THE STAR OF THE NBC SHOW STRONG TALKS FITNESS, FATHERHOOD, AND MARRIAGE
Chris Ryan is recognized by his good looks and ripped physique, and he has frequented more than an occasional fitness cover. Chances are he is teaching you the proper movements in many of fitness publications on newsstands today. Ryan’s fitness expertise was tapped last fall by iconic brand Ralph Lauren when he became the Brand Ambassador and fitness model for the Polo Tech shirt; a smart shirt that reads biometrics in real time on via a smart phone app. Ryan is not just a fitness model with the agency in New York, Wilhelmina; he is truly the most recognizable and well-respected fitness entrepreneur in the industry. He manages a heavy training schedule with private clients out of New York while taking on some of the most prestigious projects in the fitness industry today and the 35-year-old father and husband is just getting started. Soon he will become a household name when he debuts in the new NBC show, Strong premiering in April. We sat down with Chris to talk, fitness, fatherhood and how marriage made him his best self.
You’ve been in every fitness magazine we can think of; what has been the most memorable project in your career as a fitness expert/male model?
There are three. 1. Being on Strong the new NBC fitness show from the producers of e Biggest Loser and American Ninja Warrior, and executive produced by Sylvester Stallone was a huge accomplishment. 2. It was an honor to be a part of the Polo Tech project with a global Brand like Ralph Lauren. It wasn’t just about being a model or fitness expert or athlete; it was about being all those things in one big project. You just can’t get any cooler than Ralph Lauren. I grew up with this brand and to work with a new fitness tech product launch was cool. 3. I have done a couple of Men’s Fitness covers over the last few years. These days you only catch big A-list actors on magazine covers; so to be in that era and be included on a cover is a great a affirmation to my expertise and I appreciate the support from the guys at Men’s Fitness.
You’re married and a new dad. How do you manage everything — a 6-pack, your schedule, being a good husband and raising the little guy?
Make the most out of 24 hours in a day. I sleep a little less now. Most successful dads I know sleep around 4 or 5 hours a night, sleeping 8 hours is a luxury. I may have several clients back to back, but I make time to spend 20 minutes with my wife Denise and son Achilles and sometimes I work a 16 hour day, but what are you going to do, I’m 35 and I’m supposed to work my ass o for my family aren’t I? Being a husband and father has made me want so much more. When I was single, I didn’t have that drive I have now. Now when I get up a 5 AM and it’s snowing outside, all I have to do is look at my boy sleeping his crib with little re truck pj’s, and I know I need to get out there and work for my family. It’s all about time management.
Best/hardest thing about being an entrepreneur? Same answer. You are your own boss. You have to drive yourself.
Best/Hardest thing about being a dad? When your baby is sleeping and you look at him there is this primal thing going on inside. I’ve learned what unconditional love is with my son.
Best/Hardest thing about being a husband? She is my rock, my biggest supporter in getting me to realize the gifts and potential I have. I really can’t say that is a challenge for me. I love Denise, and she made me whole as a man and helped me grow up a lot in certain ways.
The best advice you can give to our readers about balancing life with health and fitness?
I think people get caught up in trying to look like a guy in the magazines no pun intended. You can’t go back to being twenty. You need to be your best self now.
Who was your hero growing up? A lot of aspiring trainers and fitness models would say you right now — when you were 17, who was that for you?
I had posters on my wall of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. In fact, my middle name is Conan. My dad was a big fan of Arnold and that movie, a lot of people don’t know that. My real heroes were my parents. My dad was a successful dentist and did a lot for my brother and me. Giving us an awesome place to workout, and was before his time with some of the equipment we were using. He would take me to the track; when I was 7 to do sprints. He was my coach. He sent me down the right road on how to coach. My mom worked five days a week, and she was strong and worked out which was not typical in the 1980’s. She ran 5Ks and did squats; she demonstrated her physical and mental strength to me while growing up. She was an amazing career woman as an attorney and embraced fitness as well. My parents also instilled the importance of education in me growing up first and foremost.
Rumor has it you will be featured in a new show on NBC. Is this true?
It’s ten amazing male trainers, with ten women training with us. They are all ages all body types; it ’s a good snapshot of America. We are teaching women how to be strong, after a baby and C-section, or a breakup, or teaching them how to be their best version of themselves.
Watch STRONG on nbc.com
Here is a workout Chris made for Road Warriors
When I am on the road it is all about efficiency; some hotels have amazing gyms while others have very dated ones, but most always have a treadmill and some 50lb Dumbbells.
For me it’s about hitting it hard for 30 minutes to get my heart rate up and open up my hips and shoulders which can get pretty tight after a long travel day or sleeping in a hotel bed.
Here is one of my favorite go-to workouts: 5 rounds –
- Treadmill for 1:30 – do these hard at about 85%+ effort; for me this is usually at 12.4mph at 1.5 degree incline
- 10 Thrusters w/50lb DBs
- 10 DB RDLs w/50lb DBs
- 10 DB snatches (5R, 5L alternating) w/50lb DBs
- 10 Bent over rows w/ 50lb DBs
I rest about 1:00 – 2:00 between rounds depending on how hard I want to make it, but make sure to quickly transition between each exercise.
You have all your elements in this workout to get strong and get a great sweat! Just remember to listen to your body and adjust rest and intensity as needed; remember, you are traveling and trying to maintain, not start a whole new cycle so don’t worry about not having everything available to you that you normally do.