Ryan Hughes is a bodybuilder, personal trainer, and fitness model who went from being one of the smallest kids in his school, to building an incredible physique just a few years down the line.
In his youth, he joined a gym to build muscle after he became unhappy with his skinny frame, entering the weights room for the first time at the age of 15.
Ever since then, he’s been able to make a name for himself within the fitness industry, becoming one of the first people to earn their IFBB Pro Card in the men’s physique division in 2011.
This is his story:
|Full Name: Ryan Hughes|
|Weight||Height||Age||Date of Birth|
|205 - 215lbs (88.5 - 93.0kg)||6'1" (185.5cm)||32||June 24, 1987|
|American||IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, Fitness Model, Sponsored Athlete||2000, 2010|
|Weight||205 - 215lbs (88.5 - 93.0kg)|
|Date of Birth||June 24, 1987|
|Profession||IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, Fitness Model, Sponsored Athlete|
- IFBB Pro Bodybuilder
- Personal Trainer
- Fitness Model
- Sponsored Athlete
- IFBB New York Pro: Men’s Physique – 16th place
- IFBB Europa Show of Champions: Men’s Physique – 9th place
- IFBB New York Pro: Men’s Physique – 7th place
- IFBB Pro Grand Prix: Men’s Physique – 9th place
- NPC Junior USA Championships: Men’s Physique Class B – 1st place (Won Pro Card)
Entering the Weights Room
Born in Pennsylvania, USA in 1987, Ryan Hughes was always one of the smallest kids throughout his teens. During high school, he became unhappy with the way he looked, which had a negative impact on his self-confidence. As Ryan says: “I was very thin. I had very little muscle. I used to wear like six shirts to school just to make myself look thicker. It was a struggle”.
When he turned 15 years old, Ryan took matters into his own hands, where he stepped into the gym to add muscle mass to his skinny frame. At the start, Ryan had a poor knowledge of nutrition and training, which meant he struggled to make progress. As Ryan recalls: “It took a while to really learn and understand how to workout and how to eat and how to grow”.
Over time, Ryan built a deeper understanding of the muscle building process, which meant that he was able to move on from his lack of experience in the gym, forming a solid foundation to sculpt his great physique.
At first, Ryan trained purely for aesthetics, but as time went by he soon realized that he wanted to go a step further. It was at this point, he decided that his next step was to start competing on the bodybuilding stage.
Ryan Hughes in his teens compared to how he looks now.
Ryan entered his first bodybuilding competition when he was 19 years old, quickly becoming hooked from the moment he stepped onto the stage for the first time. As Ryan says: “I entered my first competition and from then on I was hooked and really developed a passion for health and fitness”.
Later in his career, Ryan finished in first place at the 2011 NPC Junior USA Championships. It was here that he placed his name in the history books, becoming one of the first men to win their Pro Card within the men’s physique division in this year.
Ever since then, he’s appeared in numerous bodybuilding competitions. Such as the 2012 IFBB Pro Grand Prix and 2012 IFBB New York Pro, finishing in 9th and 7th respectively.
Ryan Hughes Achievements
Ryan has gone on to forge a successful career within fitness. Over the years, he’s become a highly respected personal trainer and sponsored athlete, growing a substantial online following in the process. In addition to this, he’s also been featured on the front cover of many fitness magazines.
Ryan likes to place focus on heavy compound lifting, which he says has contributed to his excellent progress in the gym.
“I think all of the compound lifts have a place in every routine – so your bench press, your squats and your deadlifts. You should try to build your routines around those, especially if you’re just starting out, they will give you the most bang for your buck”.
Mixture of Training Methods
Although compound lifts are the pillar of his workouts in the gym, Ryan enjoys utilizing multiple training methods. In turn, this reduces the chance of him reaching a plateau. In regard to this, Ryan had this to say:
“My style of training incorporates a lot of old school bodybuilding techniques, but some new age stuff as well. A lot of volume training, some rest-pause and then high-intensity training, so it’s all kind of mashed into one which I’ve found has given me the right results”.
Here’s Ryan’s muscle building workout split:
Day 1: Chest
- Bench Press: 5 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
- Decline Bench Press: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 8, 8 reps
- Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Machine Chest Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Pec Deck: 4 sets of 12 reps
Day 2: Arms
- EZ Bar Curls: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Weighted Dips: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps
- Straight Bar Curls: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps
- Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Press: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps
- One Arm Preacher Curls: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps
- Skull Crushers: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps
- Alternating Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets of 10, 8, 8 reps
- Cable Triceps Pushdowns: 3 sets of 12, 10, 10 reps
Day 3: Back
- Deadlifts: 5 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- One Arm Dumbbell Rows: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- T-Bar Rows: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Lat Pulldowns: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Barbell Rows: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 10 reps
Day 4: Shoulders
- Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Barbell Military Press: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Reverse Flyes: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps
- Barbell Shrugs: 5 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10, 10 reps
- Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 15, 12, 10 reps
- Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 12, 10, 8 reps
- Front Raises: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 10 reps
Day 5: Legs
- Barbell Squats: 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
- Leg Extensions: 5 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10, 10 reps
- Leg Press: 4 sets of 15, 12, 12, 10 reps
- Hack Squats: 4 sets of 15, 10, 10, 8 reps
- Single Leg Hamstring Curls: 4 sets of 12, 10, 10, 10 reps
- Lying Hamstring Curls: 12, 10, 10, 10 reps
Day 6: Rest Day
Day 7: Repeat
Ryan follows a healthy diet that allows him to maintain his lean body all year round. He adjusts his macronutrients accordingly, depending on whether he’s preparing for a competition or not. As Ryan says:
“I get the proper breakdown of carbs, proteins and fats specifically for me. It took me a long time to perfect what works for me, but that is part of the fun of it. Learning your body and how it responds to different variables is probably the most beneficial thing you can learn from living this lifestyle”.
Listed below is the meal plan which Ryan follows to build lean muscle:
Meal 1: 7:00 AM
- 2 Scoops Of Whey Protein
- 2/3 Cups Of Dry Oats
Meal 2: 9:30-10:00 AM
- 8oz Ground Turkey
- 1/2 Cup Green Beans
- 1 Yam
Meal 3: 12:30 PM
- 10oz Grilled Chicken
Meal 4: 3:00 PM
- 10oz Grilled Chicken
- 1 Yam
- 1/2 Cup Green Beans
- 1/4 Cup Raw Almonds
Meal 5: 5:30-6:00 PM Pre-Workout
- 1 1/2 Scoops of Whey Protein
- 4 Rice Cakes
- 1 Banana
Meal 6: 8:00-8:30 PM Post-Workout
- 2 Scoops of Whey Protein Isolate
- 1 Scoop of Carbohydrate Source
Meal 7: 9:30-10:00 PM
- 8oz London Broil Steak
- 1 Yam
Idols and Influences
Ever since he was a young boy, Ryan has admired the incredible physique of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his heyday. As well as Arnold, he takes inspiration from some of the biggest names in bodybuilding. In Ryan’s own words:
“Arnold’s physique is, and always will be the best in terms of size, shape and proportions. He is the physique I always admired most growing up and still to this day proves best in my eyes. In terms of today’s bodybuilders, my favorites would be Phil Heath, Flex Lewis, and Evan Centopani“.
What we can learn from Ryan Hughes
What we can learn from Ryan Hughes is that his ‘never give up’ mindset has allowed him to go from strength to strength in his fitness career. If you apply this way of thinking to your own life, then one day, you might be able to achieve your own greatness – just like Ryan.
As Ryan Hughes says: “There is no such thing as can’t, and no such word as fail. If you want it, it can be yours” – Ryan Hughes