. This is the best way to kick start your body, and it forces your body to burn fat for energy. Second, if you wish to lose weight, you have to consume fewer calories than you burn off. For your height, I would recommend that your daily caloric intake be between 1,500- 1,750. At 1,500 calories, you are able to eat five meals a day and at least 300 calories per meal. Once your body gets used to the eating schedule, you won't feel so hungry. Eating complex carbohydrates (20-30 grams) with your first two - three meals will also help take away those sugar cravings. You will lose weight if you try these suggestions. Remember that what works for some people may not always work for you, in regards to the book you read. Cutting back in your calories and turning up the intensity of your cardio and training should really make a difference. You can do it!

Q. I am a big fan of yours and Craig's and I admire both of your commitment and dedication to fitness. That being said, the question I would like to ask is about my girlfriend. She carries her weight in her legs, although she carries a good deal of muscle there as well. My question is two fold. 1) What type of resistance training should she follow? 2) Being a former cheerleader, is their any kind of high impact cardio that you would recommend that she would find interesting? When she trains like I do, she adds more bulk than she desires.

A. I believe that the type of training your girlfriend should follow is split body part training with a maximum of three exercises per body part and three sets per exercise. She should do 10-15 reps per exercise for her upper body training, and 20-25 reps per exercise for her leg training. This will allow her upper body to develop and catch up with her lower body, as well as keep her legs tight without stimulating any more growth. Being that she was a former cheerleader, I would recommend step, spinning, and hip hop classes for high impact types of cardio that she will find motivating and challenging. The important thing is for your girlfriend to train the right way for her body type, and to enjoy doing so that she will continue her training for years to come.

Q. Dear Kelly, I was wondering, what is your body fat percentage when you compete and when you are off-season? I was also wondering what cardio program do you follow before a contest? I read that you once battled with the eating disorder called Bulimia. I am currently trying to fight Bulimia. It has been hard and getting harder every day. Bodybuilding has helped me learn to control the purging, but I have not been able to control the urge to binge. What is your input on this matter?

A. Thanks so much for writing to me. To answer your first couple of questions, I am not really sure what my body fat is when I compete, or during the off-season. I know this sounds funny but my husband Craig uses the mirror to tell when I am contest ready. By our experience I would guess about 7-8% before a competition and 11-12% for my off-season condition. I always try to stay in good shape year round for modeling work and guest appearances. I also feel that fitness competitors do not really have an off-season. Our weight should not fluctuate more than 10 pounds from what we weigh on stage. I believe that to be a professional fitness competitor, you should look the part as well. I see a lot of girls gain at least 20-30 pounds after their shows and this type of yo-yo weight fluctuation is what causes most eating disorders and health problems down the long road.

To answer your second question, I do two hours of cardio a day before a competition. I do one hour in the morning before eating breakfast, and one hour at night after my weight training. I like the Gauntlet (revolving staircase), Elliptical, and walking at a 15% incline on the treadmill. On a different note, I am so happy that you have opened up and addressed what you are feeling. Bulimia is a tricky disorder because it is usually about control issues. The way I have learned to deal with Bulimia is to learn about the food groups and how they affect the body. I used to deprive myself of a lot of types of food. This deprivation turns into the loss of control and creates binge eating. If you have available a nutritionist of some sort, I would recommend working with one to devise a food plan applicable for your athletic needs. A plan that you feel you can follow without feeling unsatisfied and deprived. You can overcome Bulimia with knowledge and trust in yourself. Keep in touch with me and I will do whatever I can to help you further.

Q. I am 36 years old and I workout regularly. While my legs look awesome, I really need to build up my glutes. Are there any exercises you can recommend to build up my glutes and not get my quads and hamstrings much bigger than they already are? Any advice and suggestions are welcome!

A. Glute training is what I have particularly been working on myself a lot this year so I have an amazing exercise in mind for you. One great exercise that really develops the upper portion of your glutes is hyperextensions. Your squats, lunges, and leg press will develop the lower part of the glutes. Set the height of the hyperextension bench so that your hips can drop over the top of the pads on the bench. Bend completely over the bench and by using just your glutes, rotate your hips under and by pinching a penny in your glutes, your upper body will lift to parallel. Hold the contraction for a split second then lower back down. You should feel a great stretch in your hamstrings in the starting position. I do 15 repetitions while holding a ten-pound plate, then release the plate and do ten more reps at a slower pace, squeezing every part of my glutes possible. Try this exercise for four sets, and twice a week. This exercise will not affect your leg size at all, and will definitely improve the shape of your bum.

See you all in Vegas!! Keep those great questions coming to! Thanks everyone.