Top Tips from Terry

For years, Englishman Ryan Terry has been at the top of the fitness food chain, consistently placing in the top five of Mr. Olympia competitions. Then, this spring, he brought home the gold at the 2017 Arnold Classic in the men’s physique category. So who better to provide you with 10 tips to get—and keep—you on track this summer as you chase your best physique yet?

1. Walk Hard

“I’ve found steady-state cardio to be most beneficial for me and my competitive goals. It gradually chips away at my body fat without causing me to lose muscle. Start walking on a treadmill on a moderate incline for about 25 to 30 minutes at a pace that keeps your heart rate around 65–70%. Walk four to five times per week, and work up to 45- to 60-minute sessions.”

2. Listen Up

“The key to sculpting your body and maximizing muscle growth is to vary the tempo, volume, weight, and variations of your workouts. This could mean doing more supersets or dropsets, or amping up the time under tension. But I’ve also learned to listen to my body. If I’m tired and aching from a previous session, I adjust my current workout accordingly by lowering weights, sets, or reps. Similarly, if I’m feeling energetic then I’ll up the intensity and take advantage of my extra energy.”

3. Be Flexible

“Let’s get one thing out of the way: Flexible dieting isn’t about eating loads of junk food and making it fit into your macronutrients. So long as you’re hitting your predetermined macronutrient ratios, you can have a little treat here and there to strengthen you mentally and metabolically. But you can’t go crazy with the treats. Over the years, I’ve tried both clean eating and flexible dieting, and have found that the latter approach works better for me when it comes to the mental side of dieting, as it gives me that balance in life. You can still go out and socialize with friends and family.”

4. Eat, Eat, Eat!

“I found eating consistently throughout the day sped up my metabolism and helped my body function more efficiently. My energy levels were great, my fat levels were minimal, and I was still growing. I tend to stick to the same food types all year round, although portion sizes vary according to my physique goal at the time.”

5. Stay Flye

“Although pressing exercises should be the foundation of your chest training, flyes are great for sculpting the muscles and maximizing that full, wide look. With flyes, there are so many different pieces of equipment on which to do them. I highly recommend rotating all of them into your routine.”

6. Assault Your Arms

“I had always trained biceps and triceps once a week, but last year I decided to hit them twice: Once on the same day and once each on different days; I do triceps with back and biceps with chest. When I do them with other body parts, I go for high volume, 12 to 15 reps, and do three exercises. When I do them together, it’s low reps, heavy weight, four to five exercises, and long rests between sets. I also take in more calories to get a better pump.”

7. Roll With It

“Very few gym-goers warm up properly before hitting an exercise, if at all. My advice? Incorporate pre- and post-workout stretches into your routine. Before workouts, massage your lower and upper body with a foam roller or PVC pipe. This will increase blood flow to get your body ready for a training session and release muscle tightness that can interfere with proper form. Also, stretch out your shoulders and back with a band. Post-workout, use a foam roller as well as a lacrosse ball to provide a more intense myofascial release and flush out toxins to help with recovery.”

8. Blast Your Abs

“Many lifters believe that abs are secondary muscles that don’t require additional training. Nonsense. If you want six-pack abs, then focus on them specifically. And to take your abs to the next level, train upper and lower abs on different days. That’s what I do. It provides more time for recovery and allows you to focus more heavily on your abs.”

9. Know Squat

“When doing the back squat, the heavier the load the less emphasis there is on the quads. With big weights, your lower back takes on more and more stress as the leg muscles fatigue. So to make sure you’re hitting your lower body, you could, of course, lighten the load on your back squats. But before doing that, I suggest opting for front squats and split squats. Also, use varied back squats. To target the ‘outer sweeps’ of the thighs, move your feet closer together—to about hip-width. To target the inner thighs, specifically the adductors, widen your stance to outside shoulder-width.”

10. Eye on the Prize

“I always set goals in life to work toward, whether it’s a family holiday, a photo shoot, or a competition. Giving myself that end goal keeps me focused and on track. Throughout the offseason and leading up to the competition, I visualize the improved physique and stage presence I want to achieve. Do the same with whatever your personal goals may be.”