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Kelly Ryan's Corner - June 2002!

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

June, 2002 Issue

Hello everyone, I must say that I apologize for the delay in this month's column. I have been really sick for almost two weeks now and I am soooo ready to be well again. This brings to mind questions dealing with keeping your immune system strong during competition season and while traveling. Take it from me folks, keep taking your vitamins and drinking lots of fluids, especially water. Well, we are now on our fourth edition of Kelly's Corner and we are making waves in the fitness world. I have received lots of e-mails saying how much this column has helped them in some way. It is not just me - so THANK YOU everyone for the participation and amazing questions!!!

Q. I am 5'5" and weigh 130 lbs. My biggest trouble spot is my stomach (lower half). I have started going to the gym three times a week for the last month and have been doing both cardio and weight training. I find it difficult though as my blood sugar dops several times throughout the day after I have trained. Do you have any advice on which would be the best way to go about losing weight and what sort of program I should follow for the best results?

A. Well, Lesley I think I have a great answer for you. First for the lower abs, a great way to tone this area up is to do reverse crunches on a decline board or while hanging two or three times a week. Perform three sets of both exercises for twenty-twenty-five reps. The resistance will not only allow the muscle fibers to become denser, but will speed up the overall metabolism of the body with the more muscle you have. There is no such thing as spot reduction. There is however building muscle in an area that is lacking and being able to become leaner. As far as the blood sugar dropping, you should incorporate a meal with complex carbohydrates and a portion of protein immediately after training. This will start the healing process of the muscle fiber and replenish your blood sugar levels. Good luck.

Q. Dear Ms. Ryan, I just finished watching the documentary on the Discovery Channel and you were the fitness competitor that was showcased. Your routines just blew me away. I was amazed at the amount of vertical height and spring in your legs while performing your routines. I wanted to know if you could give me any tips or specific exercises to achieving the same results. I would consider myself to be an avid weight lifter. I workout 5 days a week. Twice a week with weights (total body), once a week with plyometrics, and 3 days aerobically (alternating hard/easy sessions). Any advice you could give me will be deeply appreciated.

A. Thank you very much for watching, and the super nice comment. I know this might sound nuts, but I attribute the height of my jumps, etc. to practicing my routines and tricks three times a week on a spring floor. There was a time where I stopped and only used a hard surface, and boy did I get shin splints and lose power in my legs. I do feel that plyometrics are great, and also that the surface on which you perform them matters as well. If you have a local gymnastics center in your area, I would highly recommend doing your plyo workout on the spring floor. The give of the floor makes your legs work harder, so that when changing over to a harder surface, the strength is already installed in your legs and not trying to be established. I would also like to recommend increasing your weight workout to 3 times a week and splitting up your body parts- pulling movements (upper), legs, pushing movements (upper). It will help improve your leg strength by isolating your training. Happy jumping!

Q. I live in Vancouver, BC and have competed in only three fitness competitions so far. I am on my way to the World Championship and am scared, as I did not expect this sort of achievement so soon! I am 34 and have three children. I am looking for some advice on stage presence and the routine. In my opinion, you should have won the Miss Olympia Fitness. Could you help me in anyway with some advice? It would be a great honor, and thank you in advance for your time.

A. Big congrats on the accomplishments, and there is more where they came from! Enjoy not only the success, but the process in getting there as well. Thanks for the support and here's some advice on both. When on stage, it is always best to look confident and relaxed. If you are not a pro yet, present yourself like one and that is how the judges will see you as well. Take your time in your quarter turns and practice your body placement in the mirror over and over till you feel comfortable with them. Now for the routine. Try to pick music that makes you excited to perform, and is high energy. The judges sit all day watching the show and you want to capture their attention when YOU are on stage. Use the gymnastics as the way to get from one end of the stage to another, not just to do it in a routine. This will help you map out the stage and use every inch of it to your benefit. Possibly use three music changes, tempo changes as well - house then hip-hop back to house or rock-n-roll. It brings variety and great entertainment value to your performance. I hope these ideas help you, and good luck at the Worlds. I know you can do it!!

Q. I have been working out for about 4 years now and it wasn't until the last year or so that I have changed my routine and have become more serious about working out. I workout with a male partner 4 times a week with weights, take kickboxing classes and do a lot of cardio on the machines. I want to enter a figure competition in September. Could you tell me what you know about them? What kind of diet plan should I follow to become leaner, and where do I get posing suits and other products related to competitions as well. Please help me. Good luck to you! You always do well!

A. It truly seems to me that you are on your way with the program you are currently following. The diet program should begin approximately 10 to 12 weeks out from the September date of your show, with cardio twice a day and weights once day five days a week. The diet should consist of five to six small meals, where three of them (breakfast, mid-morning and lunch) should be a complex carbohydrate and a protein. The other two or three should be a protein and veggies (fiberous carbohydrate). You should gage your leanness to be about 10% and probably no leaner. The judging criteria for figure is different from fitness and they do not want any striations or severe muscularity. A great suit designer, (mine as well) is Cynthia James in Florida. or (954) 786-9977. Call her and say I told you to call. For any further questions about the judging or a schedule of shows, contact the NPC office at (412) 276-5027 or Good luck in your show... you will be ready!!!