You may know Olympic hopeful, Ryan Cheng–aka Chengman–from his Youtube channel, and Instagram page. But did you know he's also an SNFC Ambassador?We were lucky enough to have time to sit down with him and ask a few questions about how he got his start in hurdles, and what's motivated him to keep going.
Ryan started competing in track in elementary school. In grade 7, he realized that he excelled in high jump and hurdles. His passion was ignited after winning a few medals, and this continued into high school.
Throughout high school, Ryan started to find the gym, where he began lifting more weights. As he got stronger, his body wasn't as equipped to excel in high jump as he once did. It was decided: he would pursue hurdles.
He even placed 1st in provincials in his Grade 12 year!
Starting college, Ryan trained for one year. He had his eyes set on the 2012 London Olympics. But when he placed 20th at nationals, he felt defeated and decided it was time to retire. He focused on school, obtaining a degree in marketing, and began his career in Youtube.
It wasn't until years later that Ryan was going for a run and passed by some hurdles that were set up at a nearby track.
...Of course, he had to test them out!
This reignited his fire. Ryan still had it–and with right form! It couldn't have been better timing. It was the middle of the Rio Olympics, and Ryan had gold medals on his mind.
He knew it was time to track down his old coach and get back to his training plan. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics weren't far off.
Monday: Hurdle technique and recovery/run
Tuesday: Speed day with sprints and heavy lifting (including power cleans, squats, and deadlifts)
Wednesday: Netflix and recovery
Thursday: Speed endurance, focused on longer distances as well as lifting
Friday: Tempo running (1800m broken down into shorter timed sprints)
Saturday: Lifting, running
Sunday: Recovery day... with more Netflix and maybe some Youtube video-making
Ryan is a fan of chicken breast. He's a self-proclaimed fanatic, usually steering toward chicken with quinoa and vegetables for many of his meals.
Luckily, he's venturing out and finding complex carb sources to fuel his body through potatoes and salads. His main focus? Eating whole foods that are full of all of the nutrients his body needs to perform.
As an athlete, it's important to find motivation daily–especially on the days when you have it least.
For Ryan, that means meditation (link when posted). Each day, he takes time to envision what his future will look like. What are his goals? What does he need to do to make that happen?
The Words for New Athletes
Be ready for mistakes and failure, and embrace it. It's the only way that you can improve yourself and get stronger. When you're down, unmotivated or injured, you can realize that it's only temporary. You will get through this, and it will be even better than before.