Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hello, my name is Rick Ryan and I am now into my 60s. I am originally from New York, and have lived in Atlanta Georgia for the last 25 years.
I work as an IT Data Architect for EY (Ernst & Young) now, and IBM before that. I have been married for 38 years and have two adult children that live in the area.
I began running in my early 40s. Initially my goal was to break the 6 min mile. Then I went on to run two marathons 6 weeks apart. Before that I kept active with my cocker spaniels, and playing the drums in various bands.
I kept fit, but work and family came 1st. After the running, I realized in my mid 40s that I really wanted to see results in the form of muscle.
This desire led me to the local gym where I won one of those contests “get fit in 3 months ”. This encouraged me to get more focused on diet and exercise, and to begin to push my self to heavier weights.
So I guess running and wanting to improve my body was what drove me to bodybuilding later in life – it is never to late to start. In my younger years I water skied.
When I started to improve my body, I did stop long distance running as it creates cortisol hormones that stop you from gaining muscle. I did continue to warm up on the tread mill for 10 min before and after workouts, and up to 45 min on the treadmill each morning – 7 days a week.
I have made it to the top 5 in several shows, and in 2011, I received my pro card from NGA in the masters class (I was 54yrs old).
At the same NGA show, I received 3rd in the open class, which I was also very pleased to receive since my competition was ½ my age.
I was sponsored by Barlean’s. They have the best essential fatty acids and I still use them – awesome products!
What I like the most about bodybuilding/fitness is the way I feel physically, and how I look, as well as my level of confidence that transcends to everything I do in my life.
Describe a typical day of training
Matt DuVall IFBB Pro was my greatest trainer – He is now gone but never forgotten – He taught me the fine points of form in performing exercises. This has to be learned in person, and he was fantastic.
There is no typical day for me – each day is different. However, I always am working different combinations of muscle groups and using intensity – and short (1 min) rests. I am never their for more than an hr including changing, warm up and warm down. MORE IS NOT BETTER.
I follow the Dialed In book as you might expect as I am its author.
I train at Required Fitness. It has a large variety of free weights and machines.
I prefer to train alone most of the time. If is nice to workout together and push each other – but I don’t want do depend on others for pushing me.
I use some Beverly International supplements that stimulate without going too far. I make sure I have some protein in me before I start – but I don’t want to be full as the blood will go to your stomach and you want it in your muscles.
After the workout I want a protein shake – so I bring it with me to take right after the workout.
I always used a training log, so I can see where I need to improve and where I am changing up from the last workouts.
In my gym bag: gloves, a belt, change of clothes (muscle shirt and shorts), protein in a bottle, water bottle, towels.
How do you keep going and push harder?
The best hack for improving in the gym is INTENSITY – not weight. I found that what worked best for me was to warm up and pyramid up and back down in weight – and use various approaches.
For example, pushing harder by doing cable curls with one hand then the other back in forth to the max, then drop weight then keep going until you cant do any more – take a minute rest and go back.
Drink lots of water – OMG – a gallon is a minimum a day!
I know that the harder I push, the more I will be able to do the next time I come to the gym – I love to push for new PRs, so I keep a journal and identify when I do a new PR.
The biggest challenges I have faces were as follows:
- Injury, from doing 100 lb dumbells when I was not ready for it – my chest muscles spasmed and the solution was massage therapy.
Carolyn Paith Schrock, LMT was a life saver and was able to help me many times over the years buy getting the blood flowing thru the muscles and releasing hard bumps that needed releasing.
An unbelievable talent for the sport.
- In addition, I had back issued that were solved by Dr Berman Chiropractic and Rehab – he is a genius.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
At the moment, I am doing yard work – 3000 lbs of river rock moved to the landscape. I workout but more to maintain feeling great and having that confidence that comes from having a superior body.
My goal is to work out first to build mass and then to start dropping the fat with the minimal amount of muscle loss – which means tuning the diet and keeping up the strength.
I have a masters championship title from NGA. I would like to win a WNBF title.
I value family and spending time having fun with them – and I have a challenging career that I love. I also race cars from time to time.
If I could start over with my bodybuilding/fitness journey, I would have worked to find my super star team much earlier.
I made lost of mistakes along the way until I found my team. A trainer, a dietitian, a posing coach, a chiropractor, and a massage therapist.
With those people and an inner desire to achieve great things, you have what you need to be successful!
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
This is a great question, as I have tried the 7 day a week workouts, and other combinations, and come to the advice told to me by many people “Listen to your body”.
Bodybuilding has many rules in terms of form, intensity, and shocking the body. In the end, you are in the gym to rip up your muscles so that they grow back bigger and stronger – to meet the demands you put on them.
If you feel tired, weak, and are losing motivation – take a day off. This helps you recover more fully and avoid injury.
For me, I like the two on one off two on two off sequence for the week. And I change the order of the muscle groups every 6-8 weeks to adjust and balance the size of the muscle groups. I don’t count abs as a work out, and I most often start after an off day with large muscle groups such as Legs or Back.
Remember that sleep IS HOW YOU RECOVER. That is when the magic occurs. So if you cant sleep, back off you are likely overtraining. How much sleep? What ever is normal for you – I go 8 hrs during the week and 10 on the weekend – when allowed 😊
I use melatonin and ZMA for sleep and natural hormone support. For ZMA, Beverly International is the only brand I use. Melatonin is fine in any brand.
Remember to warm up = 10 min on the tread mill – and the same for the warm down.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
The diet 6 months out from a show is intense – I weigh the food for precise macronutrients – fats, carbs and protein – to see how my body reacts.
Changes to the amount and mix of calories changes every two weeks. The master of this is Jason – he is fantastic and I only wish I had met him sooner.
He is the best in my book. He tunes – he does not just throw a diet at you and then adjust you thru cardio like a lot of others do.
Yes, you count calories – but there are ways to make that easy.
Food – the basics: Lean chicken, 93% lean beef, tilapia, EGG WHITES are the best protein in the world! Low glycemic carbs like brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes. Broccoli and salads, fats from almonds and walnuts.
After testing every brand on the planet, I can tell you that Beverly International is the only brand I use for the following supplements:
- Protein – UMP and muscle provider – vanilla and chocolate
- Joint care – great stuff
- Preworkout sups
Rodger and Sandy are terrific and always willing to help – they are great.
I love coffee, tea – great if it is de-calf and green, and alcohol – never as it will mess up your testosterone.
What has inspired and motivated you?
Brian Whitacre has been a great motivator, along with Frank Zane pics.
I took two years to write the book Dialed In to understand the balance of the workouts, the diet and how to tune them to achieve my goal of a pro card at the NGA Masters.
I listen to bands from the 70s: Kansas – carry on my wayward son, Boston, Foreigner, 80s and 90s – PearlJam and anything from LIVE.
Intense music helps me push as hard as I can – and I don’t need a trainer to do that – it comes from within.
The best advice I have ever received: Listen to your body and believe in what you see in the mirror.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
My advice is to start out with small achievable goals – take pictures! I really don’t care so much about the statistics if I look better after three months – then I reward myself and you should too.
I don’t care what shape you are in, the important thing is to improve – so set a realistic goal like loosing 10 lbs in 3 months, and start getting more disciplined in your eating and exercising.
It is a process – I have redefined my level of discipline and intensity many times – it is amazing how much the body will respond if you challenging it without breaking it.
Learn and respect your limits – you will redefine them over time. This is not a hobby that you go and do – it is a change in your lifestyle for the better.
You will change your diet, and work out 3-4 times a week – it will come with time and patience.
The biggest mistakes I have seen in men at the gym is poor form and a total focus on the weight they lift. I have done 95 lb overhead pressed and 1600 lb leg pressed – and gotten more out of half that weight when using various techniques such as slow negatives.
The 95 lb overhead pressed was in the seated overhead press – 95 lbs for each dumbbell. The 1600 lb leg presses – was a one rep max – the picture above is around 1000-1200 lb. I remember that because I needed two spotters in case I needed them to unload the machine if I got stuck at the bottom.
I also remember seated cable rows were the stack of 240 and adding another 60 lbs for 6 reps. I remember having to ask the gym owner if it would be ok to add more weights – as I didn’t want to break the machine. LOL
The point is not too life as much as you can – it is to get bigger and stronger in proportion to the rest of your body – and look and feel great! Focusing on weight is how you get injured – nobody is impressed by it.
Showing off is the best way to get an injury. My best barbell curl – 130 lbs for 3 reps – and it was a mistake – if I can’t do at least 6 reps then I am showing off and risking injury.
Injury – showing off with too much weight is stupid – and I have seen bicep and chest muscles rip from the bone – not cool. People end up with screws in the body, and misformed muscles.
Bodybuilding is an artform – you are carving out a piece of art – don’t be in a hurry – it will come if you see progress.
When you get good at this you will bring your food with you – and not rely on others for it.
Are you taking on clients right now?
I really love the sport and have written the book Dialed In to share the knowledge of the bodybuilding.
However, I am not taking on clients at this time. If you buy the book and have questions, I can answer at [email protected]