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Kelly Ryan's Corner - June 2003!

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

June, 2003 Issue

Well, Craig and I just returned from competing in the 25th Annual Night of Champions in New York City. (Results and pics are here.) The show went great and the New York crowd was awesome-loud and definitely rowdy! This time I brought in a smaller more streamlined package and got rewarded big time by the judges in the physique rounds. I backed off the weight training a bit, and used mostly my routine practices to keep my muscle tone. Being five pounds lighter on stage was definitely beneficial to me in the routine rounds and I scored straight ones in both the mandatory routine and two minute performance. Thank you to everyone for their support on line before the show, all the positive and motivational e-mails helped me earn a victory with a 19 point difference between first and second place. I couldn't have done it without all of the amazing support-BIG HUGE THANKS!!!!!!

Craig looked huge, hard and freaky on stage and I am so proud of him for all of his hard work and tenacity. The show was between Craig and Victor Martinez for first and second. Way to go Craig - you were amazing to watch, not to mention Kamali was 35 points behind you on the score sheets and Chicerello was another 12 points behind Kamali. This goes to show that if you stay consistent and focused with your training and diet, the hard work will always pay off.

Now on to this month's questions...

Q. I have been working with a trainer for my first figure competition. The leg training we have been doing has caused my glutes to become toned but also larger than I would like (more of a bubble butt). Do you have any suggestions for shaping my glutes without causing them to get bigger?

A. From the workout regiment you sent to me, your leg training looks perfect. I am not sure why you are upset with having a bubble butt. I know many women who would kill to have glutes like that. You have built muscle in that area now - so be proud of your hard work and your curviness will pay off big time in the physique rounds, especially in Figure. The judges are looking for a more voluptuous, and curvy look with feminine muscle. But to ease your mind, just keep the repetitions high around the 20-25 range and medium intensity weight wise. The workload will come from the longer sets, not the amount of weight used, and this will keep your glutes tight without stimulating any new growth. Good luck in your show and keep me posted on how you do!

Q. Dear Kelly, during contest preparation, in order to achieve the low level of body fat and very lean appearance, such as you did in the 2002 Fitness Olympia, how much cardio do you do per day, not including routine practice? How many weeks out do you start this? Thanks so much!

A. First of all to answer your question, pre-contest I begin my cardio about 10 weeks out. In the beginning of my career, when I had more baby fat and less mature muscle, I would begin at the 12 week point for every show. Now that I have been competing for 8 years (whoa LOL) I have been able to start my cardio and contest prep closer to the show.

What I am getting at is the amount of cardio you do depends on the condition you are in at that time. On the days I have routine practice, I use my morning practice as my morning cardio session, and then do 1 hour of cardio at night after my weight training. On the days I do not have routine practice; I do 45 minutes to an hour in the morning before I eat breakfast, then another hour at night after weight training.

Remember if you start to lose weight too quickly, slowly back off the cardio by reducing the amount of time per session. For example - cut the time amount down to 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. Adjust your cardio as you go, and by how you are looking. Hope this helps.

Q. I am 19 yrs old, 5'6", weigh 150 lbs. and have a large frame so I know that I could never weigh 120 lbs. My current body fat is at 24%, which disgusts me and I am not exactly sure why this is because I have been an athlete all my life playing multiple sports. I changed my diet to eating 6 small meals with my first two meals being protein and carbs, and the rest with protein and veggies. I can only seem to follow this exactly for about 3 days before I feel the need to eat badly. Also could you help me with my cardio as well, how much and when to do it? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A. First of all try not to be so hard on yourself. Your body responds to negative thought just as it would high levels of stress, it breaks down muscle fiber and that is not something you want to happen. Think positively because you are doing great with your nutrition.

I would suggest adding in a cheat meal on Wednesdays and Sundays to break up your food intake for the week. A cheat meal can be a piece of pizza or a piece of chocolate cake - but not the entire pizza or cake. This will cause your body's metabolism to speed up and re-motivates you to follow your program again. Protein bars are okay and can be used to support your program not substitute for real food. A lot of times the wrappers are not rue to what they have in them, but are better than candy or chips because of the amount of protein they contain.

I use protein bars as snacks when I am on the go or in my car and running all day long, they are easy to carry and quick to eat. This is ONLY if I do not have time to eat a regular meal. To answer your second question, I would recommend doing cardio 4-5 times a week and for 45 minutes to an hour. A great way to burn body fat is to do your cardio in the morning before you eat breakfast. Gauge yourself throughout the week, and take a day of rest in the middle of the week to break up the routine and allow your body to recover properly.

Sometimes a day of rest will cause you to put more intensity back into your workouts because you feel rested and fresh from your day off. Remember to stay positive and go for it!

Q. I just read an article in Physical Magazine where you said that you did intensive massage therapy to break down your obliques. What kind of massage was it and how often did you do this? I have thick obliques and would like to make them smaller. Also I need some width to my shoulders and lats, do you have any suggestions for widening my upper body? I'm 5'7" and have a difficult time adding size. Thanks for being such a great motivator and inspiration to all of us new to the sport.

A. Fantastic! Thanks for the nice compliment and it is my pleasure to bring all of you the best information I can. When I lived in Los Angeles I started doing massage therapy with an IFBB Pro bodybuilder's wife. Not only was she a massage therapist but she understood the needs a bodybuilder's and fitness athlete. It was her idea to begin the oblique work and I must say that it changed my physique dramatically. My oblique muscles were so developed from all the years of sports and gymnastics as a child.

Breaking down this type of muscle is painful and time consuming. But when you see the results it is well worth the time and effort. My massage therapist would perform deep tissue muscle massage once a week for months at a time. Depending on my bank account, I would pick up an extra session before a competition if I could, but once a week is definitely sufficient. I hope it works for you as well.

To bring out the width of your upper body I would suggest you priority train your back and shoulders each week. I focused mainly on my upper lat tie INS with wide grip pull ups using my own body weight. My front delts were developed already so I focused mainly on my medial delts, with side lateral raises with dumbbells, and my rear delts with reverse presses on the pec deck machine (see picture to right). Building your medial and rear delt will definitely create the width you need. Training your back with the main focus on the upper lat tie in, will develop that great V-taper the judges look for in the physique rounds.

If you have trouble adding size, try some Creatine for added strength and better contractions in the muscles. Pinnacle/Bodyonics makes an amazing Creatine called Juiced Creatine with Myozap. The Myozap actually works by stabilizing a chemical in the body call Myostatin that prohibits the building of muscle. If you knock out the Myostatin, muscle building can occur and growth can be achieved. Try it out - it is a fantastic new product on the market with research to back up its claims!

Q. My question is mainly about nutrition. I feel like I have the training and cardio down. But eating is another story. My worst time is after lifting, I could eat a horse! I feel that I get an adequate amount of protein, but I stress out about the carbs. I just don't see the muscle development happening like it should. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

A. Nutrition makes up 80% of your program so it is really important for you to understand each food group and how it works in the body. The reason why you seem so hungry after your training session is because you have used up all the glycogen stores in your muscles while training.

The carbohydrates provide your body with energy in the form of glycogen. Your body uses this glycogen to build muscle while you are training and will crave more once it is burned off. The reason why you are so hungry is because you might not be getting enough carbs (glycogen) in your diet.

The best time to eat carbs is in the morning to mid-afternoon. Combine a serving of protein with one serving of complex carbs for breakfast, and either mid-morning meal or lunch. After lunchtime, switch your carb source to more fibrous carbs like green leafy vegetables and maintain your servings of protein with each of these meals. Your body will use these carbs for energy and intensity in your training sessions without letting it be stored as fat.

You are also not seeing the amount of muscle definition and development because of the lack of carbs in the diet. Once you fix this, your body will totally change I promise. So don't eliminate your carbs, use them to fuel your workouts and promote muscle building in your body. Get the results you desire with the amount of effort you are putting in. Go get em!

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