You recall our favorite globetrotting IFBB pro and fitness trainer Ryall Graber, performing at the Arnold Classic and beyond this year. In our last post, we dived into her exciting summer plans for bodybuilding and competing across the world. Now post-Arnold Classic, we caught up with her to get the scoop on the show and set the scene for the next stop on her route: Down Under!
At the end of the day, despite – or perhaps because of – the craziness, Ryall is having one of the happiest times of her life. "Every day I wake up, and I'm so tired, but I'm so happy. Australia will be the 56th country I've been to in my life! I've never been there before, so that aspect is another part of the excitement."
In Ryall's view, day-to-day life is so predictable – you know what can happen and what probably will happen. You know your options. But when you're traveling, you get into situations where you don't know what to expect. As Ryall journeys to Melbourne and beyond, on top of living out her professional dreams on the Arnold stage in exotic locales, it is that uncertainty of the unknown that is sure to be one of the most intriguing parts of her adventure yet!
Want more Ryall? We know you do. Check her out on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and her website – and don't forget to keep following along as Ryall chases her dreams around the world! Next time, we'll catch up with her post-Arnold Australia – you won't want to miss it!
As an athlete at the Arnold Classic, Ryall's experience is easy for her to sum up in one word: amazing. "After years of competing in the trenches, the attention given to the athletes is excellent on every level," she said. From meals to rides to anything that any athlete could ever have needed – all a mere phone extension away. "The hotel was phenomenal. You didn't even have to go outside for the whole weekend, which was actually great for the island girl in me. It was cold out there!" Ryall added with a laugh. But in all seriousness, she mentioned these aspects because of how much she appreciated the impressive detail the Arnold committee put into building the entire experience. Through her sponsor, Optimum Nutrition, Ryall was also able to participate in a Meet and Greet event with fans, which gave her a chance to meet the actual people she loves to inspire. "That kind of opportunity wouldn't be there at a normal event," Ryall explained, so it was phenomenal for her to be able to actually see that what she is doing is impacting lives, especially with other women.
"When you're so passionate about something that it is your dream, and you have the opportunity to live it – you just can't stop."
Ryall's next stop on her global Arnold adventure is this weekend in Australia, where she will be staying for a couple weeks post-event with two other athletes – you'll have to come back next week to find out all about it! Then they're headed to Rio a week early to prepare for the Arnold event in Brazil; the next event after that isn't until the end of May, but Ryall intends to keep the momentum going all summer long!
"Several women came up to me and told me that they followed me and were very inspired by what I'm doing. I can't think of a greater achievement than that."
When it comes to her experience at the Arnold Classic, Ryall also points to the camaraderie between herself and other women in her division as another highly positive aspect of the event. "We're all supporting each other. Everyone is hilarious, no one is sugarcoating. I think we're the only division in the whole IFBB that is like that. At the end of the day, the work has been put in and it feels like we're just one big team. We are there to win, but before we go on stage, everyone is high-fiving each other," Ryall elaborated. "No one wishes failure upon anyone. It's the coolest thing. We're all learning and growing from this experience and from each other as well. I learned something from every person I had the chance to stand next to on stage."
"When you have such drive behind what you do, it gives you purpose."
Ryall had to restructure a great deal of her life in order to fully commit to the Arnold; one of the ways she did this was through hiring her own training coach. "I always do my own nutrition, but I wanted to change my perspective. So I put my trust in him, and it was incredible to take the stress off myself," Ryall explained. This allowed her to relax and focus on the competition instead of making decisions about what to put in her body. Salt or no salt, fat or no fat – all of those things, she let the coach decide for her. He was so good that she is continuing to work with him for her next few shows. "He's a performance trainer and sports nutritionist, which is a different angle for me, and I'm learning so much," Ryall added.
"It's such an honor to be a part of this group of unique badass women."
A challenging aspect of the experience is adapting to how to keep the momentum going between competitions. As Ryall put it, "You go from having all that adrenaline running through your body, a whirlwind of amazing energy and positive activity, to being so exhausted that you want to sleep for days, but you don't have days." The key is to rest when you need to rest, but to stay on track with your routine as well. Matter-of-factly, Ryall added, "You just keep yourself going and you get through it."
"I have so much energy going into these next few shows."