Former Gaga dancer Joe Ryan on the virtues of playlists & dressing cute at the gym

This post is part of a series of Queerty interviews with models, trainers, dancers, and, well, people who inspire us to stay in shape–0r just sit on the couch ogling them instead.

Name: Joe Ryan, 32 (@officialjoeryan)

Hometown: I am based in Los Angeles and train my clients at a private training gym called HVY Industry on Beverly/Fairfax.

Occupation: Before training, I was a backup dancer performing for artists like Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Ricky Martin, Ke$ha, Keyshia Cole and more. Though I don’t tour anymore, I do get direct booked on gigs from time to time and enjoy putting my dancing shoes back on to hit the stage as long as it doesn’t take any time away from clients. Dance was a huge part of my life and always will be 🙂

Favorite Gym: My favorite gym to work out at is Golds Gym Hollywood. It has the best balance of raw grit with state of the art beautiful equipment and a great functional training area.

Favorite Workout Song: I coach strength/conditioning classes at The Phoenix Effect where I get to make my own playlists. They are full of EDM, pop and hip hop hits from old school throwbacks to current Top 40.

Recommended Work Out Tune: The best food to eat before a workout is a nice balance of protein and fast acting carbs. Your body uses carbs first for energy, but if you don’t have any, your body will go to your protein for energy which will cannibalize your muscles and limit gains.  Therefore carbs for energy and recovery, as well as protein for muscle growth. Some examples of good protein are lean chicken or fish. If you’re a vegetarian like myself, then beans and other lentils are great. Quinoa, almonds and cottage cheese are awesome choices as well. As far as carbs, I recommend sweet potato and oatmeal, but fruit is my favorite option for a pre-workout fast acting carb. And of course, protein shakes are always a great on-the-go option.

Favorite Workout Outfit: Form-fitting clothes to be able to see the proper form that is mobile and comfortable is what I look for to workout in. Nike and Lululemon are my go-to brands because of their dry fit and anti-odor options. They are also super cute and fashion forward.  For a more cardio based workout with running/agility/plyo, a shoe with a little more of an arch and sole for padding is best. If you are heavy lifting with barbell work (squats/deadlifts etc), then a flat shoe for stability is ideal for both performance and safety purposes.

How do you balance staying in shape and having fun? I have always been an athlete, so staying in shape has always been fun for me. I don’t play sports anymore but I do incorporate dance and movements that keep that passion alive in my workouts.  If you love the outdoors, hiking is a great option. Picking up a skill, like boxing, for example, is always a great way to keep things fresh and exciting. And lastly, and to me most importantly, a great playlist is essential.

Tips for Working Out? I have two basic tips. Number one is to make sure your ego is focused on performing quality reps with precise form rather than the amount of weight. A lot of people will suggest “leave your ego at the door,” but I believe adjusting your perspective to most efficiently use our ego is a better way to look at it. This will result in maximizing efficient and sustainable results. Number two, make sure you know what muscle group you are working in a given movement and use what’s called the mind-muscle connection to consciously and actively contract that muscle throughout the movement. This will recruit more muscle fibers and therefore result in more efficient growth.

What do you keep on your nightstand? I ways keep crystals on my nightstand. Meditation and manifestation is the first thing I do to start my day and the last thing I do to end it. It helps me center my energy and intention for the day and puts me in a state of gratitude.

Bonus pics, because we care:

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Photos by @brush ?? Coaching my weekly #ThrowdownThursday LIFT class tomorrow at both 12pm and 5pm at @thephoenixeffect !?? Every class we build strength and add lean muscle! We do so with an important emphasis on functional stability/mobility to maximize results that are sustainable. I ADORE this community of badass athletes and I am grateful to be surrounded by such empowering and loving energy ???? If you have never taken class with us and want to see what all the hype is about, DM me and ill set you up with a #jumpstart promo of $39.99 for an unlimited week of classes as well as a 1 on 1 intro with one of our coaches to chat about goals and which classes we recommend in order to smash those goals! #phoenixeffectla #thejoezone #lift #groupfitness #strengthandconditioning #personaltrainer #coach

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