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Kelly Ryan's Corner - August 2003!

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

August, 2003 Issue

Hey everyone! I sure hope you all are enjoying the summer. I took a month off of training and dieting so strict and let me tell you, it sure did me some good. I feel like a new woman going back into the gym now and my body feels totally refreshed at gymnastics/routine practice three times a week again. I think the hardest thing to do sometimes is to take a step back and let your mind and body take a breather from all the hard training and restricted nutrition. From competing so often over the last eight years already, I never gave myself any time off. I have always been one of those people who started their next contest planning the very next week after each show. The thing I noticed most about this break was that my face has fattened back out again. Over dieting, or dieting too often, seemed to completely deplete my face. I am also getting the best pumps in my life! Every workout feels amazing again and my recovery time is back to normal. The reason why I am telling all of you this is to show that even as a Pro, we become so driven on making improvements to our physiques that we forget one of the most important parts of training, rest.

On another note, I have been receiving your e-mails and cannot believe the results people are having by sharing these questions with each other. We are all after similar goals of improving the quality of our lives by increasing our health and strengthening and shaping our bodies. Keep up the great work everyone!

Now on to this month's questions...

Q. I have been using tanning beds for some time now but am slowly finding out that using these beds can cause the skin to lose elasticity and wrinkle. I just turned 30 and I don't need to increase my chances of getting wrinkles. What sunless tanning lotion do you use or would you recommend?

A. I couldn't agree with you more. Unfortunately I have to use tanning beds myself for my shows and have learned how to cut down on the tanning time, to where it is just six weeks out from show time. I have found a sunless tanner that I like because of the natural brown color it gives the skin, even if you are white as a ghost before application. I cannot stand that orange glow some of the self-tanners give you, and tried out so many I cannot even count before I found this product. The self tanning lotion I prefer is called SUN. It comes in a white bottle with yellow and purple writing on it. I buy my bottles of SUN at a salon for about $25 a bottle. I apply it with latex gloves as evenly as possible all over my body, and within three hours, the color starts to set in. By the next day, you will have a nice, natural golden tan. Be sure to let your skin dry before putting your clothes on. This lets the color set in better without any streaking.

Now for on stage or my competitions, it is a completely different story. I tan for six weeks before applying my Jan Tana Show Tan with an airbrush compressor. Go to to buy your compressor now and then buy the Show Tan from for a better price. It only takes me about 15 minutes to tan my husband Craig's body. With Pro Tan it takes me at least half an hour to an hour per coat. UGH! Once you've used Jan's method, you will never go back to any other tanning process again.

Q. I have been an athlete since the age of 10. I played college softball and worked out everyday, but not too hard. I have not been active for five years. Recently I have gotten back the drive to weight train again to try to build some muscle mass. I feel as though I should try to lose weight first before I start training again. What is the best way to approach this and what supplements should I try? Please help me. What type of program I should focus on?

A. I have actually answered a question like this before in one of my past columns but as the industry continues to change with modern research and science so do the supplements. My choice of certain supplements has changed and yet some have stayed the same.

But not to get ahead of myself... to answer the first question, you will lose the weight as you begin your training again. You do not need to drop weight before adding weighted resistance to your program. Doing cardio plus weight training will burn 50% more fat and calories than with just cardio alone. You see, lean muscle mass will actually speed up your body's metabolism. When you have muscle, the body has to work harder and take in more calories just to exist or survive. Over the years, I find it easier to stay in shape now because I have already built my body up and now I train to fine tune or maintain it. Kick your program off with a bang, and get on those weights, girl! Try to stay as consistent as possible and with the right intensity, your training will make life a lot easier for you in the near future. Use this thought as motivation and remember that a three day a week with weights and four day a week cardio program should do wonders for you. Check out some of my past columns for more specific training regiments.

As far as supplements go, you will need the following: a great protein powder, Glutamine, Creatine, Multivitamin, and Thermogenic for fat burning and energy. Juiced Protein by Pinnacle - with Myosin - is the best protein on the market right now. MyoZap knocks out or cancels a molecule produced in our body's called Myostatin that reduces our muscle building potential. Plus this protein goes down smooth and tastes GREAT! Xenadrine is the number one thermogenic and I used it to prepare for the Night of Champions Fitness where I won by 19 points. Xenadrine gives me energy and burns fat like crazy. Omega VM is a multi vitamin, multi mineral supplement that is high in omega-3 fatty acids to support cardiovascular health. Last to save you money but not miss out on any results, try Juiced Creatine by Pinnacle. It has both glutamine and creatine in its' low carb formula with Myozap to boost anabolic (muscle building) properties.

Q. I am 20 years old, began seriously weight training three months ago, and I eat very healthy. I eat fruits, veggies, lean meats, and yogurt, along with a Whey protein supplement. My problem is that I am not getting good results with my lower body. I am having trouble getting cut and defined like you. And even though I do plenty of cardio, jump rope, and lift till my muscles burn and I cannot lift another pound, I have never been sore the next day. Does this mean that my muscles will not develop? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

A. Let me begin by saying don't worry, your muscles will develop we just need to make a few adjustments. First, your nutrition sounds okay, but in order for me to look like I do on stage, I do not eat fruit or any dairy products. I eat 5-6 times a day with each meal consisting of 4 oz. of meat and 1 serving of a complex (starch) carb (25-30 grams) for my first three meals. My last two meals are the same with the protein and I change my complex carbs to fibrous (vegetables). This subtle change for you will make a world of difference.

Second, you are not getting sore because you are overtraining. You are not giving your body a chance to recover before the next pounding workout begins. Your leg definition will improve by backing down all the impact on your legs. Try walking on an incline treadmill for cardio, or riding the bike. Divide your leg training up into two different workouts. I do back/hamstrings and calves on one day, and quads/glutes another. The different leg training days will also allow your legs to recover better. Remember that you break down muscle fibers when you train and the nutrition and rest is what allows them to rebuild themselves along with new muscle fiber. Good luck and keep me posted.

Q. What types of foods are best used as fat sources?

A. Nuts such as cashews and almonds are good. Clean oil sources like Flax seed oil, Virgin Olive oil, Borage seed oil, and Safflower oil are good. Try cold-water fish such as Orange Roughy, Salmon, and Red Snapper. Also, foods such as Avocado and natural peanut butter (in moderation of course). These are all excellent fat sources and can be rotated into your nutrition program so that your body never becomes used to one type. I also prefer to keep my fat intake to times when my meals consist of only protein and vegetables. Complex carbs and fats fight for the same thing-to be used for energy. Keep it simple and make it enjoyable. I use nuts a lot, instead of swallowing a spoonful of Flax seed oil - UGH! You can decide for yourself.

Q. Hi Kelly, my name is Frank and I have been a big fan of yours for a long time. My question to you is how do you get your legs in such fantastic shape? They are amazing. I am trying to build my calves and am doing calf raises all the time. They are getting bigger but what else can I do? I know you did gymnastics; did you do a lot of weight training while you did gymnastics because your legs are so big and muscular? Thanks and I look forward to hearing back from you.

A. Thank you so much for the compliment! I have been blessed with good genetics from my athletic parents, especially my Mom. Big legs run in her side of the family and that's where I get my calves from. You should see my older brother's - crazy I tell ya. Genetics play a huge part in muscle size but so does activity. What you are doing to increase the size of your calves is great. Try an exercise called the Donkey Calf Raise (shown to the right using a machine), Seated Calf Raises, Calf Raises on the Leg Press, and I even do calf raises while I walk the stairs (the Gauntlet) at my gym.

I practice three times a week all my routine skills and tumbling on a spring floor at a gymnastics Studio called Go For It in Las Vegas and that type of workout really works my legs. While in the gym, I train legs very intensely. A great workout for you would be to do 10 rep max sets with only 30 - 60 seconds of rest in between. Find your max weight on each exercise and do sets of 10 with your max weight. By the third set you will be barely making rep 8 or 9. This really forces glycogen into the muscle because you do not have a lot of time to rest and fully recover to go heavy again in the next set. This method has been researched and proven for bodybuilders to gain strength but most importantly gain muscle size. Give this a shot and let me know how it works for you.

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