Have you always been in shape? My name is Ryan Nelson. I am 19 years old. I am one of the youngest professional natural bodybuilders in the world. I recently won my IFPA pro card at the 2011 OCB Natural Steel Championships on September 17th. I started working out seriously when I was in the fourth grade and have not let up since so yes I have been in good shape for the majority of my life. I owe my life to bodybuilding. It has made me the person I am today. Bodybuilding has taught me so much about hard work and discipline which I have learned to use in other areas of my life such as school and work.
How did you get started in physique competitions? I have wanted to compete ever since I was 14 which is when I saw my first bodybuilding show. I loved how the bodybuilders were the center of the attention when they were on stage and I wanted that to be me. I decided to wait until I was 19 to compete because I wanted to give my body as much time as possible to mature. And finally at 19 years old I competed and swept the whole competition. I received first place in the teen, novice tall, novice overall, men’s bantam weight, and men’s overall where I gained my professional status.
Describe your training philosophy: I am a big believer in high intensity. I go to failure on every set. I am currently using Neil Hill’s y3t training program which I just started using after my show. This includes a 3 week cycle that focuses on different rep ranges for each week. Week 1 is only compound exercises for 6-8 reps. Week 2 is compound and isolation exercises for 10-14 reps. Week 3 is compound and isolation exercises for high reps of at least 20 and also I use various intensity techniques during this week including rest-pause, drop sets, negatives, and giant sets.
What are your favorite exercises? Squats and deadlifts
What is your diet like in the off season? I follow a clean bulk in the offseason. My meals for this offseason are as follows:
Meal 7/midnight snack
Describe your diet during contest prep: I started my diet 17 weeks out from my show. I slowly decreased my carbohydrates and fats each week until I reached my desired weight goal. Overall my macros averaged about 220 grams protein, 160 grams carbohydrates on low days, 260 grams carbohydrates on high days, and 40-60 grams of fat which was dependant on whether it was a high or low carb day.
What supplements have worked for you? EAS Whey Protein and Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy.
What advice would you give to aspiring athletes? Stay consistent and work your butt off and you’ll be capable of achieving anything you want.
What have you learned about yourself as a physique competitor? I have learned that the sky is the limit as far as what I can achieve in life. I figure if I can become a professional natural bodybuilder at only 19 years old, I can achieve whatever else I want in life as long as I work really hard and stay focused on my dreams and goals.
What are your plans for the future? I plan on competing in my first pro show within the next two years. Also, I am currently in school, studying medicine and upon graduation I would like to go on to medical school and one day become a doctor.
Thanks for reading, Ryan Nelson