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Ryan Stafford: Bony to Brawny


This month’s impressive body transformer is Ryan Stafford. His before and after photos were taken about three years apart. During that time he grew two inches and packed on major mass. Impressive!

Ryan’s Stats


Age: 17

Height: 5’7”

Weight: 125 pounds

Bodyfat: 12 percent



Age: 20

Height: 5’9”

Weight: 170 pounds

Bodyfat: 7 percent


Why I got started: I used to have no clue as to who I was and tried to fit into certain crowds to be accepted, but it never felt right. I was 17 years old and had just finished a long-term relationship. After the heartbreak I realized that I had been trying to be someone I wasn’t to please another.

One day at Walmart I came across a bodybuilding magazine with Jay Cutler on the cover. In that moment I knew I wanted to be a bodybuilder. I was in awe of Jay’s mass and physique. It was amazing to see someone who, in my opinion, is a superhero, and who proves that anything is possible if you put in work and time.

People around me immediately noticed changes in my attitude and appearance. I carried myself with pride and happiness. Many people said I was going through a phase, but there were others who truly believed in me.

My life is completely different now. Lifting made me realize that time is precious. I don’t want to waste a moment. I’m much more respectful to others now and have higher standards for myself.

How I did it: As soon as I purchased my first fitness magazine, I went straight home to read it. I started reading the diet articles and learned what to eat. I realized that the only way to grow was to eat big and train hard. I trained after school but wasn’t smart about nutrition, so I packed protein bars when I was at school. I knew that school lunch wasn’t enough.

As I became more educated on nutrition, I prepared meals. There were a few days when I felt like giving up because results didn’t show, but I always referred back to photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jay Cutler for motivation. I watched motivational bodybuilding videos and envisioned how I wanted to look.

Biggest challenge: Nutrition—training came easy. Most people complicate supplementation and forget about nutrition, the most important aspect. I learned early that supplements only increase results when you have a solid diet.

I wasn’t concerned about how much weight I could move. I lift as heavy as possible while maintaining good form. To make a muscle grow, you must break it down and build it back with adequate amounts of healthful nutrition. Patience and hope kept me on track.

Future fitness plans: My fitness journey has just begun. I hope to obtain sponsorships and earn a bodybuilding pro card. I’ve competed twice, in the Julie Palmer Ultimate Showdown and the Tricky Jackson Classic, where I placed second in men’s open lightweight bodybuilding.

Suggestions for aspiring transformers:

• Envision a goal.

• Take progress pictures.

• Acknowledge your weaknesses and build on them.

• Don’t get discouraged at slow results.

• Ask for help.

• Take advantage of every day. IM

Ryan’s Diet

Meal 1: 3 eggs, 3 egg whites, 4 slices turkey bacon, 1 wheat bagel

Meal 2: 6 ounces chicken breast, 2 cups broccoli, 2 servings natural peanut butter

Meal 3 (preworkout): 1 cup brown rice, 1 banana, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, 6 ounces chicken breast

Meal 4 (postworkout):  6 ounces tilapia, 1 cup white rice, 1 cup mixed vegetables

Meal 5: 5 ounces 93/7 turkey, 2 cups broccoli

Meal 6: 6 ounces chicken breast, 1/4 cup almonds, 1/2 cup lowfat cottage cheese


Ryan’s Workout

Day 1: Chest

Incline presses 4 x 12, 12, 10, 10

Bench presses 4 x 12, 12, 10, 10

Incline dumbbell presses 4 x 12

Flat-bench cable flyes 3 x 20

Day 2: Legs

Stiff-legged deadlifts 4 x 12-15

Squats 4 x 20, 15, 12, 10

Leg presses 4 x 15, 12, 12, 12

Leg curls 4 x 12

Leg extensions 3 x max

Day 3: Arms


Barbell curls 4 x 10-12

Pushdowns 4 x 10-12

Hammer curls 3 x 10

Skull crushers 3 x 10-12


Machine preacher curls 3 x 12

Seated triceps presses 3 x 12

Rope pushdowns (FST-7) 7 x 8-12

Day 4: Shoulders

Lateral raises 4 x 12

Military presses 3 x 10

Reverse flyes 4 x 10

Dumbbell presses 4 x 12

Day 5: Back

Bent-over rows 4 x 12

Wide-grip pulldowns 4 x 10-12

Dumbbell bent-over rows 3 x 15

Seated cable rows 4 x 12

Dumbbell pullovers 3 x 12

Pullups 5 x max

Days 6, 7: Rest 


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