Posted on 10 Jun 2014
7 min read
Last week I spoke to Bryn Ray, a fitness model and sponsored Optimum Nutrition athlete.
We went for a gruelling back session at the excellent Fight City Gym by Old Street station and followed it up with an obligatory Nando’s, where I interviewed him about his lifestyle and diet.
Hi Bryn, thanks for chatting with Gymtalk today.
To get things started, can you tell us about your background?
I’m 21 years old and was brought up in Rugby.
I went to study Architecture at the University of Sheffield after taking a gap year, and university was an incredible experience.
It was the place where I really fell head-over-heels in love with the fitness industry, receiving an Optimum Nutrition sponsorship and reading every book I could find while experimenting relentlessly.
But despite being fairly gifted at Architecture, it gave me no enjoyment whatsoever and I fully believe the path to true happiness is to be honest with yourself and do what you love.
So, with that in mind, I set off to London to work, where I am now.
I played it safe to begin with and went into system design for a major finance company (had to get paid) but within two months of moving there I’d been offered some fantastic opportunities within the fitness industry.
This was always the plan so naturally I jumped straight on that and here I am!
Why did you get into fitness?
I was put in a gym at age 15 to train for sprinting, and on my very first rep and after the first session I fell in love.
It was a place I felt at home, a place that motivated me to be better, a place I just enjoyed being.
As a massive nerd I became fascinated with the body but even more so the mind.
I fell in love with the human body – it’s so raw and fundamental.
The only constant in our lives and the thing we’re guaranteed to have until the day we die is our body, yet 99.9% people have no conscious idea about the incredible vessel that they occupy.
This coupled with a love of how physical activity made me feel led perfectly to the fitness industry.
I would have chased it earlier but I guess a part of me was stuck in ‘the system’ that dictates a ‘normal’ (safe) career path.
What are you currently up to?
I’m currently working in the business development of a large fitness education facility and chain of personal training gyms.
I manage and help with the development of a group of athletes, I model, and work with Optimum Nutrition on a number of projects.
I’m also developing an online coaching platform and have my own company.
Where do you train?
Generally I train at Fight City Gym – this certainly is what I consider my primary location.
I also train a little at our PT studios and like to tour the city trying out new gyms too.
How did you come about getting involved with Optimum Nutrition?
Fitness is a passion I had a burning desire to share so naturally I took it to social media.
I generally just posted what it was I was doing in a blog type format and how it was going.
ON was my choice of supplements as they just seemed to be miles more effective than anything else I’d tried.
After building a decent following I simply approached ON and asked if I could become an official ambassador (I was already promoting the brand flat out as the products were working wonders).
They took a chance on me (we got on like a house on fire) and now we work together on a daily basis.
What are your goals for the future?
Do you plan to compete?
Currently there is no plan to compete.
While having a good physique is important to me and I like to experiment with my limits it’s only an element of why I love what I do.
With regular photoshoots and being immensely passionate about my work (which requires me to be all over the place), I find it more conductive to everything I do to stay near photoshoot ready year round.
Even more simply I like feeling good and taking a healthy, social and fun approach to training and eating.
My personal physique goals are to continue gaining muscle mass at a rate of about 1-2kg a year (measured at my most lean) for the next 8-10 years and continue experimenting with how training and nutrition can be used as a platform for success and performance in other areas of life.
Give us a quick overview of a typical daily diet.
My diet is always focused around four key times – Breakfast, Pre-workout Meal, Post-workout meal, Pre-bed.
The rest of the day is filler.
Always eat upon waking getting a fast acting protein source, both fast and slow release carbs and some good fats.
Through the day I eat every three hours or so, always protein, fats and veg, generally a good amount of carbs too, but if I’m cutting these come down (as well as fats) as I spend a lot of my day sat down.
I then eat about 100 mins before my workout, no fats, fast acting protein (generally not from meat) and plenty of slow acting carbs.
After the workout it’s a protein shake with fast acting carbs in and fruit followed by a meal of protein and slow release carbs an hour later.
Before bed it’s slow acting protein and fats e.g. casein, total yogurt and coconut.
How strict are you with your diet?
I run a fairly tight diet Monday to Friday as pre-planning saves time, effort and money and gets you into shape.
The weekends are then flexible usually with one day being just as strict as the week and one being more relaxed.
I do regularly eat out for business lunches or evening meals so my other nutrition has to adapt around this a little.
I also like the social element of eating with friends.
For me it’s a rule of be good 80% of the time, don’t get too hung up on numbers, listen to your body, and get in plenty of natural wholefood.
What’s your supplement stack like?
Simple but effective.
I use Gold Standard 100% Whey, Gold Standard Casein, HydroBuilder, Glycomaize, BCAA, Glutamine, Creatine, OptiMen, PRE and Fish Oil if restricting fats.
What’s your current training split like?
How do you fit it into your PT work and busy schedule?
My current training split is different every week as I train with different people all the time for either work or pleasure.
General principle is just make sure I hit every muscle group at least twice a week, focus on hypertrophy in weight sessions, always include at least one functional session.
The ideal split for me is 4 days on, 1 day off, functional with focus on legs, upper body, legs, upper body, rest.
With regard to PT work, I’m lucky enough to have a big gym at my work so I can plan it anywhere into my day.
You’re only 21 years old, wouldn’t you rather be out getting pissed like ‘normal’ 21 year olds?
I’ve had my fair share of nights out at uni and I’m still no stranger to them, but the majority of my social group lives the fitness lifestyle.
Rather than go to the pub, we hit the gym, get some good quality food and drink coffee, or do an event/challenge together.
The infrequency of nights out for all of us means that when we do all decide to go out it’s a novelty, adding to the excitement.
What piece of advice would you give to our readers looking to get in shape?
Make sustainable change.
Never crash diet, never fad diet, never do anything wildly different.
Start by analysing where you are then make small changes one by one over time to reach your ultimate goal.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Where can we find you?
I’m on Twitter at BrynOps.
That just about wraps it up, thanks again for chatting to us Bryn and good luck for the future.
You’re welcome, it’s been a pleasure!
Couple of questions; I was at Sheffield uni, albeit judging by your age I think I probably left just as you’d started.
– what did you think of S10 gym?
– did you ever attempt the Arts Tower stair challenge?
Sorry only just saw this!
S10 was decent – certainly served me well. Always a bit busy but a great atmosphere and community.
Is there a challenge? I ran the stairs a few times as studied architecture but don’t know the conditions.