Name: Ryan Nelson
How did you get started with Bodybuilding?
I became interested in the sport of bodybuilding and started living the lifestyle when I was in middle school. I actually didn’t compete in my first show until I was a freshman in college though. However, it really all started when I was in the fourth grade. I was a really skinny kid at the time and I was very self conscious so I decided that I must change and that I did. I started my own workout program that consisted of only bodyweight exercises such as pushups, pull ups, and sit ups. I followed this program very strictly for a few years and then in middle school I received my first actual weight set and as time went on I started to become more and more addicted to working out. A couple more years down the road I joined a local gym and eventually became a personal trainer and the rest is history. This journey led me to win my natural pro card at 20 years old which will go down as one of my greatest accomplishments for as long as I live. I believe the important notion that should be seen with my story is that fitness is a journey. Regardless of what your goals are you must first have the guts to take that first step, you must have the persistence to follow through when obstacles arise and times get tough but most importantly you must enjoy yourself! Staying in a positive frame of mind and making an effort to try and always make your workouts and/or dieting exciting will without a question lead to lifelong success and progress.
What motivates you, where does your motivation come from?
Simple, my dreams are what motivate me. I am highly motivated by the unforeseen future that lies ahead of me and the endless possibilities and opportunities that I will hopefully get to experience. This goes hand in hand with trying to stay excited about what you are doing. I try to make every experience I encounter along my journey a memorable one. The days where I do not feel like working out I again turn to my dreams by envisioning my future and where I want to be in 5-10 years and just seeing my goals or dreams in my head is often enough to pick me up and get me going.
I also use my problems from the past to fuel me as well. If I am getting ready to max out on a big lift such as dead lifts or squats I usually always think back to the times when I was getting picked on when I was younger or of other past hardships. I think of all the hard times that I had to go through and I use that to get me angry and pumped up to literally destroy the weight. Sometimes I like to say “I am out for blood!”
What workout routine has worked best for you?
I follow a PHAT training program or more simply power/hypertrophy program which combines both power lifting and bodybuilding principals all in one. I started following this program after becoming a pro natural bodybuilder in 2011. After my show I really just wanted to switch things up and try something new. I wanted a program that would really help me put on size so I could be competitive at the professional level. This program did just that! I put on about 8lbs of muscle within a year of following the program. I truly believe that the power lifting portion where I am lifting really heavy weights for low repetitions forces my body to grow.
What’s your typical workout look like?
One of my favorite workouts from the power/hypertrophy program is my “power upper body” day.
Power Upper Body
Flat barbell press- 3 sets, 1-5 reps
Incline dumbbell press- 3 sets, 3 reps (negatives on all reps)
Plyo-pushups- 3 sets, 10 reps
Pull downs- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
Seated cable row- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
Jerk- 3 sets, 1-5 reps
Clean- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
Deads- 3 sets, 1-5 reps
E-z bar curls- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
Skull- crushers- 3 sets, 6-10 reps
What is your typical diet like?
My diet that I am following for my upcoming photo shoots is as follows. However, each week I get closer to my shoot I will typically lower my calories depending how well I am leaning out.
Meal 1- Protein shake,1 hardboiled egg, 2 slices wheat bread, 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp honey, 8oz orange juice
Meal 2- Turkey Sandwich, peanut butter sandwich, orange
Meal 3- 5 oz sirloin steak, ¾ cup pasta, 1 serving of parmesan cheese, vegetables
Meal 4 (Post-workout)- Protein shake, banana
Meal 5- 2 grilled chicken breasts, 1 serving of yams
The main thing you will probably notice is that I keep things very simple. For me it is much easier this way and as a busy college student I unfortunately don’t have time for a lot of creative cooking. Although, some say simplicity is the key to success.
What are your short term and long term goals?
My short term goals involve making it into the fitness magazines this spring or summer. I am also looking to grow my online personal training website rnelsonfitness.com as much as possible. I have many projects I am currently working on to ensure the websites growth. I am also a pre-medical student so I am also keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that I get a research internship this summer.
My long term goals are plentiful to say the least. I am a really driven individual and I believe that since we only live once we should make the most of our time here. I believe in leaving no stone unturned and I want to experience as many positive things as I can while I am alive. First I want to get accepted into medical school and become a doctor. I am dead set on moving to either Florida or California so I can live by the beach which has been a dream of mine ever since I was a child. Although I will say that most importantly I want to live both a successful and happy life. When I am 90 years old, if I am still alive that is, I want to be able to look back on my life and say I really did it. I have no regrets. I have done everything that I wanted.
How long do you spend in the gym during a typical workout?
I spend no more than 1 ½ hours in the gym unless I am doing cardio but otherwise I believe in hitting it hard and getting out. I hate talking in between sets and with all my other responsibilities as a pre-medical student I do not have time to mess around! Ha-ha
What is your favourite motivational quote?
“Don’t be pushed by your problems…be led by your dreams.” – Eric Thomas
Have you had to face any roadblocks or obstacles on your journey and if so, how did you overcome them?
I had a roadblock that most people probably wouldn’t have even thought of. When I was coming up through my middle school years and even part of my high school years my right bicep and the right side of my chest were a lot bigger than my left side. This is a pretty common thing but mine was little bit more pronounced than usual and I really didn’t know what to do about it and being that my dream was to become a successful bodybuilder I felt very hopeless. I felt like there was no way I was going to be able to overcome this because I felt like it was due to my genetics however the way I overcame it was instead of focusing on the problem (my muscular imbalances) I decided to focus on finding solutions. I started adding in extra sets for my left bicep in order to allow it to catch up to my right side. Most importantly though I didn’t let myself get down or depressed which is very easy to do when you focus solely on your problems. I instead focused on putting forth maximum effort into each workout and before you knew it I had a physique that I was proud of. I think this principle can be applied to anyone’s fitness experience especially if you are just starting out. Instead of focusing on how out of shape you are focus on how you want to look in the future and focus on putting forth your best effort because in reality maximum effort repeated consistently over time will guarantee results and in this case a great body!
Who is the most inspiring person to you in regards to fitness and in general?
The person who inspires me the most in regards to fitness always seems to change depending on what goal I am currently pursuing. Right now since my goal is to expand upon my fitness modeling career and one day land a cover for a fitness magazine Greg Plitt is my main source of inspiration. His personality and overall outlook on working out and on life really get me fired up. He is also a huge inspiration obviously because of the many magazine covers he has been on! I really enjoy watching his videos on YouTube and I really believe in the messages he preaches.
In general and in relation to life itself I find Eric Thomas “The Hip Hop Preacher” to be my biggest source of inspiration of all. For those who do not know, he is a motivational speaker that has become famous from his YouTube video titled “How bad do you want success.” As a pre-medical student I find a lot of what he says in his videos and speeches useful in helping me persist through the many obstacles that arise with school and in life. I also inspire to be like him. I myself one day as a future hopeful medical doctor would like to be a person who travels the country giving speeches on various topics for the purpose of changing people’s lives for the better.
Fun Quick Questions For Our Readers
Favorite color? Blue
Favorite food? Pasta
Favorite TV Show? Fresh Prince of BelAir!
Favorite movie? Rocky
Favorite Band/Artist? This is hard, I have so many. I will go with Eminem!
Do you have any pets? Fish
I would like to first thank Lifestyle & Strength for giving me this opportunity to tell my story. I greatly appreciate it. I would also like to thank my sponsor bentbarbell.com for all of their support and their friendship. Finally, I would like to thank of all of my clients, the photographers I have worked with in the past, and all of those who have supported me financially. For anyone wanting to know more about me you can subscribe to my YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/ryan11491?feature=mhee visit my website rnelsonfitness.com, or find me on any of the social media outlets listed below.
How to reach Ryan Nelson
Face book: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/IfpaProBodybuilderRyanNelson