We’re lucky enough to work with some incredibly inspiring people every day. Travis and Ashley have been training with us a little over a year now, and their results have been fantastic. They workout together both at FF Boot Camp, and at the gym on their own. Here, they share some of the keys to their success over the last year. Enjoy!
Hi guys! Please introduce yourselves.
Hey, what’s up we’re Ashley Milan (crazy!) and Travis Milan.
Ashley: I’m currently attending UAA seeking a business degree and working part time at Classic Toys, so homework and work can keep me pretty busy. I love lifting weights and going to Figarelle’s, spending time with family, constantly thinking about cheeseburgers, squeezing our dog Nilla, and (window) online shopping.
Travis: I work for GCI in their Consumer Services Department. Data entry, calling customers, mailing products, supporting our internal customers, and programming are just a few of the things I do. My hobbies consist of skateboarding, soccer, music, working out, and bicycling.
What motivated you both to begin working with us?
Ashley: Erin, told me about Figarelle’s a little over a year ago. She always said great things and I was tired of my bullshit.
I definitely reached a point where saying “later” was becoming annoying and I wanted how I felt on the inside to reflect on the outside. So, I got my ass in gear and overcame feeling nervous and fearful and started to attend boot camp regularly.
I was also going to another gym, paying for one on one personal training and the trainer was absolutely horrible. So rude and not motivating at all, which fueled the fire to try something new and get what I wanted out of it.
Travis: Ashley motivated me 100%. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never come to a workout.
I was happy for her. Not only was she was seeing results, she would rave about how the workouts were fun. I was a bit insecure at first, but after the first session I knew that it was something I want to invest my time into. The instructors are great, the atmosphere is positive and I really needed to make some changes in my life.
What were a few of your goals when you first started working with us? Do you feel like you have achieved most of them?
Ashley: It’s crazy to think that was a little over a year ago and my goals have varied so much since then! Goals at that time were to lose fat, tone up and become more familiar with what I was eating. I never felt overweight by any means, but I felt uncomfortable and unhealthy in my daily life.
I drank much more often then and that was something I wanted to really tone down. I’d definitely say those goals were achieved and some. After the first challenge, I had lost a few inches off of my waist, toned up, and figured out macros. I’ve created many new goals since then, because it’s really motivating to work towards something and see YOU made that shit happen.
Travis: My goals were to drop my body fat percentage by 4%, workout 5 times a week during my first FF Transformation Challenge, and to lose an inch off of my waist line.
This was all really foreign to me and I felt like the goals I had set were achievable, but were going to take some work. I knew I didn’t want to set something unrealistic like get a six pack (yet). I was focused and determined, as this was going to be a huge foundation in my success down the road. It changes your mind when you set a goal and achieve it, whether it be large or small in any facet. Being able to produce results isn’t easy and I was very happy with what I have accomplished in the last year.
What changes have you both made to your nutrition since starting with us? How have these changes helped you reach your goals?
Ashley: So much has changed and become the new norm for me. I never knew what macros (Fat, Protein, and Carbs) were before beginning with Figarelle’s, now they’re an everyday thing for me to plug in to My Fitness Pal. I try to plan foods around the type of workouts I’m doing, i.e. legs, I’ll eat more carbs prior to give me more energy for the workout.
I feel I’ve gotten more into figuring out what foods to eat to get more out of them. I also don’t view foods in a bad or good light. Don’t get me wrong, I still try and eat balanced meals, but that’s the key for me – balance. I love that I’m able to eat a bagel everyday or ice cream (what up Arctic Zero and Dreyer’s Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip) a few times a week because it fits into my macros I’m meeting at the moment and the goals I’m aiming for. I love the flexibility it offers, while still getting results, it seriously makes the world of difference to me.
Travis: I love this topic. Mind you I’m no expert or anything like that. Hit your macros. Figuring out what works best for you, but hitting your macro nutrients is so important. I can’t stress that enough. I work with wonderful people, but they are stuck in this mind set of counting calories and I watch them roller coaster all of the time. De-programming bad habits is the worst and hardest thing ever. I love peanut butter but now I realize that this thing called “proportions” are why I’ve made progress in the first place. I feel like I eat a lot more now and even then that doesn’t feel like much.
What are a few of your favorite exercises, and why?
Ashley: Some of my current favorite’s for lower body are barbell lunges, barbell hip thrusts, and stiff legged deadlifts. I also love weighted leg lifts, weighted planks (!!!) and hammer curls. It’s funny because many of these exercises I began HATING, like pushups and planks, but like Steph always says, do the exercise you hate often. Which as I should have known was true, because you become more comfortable with it and could end up loving it. Ask me later though as weight goes up how much I love these…
Travis: For me right now, I’m trying to target specific areas on my body to bring down the excess body fat and build muscle. I’ve grown to love front squats; I feel like these have been instrumental in a lot of my core development. Dead lifts have also been great for core and lower body development.
The progression with both of these exercises has been great, tracking my weight in a journal and looking back at what I was doing to now is another great motivator. Lat pull downs and cable rows are great for the back and have really helped me with my pull-up game. For ab’s and core I really like the weighted plank, weighted decline crunch, weighted leg raises and pull ins are some of my favorites. Adding weight and more repetition’s each time has really helped me grow in areas. Patience is key.
How about a few of your favorite muscle groups to train?
Ashley: I love, LOVE working lower body. It makes me feel powerful and it’s inspiring to see the progress. That’s a continuous goal for me, is to grow my lower body and see progress. I don’t quite have a measurement I’m trying to get to, because in that realm it appears limiting to me, I just know I’m seeing progress and adjust accordingly along the way.
At the beginning of the summer, I weighed around 108 LBS and now I’m at 119 LBS – which to me is nuts. Personally, I don’t like to rely on the scale. I’d rather go off of how I feel and how I look as opposed to a number to get reach.
Honestly, I feel so great right now gaining muscle and seeing my body that when I do lean out, I’ll have more muscle definition, which will be a goal eventually when that comes….For now I’ll enjoy the 300g of carbs I get 🙂
Travis: My favorite group of muscles to work would have to be my lower body. A lot of what I’m trying to achieve is done through lower body exercises. Working out my back is another favorite due to the amount of stress a back takes on and how much it plays a role into your life.
I’ve struggled with some lower back issues in my time and I don’t want to go through that again, and it was my own wrong doing (bad posture, not stretching, sitting all day long, and I’m sure many other things). Ab’s are the hardest to train and see results, at least for me. So when I see a little bit of a diamond in the rough, that is the little bit of spark I need to keep going.
You both regularly workout together at Boot Camp, and on your own. How has it helped to have one another to lean on?
Ashley: It’s amazing the support a spouse can give you and that can make a huge difference. We go to another gym outside of Figarelle’s and there are always days one of us wants to go and the other may not. We’ll help each other out by making each others food, preparing their workout in a notebook, and have all their shit ready to go. So, all you’re basically saying is “get your ass out of bed” and I got the rest, haha!
It’s so nice to have someone’s support to push you as well. There’s times, just like at Figarelle’s we may not be doing as much weight as we think we can do and we’ll come around like “really, c’mon” or helping each other with form is a HUGE thing when someone else can give an outside perspective. It’s huge too that we both log our food each day, so it’s still easy to eat meals together and have the same thing, even though portions may be different, you make it work for you to get what you want out of it.
Travis: If it wasn’t for Ashley you wouldn’t be reading this right now, haha! For Ashley to be up to speed on correct form, how to get the most out of these exercises, and being an avid macro friendly food hunter. Her passion for all of this has transformed me into turning this once undesirable thing into a hobby. At first there was A LOT of leaning on her, but as weeks have gone by, the leaning is becoming more balanced. Some days the motivation is low. I couldn’t be happier with how things have become so organic with each other.
What are some of your strategies for staying motivated to train, and stick to your macros?
Ashley: I love the organization that logging my food and writing down my workouts has given me. From having a solid lunch at work everyday, knowing exactly what I’ll do when I get into the gym, and actually eating all the food we buy is major, too! I used to go to Costco, buy food and sometimes never eat even half of it. I felt SO guilty being so wasteful.
Logging my food lays out what I have to eat and helps me realize what I should prepare to eat. I really can’t say it enough, the organization all of this has given me. It’s something that works so well for my personality and keeps me busy and in line with what I’m working toward.
It did take awhile to become comfortable sticking with my macros, but once I became really comfortable with shopping for foods and things to eat, it became second nature. I’ve bought a notebook specifically for writing down my workouts to keep track of workouts and weight progression, which also helps make it easier on me. I bring it to the gym with me and follow what I set up, so simple but a huge help. I used to go into a gym and not know what the hell I was doing, felt self conscious, unmotivated, and would leave. I’d say simply prioritize and make time!
Travis: I genuinely like doing strength training and metabolic training. It makes me feel good and gives me something to accomplish for the day. We don’t always accomplish something every day besides working at our job. I added a workout schedule to the calendar in my phone and then I write out my workouts in a book.
I like the tangible feel of writing out my workouts in a book. I tried with my phone and it wasn’t working. Sticking to my macros has gotten easier over time. I feel like it’s second nature to me now. Trying to find macro hacks keeps me motivated. How can I get more from something with less, ya know?
Ash and I do a cheat meal once a week and our eyes don’t match our appetite anymore. We went to IHOP one time and she was so jazzed on getting ‘all you can eat’ pancakes. She got a four stack of pancakes and ate about 2 1/2, almost 3 cakes before tapping out.
Seeing results is the biggest motivation, and it starts with preparation. From logging my food in MFP to writing down my workouts the day before. I like to be able to show up to the gym and have a game plan. I think a lot of my rewards have come from that. Continuing to believe in myself and continuing to workout week after week. This is something that I wished I had started a long time ago.
How has getting stronger, and living a more fit life transferred over into other areas of your life?
Ashley: Working out has become a huge stress reliever in my life. I needed a positive outlet these past couple of years and this was major. From not only the physical side of things, but just the mental aspect has shown itself so much. I definitely have a more positive outlook and try to always find the good in situations. The thought of working hard towards something and being able to achieve it has really helped out during school, especially when you’ve just reached a “blah” point.
Working out has shown me to make time for myself and that truly helps make me the best person for my relationship as well. It really also helps carrying my elderly pitbull up and down a flight of stairs 10+ times a day.
Travis: A lot of my hobbies are physical activities and having the strength and mobility means everything. Before joining FF my lower back was like a wet noodle and would easily get tweaked or pulled, which would leave me struggling to pull my pants up for a few days at a time. Worst feeling ever. Compounded with working a desk job.
I had a chiropractor who I felt confident in because we shared similar hobbies. It got to the point where this was needed. I asked him, “Should I be doing some sort of strength training for my back or something like that to make matters better” he said “no” followed by some chiropractic jargon and my eyes quickly glazed over. Was he ever wrong! I wish I had taken that money invested into him and his practice and found FF. I feel great in areas where I know my body was very weak and if over done would lead to injury. Take care of yourself. Being a slave to your body is no fun.
What new goals do you have in store for the rest of 2016, and beyond?
Ashley: I’d like to keep progressing in gaining muscle and then do a cut during 2017 to see how much muscle I can retain leaning out. I definitely agree with Travis in drinking more water, I’d like to aim for at least 1 gallon a day. I also want to start a food and workout journal, to track closely days I feel my best and my worst and pay close attention to foods that may bother me or not work well with me.
I want to be more spontaneous in 2017 and go beyond my comfort zone, trying new workouts (self defense classes, lap swimming, yoga, rock climbing, etc.).
A big one is to move! Whether that be across country or just into our own place here in Anchorage. Trav and I haven’t lived together, just the two of us, since we were 18 years old (crazy we lived alone at the youngest of our relationship).
I’m super excited for the upcoming year and seeing what it has to offer for T and I, since this year was so eventful and we accomplished so much.
Travis: Keeping the wheels in motion and continue to add more resistance. Work on form. Stretching more. Drink more water. Be a better person. Stop sweating the small stuff.