Interviews Strength Training

Interview With Pro Strongman Ryan Bracewell

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First off, give the readers a bit of history about yourself.

I’m married, working on kids right now. I own Nutrition Depot and The Asylum Gym, both located in Kingwood, Texas.

How did you get into strongman?

Like many people I watched World’s Strongest Man every year growing up, but never thought I would be strong enough to do it. One day after I graduated college I was watching WSM on TV and decided that if I was ever going to try strongman I needed to do it while I was still young.

Did a google search, found NAS and there was a show 20 minutes from my house being held about 2 months from that date. The rest is history.

What’s was that first experience like?

My first experience with strongman was training at the Unit (Travis Ortmayer’s place), and on my first day I did a 3 part medley. I did 550# yoke for 60? (one of the worst yokes I have ever used), 260# farmers for 60?, then a 350# sled drag for 60?.

I finished it and felt like I was going to die. My body was in total shock. I sat, pale faced, for about 15 minutes before finally deciding to puke in the grass. But I was hooked. Despite the torture, it felt good to push my body.

When did it occur to you, “I might actually like this?” and what was your family’s reaction to this?

I think I always knew I would like it because I loved weight lifting, but I decided “I might actually be good at this” at my first contest. After winning the Fire Truck pull Josh Thigpen came up to me and asked “Where did you learn how to do that” (in a complimentary way). I had never pulled a truck before, but was able to learn proper form from watching the pros on Youtube.

After the contest I thought to myself if I can do this good with almost no preparation, I bet I could do really good with some practice. Everyone in my family was very supportive, but my mom stills worries about me getting hurt.

Do you think that there is a brighter future for this sport, and other strength sports?

I cant speak for other strength sports, but I feel strongman has the biggest promise of growth.

What are your measurements if you don’t mind? I want the readers to get a visual of you!

Basics: 290-300#, 2XL-3XL shirts, 38-40? pants depending on fit.

Specifics: 19? arms, 15.5? forearms, chest (tape across nipples & under arms) 54?, neck is about 21?.

What does a typical workout look like for you? How often do you workout?

I workout 3-4 days a week.

  • Day 1: Max Effort Lower
  • Day 2: Max Effort Upper
  • Day 3: Events or Dynamic Lower
  • Day 4: Events or Repetition Upper

Max Effort Days: First exercise is to a 1, 3, or 5 rep max. Then I perform 2-4 supplemental exercises doing reps of 6-15 depending on exercise. I typically perform ab work on lower body days.

Event days I will typically do 2-3 events depending on how heavy I go. If I am doing very heavy events I will cut volume down.

What are your accomplishment prior to this sport and in this sport?

…….(birds chirping)…….lol. Honestly I didn’t accomplish much in sports prior to strongman. I played some baseball and football, but never won many awards. I was an all around athlete and always the strongest guy on my team, but I was no superstar.

In strongman: NAS record holder for Max Standard Deadlift(805#) and Farmers Carry 100? w/ turn(310# in 20.37s), 2008 265lbs National Champion, 2009 NAS athlete of the Year, 5th at 2010 Amateur World Championship, and 1st at Orlando Show of Champions where I earned my Pro Card.

If there is anything you would like to see evolve in this sport what would it be?

I would like to see the sport getting more support from the fitness and supplement industry. I can not see why bodybuilders can make $200,000 for the top bodybuilding contest plus 6 figure supplement contracts, yet the top strongman will only win $40k and would be lucky to get a sponsor that pays for their travel.

Given that strongman gets more worldwide exposure than bodybuilding, I would love to see them getting paid accordingly.

What are your future plans as far as the sport goes?

Like most strongmen I hope to earn a spot at the Arnold Pro show and World Strongest Man. I am also looking forward to traveling to foreign countries to compete and turn some of them into vacations with my wife.

Any other comments, advice, or words of wisdom you would like to add?

Set goals, create a plan to meet those goals, and stay focused.

What do you typically eat/your calorie intake look like?

Not sure of my calories because my nutritionist does all the math for that……I just eat what I’m told, lol.

Basically I do a shake for breakfast and before bed, then 3 meals that will have 1 piece of meat, potatoes or rice, and fruit. My nutritionist would prefer that I have all solid food, but with my schedule and cooking ability it is not possible.

Ryan Bracewell – Nutrition Depot Kingwood & The Asylum Gym.

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