Contest Winner Shares His Best Tips & Tricks

Today’s podcast is very special. It’s an interview with the Adonis Index Open Contest winner Ryan Williams.

Ryan has been on board for several months now and he didn’t have a long way to go, but he definitely took it to the next level.

Check out his pictures:

Adonis Index Contest - Ryan William

Ryan not only got in an exceptional shape, but he also took great pictures.

Adonis Index Contest - Ryan William

Ryan's back shot.


Ryan thought that it’s near to impossible to get ripped and look like a Hollywood action movie star. He thought that it would require a very strict lifestyle and an incredible amount of work, which would be impossible to fit into his work schedule which requires a lot of traveling.

However, with two kids (six and two year old), wife and regular trips across continents he managed to get in a great shape, a cover model shape you would say.

The best part?

He is willing to share how he did it.

You have a chance to learn how he planned his workout, structured his diet and the other stuff he did to get in shape, you can take his best tricks and tweak them to fit to your own lifestyle.

New Approach Got Him Results

Ryan revealed that before finding the Adonis Index he was eating a lot, definitely more than his body could burn.

He, like many other guys, thought that he can muscle his way to leanness, he thought that if he got big enough and built enough muscle, his metabolism would be so fast that it would burn all the fat on his body. On top of that in the past he read in a fitness magazine that he should never eat below 2000 calories. He never really weighed himself, but Ryan’s estimate is that at one time he must have been way over 200 pounds, probably even close to 250.

It wasn’t until he found Eat Stop Eat and Adonis Index that he realized this is probably not the best approach to take to get in shape.

Probably the biggest revelation for Ryan was that he could just diet once and stay like that forever, just do some micro diet management for maintenance and that would be it.

He set his daily calories intake at 1800 calories and added two fasts on top of that. He wasn’t counting calories, he was doing more of calorie guessing and just eye balling the food to know the rough calorie content.

In the past he never followed a real muscle building program either. It was always just a mix of bodybuilding splits that he thought he should do from what he read in fitness magazines. In his own words: “I just trained the mirror muscles, that was it.”

The biggest shock once he started doing the Adonis Index workouts was of course the training volume. He thought that he was over-training and doubted that he could do it. However, after a few weeks the soreness went away and he realized that it wasn’t over-training, but rather under-conditioning, he just wasn’t used to such a physical stress before, so his muscles needed some time to get accustomed to such a high volume and intensity of training.

Another important fact Ryan mentions in the interview is the importance of periodization, which is crucial, because if you don’t change your workout often enough, you will get bored and you will not enjoy your workouts.

And how do you plan on sticking to something if you don’t enjoy it?

You Need to Have a Flexible Approach

Ryan said that what got him hooked about Adonis Index was the fact that it is oriented on aesthetics and proportions, the goal isn’t to just get big, but to actually achieve a specific shape.

Ryan is an opera singer and sometimes he needs to perform without his shirt on, in the past he would do some crazy strict fitness stuff like eating six times a day, eating tons of protein, because he was afraid of losing his muscles for the show and training a lot. Basically this made him a slave to his diet and gym routine for the sake of looking good on stage, however after the show he would always go back to looking pretty average.

The big mind shift came once he tried the program.

Six months is all he needed to get in the best shape of his life (sounds like something several previous contestants have in common). Don’t get me wrong, Ryan has some training history, but once he got in decent shape for his show, he gained all the weight back right after that show, he could never keep that shape for more than a short period of time.

Basically this lifestyle was killing him and he couldn’t sustain it for long term. He travels a lot and of course wants to spend some time with his wife and two kids when he is finally at home, so you can imagine he is not interested in preparing his six meals every day and spending half the day in the gym.

He combined the Eat Stop Eat and Anything Goes Diet principles into his workout routines and almost without any significant effort lost more than 20 pounds of fat. No countless hours spent on cardio, which he could never do for more than a month in the past anyway.

He let the diet take care of the fat loss and dedicated just 90 minutes, five times a week to training for muscle gain and aesthetics.

Obviously this worked almost like a magic and at the end he has a cover model body.

The best part?

He is able to sustain this after the show and keep his abs visible.

You need to find a flexible approach that allows you to change things as you go, is easy to implement into your lifestyle and is sustainable for years not just weeks.

You do want to look great for the rest of your life, don’t you?

In that case you need to find a way to stay in shape with very little effort while being able to enjoy your life in its fullest way possible.

Let’s clarify one thing though, there is a difference between your “regular look” and your “photo-shoot look”. Sometimes guys have a hard time getting over this one, so let’s break this down.

When fitness models are preparing for a contest or a photo-shoot, they know they will be in that shape for just a few hours. When you get down to single digit body fat, your look becomes transient based on the physical activity you do and the specific food you eat. Not that eating tacos would make you fat, but if you have a visible six pack abs and you can see different muscle fibers on your shoulders, each food will have a different affect on your look. Some foods will make you look sharper, some will make you more bloated. This is something you will have to experiment with once you get to this level.

And fitness models know this, they know exactly what foods affects them and how. They know what time a day and after what amount of hours after training they look the best, most cut, and most shredded. Put aside the drugs and photo editing, they know their bodies well and they surely know how to take advantage of that for the photo shoot. So, the point is that if you think that you are going to look like a cover model 24/7, you have some big disbelief that you need to get over.

You will look different in the morning, in the evening, after eating a big steak with fries, and after eating a bowl of apples. That is just how your body works, it changes it’s look very frequently based on your action. If you are over 10% body fat you may have not noticed those change. The reason for that is simple, you have fat on your muscles that prevents you from seeing those changes.

The fitness industry and it’s models are extreme, they’re like looking at a concept car at an auto show, it’s got wings and all sorts of fancy stuff that looks like it’s borrowed from Star Trek, but the car you buy doesn’t look like that, even if you buy a Ferrari, it still looks like a car compared to the concept models at the show. Your body is pretty much the same, the body you “buy” or build and live with on a daily basis is different from the one that fitness magazines are “selling” you.

Bear that in mind when reading magazines and looking at the models.

This is why it’s pointless to compare your pictures you took on your vacation with the one on a cover of a fitness magazine.

You Don’t Need to Hire a Professional Photographer to Get Good Photos

While some people decide that once they put the effort into the training and diet, they want to maximize the outcome by getting a professional photographer, Ryan did it almost all by himself. For him it would be too complicated to get a photographer, so he borrowed a camera from a friend, got up a bit earlier before his kids woke up, hung a lamp from the ceiling, put some black clothes behind him as a background and asked his wife to take the pictures.

And the result is pretty good. He proved that if you can’t get a photographer and a studio, you can take great pics yourself and still win. Don’t let the opportunity of winning a contest and some money slip through your fingers just because you think you need a photographer.

Take home message from Ryan:

  • Use the Adonis Index community, they are honest awesome and helpful people
  • “Contest was fun, it was definitely a good push that helped me to get in a better shape”
  • Figure out what is sustainable and what fits your lifestyle, it won’t be the same as thing as it is for the next guy over
  • Ryan is a “sprinter”, he can put a lot of energy into something for a short period of time, if you are the same, try to incorporate some of his tips into your routines
  • If you are tall and lean or don’t have much fat to get rid of try to guess calories rather than count them
  • You will have little slip ups, as long as you keep making progress you will get to your goal, so don’t worry it is okay to make mistakes, some would even say necessary
  • Being in shape is something you want to keep for the rest of your life, so find what works for YOU
  • The goal is to make it sustainable, fitness models can’t sustain the look for they have for the show for very long, so don’t aim for the impossible
  • Find your motivator, for Ryan it was his job and the fact that he is required to take his shirt off from time to time on stage in front of a lot of people
  • Train for aesthetics, but don’t train just your mirror muscles, train it all and just focus a little more on the muscles that make up the best AI ratio
  • Take pictures, you will see your muscles from completely different angles then you are used to and you will be able to notice how thick, wide and shaped your muscles naturally are
  • You don’t need a professional photographer to take good pictures, just play with what you got
  • Everybody looks different and have different genetics, so don’t compare yourself to others

Words & phases mentioned in the podcast:

Listen to the interview here:

About Allen Elliott

Allen is the Editor-In Chief of the Adonis Index Blog, bringing you weekly articles on contest prep, transformation testimonials' and much more!

Additionally he is a published Fitness Personality, Certified Personal Trainer, and National Competitor in the NPC Men's Physique Division.

Last but not least, as an Adonis/Venus Index Transformation Coach, he works to provide guided solutions for people who sincerely strive to meet their fitness goals.

Being a fitness model and competitor gives him a lot of valuable insights that nobody else talks about. Among other things, he will teach you how to prepare for a live show or a fitness photoshoot yourself.

Click here to get more from him.