I have been active most of my life. When I was a kid I was involved in gymnastics and cheerleading but when I went to college my lifestyle changed. I wasn’t active and I got caught up in eating cafeteria food. Before I knew it I gained 30 lbs in one year! To get the weight off I became addicted to running and dieting. I lost the weight, but not the right way. It wasn’t until my boyfriend talked me into weight training that I changed my life and bad habits. I started eating more, 4-6 times per day and backed down from my long cardio sessions. Instead of being skinny with a bit of fat, I started to see definition and lose the stubborn fat that cardio doesn’t. Fitness has become my passion and I was motivated to teach others the right way, to avoid my paths. I became NASM personal training certified and with my boyfriend we started an online weight training business. In August of 2008, I competed in my first figure competition and placed 4th in my class. I am competing again this November and ready to place 1st!
Taylor Ryan – Fitness Model Statistics
- Name: Taylor Ryan
- Height: 5’5
- Weight: 105
- Date of Birth: 4/6/1984
- Hair Color: Blonde
- Bust: 33
- Waist: 25
- Hips: 34
- Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Taylor Ryan – Fitness Model Interview
How did you get started in the fitness modeling field?
I have been active most of my life. When I was a kid I was involved in gymnastics and cheerleading but when I went to college my lifestyle changed. I wasn’t active and I got caught up in eating cafeteria food. Before I knew it I gained 30 lbs in one year!
To get the weight off I became addicted to running and dieting. I lost the weight, but not the right way. It wasn’t until my boyfriend talked me into weight training that I changed my life and bad habits.
I started eating more, 4-6 times per day and backed down from my long cardio sessions. Instead of being skinny with a bit of fat, I started to see definition and lose the stubborn fat that cardio doesn’t.
Fitness has become my passion and I was motivated to teach others the right way, to avoid my paths. I became NASM personal training certified and with my boyfriend we started an online weight training business.
In August of 2008, I competed in my first figure competition and placed 4th in my class. I am competing again this November and ready to place 1st!
What is the #1 thing you like best about being into fitness?
The confidence that I have gained and that I am finally healthy and energized. When I was yo-yo dieting and running ALL the time I was always tired. Now I feel strong, I look strong and I have more confidence than ever. I love doing the same for other women.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the fitness field?
Competing in my first figure contest.
What is the best way to get started in the fitness modeling industry? Should I just contact the photographers directly or should I use an agency?
Both. To get your name out, you have to work at it. I have been contacting agencies as well as contacting direct people who may need models. It is all about networking and don’t be afraid to as for connections from others.
Please describe a typical day for you. What is your daily routine like?
I get up at 5 am, eat breakfast and I am at work at 6:15 am. I leave work at 4pm and head straight to the gym until 5:30ish. Get home, cook dinner and get back on the computer for more work. At 8pm, I eat my last meal/snack. I am normally in bed at around 11:00 pm. I only watch 20-30 minutes of TV daily, during dinnertime so I get a bunch accomplished at night.
I don’t have that much time during the day to workout, so I really want to burn major calories in a short amount of time. What is the #1 “bang for the buck” cardio exercise I should do to burn serious calories?
Interval training with high intensity will burn a ton of calories and still keep muscle on. If you have only 20 minutes to do cardio, you can still burn a ton of calories. Changing the intensity will throw your burn into over drive! Start off slow with your favorite cardio style (running, biking, swimming, etc) after a few minute go as hard as you can for 1 minute or so, then decrease the intensity, after another 2-3 minutes bring the intensity sky high again. Continue this up down workout for the time you have.
Circuit workouts are also great. Choose 5-7 exercises and perform them back to back with no breaks until the last exercise is completed. Rest 60 seconds and repeat 2 more times. You burn calories and sculpt your body at the same time. Your body will definitely get a great workout.
How much weight (pounds) should I focus on losing every week? What is a safe amount to make sure I keep it off?
A safe amount of weight is generally 1-2 pounds per week. Any more may lead to stress on the body.
What type of food or supplements should I take before and after my workouts to help me see results in gaining lean muscle and losing fat?
Do your research before, but always have a snack before workouts that includes complex carbs and protein (a turkey wrap or protein shake are good options) and because after your workout your body is in need of replenishment eat a high protein snack/meal right after workouts. Supplement wise, there is research to back up creatine and whey protein. These are the two supplements I take myself and I love them both.
How do you deal with cravings for junk foods, sweets and salty food? I can stay on a diet for maybe a few weeks but I eventually get really bad cravings and binge on snacks and fast foods.
The first few weeks are hard, especially during training. But I allow myself treats from time to time. When I am not training for a competition, I allow myself a treat meal or dessert once a week. If you deny your cravings then you will probably end up crashing and going overboard. Denying yourself will lead to binge snacking later on. But I do have healthy alternatives to cravings.
I love whey ice cream. Basically just pasteurized egg whites mixed with whey powder and then frozen. I also love rice cakes with organic peanut butter for when I need something sweet and salty.
I’m trying to create a healthy shopping list to stick with. What are some of the main foods I should include to maintain a lean and muscular physique?
For eating clean, it is best to stick to the perimeter of the store. All processed foods are found mostly in the aisles with healthy foods on the outside. But in my house I always have the following items:
Frozen and fresh veggies, lean meats, almonds, rice cakes, peanut butter (or almond butter), organic milk, oatmeal, egg whites, and rye bread. Always back the cart with healthy carbs, fats and proteins.
Protein is key to getting muscular and great options include: chicken, fish, bison, turkey, nuts, eggs, whey protein, etc.
I’m about 35 pounds overweight. I have never started an exercise program and really don’t know where to start. What tips can you give me to get started on the right track?
Start small. If you have never worked out it is important not to jump right in to the program that your fit friend does. Do your research. Make sure you are in good health to take on exercise first. Workouts should include cardio and strength training, with the weights being light. It is all about getting familiar with proper form before increasing weight or trying difficult moves.
Many gyms offer free consults with personal trainers, see if yours does. If so, take them up on it or consider hiring a trainer for a few sessions to get your program down and on your way to safe weight loss!
I tend to eat out most of the time and really don’t know what healthy foods to order from the menu. What tips do you recommend for eating out at restaurants to make sure my diet will not suffer?
Don’t be afraid to be picky, if asked politely most waiters don’t mind making changes to menu items to make them healthier. Ask for lean meat items without sauces. And for veggies make sure that they are not sautéed in butter, ask for them grilled or roasted. With salads always get grilled or broiled meats over fried meats. And choose a balsamic dressing over creamy ones. If a meal comes with French fries, as for a side salad, veggies, or fruit instead. Avoid mixed drinks, they are packed with sugar and often have more calories than you can imagine. If you are going to drink alcohol, go with a light beer or a glass of wine.
What exercises do you recommend for getting a bigger, rounder and fuller butt?
My favorite butt exercises includes: squats, deadlifts and lunges. Plus these are multi-joint exercises so you are working more than just your butt every time you do them.
What is the most challenging thing you deal with about consistently staying in top shape?
Friends and family getting frustrated with my diet. My family is the typical southern household. We have weekly Sunday meals at my parent’s house and the hardest thing is for my parents to understand that I do not eat fried food, white potatoes, simple carbs, etc. It is challenging to try to keep everyone happy and not let my habits affect them.
Please describe your normal diet. What do you eat in a typical day to stay in shape?
- Breakfast: ½ cup cooked oatmeal, 4 egg whites
- Mid-Morning Snack: protein shake
- Lunch: grilled chicken salad with spinach, balsamic dressing and feta crumbles
- Mid-Afternoon Snack: rice cake with 1 tbsp peanut butter
- Dinner: Grilled chicken and 1 cup broccoli and brown rice
What type of exercises do you include in your routine to stay in shape?
- Strength Training Exercises: Most of my exercises are multi-joint exercises with many only 1-2 isolated moves per workout. I train 4 days per week with upper/lower body splits.
- Cardio Exercises: During competition training I do cardio 3-5 times per week for 30-45 minutes. Off season I train for only 2-3 times per week for 20-30 minutes. Running is my favorite form of cardio and I do several 5Ks per year.
- Additional Training: I am a huge advocate for yoga. I try to do it at night for 15 minutes to relax and increase my flexibility. Yoga is great for the physique and for the systems.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for developing toned and defined arms?
1. Eat clean. No processed foods, no sugar, limited alcohol
2. More than curls, work the entire upper body for max results.
3. Great exercises include: bench press, shoulder press, pull-ups, and dips
4. Push better and harder every workout. Always push yourself to do better than the previous workout. This could mean lifting a little more weight, doing an extra rep or messing with the rest time between sets.
5. Get plenty of rest. This is when all the changes occur. Your body needs 6-8 hours of sleep for full recovery, and muscle building to occur.
What are your top 5 tips for losing unwanted body fat?
1. Eat clean
2. Avoid alcohol
3. Track it all. Write down your daily food intake, seeing what goes in your body makes you more conscious to eating clean
4. Low intensity cardio, low intensity ensures that your body will not break down muscle for energy.
5. Strength train. For each pound of lean muscle, your metabolism increases to burn an estimated extra 50 calories PER DAY!
What are your top 5 tips for gaining lean muscle mass?
1. Lots of protein. Take in protein with every meal.
2. Free weights are key, lifting weights is key to gaining lean muscle mass.
3. High sets, low reps is key to gaining muscle mass. For gaining muscle, or lean mass, reps should be kept down to 6-10 and sets should be increased to 4-5. The more intense, the better.
4. Protein should be around 1.2 -2.0 g per kg of body weight.
5. Keep cardio low intensity. High intensity could mean risking losing lean body mass. Keep cardio workouts low intensity (70-85% max heart rate), to ensure the body doesn’t break down muscle for energy.
What are the top 5 tips you recommend for staying motivated on a fitness plan and truly making a healthy lifestyle change?
1. Have a support group. Letting others know your goals and having them support you is key.
2. Track yourself. Pictures are the best for this, when you see your progress it motivated to keep staying on track. Take pictures every 2-3 weeks to see great results.
3. Clean house. Throw out all the bad food in the pantry that could lead to trouble and fill up on clean eating foods. Or instead of throwing it out, take your trouble foods and leave them in your works break room.
4. Write your goals down.
5. Reward yourself. Once you hit a goal reward yourself! Buy a new pair of shoes, get a manicure or a massage. Then set a new goal to reach.
What is your training routine like? (Please include a few details – training split, sets/reps, exercises, types of cardio, etc.)
- Monday: Upper Body workout: biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and chest. 4 sets of 6 reps… heavy and intense. A typical workout looks like: Pull ups, bent over row, bench press, shoulder press, curls, cable flies, and lateral arm raises. This workout takes about 45 minutes, then I do an extra 10 minute of core training. Cardio is last on the list and is for 20-30 minutes with ½ time on elliptical and the other on the treadmill.
- Tuesday: Lower Body Workout: Glutes, calves, quads and hamstrings. 4 sets of 6 reps. My favorite exercise moves are: squats, deadlift, calve raises, leg curls, adduction machine and walking lunges. Cardio 20-30 minutes.
- Wednesday: No strength training… 2 mile run only.
- Thursday: Same as Monday
- Friday: Same as Tuesday
- Saturday: 2-3 mile jog outside, no strength training.
- Sunday: Total rest day.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for losing fat around the stomach and developing a toned and defined midsection?
1. Eat clean. For a great stomach you have to get rid of fat, exercise alone won’t do it.
2. Total body workouts. Crunches aren’t going to give you a great stomach. You need an overall great workout that tones and burns calories.
3. Lots of protein. Make sure to have protein with every snack and meal. Protein will make you feel fuller longer and help build muscle.
4. Drink water. Make sure to stay hydrated. Keep your metabolism going strong with plenty of water, 2-3 liters per day.
5. Cut out stress. Stress and lack of rest increases fat storing hormones. To fight the hormone battle try to eliminate all the negative stresses you can and get 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
What are the top 5 tips (specific exercises, diet advice, etc) you recommend for toning the thighs, hips and butt?
1. Lots of protein. Make sure to have protein with every snack and meal. Protein will make you feel fuller longer and help build muscle.
2. Multi-joint moves. Forget those machines. Do exercises that work many muscles and joints for optimal workouts.
3. Great moves include: Romanian squats, standard squat, lunges, deadlifts.
4. Add plyometrics to the end of a workout. Plyometric (jumping exercises) raises your heart rate, burns calories, increases flexibility, and tones muscles. Do 3 sets of 15 of any of these at the end of leg workouts: squat jumps, lunge jumps, box jumps.
5. Eat clean. Cut out processed foods and sugar and results will come faster.