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Kelly Ryan's Corner - January 2004!

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

January, 2004 Issue

I would like to begin my monthly column by thanking everyone who was there to support the athletes at the Fitness Olympia, as well as the Ms. Olympia, Figure Olympia, and Mr. Olympia. It was absolutely amazing to hear everyone so loud and clear while performing and standing on stage. I was so happy to get my first ever, first call-out in a physique round at the Olympia. I wanted to run out of the line up as if I were on the Price Is Right!

Wow, what a moment for me. Thanks for all the cheers you guys, it felt like you all were right there beside me during that special moment. Thank you so much, truly you all make me who I am.

Please check out Ironman Magazine's Swimsuit Spectacular (Feb.) out on the newsstands. I made my first ever Swimsuit Issue cover. There is a beautiful layout inside showcasing fitness and figure competitors. The women in this issue with me are truly amazing!

On another positive note; I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I feel that this New Year, 2004 will be a great one! There are lots of new training ideas to explore, and new goals to set. Let's make the most of it and get right to the questions I was e-mailed over the last couple of weeks.

This Month's Questions

How To Lose Muscle For Figure Competitions?

Q. I have decided to not go in the direction of female bodybuilding anymore and am now trying to lose some size. A photographer in Atlanta told me he loved my face and that I should give Figure a try. I thought I would do Ty "Ropeman" Felder's show, and any suggestions you have on lifting and losing size would be an added plus. Thank you for your time.

Kim Chizevsky Went From Bodybuilder To Figure Competitor.

A. It sounds to me like Figure is right up your alley and Ropeman's show is the best for you to do. He is a phenomenal person, and has a lot of great guidance to offer you, being in South Carolina as he is in Georgia. Figure is about shape, and having great lines. You do not need to be shredded, but have nice tight glutes, V-taper, and upper body to lower body balance. I have seen too many girls come in too tight for Figure, and then a ton of girls way too soft as well. It is a blend of being tight, and shapely. Figure is also about presentation. You are only doing quarter turns so the way you carry yourself on stage, from the moment the judges see you to the moment you walk off stage, is all very important!

What I would do if I were you to lose a bit of size is go catabolic, and use up some of your muscle for your training, and cardio. Lower your protein intake to 2-4 ounces per meal at most, and keep your complex carbs to just the first two meals. I would eat veggies and fats with your protein for the last three meals of the day. Do cardio first thing in the morning for 45 minutes, and another cardio (45 minutes) session right after your training later that day or evening. This will get you into great shape, and reduce your amount of muscle right away. Train with reps in the range of 15 to 20 and do not rest much in between your sets. This will not allow any recovery to occur in the muscle fiber, and not induce any further growth. Good luck and keep me posted.

Learn all about the figure competition rules.

How Can I Lift Heavier?

Q. I have a few questions for you. First of all, what is a body burn? Second, my goal is to be able to lift heavier, and I don't know how to go about doing it.

A. Here are the answers to your questions; I have no idea what you mean by "body burn" to be honest. You did not put how it was used in the sentence or wherever you read it.

Your second question can be answered simply by increasing the reps in each set you do per exercise. This will increase strength by increasing your muscular endurance. And just how it sounds, endurance, is exactly what it means. Another way of increasing the amount of weight you use is to do drop sets. Start by using a weight slightly heavier than normal. Complete a few reps to the best of your ability then drop the weight to your normal max weight for another few reps, and so on and so forth until you have completed an entire 12-15 rep range set.

Lastly, use a training partner to enable you to go heavier. If I have a heavy set coming up, I will tell Craig to spot me so that I can perform the reps properly, or just make it through the full set. Sometimes a light spot is all it takes to give you the confidence to go heavier than normal. This is called a forced rep. This in turn will allow you to gain the strength you need to handle the weight yourself. Keep training hard!

View a video of drop sets and forced reps.

How Do You Deal With Criticism?

Q. I was at the Fitness Olympia this year and witnessed your amazing routine first hand. I also read the article in Flex magazine covering the event, and was shocked to see the comments that were made about the show and especially your routine. Personally, even though Flex didn't think it was a good routine, it was still the best routine in the whole show, and one of the best routines I have ever seen in the sport of fitness. I did not think it was as strong as your clown routine last year, but come 'on, give props where props are due. Even a fan could see the difficulty and work that went into it. The writer didn't even mention your first place finish in the 45 sec Mandatory routine or first call-out in the one piece. He said no one was even in shape at this show. How do you deal with things like this after you worked so hard to prepare for this particular show?

A. Thanks for the comment about my routine. I will be the first to say that it did not come off at all how I wanted it to. BUT the skills that I had in my routine were the most difficult I have ever performed. The risks I took were completely worth it, because I wanted to show the judges and fans something completely different than anything I had ever done before. I jumped between 6-8 feet up in the air and 12-15 feet in distance over my prop of the Las Vegas Strip. For those who weren't there, I was Flyin' Ryan, the Super Hero, and jumped over tall buildings in a single bound, haha, get it?

I also put a men's gymnastics strength move into another press on top of my other prop called a mushroom. I performed one and a half circles around the mushroom (just like the men's pommel horse). It took 3 hours a day for 3 months to do it right. The difficulty in doing this trick is the reason why no one has ever done it on stage before. Mushrooms have been used in fitness routines for years - but never for any circles or flairs before.

It really hurts when a writer destroys all the hard work you put into something with a quick flick of the pen. I spoke to the writer and after I broke down each element - he said oh, well I guess it was more difficult and impressive than I thought. The article has already been printed the way he wrote it and it was all negative. As far as him writing that no one was in shape, we get marked down for coming in too muscular or shredded. I had more people say it was the best I had ever looked on stage than ever in my whole career, including the other competitors. In any professional sport, you have to develop a thick skin, in order to handle such negativity. I take it all in and re-group as they say before the next show. It definitely hurts my feelings, but at the same time, fires me up to prove that writer wrong the next time he/she sees me on stage. I will use that write up, and the support of people like you to help me prepare for the upcoming Arnold Classic. I will not let this get me down; it will only make my next routine better.

How Should I Take My Supplements?

Q. My name is Meshail, and I am from Dubai. It is a very nice country for foreigners to visit, and in the coming days we will have a shopping festival that the whole world may hear about. But, in my country we lack any good advice about bodybuilding. I used to be a bodybuilder but stopped because of some bad advice I was given by my Captain. It was suggested to me to take 20 amino tablets, then to increase the amount to 30 tablets, and 8 Cuts tablets on a daily basis. Additionally I was having 5 meals a day and having 2 to 3 protein shakes in between the meals. My question to you is how to use supplements, their exact kinds and amounts and specifically how to train my abs.

A. Thank you for the long distance e-mail and questions. I am sure it is hard to go after a goal but not be able to acquire the right knowledge to do so. Let's see if I can help you out a bit. First of all, you were taking way too many amino tablets. The most you should take on one day should be 6 tablets. Your body cannot absorb that much protein and it goes to waste.

Taking more than 4 Cuts tablets a day is also unsafe because again, it is too hard on your system. The Cuts tablets are thermogenics, and when I get ready for a competition I use Xenadrine EFX, but no more than 3 a day, at the very most. You do not need any more than that amount. Your body will develop a tolerance for the thermogenics, if you use too much or stay on them for too long of period of time. Basically, you will not get the results you desire.

Supplements are designed to enhance your body's natural functions and, to take your training to the next level. I would suggest taking a multi-vitamin, multi-mineral capsule such as Pinnacle's Omega VM. It contains all of your essential vitamins and minerals, as well as, your EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) which help sustain your metabolism while dieting and strengthen your immune system. Continue with the 5 meals a day, and use the protein shakes as snacks in between if you are starving. A calorie is a calorie and if you're activity level is not high enough to support or burn off the meals you eat, then you will gain body fat.

Cardio in the morning before breakfast, for at least 45 minutes, is the best way to get in shape. Having good abs is a sign of having low body fat, and good genetics. Train your abs 2-3 times a week maximum. Pick an upper and lower abs exercise and do 3 sets of 25 reps for each one. Use resistance on the cable crossover machine, or hanging leg raises on a decline bench. Check out some of my past month's articles as well, I have gone into great detail about abs workouts. This should get you off to a great start. Remember, keep everything in moderation, and you will always stay healthy!

How Should I Take My Supplements?

Q. I have been working out for a year now thanks to everything my boyfriend, Nick, has taught me. However I do realize that men and women are different and require different training techniques. Nick recently went through his stack of magazines and found your leg training article in the Muscle and Fitness, September of 2000 issue. I learned a lot because of our similarities in body structure. You train your legs for definition, not to gain size.

I am interested though in your upper body training. I would like to build more muscle in my upper body. I have an athletic build but, ultimately want a body like yours. Right now, I am doing 3 sets for each body part with reps of 12, 10, and then 8 per set. I especially want to build my shoulders and seem to be struggling. Also how much time do you spend doing cardio? I have been doing it 3 days a week for 30-45 minutes. Thanks!

A. Thanks for reading my article and I am glad the information was helpful to you. Legs are a tricky thing for some people like me, so it takes a bit of a different approach to work them. You are on the right track for training your upper body. Continue with the reps and sets per exercise and here is how I would split up my workouts: Chest/Triceps, Back/Biceps, and Shoulders on a completely separate day. I too needed shoulders, and struggled to build them to where they are today. I hammered them, plain and simple.

Do not ever give up on a body part, just keep after it and you will attain the results you so desire. I trained my shoulders really heavy (without injuring myself) doing forced reps with a spotter/training partner. I needed the spotting to go heavier than normal. I would do as many as I could, then continue to drop the weight until I could finish out a set of at least 10 -12 reps. The next week I would train lighter with more intensity and less rest time in between sets. By more intensity I mean more blood volume= more reps per set. The more blood you force into the muscle, the more muscle fiber you can tap into, and force to grow.

Hit your shoulders from all angles. Train each head of the deltoid separately to create balance from front to back. Your cardio training can stay where it is if you wish to maintain where you are right now. If you want to lean up a bit, then increase the amount of time and days per week to at least 45 minutes per session, and 5 times a week. I am training for the Arnold Classic right now and being 8 weeks out, Chad Nicholls, who is preparing both Craig and I, has me doing two sessions of 45 minutes a day, 6 days a week. I am sure it will go up to an hour pretty here pretty soon. I also practice my routine skills- 3 days a week for an hour and a half plus conditioning (push ups, presses, etc.) You are doing great and I really hope my suggestions work out for you. Keep me posted on your results, and thanks for all the support!


Well, that's all for this month folks! Stay tuned for next month's column and details about the 2nd Annual Physique Columbus After Party immediately following the Arnold Classic Saturday, March 6th. Craig and I are so excited because we will be making our first cash award presentation to another IFBB athlete after the success of this event. Come out and mingle with your favorite IFBB Pro's. Hosts include: Craig Titus, Kelly Ryan, Dexter Jackson, Amy Fadhli, Davana Medina, Julie Palmer, Laurie Vaniman, Mari Kudla, Jamie Franklin, Christina Lindley, and Teri Mooney. Special thanks to all the sponsors and

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