Maureen Ashley's Story
I am a personal trainer. I know it's probably weird to think that trainers hire trainers...but I did. I had a real issue with the fact that I didn't look like a trainer. I "thought" I ate pretty healthy. I worked out pretty hard. I did triathlons, ran a couple marathons...but still NOTHING! If I can talk the talk, I needed to walk the walk, better then all of my clients.
I wanted to give them someone to look up to. If I could overcome my issues..so could they. I have such a passion for the health and fitness field that it killed me that I could never get to that fitness level that I so wanted to achieve. I had gone to watch figure shows time and time again. All of my friends would always ask me when it was my turn to get up there. I always answered with "it's just not the right time". Well, I finally had a revelation that there would never be the perfect time. I was about to turn 35 and wasn't happy with the way I looked and the way I felt about myself.
I wasn't going to celebrate another birthday feeling like I fell short of another dream. So I called on a pro for help, Nicole Wilkins-Lee. She was exactly what I needed. She saw potential in me that I could have never seen in myself. She stripped my eating habits to only whole clean foods. No alcohol...no nothing! She set me up on a full strength training/cardio routine. I thought I worked out hard until I did a few sessions with her...she brought my ego back down quicker than I could do a jump squat. She was always available to me for questions, concerns and a little motivational push when I needed it.
She also gave me the confidence I needed in order to step outside of my comfort zone and finally feel happy with the person that stared back at me every morning. I am a very modest, shy person. But there I was 4 months later, on stage in a bikini posing in front of a few hundred people. I had never felt so beautiful and proud in one shining moment. Nicole brought out a confident and strong woman that I never realized was even there. The whole experience changed my life.
It changed how I train people. I have much more of an understanding of how to better help my clients reach their goals. I more importantly accept myself for who I am and never sell myself short of what I would like to achieve. I realized that if you want something bad enough then you will make the sacrifices to get there. It's a not a matter of wanting something.....it's how bad! It's that motivation that burns like a fire within you that nobody can put out! Yes, I did transform my body.....but it was inevitable that my mind was going to follow in those same footsteps.
Lifestyle Prior To Change
My lifestyle prior to this change was what I thought was "working out". I ate fairly healthy: fruits, vegetables, complex carbs. I allowed myself one cheat day on the weekend. I worked about about 5 days/week. Lifted weights, primarily total body workouts. Cardio consisted of "go through the motions" cardio. Not sure why I wasn't pushing the edge but my awakening to a real tough program began when I started prepping for the figure show.
What was your turning point?
My turning point was when my 35th birthday was looming. I just wanted to be in the best shape of my life in a time when most start to let their health go.
What Was Your Exercise And Diet Plan?
I did a split routine.
I did anywhere from 5-7 days/week of cardio for at least 60 min and working up to 90 minutes.
My diet consisted of 5 meals/day.
- Meal 1: 4 egg whites, 1/2 cup oatmeal.
- Meal 2: Protein shake with water, small apple.
- Meal 3: Protein with vegetables.
- Meal 4: Protein with vegetables.
- Meal 5: Protein shake with water, handful of almonds.
What Is Your Current Eating Plan?
My current eating plan is 6 meals/day.
Pretty much the same as above with the addition of another meal with protein and vegetables, I can also include some dairy such as Greek yogurt each day. I try to maintain a clean diet throughout the week and may have a "cheat" meal on the weekend. But my cheat wouldn't be fast food...it might be a bagel with peanut butter. Which may not sound like a cheat for most...but when you don't have those types of carbs...it's heaven! Don't get me wrong, I do have pizza from time to time. But it's not part of my weekly diet anymore.
What supplements do you use?
Supplements I tend you use now are whey/casein protein, glutamine, EFA's, multivitamin, calcium, B complex, vitamin C. I switch up the brands and might throw in a protein bar here and there if I don't have time to sit down and eat.
What Is Your Life Like Now?
My life is very different now. I couldn't believe how different I felt after cleaning up my diet and my life. I would constantly say "so this is how I am supposed to feel". I don't really drink alcohol anymore. I really try to eat as close to contest prep as I can but I am far from perfect. I can finally give my clients the support that they need. I have been there and have done it. So when they say "it can't be done"! I am there to tell them that it can, but it's not easy. You have to want it for yourself and not for anyone else.
I now surround myself with individuals that support my new lifestyle. I am rarely seen at the bar on a Friday night but you might see me on a stepmill instead. It's not something that is done in one week or even one month. Look at it as a lifestyle change. I would find a goal such as, I want to run a 10k. Then make a plan of attack. Then take it one day at a time to get there. Don't scold yourself for missing a workout, just pick yourself back up and keep moving forward. Just take one change at a time and before you know it, you will be on the right path.
Great job Mo!