Kelly Ryan's Corner - November 2002!

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

November, 2002 Issue

This year's Olympia Weekend was not only the most positive experience I have ever had at that particular show, but the most fulfilling. The Fitness Olympia, in my eyes, was a huge success this year. The fifteen competitors out did themselves with the amazing routines and physiques presented on stage at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Thank you to all the fans who showed up to support the ladies of Fitness this year. Your applause and cheers were well appreciated. I know that I can say on behalf of myself and my fellow competitors that our sport continues to grow each and every year because of YOU, the fans. Just know that when we are backstage warming up for our routines, we are psyching ourselves up to give you guys the best show ever!

On another note, the Official Olympia After-Party was amazing! 2,000 people showed up at Club Utopia to dance the night away with their favorite athlete and fitness celebrity. The happening crew from snapped pictures all night so be sure to check them out! They will motivate you to join us for next year's event. Craig and I appreciate everyone's participation and we are working hard with our sponsors' help to make each event better than the last. Stay tuned for details concerning future After Parties.

Nov. 9th - at Club TwiRoPa in New Orleans - directly following the GNC Pro Show. More Info Here
Nov 22nd - at The Milk Bar in Dallas Texas - directly following the NPC Nationals.

Enough talk, let's get down to this month's great questions.

Q. I am a 39 year-old female who blossomed into the "overweight" status group. I am 5'4" and originally weighed 185 lbs. I began dieting and eating clean (proteins, fruits and vegetables). I developed a resistance program using various cardio machines and a Bow Flex. My problem seems to be that as intensely as I train (the worked muscle groups are absolutely exhausted, plus cardio for 30-90 minutes) I feel nothing the next day. If I don't feel soreness, am I not doing enough? I find it difficult to believe that I have that good of a muscular recovery system. Is there something I can do to intensify my workouts further? Please help.

A. I do not believe that intensity is the problem here. The key thing that stands out in my mind is your diet. Eating clean doesn't mean eliminating complex carbohydrates altogether. Complex carbs provide your muscles with Glycogen. The glycogen is what provides your body with energy (ATP) during your workouts, and enables you to build muscle with your resistance training program. Without glycogen, there will not be any muscular contractions or blood flow to the muscle. This is why perhaps you're not feeling sore after your workouts. I would recommend making two to three of your first meals a day one serving or 20-30 grams of a complex (starchy) carbohydrate with one serving of a protein. This small adjustment should do wonders for your workouts as well as confidence level in your training program. If you don't believe in what you are doing, your body will not respond. Good luck and keep me posted.

Q. I would like to know which abdominal exercises I should do to have cut abs like you. I am a 17 year old female, 5'2" and 106 lbs. If you could answer my question, please describe how I should do my training. I am sorry if my English is bad, it's because I usually speak and write in French.

A. Samira, thanks for writing and I am glad this column has reached so far across the globe. The best way to attack the abdominals is to separate them into sections. The abdominals are divided into three main sections: lower, upper and obliques. I Do Not recommend training your obliques with weight though. I would only suggest using resistance while training your upper and lower abs.

Some basic exercises for your upper abs are regular crunches, where only shoulder blades lift off of the mat instead of a full sit up. Decline crunches where by using a decline board, you perform a regular crunch working against gravity by having your feet on a higher level than your head. And last, cable crunches using a rope attachment on the cable cross over machine. While kneeling, hold the rope by your head and curl your upper body down to your knees leading with your elbows.

A great and effective lower abs exercise is performed using the Roman Chair. Place your elbows on the arms of this upright chair and allow your legs to hang freely. Without swinging your legs, tuck your pelvis under, and then curl your knees up to your chest. Your obliques are the muscles that run down the sides of your torso. The obliques can be trained simply by adding a twist of the upper body each time you perform a regular upper abdominal crunch. Alternating sides will allow you to target both sides at the same time. Using resistance for this exercise will over develop your obliques and thicken your waistline. Lastly your abs should be trained no more than three times a week max, with three sets of 15-20 reps each exercise.

At the Olympia After Party! Click to enlarge.

Q. Hi Kelly, I just found this website and WOW! My question to you is what is the best way for me to increase the amount of muscle I have on my legs and decrease the amount of flab and cellulite? I am a 5'1" female with a medium frame. Last year I weighed 191 lbs and I am currently weighing 150 lbs. My heart's desire is to be a bodybuilder some day and compete.

A. The best way to decrease the amount of flab and cellulite on your legs is to increase the amount of lean muscle tissue. There are four parts to leg training: quads, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. An effective way to train legs is to divide these four parts in to two different training days. I like to pair my quad and glute training together, leaving my hamstrings to be with my calf training. I do this two day split to allow maximum growth and to avoid over-training. Over-training occurs when you tend to repeat training body-parts too much during a short period of time, never allowing the muscles to rest and recuperate. I also use this program because it targets each area of the leg equally, and stimulates activity in the legs where cellulite is most commonly found. Perform three exercises for each part of the leg, using moderate to heavy resistance and 15-20 reps each set. Allow days of rest between your training days, because it will enhance the quality of muscle you put on and maintain over time. Good luck and train hard.

Q. First I would like to thank you for being such an inspiration. I have lost twenty pounds and my body fat has gone from 28.9% to less than 17% within the last year. I am a 5'4" female and probably weigh about 125 lbs. I have been on a low carb-high protein diet with one cheat meal per week, usually a dessert. The past few months I have been just binging out. I am not bulimic, but will get cravings and go crazy. My question to you is do you ever get those uncontrollable cravings? What do you do about them? What supplements would you recommend (besides ephedrine) to control cravings? Any suggestions would be so appreciated. I wish I was a competitor but I cannot even do the splits.

A. First, I will say thanks for writing and congrats on the great improvements you have made. What it sounds like to me is that your carbohydrate intake is too low for your body and is creating your cravings for sugar. In the beginning of your program, the low amount of carbs was necessary for your body to start losing weight and body fat. Over time, your metabolism has sped up, and creates this demand for more calories, especially complex carbs.

What I would recommend is changing your meal plan to include one serving of complex carbs with protein for your first two to three meals, instead of one. I also firmly believe and know from experience that when my fat intake is too low, my sugar cravings get out of control. I have learned over time that essential fats are very important to keep the hair, skin, and nails healthy, as well as your moodiness balanced. Supplements like CLA, Flax Seed Oil, and Omega Burn by Biochem, are perfect and effective for fat supplementation. Something simple as a handful of raw cashews or almonds at night time is also effective and tasty. These subtle changes should help you a lot and try keeping a positive mindset. Your body will always continue to change, and as long as you try to understand why something is happening, you will always be prepared for it.

At the Mr. Olympia with a fan. Click to enlarge.

Q. Dear Kelly, I am a 25 year old female that is 5'3" tall and weigh 120 lbs. I have 16% body fat and I weight train and do cardio four days a week. My goal is to put on more lean muscle and to lose fat. My question is this: What should a female eat post-workout? Should we have a high glycemic carbohydrate meal after weight training? My other question is regarding cardio on an empty stomach. I cannot do my cardio in the morning because by the time I get to the gym, I start to feel hypo-glycemic. Is it okay to do cardio after I eat?

A. There really is not a difference to what a woman or a man should eat after a weight training session. The fact of the matter is that the body is in a state where its glycogen stores are at their lowest point. It is important to refuel the body or restore the glycogen levels in the body after working out. I would suggest a meal balanced between complex carbohydrates and protein. For your weight and height that meal would include 20-30 grams of complex carbs and 20-30 grams of protein. The glycemic index of the carbs can be higher after training because it will induce an anabolic state in the body, enhancing muscle building potential. Another great post-workout drink is 8 ounces of pure grape juice with 5-7 grams of Creatine. If Creatine doesn't bother your stomach, it can be very effective for building strength, and size. To answer your question about cardio after a meal, it would me more effective to weight train after your meal and then do your cardio session. You will burn up the glycogen stores training, and then utilize fat for energy during your cardio. Otherwise buy a bike or treadmill for your home. It has been the best investment Craig and I ever made.

Till' next time keep those great questions coming to and keep training hard!

P.S. We hope to see everyone at our after party in New Orleans and Dallas!!!