Hi Ashley! Please tell us about yourself.

Hey! My name is Ashley, and I’m 26 years old. I was born and mostly raised in Alaska, but spent most of my summers growing up on the East Coast. I moved around a bit when I was younger since my dad was in the army. My parents were divorced, so my mom’s side of the family mainly resides in AK and my dad’s side are on the East Coast. I like it though and truly appreciate it, because it gives me different perspectives being in each place.

I’m currently attending UAA full time working towards a business degree. I’m not quite sure where I want to go with it and how long I’ll be in school for, but I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to go, so I’m taking full advantage of it. I work full time at Classic Toys, which is hard not to love. 

I’m pretty psyched to be marrying Travis this upcoming July, so that’s creepin’ up! Our immediate little family includes us two and our pitbull, Nilla.

You’ve been working with us for about 8 months now. What inspired you to join Figarelle’s Fitness?

I had tried another gym for close to a year, doing personal training, classes, etc. and saw some results, but it wasn’t the environment I had expected, and I didn’t really reach the goals I thought I would in the time I was there. I was pretty disappointed, and just beyond fed up because I felt I was more than ready to reach my goals but I just wasn’t sure how to reach them on my own. 

Erin Milan had been attending FF for some time, and she had nothing but amazing things to say, so I went to a class with her and was immediately sold. My experience has been nothing short of great! 

What three goals did you set out to accomplish when you first started training with us?

I wanted to lower my body fat percentage, become more knowledgeable with what I was eating by dialing in my macros, and begin toning my stomach. I wasn’t overweight by any means, but I felt “skinny fat.”

At first, it was really hard for me to pinpoint what specifically I was aiming for. I just knew I wanted to make changes, feel more confident, and improve my eating habits.

Do you feel that you’ve been successful in accomplishing all of them? If not, which one(s) are you still working on?

I definitely feel I’ve been successful in accomplishing all of the goals I’ve set since starting with FF. That’s also the nice part about training with you – things are ever changing. To see progress being made and then think, “Well, what goal can I set next?” 

Image-1Now that my body fat percentage has lowered, and I’m seeing a lot more definition than I’ve ever had, I’d like to keep building more muscle and put on lean mass. It’s so positive to see the changes you can make with your body, and to know you worked toward that, and made it happen. 

I can often be hard on myself, and I need to work on being more patient and enjoy the process of change. One thing that’s really helped is setting small goals leading up to larger ones. It puts things into a realistic perspective to help me stay with my plan. It will happen – you just have to stick to it.

How has your body changed since you began strength training?

Oh man – where to start … I never had a lot of weight to lose, but it’s funny what the scale can tell you. I went from weighing around 115 pounds, started to lose body fat, went down to 107 pounds and am now back to gaining weight and weighing almost the same as when I started. The difference is, my body is much stronger and leaner now. 

I feel so much more powerful while performing exercises, and in the longevity of doing a work out. Before strength training I always thought if I began to lift it would give me a “bulky” look and I think this held me back from progressing to lift heavier. I’m so glad I’ve changed my mindset about that because it’s given me more of the results I’m looking for.

How has your nutrition changed since you started working with us?

This was an area I needed the most help with and struggled so much to understand, though it may seem simple to just “eat better.” 

I always thought I understood what eating “healthy” meant, but man, was I wrong. Since being introduced to macros and IIFYM, it’s been a game changer. 

IMG_3328I love having a plan to stick to, within the criteria of carbs, fats, proteins and reaching a certain amount of fiber set up for me. The organization of it all works really well in my life and especially when being busy – having it all planned out and ready to go. It also lets me enjoy foods a lot of people would write off as “bad”, which isn’t even a thought in my head anymore with food, thanks to Steph.

What are a few of your favorite exercises? Why do you enjoy these so much?

I absolutely love working lower body. Exercises like barbell front squats, sumo deadlifts, and barbell hip thrusts are my fave. Since lower body is an area I’d like to keep progressing in and grow, it’s so awesome to see changes here when doing exercises like these. 

Deadlifts especially. Watching the weight I can lift go up over time is a really rewarding and powerful feeling. This area takes time to progress in and that’s one thing I keep having to tell myself to be patient with. When you do see the results, it feels so rewarding. 

Another exercise I also came around to loving is push ups. Before joining Figarelle’s – forget it! You could maybe see me struggling to do 2-3 reps with horrible form. Now, I really enjoy how much they’re incorporated into our workouts and into my own as well.  

You frequently workout with your fiancé Travis. How has his support helped you achieve your goals?

Before we both had joined Figarelle’s we never worked out too often or on a schedule. When I completed the first Transformation challenge in November 2015, I showed Travis a before and after picture and he was super impressed with my results. He joined FF in January 2016, and participated in his first Transformation Challenge shortly thereafter. He also experienced incredible results during the 8-week Challenge period. 

We both have reached a point where we’ve really gotten into working out, and sticking to our macros. It’s become a habit. Doing things like making meals for each other, planning workouts to do together, and keeping each other on track has helped so much. 

I can’t explain how much easier and more enjoyable it is to do with a partner, knowing they support your goals and chase after a similar result. I can definitely say it’s pushed me harder and now I can share with someone who equally appreciates excitement finding macro friendly (good tasting) food at the grocery store. Haha! 

What new goals do you have planned for 2016? Why are these so important to you?

Fitness wise, I’d like to keep growing my lower body and working towards gaining muscle mass and seeing more definition. It’s just something I’ve never really seen in myself before and I’d like to see where it can go for me, personally. 

IMG_6776I have a vision I’d like to achieve and I don’t feel I’m quite there yet. I joined Figarelle’s, September 2015, so I’m anxious to see the comparison this upcoming September 2016. Though I’ve learned so much already, I know there’s more for me to keep learning through you guys, so I’m really looking forward to progressing. 

Aside from fitness, Travis and I ARE going to take a honeymoon. Seems simple, but I’m horrible at pulling the trigger on large expenses and often feel guilty. I’m going to learn to relax a bit more and enjoy the people around me.

You’re currently balancing work, school, fitness, and planning your wedding. How do you balance all of these things, any tips?

Organization and commitment are huge. If I didn’t organize myself, I doubt I’d be able to keep it all going to achieve all the things I’ve got going on.

Making lists is also a huge savior for me. Being able to visualize what I have to get done, do it, and then move on to the next thing. It definitely can feel rough, in the sense of having no motivation after a long day or feeling tired. But I just know afterwards, I’ll never regret that I got that assignment done or put in a workout. I just always remember the sense of accomplishment I feel afterward outweighs that initial “ugh” feeling of taking those first few steps, and getting started.