Need Help? Customer Support 1-866-236-8417

Kelly Ryan's Corner - April 2002!

Kelly Ryan's exclusive area for answering your fitness questions.

April, 2002 Issue

Wow, I would first like to say thanks to Bodybuilding.Com for giving me this awesome opportunity to talk to the fans, and to you, the fans, for the amazing response to this new column on Bodybuilding.Com. I received a ton of e-mails at with nothing but positive feedback and great questions for me to answer. I always believe that success will happen if you work hard enough, and by you all sending me questions each month, we will work hard together to achieve our goals! So let's get down to business shall we...

Q. I am competing in the NPC Pittsburgh Championship May 4th in the Women's Open Division and am thinking of just using meal replacements (MRPs) for the last 10 days before the contest. Is this a good or bad idea?

A. Well Loraine, first of all: Good Luck, Kick Butt and Take Names (KB&TN) J. Secondly, I definitely do not advise you to do this because eating real food takes more energy to digest, resulting in burning more body-fat, and makes it easy to monitor the amount of sodium and sugar in food. Using Meal replacements are great but these last days are the most important days of your contest prep. Meal replacements can also contain products that will bloat you or cause water retention, and as a bodybuilder, you definitely do not want that to happen. Remember that what you can control will always be easier to work with in the end.

Q. My problem has always been around my waist. I'm 5feet 11 inches tall , weigh 180 lbs. I have been eating right, taking Creatine, and whey protein shakes, but cannot seem to get rid of the "bloat" feeling and cramps in my stomach. Why is my stomach not getting down when my fat and calorie intake has improved?

A. Well Joe from Ohio, I must say that it sounds like the bloating and cramps are coming from the Whey protein and Creatine you are taking. Whey protein comes from dairy, which usually causes bloating and stomach cramps in Lactose intolerant people. There are great protein powders out there like Biochem's Ultimate Lo-Carb Whey that remove the lactose from their whey by a special process. This not only aids in digestion but also absorption of the protein. Creatine is also known for producing stomach cramps when it is taken on a daily basis. It is best to cycle your intake of Creatine for a few weeks and then come off of it. By changing up the manufacturer of protein you use and reducing the time period in which you use Creatine, this should help the symptoms you are suffering from. Glutamine is a great supplement to substitute instead of Creatine. It is easy on the digestive system and awesome for muscle recovery and protection.

Q. I have been told by my trainer to use MCT oil in my diet when I am trying to lean out for a show. Do you use it, and do you think it an effective supplement?

A. Lori, your trainer was right when he/she told you that MCT oil helps control food cravings for sugar, and stimulates energy when you are dieting on low carbohydrates. MCT oil is a great way to supplement added fats into your diet and keep the metabolism running properly. When you diet for a show, you are reducing calories and increasing the amount of activity. This burns fat and calories and allows the body to become leaner, but by reducing the amount of calories, you reduce the amount of fats your body is typically used to. Keeping your fat intake to just what is in your animal proteins can cause your hair, skin and nails to become dry and brittle. Your mood swings will become more radical and your energy will decrease. By using a good soluble, fat supplement, these symptoms will not occur and your metabolism will continue to work effectively and efficiently. I use MCT oils only for pre-contest dieting and have had amazing results with my conditioning, and fullness to my muscle bellies by the time of the show.

Q. I would like to ask you a question relating to the esthetics of being in the fitness industry. I am interested in having a portfolio done, but I am considering having my nose done beforehand. Is it true that after surgery you cannot train for 4-6 weeks, and how long will it take for the swelling to go down and you to feel comfortable with how you looked?

A. Nicole you are asking not only a great question, but also a question that a lot of women would like to know but don't have the courage to ask. I will be completely honest with you because this is a special topic. Cosmetic surgery is something you have to put time and effort into. I interviewed seven doctors before having my nose done because it is important to find a doctor that makes you feel comfortable, and confident in his/her abilities. I chose Dr. George Brennan of the Brennan Institute (949) 644-1641 because I know some of his patients in our industry and really liked his work. He also listened to what I wanted and discussed in detail what to expect. It is true that you will not be able to train four to six weeks after the surgery. The duration of swelling depends on your body personally. I have a fast metabolism, so my swelling went down faster than my girlfriend who doesn't work out did. I was doing photo shoots approximately five weeks after the surgery, but it takes a good year for the nose to completely settle. To ease your mind about the duration of time off from training, you may still do cardio if it is the non-impact type. Dr. Brennan let me ride the stationary bike and recumbent bike as well. This keeps your head up and in a neutral position. Lastly Nik, take your time with your decision and make sure that the change will make you happy first and foremost.

Q. I am 37 years old, 5' 3", 120 lbs., and have 20% body fat. I would like to get down to 15% body fat and, be able to maintain it. What is a good formula for how much carbs Vs protein Vs cardio? What is a good time frame to expect results? Lastly, do you think that diet or cardio is more catabolic to muscle mass?

A. Jill, sounds to me like you don't want to lose any muscle and just shed fat- well I can help. As a fitness athlete, it takes a lot of cardio to get in shape for not only the routine rounds, but the physique rounds as well. Protecting muscle is a primary goal otherwise you come in stringy and too thin. My husband Craig has worked with me extensively to change my body and this is the ratio for dieting that has helped me the most. I use at least one serving of protein (4-6 oz) with each of my six meals a day. With my first three to four meals, I pair one serving of complex carbs (20-30 GMS) with each protein. After my fourth meal, I always switch over to one serving of fibrous carbs and pair them with a protein. This enables me to have energy throughout the day for routine practice, weight training, and cardio. The fibrous carbs in the late afternoon and evening fill me up but contain fewer calories for my body to store overnight while at rest. I feel that both cardio and diet can be catabolic if overdone. What you eat makes up 80% of the program and your exercise regiment or activity burns off the fat and calories. Balance is the key so I recommend to do your cardio first thing in the morning to burn fat, eat a great breakfast to refill your glycogen stores, then its off to the gym to hit the weights. This will help you lose the body fat and keep putting on adequate muscle mass as well. A last idea for your program is to take the supplement Glutamine. It is used before and after training, as well as one scoop before bedtime. This supplement seriously protects muscle and aids in the recovery after training.

Q. I am 17 years old and have been working out for one year. I need to lose about 20 lbs. to be cut, and need a diet that is compact and one that I can do. I know what to eat but eating all the time is so hard. I also don't eat eggs, and use a protein shake instead.

A. I will first start out by saying I think it is great you are already training at your age. If you already know the right things to eat, you've won half the battle so let's try to find a diet for you to reach your goal. This will be a diet easy and quick to prepare. Breakfast: 1/2 c. of oatmeal and 1 scoop protein, mid morning meal: MRP or meal replacement shake, lunch: 1 med. Potato with 4 oz. Chicken or tuna in a can, mid-afternoon: MRP, Dinner: mixed green salad with 4 oz chicken or tuna in a can, 1-2 scoops of protein shake before bed. This is not only convenient but also, timeless in preparation. All of the shakes you can do on the go or right before a class. It is important for you to get these meals in order to lose the 20 lbs. because your metabolism will speed up by eating every three hours, and with your training and cardio, the protein vs. carb ratio will help you build muscle and lose body fat. Can't wait to hear the results!

Well, it's time to run to the gym myself. I'm four weeks out from the Southwest Texas Pro Show May 3rd. The support we give each other is what makes the journey so fun so keep those questions coming and I'll always do my best to give you all the best answers I can.