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One look at Mike Ryan and you’d know what makes celluloid and sports heroes trust him with their bodies. Shaping superstar physiques, besides maintaining one himself, Mike has the last word on most matters to do with training, supplementation and nutrition. TSI chats up Adonis-maker…
NISHITA MAHAJAN | New Delhi, November 1, 2011 22:20
Tags : john abraham | hugh jackman | mike ryan | kobelz | fit | strong | body | spice girls | bipasha basu |


You remember that uber hot scene in the movie, Dostana, where John Abraham shows off his ogle-worthy six pack abs under the pretext of taking a shower at the beach in his h-o-t yellow boxers? Yes, you got it right! It was the movie that gave Bollywood its new-age Adonis. V-shaped torso. Check. Taut butt. Check. Booming biceps. Check. The man behind this new avatar of the metrosexual hero is not only a health and fitness expert who trains the who’s who of Hollywood, but a hard working fitness enthusiast who leads by example. We dare you to look away from that drool-inducing physique… Meet Mike Ryan.

The first time he met John Abraham, Mike couldn’t help but liken him to Brad Pitt! “John had a great structure; broad shoulders, tall, lean; I definitely saw the potential inside him. I had to teach John how to eat to gain muscle as well as to train and do cardio to sculpt his physique.”

When I wondered aloud to him whether John’s latest ‘Force’ look was his handiwork too, he clarified it wasn’t. “But we spoke prior to his filming about the project. I just reassured John to keep up his caloric intake and train heavier to get that size. I was actually working with the cast for the Hollywood/Bollywood movie Speedy Singhs.” says Mike.


Mike Ryan owes his fitness streak to his dad. Mike’s father was his biggest influence to get into this profession. He remembers,” Growing up, we had a gym in our basement. My dad was into bodybuilding and used to train with professional wrestlers. I played a lot of sports and my dad taught me how to train. I was always fascinated with training and how my body responded. I never really thought (personal training) would be a profession until I moved out to California.” He was always sure about not getting involved with steroids, so Mike was never interested in body building or fitness competitions. He has played pro football in Europe, and lists sports like American football, ice hockey, lacrosse, boxing, and MMA as his favorites. “I always had the drive and always loved the gym environment. So, when I graduated, I put little more time in there and when my playing days were behind me, I continued to work out.”

Mike Ryan now runs a business in California and is a consultant to the Hollywood elite. Everytime some physique-oriented role was the talk of the town, rest assured Mike was on the radar somewhere. ‘X-men Origins: Wolverine’? The jaw-dropping hulk that became of Hugh Jackman is Mike’s doing, for he was personal trainer to Hugh Jackman for a year. He also trained Edward Norton when he wanted to shed off his bulk for the movie ‘Fight Club’. Recalls Mike, “I did limit his caloric intake and put him on limited meals substituted with lots of protein shakes.” He is also into training with athletes like Kobe Bryant and fitness training competitors like Monica Brant. When asked whether there was any difference in the training schedule of an athlete and of an actor, he explained, “With athletes, they have an off-season and an on season. It’s important in the off season to really go heavier, get stronger. Off season is the time for athletes to get bigger, faster and stronger. With actors, it’s usually a crash course in training. Most guys get a role and it requires them to be in impeccable shape in 4 - 6 weeks. So there’s a lot of pressure for actors to get the results a lot faster.”


Sitting across the table from a fitness freak with one of those dream bods, you obviously can’t hold back from requests for tips and tricks to a leaner and fitter body, and fast! Mike would have none of it, “I can’t give all my tips; I’ll be out of work!” but in the next minute bravely shared some quick tips, “To increase your size, you need to train heavy and definitely eat an abundance of calories a day. High protein, moderate carbs and moderate healthy fats accompanied with lots of cardiovascular training can surely lead you to perfect abs.” When you look/gawk at him as he says that, it sure sounds easy.

Discipline is the sine qua non of a fit and toned body; Mike doesn’t tolerate lazy bones kindly. So who was his favourite among his wide list of trainees. “I love Mickey Rourke! You never know what’s in store for you and it is always fun, wild, crazy, and intense when Mickey is with you all the way! He is tough too; I usually end in a lot of fights when I’m working with him. Seriously, never a dull moment when I’m with Mickey Rourke!”

On his pick of focused and sincere people he has trained, he named two Johns – one, our very own John Abraham, and the other being Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson. “Both are true gym junkies and make it a priority to train no matter where they are. They are extremely focused on work, family, health and well-being. It’s an absolute blast to work with them.” So he’s worked with the best of them; is there someone he looks forward to getting his hands on? He took a while to answer that one, but guess what he came up with, “I really want to get Salman Khan shredded. He has a nice big physique and I know I can get him totally shredded.” It had to be Sallu Bhai – the original poster boy of sizzler physiques.

I had very little information on the women he’s trained, to which he exclaimed, “I love training women. I train women the same way I train the men.

I’ve worked with Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra, Sporty Spice (Spice Girls), wrestling divas Kim Page and Kim Kanner,” he answered. When asked to name favourites here, Mike cleverly opted out, “Too tough to answer! Can I just say all of them (I never know who I will be working with)”
A man sans any airs, Mike Ryan would often make you forget he’s the man behind sculpting some handsome and heavenly beauties. Albeit he did seem a little tight fisted with his treasure chest of training techniques, he did mention about the style of training he prefers. “Today, the trend incorporates core movements with ballistic movements. My experience has taught me that in order to develop a physique for the movies you need to adopt old school body building training principles. Training with dumbbells, cables and limited machines, working on each and every muscle or rather isolating every muscle every time you train.”

Mike’s aspirations don’t just end at being a professional trainer. He wants to go beyond borders and put his skill set to work on many levels. He uncharacteristically went shy as he recalled, “Funny! Aamir’s wife (Kiran Rao) totally believes I should be in Bollywood. Who knows? I guess I need to brush up on my Hindi.” Surely, that shouldn’t be difficult – fitting into our movies with that delectable physique. Besides, none of us would be complaining! See you soon Mike. 

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017