Part 6: IFBB Pro Ryall at the Arnold Classic in Hong Kong
Globetrotting ambassador Ryall Graber is back with more amazing photos and updates post-Arnold 2016 in Hong Kong. Catch up with her previous Arnold experiences, which began in Columbus, then took her to Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and now Hong Kong!
This time around, preparation for her routine was severely affected by a minor wrist injury that turned into a major one. Since the injury, she had been treating her wrist with cortisone, but this has an effect on hormones, so she was already not feeling well. Unable to train at an intensity she normally does, she watered down her routine by removing some of her strongest skills, which was an incredibly hard thing for her to do. She ultimately finished in seventh place, but for her, this particular show was about so much more than that finish. â€œIt was about enduring through. I could've quit. It was painful," Ryall added. But she didn't quit â€“ she soldiered through and completed her performance, even if it wasn't the exact performance she would have loved to be able to put on. But what can you do when your body is telling you, screaming at you, to stop?
Ryall's a fighter, but she's also wise enough to realize when enough is enough. When she got home from Asia, she went to see her hand surgeon for a follow-up, and he simply told her, â€œYou need to stop." She explained that both the Olympia and Arnold Europe were coming up, but the surgeon again stressed, â€œYou don't understand. If you keep going and tear that ligament, you're out forever. Once that's torn, and they do surgery, you'll never be able to move that wrist again, and it'll develop arthritis. You need to really take this seriously."
After a long, hard, tear-filled weekend, Ryall knew what she had to do: she decided to withdraw from both the Olympia and Arnold Europe. â€œI fought so hard for Asia, but I really had to look at the damage I was doing and the pain I was in," she stated. As a top-ranked athlete, it was killing her to step on the stage and not be at her best. â€œAnd to do that again and again and again? What am I gaining from continuing to do that? I felt like I won, I fought this battle, and I got to Asia, but it didn't make sense to me to push through and take out my entire arm from my routine. It just needs a break, and I've come to grips with it now."
â€œIf I do take care of myself right now, I can step out on stage mid-2017 and be a force to be reckoned with."
Still, in spite of everything â€“ and truthfully, in some ways perhaps because of it â€“ Ryall still had an amazing experience at the Arnold in Hong Kong, and came away from it with a newfound appreciation for the power of the mind. â€œMentally, when you decide you're doing something, and your mind is in check with what you want to achieve, you just won't quit. It's awesome how powerful the mind is," she noted, with regard to being able to push through her wrist injury to perform. â€œThe mind overcomes a lot physically. That was probably the biggest thing for me. Just being there, I already felt like I won. I wasn't talking about it publicly; I didn't want to create any drama around it. It's such a personal thing. But I was just so happy to be there, to be a part of it."
â€œI've learned and grown so much from all of these experiences, but also pushing my body through and fighting to get to Asia when 4 weeks before that it was looking really grimâ€¦ I'm so proud to have endured that."
â€œAs athletes, we're crazy. It's like the word â€˜can't' isn't in our vocabulary, and I think that's good and bad," Ryall added. She loves competing, traveling, sharing her passions with the world, and meeting all of these people. To her, going through all the difficult moments was worth it. She wanted to make it happen. It came to a halt only because it had to, because of the injury. â€œOtherwise, I would still mentally be in the game," she said.
After the Arnold in Hong Kong, Ryall flew to Beijing â€“ she truly wanted to make the most out of this experience. Once she arrived, she took a three-hour drive to get to a more remote part of the Great Wall, where there are no tourists. After being with a tour guide, learning a bit about the history of the Great Wall, she was able to spend some time alone. Although it hadn't been decided yet at the time, not by a long shot, she had an inkling that this might be the end of the year for her, and she just wanted to enjoy the opportunities before her. She has now seen six of the Wonders of the World, and it has been awesome in every sense of the word.
Still, even though Ryall's globetrotting this year was sadly forced to come to an end, she was able to see how the bodybuilding audience is growing in Asia. â€œThey're really excited about it, and they've never seen a competition of this level in Asia ever, so it was a big deal. There's a whole fitness revolution happening all over the world, with everyone interested in getting fit, so it's just cool to be a part of that," Ryall explained.
Ryall also had the opportunity to take the new Asana Tote for a test drive while in Hong Kong and Beijing, and she loved it! â€œIt's definitely become one of my favorites," Ryall said. She usually travels with the Renee, because it can carry four meals so it's better for long journeys, but the Asana was perfect for this trip.
â€œI love it for its double use as a gym bag and day bag. It's so soft! It's quite versatile."
Although it's designed as a yoga bag, with a strap on tap for your mat, Ryall simply used the strap to hold her water bottle. â€œThere's a lot of compartments in it, with an outside pocket as well. I like the outside pocket for my passport because I don't have to dig into my bag to grab it, I can just grab it from the outside. The Renee has that too. If the bag doesn't have an outside pocket, I wouldn't travel with it," she added.
While we're so sad to hear that Ryall's Arnold traveling has been forced to come to an end this season, we completely and totally support her need to slow down and let her body heal itself. After all, bowing out of two events is a small price to pay if it means she can come back next year ready to kick more ass than ever before!
We're fairly sure Ryall's exciting, energetic, and vibrant voice will be back on our blog in one shape or another â€“ but in the meantime, we know you want more, so check her out online for everything from news about her clothing line to badass fitness inspiration to upcoming fitness getaways that you might even want to sign up for yourself: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and her website!