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Kelly Ryan's Corner - November 2005!

Welcome to this month's edition of Kelly's Corner and boy do I have a lot of great things to discuss with all of you. Find out about backstage experience, lower back on males, losing the fat, and more. Read on...

Hey everyone, I hope all of you enjoyed your Halloween parties and all the good tasting candy because now it is crunch time. I was impressed with the questions I was e-mailed over the past weeks and so I am more than excited to get right to this month's edition of Kelly's Corner. But first I have just a few announcements as always to keep you faithful readers in the now with the fitness industry.

It seems as though the Olympia weekend this year was quite different than all the past years' events due to the venue change from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to the Orleans Hotel and Casino, being the host hotel and competition venue, and the Las Vegas Convention Center as the location for the fitness Expo.

Most of the supplement companies reported that the expo was great because so many of the fans stayed the entire duration of each days schedule at the Convention Center rather than fight the Las Vegas strip traffic in order to see each of the men's and women's rounds of competition.

Next, I was told that the overall production of the show was rated less than fair due to technical problems with the sound system and the emcees announcing the wrong names as each athlete was introduced on stage. A few athletes were not even called out by their name as they walked on stage, which is disappointing to say the least with all the hard work it takes to even compete in this prestigious event.

On a positive note a big congrats goes out to each of this years' winners and some newly crowned champions, all of your hard work and dedication paid off, and enjoy this coming year to celebrate and market yourself using the highly respected Olympia Champion title!

The Las Vegas news update for this month is the grand opening of our retail clothing store called Ice Gear & More. We will be selling the amazing and creatively designed sportswear line of training gear, super chic cotton and velour sweat suits, silky-textured under garments for both men and women.

Stay tuned to next month's column for updates on the grand opening of the US exclusive, Las Vegas Ice Gear & More store. And now on to the column!

[ Q ] Dear Kelly,

I am getting ready for my very first figure show and I am currently just 2 weeks out. What do you do when you are backstage getting ready to go out on stage in order to keep yourself from getting so nervous and stressed out?

    A: Well Megan, that is a great question and one I am not asked very often. There are a few things that you can do to ease your time backstage prepping for each round of competition that will not only dissolve any feelings of self doubt but insure you that you are both physically and mentally ready for each round of competition.

    There Are No "Shoulda's, Woulda's, or Coulda's".

      One thing that I feel is so important to do is to say to yourself there are no "shoulda's, woulda's, or coulda's" in your mind before the date of your competition even comes. This saying basically means that when you step on stage you have done everything in your control in order to be fully prepared and confident against your competition.

      Click Image To Enlarge.
      Craig Titus Tapes Up Kelly Ryan's Injured Calf.

      Ideas or areas that come to my mind are, did you train hard enough and get in the best shape possible for this show, or did you lag in your cardio sessions, skip meals, or for fitness, not practice your fitness routine until its' perfect? If you can answer yes, to each of these questions, then you are ready for your show!

    Plan Ahead.

      Next, plan ahead. Organizing your suitcase for backstage is the best way to eliminate problems. Group each suit, pair of shoes, with its necessary accessories and place them in a single bag for each particular round. This step saves you time, and headache of trying to find what jewelry goes with what costume when you should be pumping up for the physique round like everyone else.

    Visualization Exercises.

      Lastly, I recommend visualization exercises, to sharpen your mental awareness and put you "in the zone" so to speak.

      Being mentally focused keeps you right on track like a machine going through its' daily tasks calmly but aggressively.

      In conclusion, prepare yourself to the fullest by completing the phrase there are no "shoulda's woulda's or coulda's" in your mind when you step on stage. Planning ahead and organizing your suitcase for backstage, by keeping everything you will need for each individual round in a single bag that is easy to access.

      Click Image To Enlarge.
      Focus On The Task At Hand.

      The last step to take to eliminate nerves is to perform visualization exercises. Focus your mind on nothing but the task at hand, as well as, mentally process and go over the day of the show repeatedly and with little to no distractions.

      These preventative yet offensive contest prep steps will help you make each time you step on stage the best experience ever!

[ Q ] Kelly,

I have always wanted to ask you this next question. How far in advance do you switch your food and training if you are thinking about doing a competition?

The majority vote is to do this at least twelve weeks out from the date of the show. Is this true, or since it is my first contest ever, should I give myself more time?

CJ Cummings

    A: The idea behind preparing for a contest date is to give yourself enough time to get adjusted to a new eating and activity program so that your body's natural rhythm becomes equal or greater to that of the competitions'.

    The idea of dieting for twelve weeks came from the fact that three months gives your body enough time to lose weight at a healthy yet rapid rate, but does not allow too much time to become sick and counter productive.

    Eating a super restrictive diet along with high amounts of activity can lower the body's immune system and slow down your metabolism as a negative result. Therefore the idea of three months or twelve weeks was established as the typical; contest prep duration.

    From experience, it always took me the first three weeks to switch over my food and get rid or decrease the amount of cheats or junk food I consumed. This was pretty consistent with every contest prep I ever did throughout my career.

    My sources for each food group changed from for example, with protein, steak to chicken and fish because steak takes up to 8 hrs to digest and chicken and fish are lower in fat and easier to consume every three hours.

    For my complex carbohydrate sources, I would switch from more simple sugar type of carbs, and sweets to more fiber based and complex carbs like potatoes, and high fiber cereal like oatmeal or oat bran.

    Lastly I would clean up my fibrous carbs by not using real salad dressing or any added toppings on my salads or bowls of steamed vegetables. You will learn to flavor your food with seasonings and substitutes to avoid consuming unwanted fats and calories that will only slow down the rate of your body's progress.

    Keep your meal plans simple and avoid setting yourself up for failure by not setting goals to high when just beginning your new program. I feel that even though it is your first competition, you will be able to gage how much time you will need according to how quickly your body has changed so far.

    Keep your chin up and your mind thinking only positive thoughts!

    Good luck!

[ Q ] Dear Kel,

I am a die-hard bodybuilding fan and have been going to the major competitions for some time now. One thing that I have noticed is that it is hard for male competitors to lean out in certain areas such as the lower back. This seems to be a place on the body that the judge's use to gage a competitor's level of conditioning. Why do you think this is true, and what can be done about it?

    A: Frank, thanks for your question and I find it so interesting that you noticed the same thing I have come to learn with my husband's as well as many other top pros' physiques.

    My pro bodybuilder husband has a degenerated the L5, and L6 in his mid to lower back region which prevents him from getting extremely ripped muscularly speaking.

    Click Image To Enlarge.
    Anatomy Of The Spine.

    I had a great conversation with my ART Doctor (Active Release Therapy) about this and what should have been so obvious to me so far had not. Dr. Jon Petick of the LVPRC explained to me that because of this spinal condition in my husband's back, he was compensating by either avoiding heavy back work that required the muscles around those areas to work extremely hard or simply that he was not training his back by using a range of motion deep enough to engage those back muscles weakened by this type of condition.

    He then quickly got into the position for performing single-arm lat row exercises. The negative or downward stroke of the arm was the same as a typical lat row, just to extend and get a good stretch at the bottom of the movement.

    What was new and scientifically proven at the most recent conference Dr. Petrick had just attended where electrodes were attached to a man's back muscles to see and prove what range of motion caused which muscles to fire and engage properly.

    The major difference between what Craig had been doing and what the doctor showed me was that the elbow, on the upward or pulling stroke, need to pass the torso and then curve into the body toward the spine as if it were wrapping itself around the lower back.

    The elbow did not just pass the level of the body or torso, it now curved in towards the spine on an angle only requiring the shoulder to rotate slightly but yet still allowing the chest to stay parallel to the ground.

    In an instant I completely understood how this could solve the problem of carrying water in the lower back for a male bodybuilder. The research proved that there was actually a 25% increase in the amount of muscular activity involved in each repetition's contraction at the top of the movement, and all just from changing the range of motion.

    I love it when I learn something new about resistance training, the way our body's move and bend is truly fascinating to me and having the research to back it up on solidifies my trust in this new theory.

    I hope this helps clear up this problem so often seen with male bodybuilders dieted down and depleted of water on stage.

[ Q ] Hi, and thanks for answering my e-mail, not all pro's take the time to do so and your experience can really help me with my problem.

I am a 26 year old female, with the problem or issue of having a more muscular lower body than my upper, and desires to establish a balance between the two somehow through my weight training.

What exercises and for what body parts would you recommend for accomplishing this? I have always been very leg dominant due to the sports I played in school like soccer and volleyball. It would be so nice to look in the mirror and feel good about my body for once in my life.

Thanks for your help and keep on rocking' the fitness stage!

    A: Melissa, let me tell you that the issue that you think is such a problem is what most women complain about, so do not worry okay, you at least have muscular and shapely legs!

    It is true and totally correct what you said about weight training being able to correct this and establish a sense of balance between your upper body and lower body.

    The muscles or body parts to target or priority train are the shoulders, and back muscles, particularly the upper, outer back for increasing the width and creating a V-Taper.

    A V-Taper is the width of the shoulders compared to the narrowness of the waist. In fitness, bodybuilding and figure, judges score and rate competitors on how distinct and apparent the V-taper of their physique is to the eye.

    To balance the rest of the upper body requires training the chest and arms as well, so that no individual muscle group overshadows another.

    The term priority training means to train those muscle groups that you feel need to be worked the most often become the object of your ambition and trained more often in your training program's rotation.

    For example, speaking from personal experience, I did not really have much of a V-Taper at all when I began to compete in fitness competitions so I priority trained my shoulders and back.

    My arms grow at a faster rate than any other body part besides my legs so I knew that by training my shoulders and back heavy (weight wise) it would also result in keeping my biceps and triceps in shape.

    Sample Workout For Shoulders:

    Military Presses:
    3 sets of 12-15 reps with med to heavy weight

      Palms face the mirror when holding free weights and press dumbbells straight up over your head. This can be performed seated or standing, but I recommend seated (for better back support and leverage) for the heavier weighted sets.

    Side Lateral Raises:
    3 sets of 10-12 reps pyramiding up in weight per set

      Begin with 7 lb dumbbells for the first set, and move up to 10 lb dumbbells second set, and finish with 15 lb dumbbells for the third and final set to failure. Stand with feet hips distance apart and slightly bend the elbows when holding the dumbbells with palms facing in towards each other.

      Lift the arms directly out to the side by leading with the top of the forearm to the elbow first and engage a peak contraction at the top of the range of motion by tilting the pinky side of the dumbbell up higher when the arms are at their highest position laterally.

      This slight rotation of the dumbbell will only enhance the contraction of the medial or middle head of the shoulder (deltoid) creating the roundness to the shoulder cap and overall width as well. The fuller the shoulder cap and more developed the medial head is, the wider your upper body will become visually.

    Rear Delt Flies On Pec Deck Machine:
    3 sets of 10-12 reps pyramiding up in weight on slightly each set.

      It is important to first understand and feel the connection between the mind and the rear delt, since it is not a most commonly used head of the shoulder (deltoid). Sit with your chest facing inward on pec deck machine and with hands placed on handles, thumbs down and pinkies up, press the handles out and back by leading with the outer portion of the hand and elbow to squeeze the rear delts at the end of the movement.

      It is important to keep the traps out of this movement as much as possible by keeping your chest up and shoulders down during each repetition.

    Standing, Straight Bar Upright Rows:
    3 sets of 12-15 to finish the workout and place enough weight on the bar to be completely fatigued by the 10th-15th rep each set.

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      Place the hands at least shoulder width apart on the bar and roll your knuckles down towards the floor. Stand with knees slightly bent and begin the rowing movement by leading with the elbows first to ensure the rear (posterior) delt is engaged. Lift the bar in an upward motion toward your chin and squeeze into the contraction by then pulling the bar slightly back into the body.

      Each rep should look as if you are going to hit yourself in the face with the bar. And the angle of the movement is a slight curve from an upward motion to a slight pull backward at the top. Remember that the closer the hands, the more the trap muscles are engaged, so widen the grip to concentrate on the rear delts.

    I know that this workout works and trust that in the first month of training like this, you will see a definite improvement in the shape and size of your deltoids or shoulders! Stay positive and believe that with hard work and dedication, you will accomplish the results you desire.

[ Q ] I have been a fan of yours forever! I have been training seriously for 5 yrs and had just been hired as a spokesmodel for Met-Rx and a few other companies besides being hired as a trophy girl for NPC Shows. It all came to a screeching hault in 2003 when I was involved in a serous car accident leaving me with permanent spinal damage.

I could not move let alone train and the supplement program I was following caused me to keep gaining weight after the accident. Eight months later I became pregnant with my first baby, but no matter what I did or ate, I just kept gaining weight. Eighty pounds later my daughter is now 9 months old and I just finally got permission to start training on a limited basis.

Walking, and training by using machines only is what I have been cleared for by my doctor. However we do not have the money for gym memberships and on a personal level I feel like my overall sex appeal and marriage has suffered because of the weight gain. I need to get this stupid weight off, so can you help me?

My fitness friends all ditched me after I left the scene and I feel very alone in all of this with little motivation around me to keep going. Thank you for your time!

    A: It is not a problem to help you and it is also my pleasure to do so as well! Audrey, I can only share with you that I have felt like you before in my life when I suffered from extreme Bulimia for almost 11 straight years.

    The constant feeling of depression consumes your every thought of each day and the idea of your situation not improving seems more evident each waking day.

    You are not alone by thinking this way or feeling these emotions, and each day from this point on, will bring new and brighter moments into your daily life. The most positive thing to remember here is that you were once in shape so your body recognizes this with its muscle memory.

    This means that once you begin training again, you can and WILL achieve the same type of physique you once had but even better. You have to believe in yourself and tell yourself something positive each and every day. You will achieve the results by motivating yourself by creating a positive mindset first, and then everything else will fall into place.

    My first piece of advice is to increase the amount of activity you do each day by waking for your cardio exercise for at least 30 min a day 4-5 times a week to start. Then add time to each session as each week passes, until you are walking up to an hour a day everyday except Sundays to rest.

    Next change or restructure your eating habits to fit the 5-6 small meals a day, and consume one meal every three hours. This will kick start your metabolism and aid in the reduction of body fat.

    If a gym membership is out of the question then make your own exercise regiment up at home. Soup cans and milk jugs make great free-weights and a broomstick can certainly substitute for a straight bar.

    Sample Home Workout:

    Here is what a home workout looks like:

    Soups Can Presses - Just like military presses for your shoulders, superset this with both side lateral raises and upright rows.

    Move to lower body by placing broomstick on shoulders and perform squats in reps of 15-20. Go back to upper body with soup can curls and kickbacks for the biceps and triceps.

    Perform another set of standing squats with broomstick with reps of 15-20.

    Repeat this series again by moving from upper to lower body exercises called PHT (Peripheral Heart Training) - Forcing the blood to flow from the upper to lower body extremities and burns fat and calories at an increased rate.

    Next alternate back and chest exercises with each other by performing single arm lat rows with your soup cans and then slowly move to the floor to do knee push-ups to build and strengthen your chest and arms in a position that will help support your lower back.

    After each row-pushup set, perform stationary lunges with 10 reps per leg by holding soup cans for resistance.

    Again repeat this cycle three times through before moving on. Finish the workout with some basic abdominal crunches on the floor with your feet flat, and elevated on a chair positions. Your abdominal training will reduce back pain and strengthen your torso as well.

    Stretching is a must for you to increase flexibility and prevent any other injuries from occurring. Performing simple stretches in between sets of exercises is a great way to set the tempo of your workouts and allow you to catch your breath.

    Finish your workout by performing plie' squats to shape and tone the inner thigh, gluts and hamstrings. This upper-lower body type of training is very cardiovascular, and will shape and tone your body back to where you were before the car accident.

    Round out each workout with a 30 min walk to begin and work your way up to an hour. The changes to your eating habits alone will cause weight loss.

    By performing these PHT structured exercises, you will increase lean muscle tissue and reduce your overall body fat without even having to step inside of a gym.

    Take it one day at a time and remember you are doing it for your health. There is no time like the present so get your workout gear on and start working your way back to happiness!

    Audrey keep me posted on your workouts so I can help monitor your results. I believe in you and so should you!

    This concludes this month's edition of Kelly's Corner and I'll see everyone here next month! Stay positive and stay healthy always,