Name: Rick Ryan
Weight: 209 lbs
Body Fat: 16.5%
Weight: 180 lbs
Body Fat: 7%
Why I Got Started
I started at age 45 having just run a couple marathons and seeing I had little muscle tone and strength. My friend Mark Sidwell was a weightlifter and looked great he really inspired me to get started with weight training while continuing to do some aerobic exercise to manage fat levels and for cardiovascular fitness.
How I Did It
I would have to say I did everything wrong at least once. I did a lot of experimenting with diets, meal plans, and workout routines. The more discipline I put into in, the more I learned about what worked and what did not. For example - I can not tolerate much saturated fat. Flax oil was a break through for me because I needed about 10% fat in my diet for overall health.
Once I started using EFA's, I continued to burn off excess fat without the cravings for bad fats and sweets. I owe a lot to my trainer - Daniel Stuckart, owner of Titanz Nutrition, for guiding me and encouraging me to compete in bodybuilding contests. I placed 3rd at the SNBF Nationals in 2006, and will be going to the Excalibur in LA this fall to go for the 50-plus class win.
I experimented a bit and realized that some supplements are critical all of the time - Megapros Carbo hit, Beverly International - just about any and all of their products depending on my goals at the time. I mix my own MRP's so that I can adjust them depending on need. For fat loss, I am big on CLA. And I take amino acids (BCAA's on the treadmill before breakfast), and liver pills, and of course, multivitamins.
My Sample Diet
I break my diet into days off from working out, and the days I train. When I train, I add two meals (off season).
If I am training that night, I will take 80 more oz of protein and possibly a NO supplement 30 minutes to an hour before my workout. After the workout, I would take and extra 100 grams of complex carbs, and 120 grams of protein immediately after the workout.
I mix up the workouts a lot as fast as exercises go. And every 3-to-4 weeks I change up how I group the muscles I work together - and I change up how many workout days it takes to hit all of the muscle groups. Depending on my goals, I may focus more on isolation exercises, or I for mass building I may work more using compound exercises.
I will also switch from pre exhausting muscle groups to starting with the largest muscle group or the weakest muscles within a group. But fundamentally, I always hit key areas of each major muscle group. I always stretch before working out, and between muscle groups.
Monday - Chest
I warm up with
lower ab exercises, then
crunches superset with
oblique crunches - 3-4 sets of 12-20 reps each.
Dumbbell incline presses, 4 sets, 12-15 reps with 45s, 10-12 reps at 75s, 8-10 reps for 115s, then burn outs 12-20 reps at 60s. Then
incline flyes to work my outer sides and the inner pecks (twist your wrists and squeeze at the top, stretch at the bottom): 3 sets of 6-10, straight sets.
Then dips (leaning forward, wide grip position) to hit lower pecs. 3 sets to failure (10-16 reps each). Then smith machine flat bench drop sets (shoulder or wider grip - change it up set to set) higher reps. 180 pounds to failure, then drop to 135, etc until the bar is empty and you are doing partial reps - and ready to cry! 3 sets.
The last 3 sets are
cable crossovers (cable on the top position of the tower). The idea here is that you hit inner and outer chest as well as the upper mid and lower chest. I am not a big fan of lower or
flat bench presses as often as
incline bench presses. I end with rotator cuff exercises (
external rotation, etc).
Tuesday - Legs
I decide to emphasize either
quads - this is a quad emphasis day.
Front squats for upper quads: 3-4 sets of 8-12 all the way to the floor. 100lbs +. Than come
barbell squats. I pyramid up - squats to parallel for 135 15-25 reps, 225, from 10-15 reps, then I go to 1/3rd squats - 8-10 at 315, 6-8 at 365, and 6 at 375. For
leg press, I do many more sets: starting at 450 lbs 12+ reps feet together mid height on the sled to work the outer quads, up to 810 lbs.
Then I use 7-9 reps with shoulder width mid height leg presses adding 100-to-200 lbs each set till I hit 1200 pounds. Then if I feel strong, I will drop 200 pounds and do a set then go back and take another 200 pounds off - without resting between sets -- it gets easier when you get down to 280 and I can do 20 reps. The last set is toughest - 90 pounds for 50 reps (using rest pause when needed) for me that is about every 3 to 5 reps.
My last exercise is
calves - either
seated calf raises (3 sets of 20-30 each) or 6 sets of donkey calf raises. I mix heavy and light sets and make sure to use partial reps and stretch between sets - I make sure I get a good squeeze at the top and hold it for 5-10 seconds - I do this 2-3 times within each set, with 5-10 reps between each static hold.
For the donkey raises, I sometimes will balance the outer and inner calf by using a toes in (outer calf) and toes out (inner calf) sets. The next week I will focus on hamstrings and inner/outer thighs, and hack squats. I rarely use the glute press.
Thursday - Back & Traps
I always start with
wide chins, 2 sets of 6-12, then 3 more assisted sets. This hits the outer lats. Then for middle back, I will do 3 sets of
rows pulling to the mid section. A good range of motion is needed on these to get the rhomboids, teres minor and lower traps.
I go very heavy - (one arm up to 300 pounds). I do not lean forward, as you can pull a rotator cuff easily. I keep the back arched slightly. Then I perform 3-6 sets of 10-15 reps with shrugs for traps, up to 125-pound dumbbells, or 450 on a machine.
You will notice that I do not do
behind the head presses,
behind the head pull downs,
good mornings or
upright rows. I think they are exposing you to injury to the shoulders or in the case of good mornings, your lower back. Next I hit the lower outer back with
bent-over rows - 4 sets of 135 + for 6-10 reps. I finish with
back extensions, now extra weight. 8-10 reps, 3-4 sets.
Friday/Saturday - Arms & Shoulders
The order changes often, but always hit shoulders as follows:
seated side laterals, and rear laterals (reverse pec deck/
overhead dumbbell presses. The isolation exercises are usually 8-10 reps straight sets or a giant set.
For overhead DB presses, I like to do triple drop sets or increasing the number of drop sets with each set. For biceps, I do wide grip curls for the inner bicep usually straight bar. Then close grip curls for the outer bicep - sometimes with the preacher curl bench to get the muscle running underneath the bicep, if I am not doing hammer curls that day.
Or I will use 1 arm cable curls to get more of a concentration curl form of the exercise. Finally, I like to burnout with dumbbell curls or machine curls. The last few sets I use high reps mixed - full reps for the first 10-12 reps, then force out 5-8 more partial (upper 1/2) reps to get a good contraction on the bicep.
For triceps I try to get in three exercises to hit the 3 heads properly by doing some
close grip bench presses and some
overhead extensions. If this is the last exercise of the workout, I will do two sets of each for 10-14 reps. If they are 1st, I will do 9 sets or more with heavier weights and pyramid down in reps.
Suggestions For Others
Set specific measurable short term goals. Gaining muscle or loosing fat. Keep track of your diet & workouts - keeping journals lets you see what is working and what is not. Measure your results every two weeks - are you getting the results you want? If not, find out why - too much stress? Not enough sleep? Overtraining?
You must be consistent to understand what is working for you - listen to your body and take an extra day off if you are over tired or sore. Make adjustments so that you do not burn out and quit. Never give up on trying improving your health and fitness level!
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