Chris Ryan went from sedentary to Spartan and totally overhauled his physique and his lifestyle with ATP Personal Training.
Chris, can you tell us a bit about your journey to fitness?
My name’s Chris Ryan. My introduction to fitness came about three years ago. I think I spent probably the last 15 years before that being quite unhealthy, eating poorly and alternating periods of working out with long periods of not working out.
I got as high as 108 kilos in weight. I didn’t really considering what I was putting in my body. I was actually finding it quite hard work getting upstairs, which you shouldn’t be feeling when you have a young family. I really felt that I needed to move away from that into something that was going to be better for me as a father with young children.
And I guess over the years as you’re getting older, you kind of start to lose the ability to use your body, and I was terrified of that. I didn’t really want to get into a position where I was finding it hard to climb the stairs.
I had a conversation with my twin brother and he said, “Hey, look, why don’t we enter our fifties the fittest we’ve ever been in our life?” And so that’s what we decided to do. We took up that challenge. I felt that it was important to do because I was feeling quite heavy physically, but also weighed down mentally, and that really spurred on my thinking. That was my life before fitness.
Why did you decide to compete in Spartan?
The training group that I was with who said, “Come along and take part in a Spartan competition.” And I looked at it and thought, “No, no way. No, I can’t do that.” They just kept on working on me and I ended up getting into the Spartan and the reason why I came to ATP is I really wanted to get through Spartan test. That was number one.
The other reason why I came to ATP is I wasn’t really getting to that level of leanness that I really wanted to get to and strength building. I did the Spartan in Hong Kong last year, and I was amazed at what I could do, but I was disappointed because I failed at four obstacles. And I guess from that point on I really wanted to see what I could do in the next Spartan.
What was it like when you first joined ATP?
Before ATP, I had never been sure about personal training. What was different about ATP is the first day I arrived, I felt very comfortable and there’s a very clear goal setting introductory session where there was a real focus on what I wanted to get out of the training.
So when I joined ATP, I thought I was actually quite fit. Somebody showed me my first photo from the introductory session, and I was walking past reception and saw it on someone’s screen and I was like, “Oh, my God.” So I wasn’t actually as fit as I thought I was. I wasn’t as in good shape as I thought I was.
I can feel the change and my wife can too, so that’s a big bonus. Definitely my physique has changed a lot. The difference between the Spartan race in Hong Kong and what I was able to achieve versus what I was able to achieve as a result of the strength training at ATP was massive. I managed to get through all of the obstacles I wanted to get through.
What has been the biggest benefit of your fitness journey?Honestly, it’s nice when you’re 52 to get people saying, “Hey, Chris, you’re looking really great.” So I think from a physique point of view I’ve changed quite a lot.
Interestingly, and I don’t think this is a secret to anyone, when you feel really good about yourself, when you start to see how lean you’re becoming, when you start to see the definition really coming through, it boosts your confidence. It boosts your mental wellbeing, it has a very positive effect on that.