By Ben Wheeler
MEET the inspiring young man who overcame mental health issues and ridicule as a teenager because of a congenital deformity to eventually become a ripped gym hottie.
Riley Byrne, 21, from Wollongong, Australia, was born with Pectus Excavatum, also known as ‘funnel chest’, a condition that causes the chest walls to cave resulting in a hole in the middle of the chest and flared ribs.
Images show the Online Trainer and YouTuber’s dramatic transformation from a depressed and self-conscious youngster to the confident and stunning man he is today.
“My condition is typically present from birth so for as long as I can remember I’ve had pectus and was always extremely self-conscious about it,” Riley recalled.
“I had absolutely no self-esteem and was terrified of being seen topless as a kid. As I grew into my teens I became extremely depressed about my body and used to be ridiculed by people who would point at my hole which made me miserable and ashamed.
“As soon as I could, at 16, I joined the gym on a pursuit to improve my case of pectus and transform my body.
“I’ve always been obsessed with sport since I was a little kid, so sport and fitness has always been a passion of mine, I’m also as competitive as they come so that spirit has always pushed me to attack everything I do with maximum effort.
“This also applied to my condition, which has turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it lit a fire inside of me, a deep determination to do everything in my power to build muscle and transform my body as best as possible, I’ve trained relentlessly for five years to get the body and lifestyle I have today.”
Riley went on to describe the secrets to his awe-inducing body, detailing the fitness regime and diet that have helped him get to where he is today.
“The biggest secret to getting my body is consistency, nothing happens overnight,” he said.
“It’s like anything, work hard and the results will come. Through trial and error and a lot of research I managed to find training protocols and eating methods to optimise muscular development.
“I track my calories and macros each and every day to make sure I am either eating in a caloric deficit or surplus depending on if I’m bulking or cutting.
“I consume anywhere from three to four thousand calories a day to build muscle and then when I want to cut down and get shredded I generally take in 2500 calories today.
“A lot of my training focuses on compound movements and progressive overload in conjunction with performing some exercises that are excellent for improving the pectus condition like the dumbbell pullover.
“However, my gym routine does vary a lot because I’m always experimenting and testing new training programs to pass onto my clients.
“Typically though I’d say what works best for me is training each muscle twice a week and normally spend six days a week in the gym for up to two hours each workout.”
Finally, Riley gave advice to anyone else looking to overcome the same body confidence issues he suffered from himself.
“My advice to others is to start today, start working on yourself now, stop saying tomorrow and just start,” he said.
“Once you start, be patient and don’t quit as nothing good comes over night. Just know that every workout and every meal counts.
“Fitness is a lifestyle and every aspect of it is so rewarding. It is so much more than just developing your body, its developing your mind, confidence, discipline and work ethic.
“These elements transcend into all aspects of your life and fosters self-betterment each and every day.”