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Fitness & Health

25th May 2018

The UK’s top fitness model shares his workout and diet plan

Ryan Terry has specific advice for training stubborn muscle groups

Alex Roberts

As a Mr. Olympia physique finalist, Ryan Terry can rightly claim to be the UK’s leading fitness model

If you’re looking to build muscle, burn fat or just get the most out of your time in the gym and kitchen, Ryan’s routine possesses unrivalled value.

To add size, you should follow the principles of progressive overload. As you get bigger and stronger, the weight you lift and the reps you perform must adapt to keep you growing.

Ryan’s training mirrors this.

“I follow the old-school bodybuilding way; training a different muscle group each day for five to six days. On the sixth day, I tend to target a lagging muscle group.”

His advice for bringing up a lagging body part also holds relevance for everyone.

“I train a stubborn muscle group twice a week, for the added volume. A trick I use to bring up these parts is to increase my calories on the day I’m training that stubborn muscle.

This helps to give that ‘pump’ which gets the most out of the workout.”

There are no quick fixes when it comes to getting in good shape. Ryan is keen to stress the significance of compound lifts – exercises that work more than one muscle at a time:

“Compound lifts are really important – they pack a huge energy expenditure, meaning you burn off lots of calories when performing them.

Good examples such as deadlifts, barbell squats, bench press and shoulder press promote all-round strength and also blast your core.”

You don’t have to lift as heavy as a powerlifter to gain results from compound lifting.

“Listen to your body, it’s not necessarily about whether you’re lifting heavy or light. I like to change that up every so often to stimulate more muscle.

It’s not really about the weight you’re lifting, but how you lift it. Form and technique are more important than the number of plates on the bar.”

Ryan recommends adding elements of ‘Time Under Tension’ (also known as tempo training) into your routine to ramp up results.

Using the bench press as an example, here’s how to do it:

  • Count to 4 as you lower the weight to your chest (eccentric phase)
  • A 0-second pause at the bottom (when the bar meets your chest)
  • 1 second as you press the weight up (concentric phase)
  • A 2-second pause at the top

Ryan is also renowned for his impressive abs, which are predominantly trained with hanging leg raises. Despite this, the gym is only partly responsible for getting lean.

“Food over training, every time. You can’t just rely on the gym to get the results you want. When you start dieting, you must look at the food you’re consuming. It’s not a 12-week diet, it’s a lifestyle change.”

Ryan broke down the basics of his diet for the readers of JOE:

“I follow a high-carb, low-fat, medium-protein diet – consuming 2 grams of protein for each kilo I weigh. These are amounts I can sustain and that help my metabolism.”

The Nottingham native is also considerate that nutrient timing – when you consume a certain food – is as important as what you’re eating.

“For the early part of the day, which is generally when I train, I will have eggs and oats for breakfast and then I’ll eat white fish and white meat such as turkey, tilapia and chicken.

“These are lean protein sources that digest very quickly without much fat. My carbs are also high around this time in order to fuel my training.”

The situation is slightly different later on into the evening.

“I eat salmon, mackerel and steak in the evening – these contain proteins that take a lot longer to digest. I’ll also drop my carbs and up my fats in the evening.”

Before bed, high-GI, simple sugars are a bad idea. The surge of energy experienced could interrupt your sleep, so it’s worth opting for more stable foods.

Managing your mental health is essential, regardless of current situation, profession or lifestyle. Here is what works for Ryan:

“Although bodybuilding is my profession and my job, it was my hobby before any of that existed!

Getting in the gym helps me de-stress and vent any anger I have. When I was a plumber, working out helped to fight off any worries I had.”

Ryan also highlighted the psychological importance of staying active and following a plan that is bespoke to you as an individual:

“I love going hiking and hill-walking with my fiancee, that really helps set your mind at ease.

“Your training should be a plan that you should enjoy. If you don’t enjoy bodybuilding, look at CrossFit or another way of training. Don’t blindly follow someone else’s plan, mould it to your own goals.”

Ryan Terry is an ambassador for sports nutrition brand USN. To find out more visit