“Bodybuilding is not for me.”
“I don’t like their meal plans.”
”Too much muscle.”
”I could never do that.” (and you’re probably right)
I’ve heard it all. The question is: have you heard the other side of it?
Whether or not you agree with (any or all aspects) of bodybuilding, no one can ignore the enormous amounts of effort, consistency, perseverance, and resiliency needed to drop body fat percentage and build muscle. Not to mention doing it at a competitive level. That’s what this interview and sport highlight is about. The work.
I decided to do this interview with Ashley not only because she is a Provenfit Athlete, but because she is the 2018 NPC Nationals WPD (Women’s Physique Division) Overall Champion.
Ashley has an amazing character, grit, and outstanding dedication to her craft. She is a key player in driving the health community in Columbus forward by being a role model for those around her, as well as by providing clean, healthy food. There is so much more to her than meets the eye. I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I enjoyed doing it!
1 of 5 kids, I’m the second to youngest.
Best thing about family:
The close bond we all share.
Playing with my pups, they are my kids.
Your biggest achievements:
Opening Clean Eatz, winning my IFBB Pro Card (International Federation of Bodybuilders).
Who inspired you as a young athlete?
I grew up in a soccer family and played all the way through college. I remember watching my older sister play and I wanted to be just like her. I was so excited that we got to play one year together in high school, she was a senior and I was a freshman. I looked up to her so much and I can't thank her enough for inspiring me at such young age.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received?
You are capable of more than you think. Pursue any passion you may have and go after all your dreams.
BODYBUILDING AS A CAREER
How did it all start?
Bodybuilding wasn't anything I was interested in nor did I know much about it. I started making the gym a priority just to get in better shape and when I joined Body Evolution Gym I met Mary, who is now my coach and the one who got me into bodybuilding.
What are the biggest challenges and rewards?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was consistency. Staying consistent with my meal plan and my training program. Once I was able to be consistent bodybuilding went from being a hobby to a lifestyle. The most rewarding part about this sport is really seeing how mentally strong I am. If you can get your mind in the right place you will surprise yourself with how much you can achieve.
What excites you the most about being a professional bodybuilder?
Getting to share the stage with the best athletes in bodybuilding.
PUTTING IN THE WORK
How many hours a day do you train?
During prep (between cardio and weights) I spend a little over 3 hours in the gym each day. I do 1 hour of fasted cardio in the morning, I train for about 1 hour in the evening and then I have 1 hour of cardio post training.
How do you balance cardio and strength?
It is hard for me to gain weight, so during my off season I do not do cardio. I do a lot of strongman training. When I start prep for bodybuilding my coach slowly adds cardio to my program.
Favorite and least favorite exercise?
I'm not sure I have a favorite and least favorite exercise, but I do have favorite and least favorite body parts I train. I really enjoy training back and shoulders. My least favorite body part to train is my biceps.
What about stretching?
Stretching is a very important part of recovery but I have to admit I don't stretch as much as I need to. I always stretch before I train but I don’t follow a specific program.
FUELING FOR PERFORMANCE
What’s on your plate?
I eat 6 meals per day. Usually 4 oz of protein per meal, about 1 cup of veggies and 3 oz of carbs (but not every meals has carbs).
Chicken and broccoli every day?
My meal plan changes according to what I am training for. If I am prepping for a bodybuilding show I eat around 1400 calories and that number will drop as I get closer to my show. If I am in the off-season doing strongman training I will eat around 2300 calories.
Any chance for pizza? How do you indulge?
I actually like all the foods on my meal plan but every now and then I do crave something sweet. If I am in prep, then I just have to suck it up and ignore my sweet tooth until after my show. During the off season if I want something sweet, I'll treat myself. I don't feel guilty enjoying something sweet because I can control my portions. I won't go on a binge.
THE MENTAL SIDE
Tell us about the emotions you go through when competing and training?
When I am prepping for a show my emotions are completely different than when I'm in my off season. During prep I am constantly questioning my appearance. Not that I am not happy with my body, but because this sport is based of your physique, I am always picking myself apart. My coach is always getting an ear full of all my complaints. Is my left shoulder smaller than my right? Does my left hamstring stick out more than my right? Are my arms crooked on my back-double bicep pose? I only question myself because I want to make sure I step on stage with the best version of myself.
What about the pressure and stress of your career?
I’ve had to learn to just slow down and address any stress or pressure I am feeling, because if I don't that issue(s) will consume me and affect the rest of my day.
How do you deal with tiredness and lack of motivation?
As an athlete and business owner, tiredness and lack of motivation can be a common occurrence, but I have learned to train and work through it. I know I can push through the tiredness, and my motivation comes with staying consistent.
How do you think attitude affects results?
I 100% agree that attitude has everything to do with results. During my last prep my coach made me write down and send her a picture every single day for 10 weeks with the saying "2018 National Pro Physique Champion". When someone believes in you the way my coach does in me you start to believe in yourself and that is how champions are made. Positive attitude leads to positive results.
Who’s your biggest supporter?
Sloan, my boyfriend, has been my #1 supporter since day one. He has (and still) sacrificed so much just so I can pursue my bodybuilding career and for that I am forever grateful.
What/who is your biggest motivation?
My gym family and all of our Clean Eatz customers are who motivate me every day. I get to help people change their lives by making better nutritional decisions and seeing all the awesome transformations motivates me more than they will ever know.
Any advice for people trying to live a healthier lifestyle?
Take baby steps. Don’t give up. It won't be easy, but it is worth it every single day.