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Kelly Ryan's Corner - December 2004!

Kelly provides us with a sample quad/glute workout, how to get started into fitness modeling, how to get definition in your arms and more...

Happy Holidays to all and I hope that you have been good this year so that Santa will bring you everything on your wish lists. I have truly been enjoying the time off from competing and dieting so hard and look forward to spending some quality time with my husband Craig, my family and friends.

Aside from all the shopping and eating I have been doing lately there are those hard at work in our industry like Andy Olson of Magna Media who produces the videos of the Olympia competition. Please go to to order yours now! He has just released the coverage of the Fitness Olympia on DVD so be sure to check out the amazing bodies and high energy fitness routines from this year's great show.

Also, the link to this page will also be on the websites of the fitness pro's like myself to make it easier for you to find as well. And now, let's move into this month's Q&A session.

[ Q ] I guess my problem is quite a common one but I would value your advice anyway. I am competing in the IFBB Central American and Caribbean Championships next year and really need help to try and lean out my lower body.

I am an aerobics instructor teaching 10 classes a week that involve a lot of step so my legs are quite solid and muscular but you can't see any definition in my calves, glutes or quads. Will the development become apparent only while I am dieting down, or is there anything I can do now to help things along?

My upper body seems to remain muscular and lean most of the time. I am not carrying a lot of excess body fat in my lower body except for my glutes which really lets me down. Any advice on training or nutrition solutions would be very welcome.


    A. This is such a great question because it does pertain to so many women who are very physically active. I, too, used to be an aerobics instructor for many years and found teaching such a great way to stay in shape, and also stay cardiovascular fit.

    What I would suggest to you is to try to separate your weight training, especially for your lower body, from your classes. Teaching so many classes a week is great but can be very taxing on your body so you have to be careful to not over train. Signs of overtraining are loss of appetite, fatigue, water retention, and loss of strength and endurance when training.

    If you are feeling any of these symptoms then you know you will need to back off you teaching schedule a bit to attain your goal.

    The best way to achieve more definition in your legs is to isolate each muscle group when you design your leg workouts. I would pair your quad training with your glute work and do hamstrings with your calves.

What Are Your Goals?
>Lose Fat
>Build Muscle
>Improve Energy

    This type of training will allow you to do the maximum amount of work each particular area needs. If you say you are not happy with your glutes than train them by performing exercises that are designed to just work your glutes. I promise that with this change alone in your training program, you will see a big difference. Here is a sample of how you would actually do this type of training split:


    This workout specially focuses on just the two areas it is designed to work on and will allow a lot more development to occur. The more lean muscle tissue you can build, the faster your metabolism will become, resulting in a leaner overall package. Now do the same thing with your hamstrings and calves, and see what type of definition you will have.

    I truly believe that the more you train like this, the better your legs will look. Good luck with your upcoming show and think positive, your glutes are going to look amazing on stage.

[ Q ] My name is Sara and I am a recent college graduate who played two intercollegiate sports. I still work out to keep in shape, and I try to eat right but, I am clueless as to what I should do to get started as a fitness model?

I read somewhere that you were from Columbia, South Carolina, is that correct? I am only asking because that is where I currently live. I know you are very busy but if you have the time I would really appreciate some advice.

Thank you,

    A. Well hello my fellow South Carolinian! It is true that I am from South Carolina; I actually lived there for the majority of my childhood which was for eleven years. I graduated from the University of South Carolina and Columbia has grown so much since I have been away.

    Listen, I was in your exact place about ten years ago when fitness competitions came along and changed my life. The best piece of advice I can give you is to first get in touch with a local photographer, maybe through one of the modeling agencies and set up as many photo shoots as possible.

    Get yourself comfortable in front of the camera. Then once you have some great shots, and some with all different types of looks, for example, swimsuit, outdoor, active wear, and head shots. Choose only your best pictures and then put together a press kit with a contact info sheet, and your best shots for each look and send them to the addresses in the fitness magazines.

    Try to send them to the editors of each magazine, like Kerrie Lee Brown is the editor of Oxygen Magazine. This way you know your package will be seen by the right person in charge. Other than this, I would follow up with a phone call to introduce yourself, and see if the package arrived and is in the right person's hands to be seen.

    This whole process is a lengthily one but if you truly work hard and believe in yourself, you will make it. This is my best advice for someone who is just starting out like you. I hope this all works out for you and feel free to keep me posted on everything.

[ Q ] Hi Kelly, I admire you very much and read your articles all the time. I am trying to get in shape especially since in 8 months I am getting married! Unfortunately, I am 5'1 and weigh about 145 pounds.

I am going to be realistic and think in the next 8 months I could lose 20 pounds at the most. I would like to lose at least 10-15 pounds by March and it is now December. This may be unrealistic but could you give me some ideas to jump start my weight loss, what kinds of foods to eat.

A person at my work is a trainer and she advised me to only eat fruits and veggies and drink water to lose weight. Do you think this is healthy?

I would love to hear from you.

    A. Wow, that is awesome news and congratulations on your engagement and upcoming wedding. I know right now is probably pretty stressful with making all of the arrangement s for the special day but do not worry I have some great suggestions for you to get your body looking great by the time you walk down the aisle.

    To lose the type of weight you are talking about it is going to take discipline and lost of hard work, and I can tell from the tone of your e-mail you are ready to do this. To begin, it is most important to get your nutrition program started so here is what I would do if I were you.

    Sample Foods:

    These are the only food groups you will be selecting foods from for your meal plan:

    Protein - Lean chicken, fish, turkey, and egg whites.

    Complex carbohydrates - Whole grains like brown rice, hot cereals like oatmeal and cream of rice, sweet potatoes, no pasta or breads.

    Fibrous carbohydrates - Any green leafy vegetable, and salads of all kinds (vegetables).

    Fats - Nuts like cashews and almonds, olive oil, avocados

    Sample Day:

    Here is a sample of a daily diet: Each meal is 3 hours apart to help build your metabolism and to ensure you are eating the right amount of calories per day. = 1500 per day

      8 a.m. - ? c of oatmeal with 4 egg whites & 1 yolk scrambled

      11 a.m. - Same thing or you can change it to 1/2 c brown rice and 4 ounces of lean chicken breast- grilled

      2 p.m. - Mixed field green salad with 4 ounces of fish, 2 tbsp of olive oil based dressing(wishbone makes a fantastic Balsamic vinaigrette)

      5 p.m. - 4 ounces of lean chicken breast grilled with a side of steamed vegetables (your choice)

      8 p.m. - 4 ounces of grilled fish or turkey or chicken (your choice) with a side salad and chopped cashews ? c on top.

    Drink 1 gallon of water a day for the best digestion and to keep your skin and body healthy.

    Try to do your best with this meal plan; it will take you where you need to be in 8 months. Next you need to increase your activity level by doing some morning cardio sessions, for about 30 minutes to begin each day and you have to do this before your first meal.

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    It is how we competitors burn fat like crazy in order to prepare for a fitness competition. Try to work your way up to 40 min to an hour long session but do this over a period of a few weeks to let your body get adjusted slowly to your new program.

    I believe that by incorporating the increase amounts of activity and by following the new meal plan program, this will definitely kick start your body lie you want to do. Remember to keep yourself motivated by training with a partner to keep you on track when you feel like quitting.

    You can achieve the goal you desire by how serious you are about following a program like this. I know you can do it, so get started right away and let me know how you are progressing!

    Good luck and just do it!

[ Q ] Hi Kelly, I think you are beautiful. You are muscular yet very feminine, which is my goal. I am 41 years old, I have three teenagers, and I am 5'5 and weigh around 125-130 pounds. I have been working out for three years and recently got certified as a fitness trainer.

I am happy with the results of my workouts, but only to a certain degree. I have firmed up my 41 yr old body, but there are things I am not happy with, and that would be that I lack any real definition especially in my arms. This is my true problem area.

People always remark on how big my arms are, but to me they look like tree trunks with NO definition! Please help me! My diet is relatively clean. I have always been into healthy living, so I think my problem is Mac ratios. Will you help me and give me a couple of tips to get over this hump?

Anything would be appreciated!

    A. Thank you so much for your kind words and support. Congrats on your new certification to become a fitness trainer. I think women hang it up once they get into their thirties instead of embracing it and you are going to be a great role model for your clients looking as good as you do at 41!

    One thing you have to keep in mind is that you have been training for three years, but will continue to get better every year you keep training, and that is the beauty of this whole situation.

    Without knowing your exact training schedule and nutrition program you are following, my suggestion to increase the amount of definition of your overall physique is to maybe increase your cardio activity to burn more fat and calories per day. Also like I said in question #2 answer, if you have an area that is stubborn to change, then try to change the way you approach your training of that area or particular body part.

    For example if you arms are big in size but lack definition, then try to lighten up the weights, go for more shaping type of exercises for your biceps and triceps. By increasing the amount of volume and not focusing on how heavy you train your arms, you can shock them by breaking them down by doing more supersets and not letting them rest for a long time in between sets.

    Try doing a workout where you choose two exercises for biceps and do one set of each and then rest. The proper time to rest for this type of training is just time enough for you to stretch out your arms, and then go right back into the intense and high rep range with medium weight.

    Focus on the stretch of each rep and the contraction at the top of the range of movement. By focusing on your technique will also help in creating more shape and definition to your arms. You are on the right track with your body and I feel you will have better results with your arm training and achieve much more definition, which is the end result you desire to achieve. Keep up the great work and training as hard as you do!

[ Q ] I have seen your Q&A posts through and can tell that your recommendations are factual and your opinion is highly sought after. Therefore I am seeking guidance on a workout schedule to fit my work schedule. I am in the Maine Corps presently in Fallujah, Iraq.

I have a physical training regiment that includes strength training for 90 minutes a day on a three on one off cycle with 30 minutes of cardio 3-4 days a week. I am now taking several supplements that include Universal Nutrition's Animal Pak, Animal Stak, and have recently started taking animal cuts.

Now that the fighting in Fallujah is over, I work on a schedule that has me up all night and sleeping all day which provides the problem with my diet to the amount of cardio I do per day. I will be returning home in 12 weeks and currently weigh 210 pounds at 6'2 and I have a 33 inch waist.

What do I need to do to be as shredded as possible to go home looking the best I ever have? What are your recommendations for this challenge?

I appreciate any guidance you can give.

    A. My hats off to you soldier, we are so proud of the strength and courage each one of you stationed over in Iraq possesses in order to fight for our country. It is good news to hear that the fighting in your area has stopped, and I hope it continues so that you may come home safe and sound.

    This will definitely be a great homecoming for you so I will do my best to guide you in the right direction in order to accomplish this task. I must be very honest with you though, your schedule is the main reason why you are not able to achieve the level of leanness you so desire.

    Getting really ripped requires a lot of cardio activity to burn off excess fat and calories. My only suggestion for you to get shredded in 12 weeks is to take those Animal Cuts (thermogenics or fat burners) for extra energy so that when you are finished with your work shift, you train hard, intensely and then hit the cardio for at least 45 min to an hour if possible.

    The extra energy provided by the animal cuts will definitely help you last during the cardio session, even after a long night at work. I know from my competitive experience that the more cardio you do, and by watching what you eat, you will get leaner without sacrificing any muscle at all. Good luck with this program and I hope your homecoming is a memorable one.

That's all for this month's edition of Kelly's Corner, stay tuned for next month's column, it will be packed full of great new ideas on training and nutrition for the New Year. Let's make the most of each year, and by doing so, we will keep working towards our goals in fitness. Happy Holidays everyone!