Crafting an Olympia-worthy physique demands unwavering perseverance, deep-rooted self-belief, and a relentless drive to adapt and overcome challenges. On Nov. 10, 2023, 2023 Men’s Physique Olympia champion Ryan Terry published a video on his YouTube channel, wherein he shared his inspiring decade-long journey competing at the prestigious Olympia weekend.
In the video, Terry recounts the evolution of his physique through the early days of the division, the challenges he faced when his results did not match his committed efforts in the gym and in the kitchen, and the adversity he overcame to ultimately realize his dream of becoming an Olympia champion in his ninth attempt. Check it out below:
The Rise: Gaining Momentum (2015-2016)
Terry began by proudly showcasing his Men’s Physique Olympia trophy and the corresponding gold medal. Terry’s Olympia journey began in 2015, where he competed against more than 40 athletes and ranked fourth overall. Being the only European bodybuilder in a heavily American-dominated field, Terry felt he had a point to prove.
At the 2016 Olympia, Terry returned with a better-conditioned package, which helped him ascend to second place behind Jeremy Buendia. That silver medal made Terry a frontrunner to potentially win the title throne the following year. Terry moved to America in 2017 to better immerse himself in the IFBB Pro League and leverage those resources to win his maiden Olympia title. His strategy paid off when he won the 2017 Arnold Classic Men’s Physique, the second most prestigious bodybuilding show in the world. However, setbacks were abound.
The Setback: Facing Challenges (2017)
Although Terry had momentum heading into the 2017 Olympia, he failed to convert a victory. A significant setback dropped him to sixth place overall at the 2017 Olympia — four ranks lower than the previous year and off the podium. Terry confessed that this result came as a heavy blow.
I went into a depression. I couldn’t find my way out of it for quite some time.
The placing at the 2017 Olympia was a stark reminder for Terry of the sport’s unpredictability and requisite mental resilience to compete consistently at the elite level.
The Comeback: Rising From Adversity (2018)
2018 was a year of introspection and resurgence for Terry. He returned to the 2018 Olympia with a renewed sense of self-belief. He made necessary adjustments to his physique to clinch bronze at the 2018 Olympia.
In 2019, Terry pivoted his focus from conditioning to muscle mass. “Everyone kept talking to me about size, and I let it get in my head,” said Terry. “I came in a lot bigger in 2019 [at the Olympia], and that was my downfall.” The lack of muscle conditioning slipped Terry from third to fifth year over year.
Unable to make the required changes to his physique within a year’s time, Terry fell to eighth overall at the 2020 Olympia.
A lot of people lost belief in me, and for good reason.
This fluctuation in rankings was a period of learning and growth, teaching him the importance of staying true to his strengths.
The Triumph: Realizing the Dream (2020-2023)
Terry contemplated whether 2023 would be his last year competing at the Olympia. “I want to be a competitor. I want to know I’ve got a shot at winning,” said Terry. “There comes a time where you start to question whether it’s still worth going at because it’s not just me I’ve got to think about. I’ve got a young family now.”
Terry revealed he would have hung up his posing trunks after the 2023 Olympia had he placed outside the top five. He decided to compete at the 2023 New York Pro, as it was the only major title he didn’t have besides the Olympia. Not only did Terry triumph at the 2023 New York Pro, but he got invaluable feedback from the judges to become a top contender at the 2023 Olympia.
The 2023 New York Pro gave me a game plan and…belief that I could stand toe-to-toe against these guys and get back in the mix for first place.
The British bodybuilder moved to New York three weeks before the 2023 Olympia to train at the Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym, where he focused on his back development. “I have worked twice a week on my back for a full year,” confided Terry. “Changes my physique made in those three weeks won me that [Olympia] title.”
As the defending Men’s Physique Olympia champion, Terry earned a lifetime qualification to compete at the Men’s Physique Olympia.
Featured image: @ryanjterry on Instagram