Here’s How I "Dialed In" at Age 51

By: Rick Ryan
Magazine 14 #1

In this article I will give you the complete plan that I followed to prepare for my latest bodybuilding competition, the 2008 NPC Excalibur in Culver City, CA.

Let me start by telling you a little about myself.  I am a certified executive project manager at CHQ and have worked for IBM for 26 years. Growing up, I was a musician, not an athlete. You can imagine the shape I was in when I finally began an exercise program in my forties.  I started with running. I didn’t just run, but continuously set running goals and then worked to achieve them. After a few years of steady progress I ran a six minute mile, and eventually completed two marathons.

 By age 45 I was in pretty good shape, but had very little muscle mass. That’s when I decided to start weight training. And what a journey it’s been! I’ve now competed and placed in several bodybuilding competitions and have even written an entire book as a result of research into bodybuilding training and nutrition. It’s titled, DIALED IN, and was published at the start of 2008.

My other interests include playing the drums and I’ve produced several CDs in my recording studio.  I also enjoy amateur race car driving, and have been on the track with my Dodge Viper several times.  I reside in Kennesaw Georgia with my wife, Kathleen. I have two adult children, Bridget and Daniel. I can be reached through .


Rick Ryan

Now, let’s get right into a typical day during my contest preparation.

7:00am: Arise, take Density, Energy Reserve and mix Glutamine Select in 24 oz of water to sip while I’m on the treadmill. Treadmill: 45 minutes @ 3.5 mph and a 15 degree incline. Burn 600-700 calories.

8:00am: Shower and breakfast. For breakfast I have 12 egg whites and a bowl of oatmeal or cream of rice along with my supplements. I keep a pill box in one of the kitchen drawers. That way the supplements I need for a particular meal are always at hand.

8:30am: I take the long trek to my home office (conveniently located in my basement) and start work.

10:30am: 10 min break. I give the dogs a snack (I have 4 cocker spaniels) and put them outside, and have a Muscle Provider shake for myself. I also drink 24 oz of water between each meal or shake.

12 noon: Lunch with my wife – usually fish, sweet potato and a salad.

2:30pm: I have another shake.   Back to work. There are lots of meetings and presentations, so I am on line and on the phone most of the time. 

4:30pm: I feed the dogs again, and have another food meal – usually fish, and sweet potato again.  Then back to work. 

4:30pm: I feed the dogs again, and have another food meal – usually fish, and sweet potato again.  Then back to work. 

6:30pm: Work ends and I eat another meal. Work ends at different times depending on what projects are due or issues have come up. So there is no set schedule, but usually ends between 6pm and 7pm. If there is time, I will throw a ball for the dogs. 

9:00pm: Workout for 60 min, then 30 min of cardio (usually stair stepper). 

10:45pm: I am usually home by 11pm – sometimes I pick up food on the way back from the gym.

My first body comp was 16.5% at 15 weeks out

Uh, oh I needed to get serious immediately. My wife Kathleen was very supportive, and helped by cooking fresh fish meals, and hiding any foods not on my diet in cabinets where I was not allowed to peek. She even delivered meals to me if my schedule was packed with back to back meetings. My trainer, Daniel Stuckart of Titanz Nutrition, also provided valuable insight into bringing up my weak areas, as well as training and nutritional guidance.

 

I monitored my body fat % every two weeks as illustrated below. Regular monitoring helps me chart if I’m retaining my lean mass while getting as lean as possible.

My first body comp was 16.5% at 15 weeks out. Uh, oh I needed to get serious immediately. My wife Kathleen was very supportive, and helped by cooking fresh fish meals, and hiding any foods not on my diet in cabinets where I was not allowed to peek. She even delivered meals to me if my schedule was packed with back to back meetings. My trainer, Daniel Stuckart of Titanz Nutrition, also provided valuable insight into bringing up my weak areas, as well as training and nutritional guidance.  

I monitored my body fat % every two weeks as illustrated below. Regular monitoring helps me chart if I’m retaining my lean mass while getting as lean as possible.

Contest Prep: Diet and Supplement Program

Baseline Diet:

Meal #1 – 2 bowls of oatmeal, 12 egg whites, 2-3 scoops Up-Lift

Meal #2 – 3 scoops of Muscle Provider with 3-4 strawberries

1.)    Incline DB press – pyramid up 45s x 15.65s x 12.90s x 10, 105s x 6-8

– 10 oz Tilapia Fish, 6 oz of Sweet potato, and 2 cups of salad

2.)Every Meal: Incline Flyes – 3 sets, 50s x 8, 55s x 8, 60s x 8

3.)    Flat Hammer press – 180x10, 270x8, 360x6   I’d use a narrower grip each set.

Meal #4

4.)    I started out with 45 mins a day, 3-4 days a week, at 10 degrees for 30 minutes.  Each week I added a couple degrees to the incline and a few minutes of time.  At 12 weeks I was at 45 min, 15 degrees, for 3.5 mph every morning.  At 8 weeks out, I added an evening cardio session of 20-30 minutes at the gym after my workout. Because I was not quite as “dialed in” as I was hoping, I even added another 20-30 minutes at noon a few days a week.

I prefer treadmill in the morning, and have one in my home.  In the evening, I use the stair stepper with my toes sticking out the top of the foot pads, so that I can more easily drive by heels down and work my quads.  I trained 4 days per week from 15 to 4 weeks out as follows:

6.)    Cable crossovers – 2-3 sets, high pulley to cross over low and squeeze in the middle. Usually 25-30 lbs per side.Incline DB press – pyramid up 45s x 15.65s x 12.90s x 10, 105s x 6-8

– same as Meal # 3

7.)    Abs – 3 sets of 12-18 leg raises, 3 sets of rope crunches 12 reps with 60 lbs.

8.)    Finish up with rotator cuff exercises - internal and external rotation, 5 lbs, 6-15 reps, 2 sets

Meal #6 - same as Meal # 2

1.)    For upper outer sweep – Front Squats on the Smith Machine – 4x10-15 reps, all the way to the ground (no knee pain, or I would otherwise only go to parallel).

2.)    Leg Press ­- pyramid up focusing on outer sides with feet together for the first 4 sets. 10-15 reps, at 450, 540, 630, 720.  Then, I would move the seat up, and go to shoulder width and do 900 for 8-10.  Then I’d either to do 1000 to failure; or do 1000 for 8 reps, then start dropping 180lbs per set and keep doing 8-10 reps until I reached 360. Once at 360 I kept going with rest pauses until I totaled 20-50 reps.

3.)    3 sets of 21s on the Leg Curl machine – 50-60lbs (21’s = 7 reps 1st half + 7 reps final half + 7 full reps).

4.)    3x8-10 single Leg Extensions at 50lbs per leg

(This was the same for the entire 15 weeks)Finish up with rotator cuff exercises - internal and external rotation, 5 lbs, 6-15 reps, 2 sets

5.)    6 sets of Donkey Calf Raises, 5 reps then hold for 5 secs, repeat 4 times for each set. Only occasionally did I do seated calf raise.

3 times daily:

1.)For upper outer sweep – Front Squats on the Smith Machine – 4x10-15 reps, all the way to the ground (no knee pain, or I would otherwise only go to parallel).Wide Chins to warm up – 5 sets of 8-10 reps: first 2 sets are at body weight, then I’d use 50-80 lbs assistance so I could complete the last 3 sets.

2.)Leg Press - pyramid up focusing on outer sides with feet together for the first 4 sets. 10-15 reps, at 450, 540, 630, 720.  Then, I would move the seat up, and go to shoulder width and do 900 for 8-10.  Then I’d either to do 1000 to failure; or do 1000 for 8 reps, then start dropping 180lbs per set and keep doing 8-10 reps until I reached 360. Once at 360 I kept going with rest pauses until I totaled 20-50 reps. BB Row - 95lbs-135lbs, 4x8.

3.)3 sets of 21s on the Leg Curl machine – 50-60lbs (21’s = 7 reps 1st half + 7 reps final half + 7 full reps).Seated Cable Row, pyramid 12 reps at 120, 10x160, 8x180, 6x200-220

2-3 scoops Up-Lift

4.)3x8-10 single Leg Extensions at 50lbs per legTraps – Shrug with DBs, 10 reps x 80s, 100s, 115s, and 125s.  Then machine with 270lbs for 8-10 reps and 450lbs with 8-10 reps. Hold at the top for 4-5 sec.

5.)6 sets of Donkey Calf Raises, 5 reps then hold for 5 secs, repeat 4 times for each set. Only occasionally did I do seated calf raise.Erectors – back extensions 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps, then stretch

Meal#1:

6.)    Abs as before, and twists – 2 sets of 25 holding a 35 lb db

a.       Shoulders – 3 sets of DB Presses, 12x40s, 10x65s, 8x75s or 80s

Seated Cable Row, pyramid 12 reps at 120, 10x160, 8x180, 6x200-220

b. Traps – Shrug with DBs, 10 reps x 80s, 100s, 115s, and 125s.  Then machine with 270lbs for 8-10 reps and 450lbs with 8-10 reps. Hold at the top for 4-5 sec.Machine Press – 12x180, 8-10x230 (usually needed help to get the 1st one up)

c.       Cable Side Laterals, 3x10 (25lbs), Reverse Pec Deck 3x10 at 100lbs

Before Bed:

d.      Front Raises 3x8 (20lbs)

a.       Shoulders – 3 sets of DB Presses, 12x40s, 10x65s, 8x75s or 80s

Contest Prep: My Cardio

f.       Biceps: 3x6-8 Narrow Grip Curls at 80, 90, and 110 lbs, then 3x8-12 Supinated DB Curls with 35lbs. Last exercise is single arm Standing Cable Concentration Curls; 3-5 sets 30lbs to failure with each arm.  Great pump!

I started out with 45 mins a day, 3-4 days a week, at 10 degrees for 30 minutes.  Each week I added a couple degrees to the incline and a few minutes of time.  At 12 weeks I was at 45 min, 15 degrees, for 3.5 mph every morning.  At 8 weeks out, I added an evening cardio session of 20-30 minutes at the gym after my workout. Because I was not quite as “dialed in” as I was hoping, I even added another 20-30 minutes at noon a few days a week.

I prefer treadmill in the morning, and have one in my home.  In the evening, I use the stair stepper with my toes sticking out the top of the foot pads, so that I can more easily drive by heels down and work my quads. 

Contest Prep: My Training

2.)    Carb Cycling – I took a good thing too far.  I found out the hard way that although some people can go on a no carb diet for weeks or even months, that strategy was not for me. At 4 weeks out I was behind schedule and worried so I tried the following diet – 3 lbs of fish and 25 almonds a day with green vegetables. I also had increased my cardio to 3 sessions per day. In four days I lost 1% body fat.  But, one day later, my body gave out.  I could barely move and tried to carb up.  One carb up did not work – it took 3 days of carbing up to get me back to normal.  When I tried to go without carbs again, within a day my body shut down again.  So I learned that some people (like me) are very carb sensitive and that small adjustments are the way to tune the diet and continue to lose fat. 

3.)    You may not be as young as you feel – recovery is critical.  At 51, I noticed that if I did 3 weight training days (with two a day cardio), I definitely needed a recovery day and sometimes two.  I functioned much better with a two on one off routine, especially with as much cardio as I was doing. At 8 weeks out I went from 8 to 9 hrs of sleep per night, and at 4 weeks out I tried to get 10 hrs (especially on weekends and some vacation days I had). 

Rick-Ryan-most-muscular

I researched bodybuilding while experimenting with diets, supplements and workouts for 5 years. I even wrote a book DIALED IN during that time.  My research led me to Beverly International. I researched nearly every supplement out there. Starting with the universal set of all supplements, my research led me to a very small subset – and it WAS all Beverly International supplements. They really know what they are doing. I found Beverly supplements be the best in quality to increase muscle mass, to lose fat, and to stay healthy and fit.  The people at BI are very knowledgeable and willing to help along the way – and they do not hard sell you on anything. They truly share our passion for the sport of natural bodybuilding and for achieving your best levels of health and fitness regardless of what our health and fitness goals are. 

I want to thank my family, especially my wife Kathleen for all her love and support, and thank you to my trainer Daniel Stuckart, who pushed me and encouraged me along the way.

Rick Ryan at a Glance:

Age: 51

Occupation: Executive Project Manager, CIO Office, IBM CHQ.

Education:Boredom - I went too many weeks eating fish for every food meal. I believe in simplicity. Eat the same thing every day. It’s easier to buy and prepare your food that way. But, I really could have used some variety.  I finally started eating chicken again and relied quite a bit on Muscle Provider and really enjoyed the different flavors. BS in Mgt, MBA in Finance, PMI & IBM Certified in Project Management.

Family: Wife Kathleen (married 28 yrs); Daniel, 22 yrs old – drummer in a touring band with a new album, 3rdCarb Cycling – I took a good thing too far.  I found out the hard way that although some people can go on a no carb diet for weeks or even months, that strategy was not for me. At 4 weeks out I was behind schedule and worried so I tried the following diet – 3 lbs of fish and 25 almonds a day with green vegetables. I also had increased my cardio to 3 sessions per day. In four days I lost 1% body fat.  But, one day later, my body gave out.  I could barely move and tried to carb up.  One carb up did not work – it took 3 days of carbing up to get me back to normal.  When I tried to go without carbs again, within a day my body shut down again.  So I learned that some people (like me) are very carb sensitive and that small adjustments are the way to tune the diet and continue to lose fat.  yr Political Science major in college; Bridget, 25 yrs old, 4th yr Psychology major in college and ass’t manager of a jewelry store; four cocker spaniels.

Current Residence: Kennesaw GA, moved in to new French country home in late Dec, 2007.

Years Training: 7,  for competition: 5 ½.

Height: 5’ 11”

Off Season Weight: 210lbs (or should I say – 215lbs ugh)

I want to thank my family, especially my wife Kathleen for all her love and support, and thank you to my trainer Daniel Stuckart, who pushed me and encouraged me along the way. 190 lbs

Favorite Cheat Meal:  Pepperoni & meatball double stuffed pizza or calzone and cake batter flavored ice cream with Eagle brand sweetened, condensed milk on it for dessert. 

Favorite Bodybuilding Meal: I mix 3 scoops of chocolate Muscle Provider with crushed walnuts, along with 20 grams of Glutamine Select with water and microwave it for 45 seconds, so there is some pudding and some brownie.

What would you recommend to someone who has never used Beverly supplements before?

I would recommend starting out with Mass Maker – it is the best all around Meal Replacement Shake – and I use it off season, I have even used it during contest prep as well.  It tastes great and it works even better.   I’d also recommend the Beverly Basics – the Super Pak is a must have for anyone exercising intensely; and at least one of the great BI protein supplements, Muscle Provider or Ultimate Muscle Protein twice a day.  Finally, if you are in your 50s, like me, you will probably get a lot of benefit from BIs Joint Care; and to keep natural hormones in balance, ZMA is great before bed as well.

Most Inspiring Bodybuilder: Frank Zane and Dennis Newman.  Their posing routines on YOUTUBE have taught me a great deal.

In my CD Player: Gigan, Van Halen, Kansas

Most Inspiring Book:  The 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People

Words to live by: “That which does not kill me makes me stronger.”