Ryan Terry: How Judges Feedback Can Do More Harm Than Good

Ryan Terry warns of how relying too much on judges feedback might hurt your physique instead of help it.

Being a professional bodybuilder, Ryan Terry has had his fair share of competitions and interactions with the official judges. Being a subjective sport, there are times where an athlete might not agree with how he or she was scored. Terry knows this all too well throughout his years of competing. But ultimately, the judges are there for a reason and their advice should be heeded… that is unless it throws you off psychologically. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, Ryan Terry warns of the dangers of relying too heavily on judges feedback.

Pro bodybuilding is just as much a battle with yourself as it is against the other competitors. At the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do to make another person’s physique worse. All you can do is focus on improving yourself. In that regard, reassessing and adjusting your tactics is important. A bodybuilder needs to have an open mind in order to find new ways to improve. That’s where judges feedback can be helpful. It’s direct insight into the mind of the very people who score you on stage.

But Ryan Terry warns of relying too heavily on feedback from the judges. Terry actually recommends to sometimes avoid feedback (whether it be from judges or online comments). This might sound counter intuitive. Why would you not want valuable feedback?

The whole endeavor has to do more with the mind than the body. Terry notes that if you try too aggressively to meet the feedback given by judges, you might actually throw your entire training and prep off balance. If you’re constantly second guessing your own process – that doubt will eat away at your confidence. Losing that confidence can be a big blow against progress.

Does this mean you should ignore feedback entirely? Not necessarily. Perhaps it depends on knowing yourself and how you will react. Ryan Terry clearly prefers to keep certain feedback off the table so he can stay laser focused without white noise throwing off his direction. Others love feedback and finds that it actually helps provide direction. It’s something each up-and-coming bodybuilder needs to discover for his or herself.

A perfect example of this is Bev Francis. Famous in her heyday for having one of the best female physiques in the history of bodybuilding, her journey through the years is well chronicled. While she is a legend in the sport, she was also a sort of victim to too much feedback. At a time when Women’s Open bodybuilding was finding its identity, Bev Francis was constantly adjusting the kind of physique she held on her frame.


Whether it was due to direct feedback or simply assessing the winner the judges chose – Francis often found herself ping-ponging between needing to put on more mass and needing to look more feminine. Due to this, she never won a Ms. Olympia despite believing herself that she deserved it.

The Ms. Olympia and Women’s Open Bodybuilding of that time might be an extreme case. A time when judges themselves were unsure of what the division champion should look like year after year. But it’s a good example of how feedback can ultimately drag you around and make you lose sight of an overall direction.

Ryan Terry seems to suggest that all feedback, even from judges, should come with a grain of salt. You should know your body better than anyone, even the judges. So that should always be kept in mind when getting feedback.

You can watch Ryan Terry go into detail about his advice for up-and-coming bodybuilders in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above!

Derek Dufour
Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.