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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Carol's Success Story

For me the joy of my job is to see a person flourish and at 64 years old (yes she wanted me to make sure you all knew how old she is and that there are no Spanx under that red dress!) Carol has started to sparkle. Her confidence has improved so much in the last few months it has been wonderful to see. She even lists her confidence boost as something that has surprised her the most about her journey.  I always say that you cannot lose weight in a silo and Carol is another great example that all areas of her life have seen change and improvements right along with her health.  What started as a way to get her cholesterol numbers in check as to not go on medication has grown into so much more. Our wellness is a journey and we should always be looking for ways to be a better version of ourselves. Carol is doing just that with new goals of working on her blood pressure medication, continuing to work on her bodyfat, and improving her balance.
Carol, like many people, may not have been significantly overweight, yet she was not where she feels the happiest at. In this situation support and understanding of why behavior change is important can be lacking from others, especially if your circle of influence may not be the healthiest themselves. To combat this remember to always go back to making change for yourself and keeping your goals and your why in the forefront of your mind! 
For Carol we overcame a lot of excuses like living 30 minutes in the country, traveling a lot to visit family, splitting time at home and at their cabin which made meal planning hard, and family preference of eating a certain way. We kept peeling the layers away and overcoming those barriers. Once she started to see success that really fueled her to continue making changes.  Carol has ​lost​ ​14 pounds​,​ ​11​ ​inches, and 8% bodyfat.
What​ ​is​ ​the​ ​biggest​ ​thing​ ​that​ ​you​ ​have​ ​had​ ​to​ ​change​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​be​ ​successful?
 I​ ​had​ ​to​ ​make​ ​exercising​ ​a​ ​priority.​ ​To​ ​keep​ ​myself​ ​on​ ​track​ ​at​ ​the​ ​beginning,​ ​I​ ​made​ ​a spreadsheet​ ​with​ ​all​ ​the​ ​exercises​ ​listed,​ ​and​ ​actually​ ​wrote​ ​down​ ​how​ ​many​ ​reps​ ​I​ ​did​ ​on what​ ​day.​ ​Then​ ​I​ ​gave​ ​it​ ​to​ ​Ashley​ ​when​ ​we​ ​met.​ ​It​ ​made​ ​me​ ​more​ ​accountable.​ ​(And yes,​ ​I’m​ ​an​ ​organization​ ​freak.)​ ​One​ ​tip​ ​she​ ​gave​ ​me​ ​was​ ​when​ ​I​ ​didn’t​ ​feel​ ​like​ ​working out,​ ​to​ ​say​ ​to​ ​myself,​ ​“I’ll​ ​work​ ​out​ ​for​ ​10​ ​minutes.”​ ​Her​ ​theory​ ​was​ ​that​ ​once​ ​you​ ​get started​ ​and​ ​do​ ​at​ ​least​ ​10​ ​minutes,​ ​you​ ​will​ ​usually​ ​finish​ ​the​ ​workout.​ ​​ ​That​ ​works​ ​for me.
 There​ ​are​ ​still​ ​days​ ​when​ ​I​ ​struggle​ ​to​ ​make​ ​it​ ​priority.​ ​I​ ​have​ ​a​ ​full​ ​life,​ ​and​ ​always​ ​have something​ ​to​ ​do.​ ​​ ​I​ ​just​ ​tell​ ​myself​ ​that​ ​no​ ​one​ ​else​ ​can​ ​do​ ​this​ ​for​ ​me,​ ​and​ ​if​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​take care​ ​of​ ​myself,​ ​I​ ​can’t​ ​take​ ​care​ ​of​ ​the​ ​people​ ​I​ ​love.
 What​ ​surprised​ ​you​ ​most​ ​about​ ​this​ ​journey?
 I’m​ ​surprised​ ​at​ ​how​ ​strong​ ​and​ ​upbeat​ ​I​ ​feel.​ ​I’m​ ​basically​ ​a​ ​happy​ ​and​ ​confident person,​ ​but​ ​I​ ​had​ ​forgotten​ ​what​ ​it​ ​feels​ ​like​ ​to​ ​be​ ​in​ ​good​ ​shape. 
 What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​favorite​ ​workout/exercise?
 I​ ​LOVE​ ​the​ ​circuit​ ​training​ ​I​ ​do​ ​on​ ​the​ ​treadmill!​ ​When​ ​we​ ​are​ ​at​ ​our​ ​cabin,​ ​I​ ​don’t​ ​have a​ ​treadmill,​ ​so​ ​I​ ​just​ ​do​ ​the​ ​same​ ​routine​ ​outdoors.​ ​Actually,​ ​I​ ​first​ ​became​ ​faithful​ ​about doing​ ​it​ ​regularly​ ​because​ ​of​ ​being​ ​outdoors.​ ​I​ ​do​ ​this​ ​routine​ ​a​ ​minimum​ ​of​ ​3​ ​times​ ​a week​ ​and​ ​spend​ ​a​ ​little​ ​over​ ​an​ ​hour​ ​doing​ ​it.​ ​It​ ​was​ ​originally​ ​a​ ​30​ ​minute​ ​workout,​ ​but​ ​I keep​ ​expanding​ ​the​ ​time​ ​between​ ​exercises​ ​and​ ​increasing​ ​the​ ​difficulty​ ​and​ ​number​ ​of exercises.​ ​Listening​ ​to​ ​music​ ​on​ ​my​ ​headphones​ ​is​ ​a​ ​BIG​ ​help​ ​in​ ​motivation!
What​ ​advice/suggestions​ ​would​ ​you​ ​give​ ​others​ ​who​ ​are​ ​struggling?
Remember​ ​for​ ​whom​ ​you​ ​are​ ​doing​ ​this!​ ​It’s​ ​you!!​ ​Don’t​ ​let​ ​other​ ​people​ ​or​ ​that​ ​little inner​ ​voice​ ​distract​ ​you.​ ​YOU​ ​ARE​ ​WORTH​ ​IT!!!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tami's Success Story

Consistency wins the race! Tami has been an awesome client to work with. Every single time we had weight and measurements she was consistently down 3-7 pounds in each five week interval. She has totally transformed her body with loosing over 45 pounds and 36 inches from her body. The reason for this success is her consistency with her choices. When she added a behavior change she stuck with it and is still seeing the benefits from the initial hard work each and every day. Help me in congratulating Tami on her success!

Here is Tami’s Journey in her own words:

Long ago, in college, I thought I was fat when I weighed 140 pounds.  That was the first time that I started dieting and really have done some sort of dieting ever since.  

Fast forward to March 2012 when my daughter started to workout with Ashley.  She was losing weight and having fun exercising and learning about nutrition and healthy lifestyles so, I decided that it seemed like a good idea to try it too. 

In addition to wanting to lose weight and be healthier, I had just been prescribed medication for my high cholesterol.  I was pretty sure that my lifestyle and weight was a big contributor to my need for medication.  In March 2013 at my yearly physical my doctor suggested that I go off of the medication because of my weight loss and exercise!  What a bonus, I’ve lost weight, feel great and have proven to be healthier. 

The biggest things that Tami changed in order to be successful:

I knew from the start that my biggest issues were mindless eating and polite eating.  I think everyone knows what mindless eating is, for us it was standing at the kitchen counter mowing through snacks while trying to decide what to have for dinner.  Polite eating is what I call it when you go to someone’s house for a gathering and there is a spread of food, including everyway that you can possibly use cream cheese.  Then I would mound my plate with food because, for some reason, I thought people cared what I was eating.  Once I started working out with Ashley I found that if I eat correctly during the day and make a plan for dinner, I could cut out many calories of mindless eating.  I also found out that no one cares what I’m eating at a gathering, everyone is way more concentrated on their own plate (BTW, I always bring things that are healthy to gatherings and they go as quickly as the delicious cream cheese items!)

Tami’s biggest surprise from the journey:

How patient I have been.  I had a lot of work to do and once I relaxed and realized that it didn’t matter how long it was going to take, that this is a lifelong change not a quick fix, everything seemed to fall into place.  It helped so much that my 2 daughters are also working with Ashley and that my husband is a HUGE supporter of the changes.  He has learned to love protein shakes and making new recipes and changing his habits too. 

Tami’s Favorite exercise:

Riding my bike around Lake Monona !  But, as a lifetime ‘wanna be’ runner, I decided now was the time to learn to run.  I have completed two 5 K’s and am working towards a 10K in the fall.  I’m slow but steady and have learned to look forward to my runs.

Tami’s advice/suggestions to others:

Put less focus on eating and more on exercise.  I can honestly say that I don’t feel like I diet anymore, I’ve really just changed the way I eat.  Try new things, even things that you thought you would never like, and then try them again.  Sometimes you have to give new things a few tries!  Try to find a good balance in the food that you eat and your exercise routine and remember to give yourself a break once in a while.

My favorite ‘Ashley’ saying is “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels”! 
I know it’s a lifelong journey and I’m so happy to have taken the first step!



Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Bouncing Back Post Baby

Having kids takes a toll on your body, one that I wouldn't trade for the world.  I have been blessed with two amazing boys. Drake was 7lbs 7 ounces and Dylan 7 lbs 13 ounces. They were almost exactly two years apart and the pregnancies were about the same.  I gained around 33-35 lbs, stayed active up until delivery with strength training, elliptical, step aerobics, and yoga, and overall couldn't complain too much about how I felt. I ate my healthy normal meals and snacks. Due to my activity and health I would say that my labors were quicker and easier than most. I went all natural. I labored for around 6 hours with my first pushing for around 28 minutes. With the second I labored for around 2 hours and pushed two minutes. With both I was running and resuming my normal activities around two weeks later.

Writing this it is about three and a half weeks since I had my son. I currently have 10lbs of fat to lose to get back to pre-baby weight. I know this will come off in the next few weeks. The reasons for all of this detail is that I want women to know that exercising and taking care of yourself pre and post baby is huge. I have been so blessed and know that a lot of it had to do with the choices that I have made with my wellness.

Is it challenging? Of course it is. I have been having to remind myself of all of the things that I tell my clients over and over.
-Running is hard. I have to take it slow and build back up my mileage as not to not injure myself.
-Weight does not come off overnight and I have to have patience.
-I have to keep asking myself what I need. If I am tired I need to sleep not eat. If I am thirsty I need to drink and not eat. If I am stressed I need to take some deep breaths, go for a walk, or talk to someone and not eat. Food is not comfort.
-I do need to consume enough calories with nursing and exercising. It is making sure they are wholesome. It is important to not feel guilty about consuming the amount of calories my body needs.
-Planning and prepping for meals is key to success. With limited time with two kids this step can not be overlooked.
-Scheduling my workouts in, but being flexible (in case of a crabby baby or needed nursing session).

I always say that wellness is a lifelong journey, because our lives are constantly changes. Having a baby is a great example of this, but moving, starting a new job, getting married, being injured and many more fit the bill.

If you know of anyone who is pregnant, just had a baby, or thinking about having a baby I would love to talk to them about their wellness plan. Everyone's experience is different, but I would love for them to have as great of experience as I did and the quick recovery.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Morgan's Success Story

It is amazing when you visualize success in your mind how focused you will be. I have all clients create a wellness vision before they start working with me. You can't create a game plan if you do not know where you want to go.

Morgan has done a great job with creating her vision and following through. She says, "I decided how I wanted to live my life, how I wanted to look and feel, and I automatically started making better decisions." This is a huge step. If you keep your vision in the forefront of your mind the thousands of decisions you make everyday will lead you where you want to go.

Morgan had to start somewhere and it was all about those little things. She advices others who are looking to make a change to "Just start! Even though it may take some time, small changes all add up to big results in the end!"

Here is more on Morgan's journey:
"I have always considered myself to be an “active” person. Throughout high school, I played a sport every season, so I never had to think about working out on my own, and I never thought about my eating habits. When I got to college, I found it much more challenging to maintain my weight and make healthy choices. Between drinks, late night snacks and a lack of activity, I would say I definitely gained the dreaded “freshman 15” and much more! I would work out here and there, but I never really stuck with it. I stayed on this same path throughout college, graduate school and my first couple of years working. I wasn’t happy with my body, but didn’t feel like I had the motivation, dedication or tools to make any kind of change.

In November 2011, I decided to join a gym. My initial assessment with a trainer there was NOT fun. She weighed me, and I was absolutely shocked by the number I saw – I knew I needed to do something. I started working out and making more conscience decisions about what I was eating. On my own, I was able to lose around 15 pounds which was a tremendous success in my eyes. About that same time, my sister Erin started working out with Ashley. We could all see that she was having great success, and she would always talk about the great workouts and support Ashley gave her. I knew I needed that extra push to really propel me in the right direction, so I decided to start working out with Ashley. I still had a lot of weight to lose and needed help making health and wellness a part of my everyday life. Ashley gave me that, and so much more. She is constantly sending new recipes, workouts and motivational/inspirational things to read. I can honestly say, without a doubt, it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I have never felt better or healthier in my entire life."

In losing over 35 pounds and changing her bodyfat percentage dramatically. The biggest challenge Morgan has had is to ensure that this remains a lifestyle change not just a diet. It is long term for her and that is how it should be. I want everyone to make changes that are going to last a lifetime!

It is about tweaking and finding a plan for each individual. Morgan says, "The thing that surprised me the most about this journey is how easy it was once I figured out how to make it work for me.  I have never once felt like I was depriving myself of food or stressing myself out trying to get a workout in. I have genuinely enjoyed this process, and I am learning and trying new things all the time!

Congratulations Morgan on your great success!

To get started on your own wellness vision check out one of my last blog postings:


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Super Circuit Workout

For this workout you will need two set of dumbbells. One set for shoulder presses and a little heaver for squats. You will need a cone or towel and either space to run around or a step. This workout is strength based, but will keep your heart rate elevated the whole time. Try to keep yourself moving grabbing a drink and taking a short break maybe halfway through only if needed. For the workout itself you are going to perform the strength exercise listed and then either make a lap around your workout space (track is good if an option), do 15 jumping jacks, or jog up and down on a step or your bottom stair for :20 seconds before quickly moving onto the next exercise. Go through the whole circuit at many times as you can in 25 minutes. Many people are able to get anywhere between 3-5 rounds in. Push yourself to move quickly, but still focus on making each individual movement the hardest you can.

Do 3-5 minutes of dynamic movements or holds. Some good choices:
Alternate forward and Lateral Lunges on each side
Grapevine across the floor crossing your right foot in front of the left and then behind when moving left and vice versa

Exercise Name
Exercise Description
Dumbbell Clean and Press
Stand with feet hip width apart, dumbbells in your hands knuckles forward dangling in front of your thighs. On an inhale use the backs of your forearms to perform a reverse curl bringing the dumbbells up towards your shoulders. On your exhale press the dumbbells straight over head. Inhale slowly lower them to shoulders and then exhale them down by the sides. Focus on using just the arms by keeping the legs stationary.
Cone Hops
Place a cone, towel, or dumbbell on the floor. Stand to one side of the cone with your feet hip width apart. Jump over the object with as much height as possible landing in. Repeat toward the other side.
20 total (10 in each direction)
Burpee with mountain climbers
Start standing tall. Place your hands on the floor. Step or jump back to a plank position. Draw one knee up towards your chest quickly extending it back out and then the other knee (mountain climber). Step or jump your feet back towards your hands and then either stand up or jump up. Work on keeping shoulders overtop of hands when in the plank position as well as the butt down for the mountain climbers
Squat Lunges
Hold dumbbells at your sides with your feet hip width apart. Perform a squat lowering your hips toward the floor with weight in your heels. After coming out of your squat perform a reverse lunge on one side being sure to pull back up with the front foot. Squat and then repeat on the other side.
10 lunges each side
Plank with Hand Taps and Plank with Toe Taps
Come into a plank position on your forearms. Keeping your hips solid you are going to tap your right hand out to the right side bring it back in and then tap your left hand out to the left side. The closer your arms are together the easier this is and the wider your feet are the easier this is.
Then you are going to tap your right foot out to the right side bring it back in and then tap the left foot out to the left side. Be sure hips stay level and low this whole time.
Both exercises are not about speed but control.
5 taps in each direction with both hands and feet
Super Crunch
Lie on your back with your knees and hips bent at a 90 degree angle with hands behind head and elbows wide. Perform a bicycle motion (bring opposite knee and shoulder together in the middle of your body) on both sides and then bring both knees and torso up in the middle for a double crunch.
10 total
Tri-Push up
Perform a regular push-up with your hands wide. Be sure to make adjustments with your feet/knees where needed. Your tricep push ups are done with your hand right next to your chest with elbows grazing the side ribs. Your power pushups are like jumping jacks with your arms. When your arms are in the middle they are straight and when you power them out to the sides lower your body down into a full pushup position.
10 of each

Cool Down-There was shoulder/chest work along with forward flexion. Both the Pec wall and hip flexor stretches below would be great after this workout.

Pec Wall
  • Stand against an object (a door frame works well) and form a 90/90-degree angle with your arms as depicted
  • Draw your belly button inward.
  • Slowly rotate your trunk forward around stationary arm until a slight stretch is felt in the anterior shoulder region.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds
Hip Flexor
  • Draw your belly button inward
  • Tighten glutes and perform a posterior (backward) pelvic tilt.
  • Hold for 20-30 seconds
  • Avoid arching low back!
  • Motion occurs predominately at the pelvis, the back leg should not move.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Tammy's Success Story

All of the clients that I work with are very different in their goals and what strategies I use in order for them to be successful. Many people have goals of weight loss, but for Tammy that was never really her main focus. When I first started to work with Tammy we had to do a lot of corrective stretches, core stabilizing, and learning of movement patterns. Tammy used to joke that the things I had her do for her workouts in the beginning became warm-up exercises as she progressed. For Tammy being active on her own was not in the cards, but with time her intrinsic motivation soared. Movement is an essential part of her life for more reasons than one. Tammy has done a phenomenal job of changing her lifestyle!

Here is a little of Tammy's story:

I have never been athletic or exercised regularly. The closer I got to 40 the more I felt like a slug. I couldn’t get up stairs without breathing hard, I had chicken wings under my arms, and my usual routine of “eat less to keep weight at bay” was not working. I tried gyms and blew a disc in my lower back, or had back pain each time I went back. Money spent on gym memberships was going to waste. I knew I needed something more.

I am good if I have to keep an appointment. I like having a routine, but not having to be the one to research and design it. And I like variety not the same old same old. That’s when I decided to try a personal trainer. I contacted Ashley and the rest is history.

I worked with Ashley for over a year and a half and loved it. Ok, ok, I HATED sweating but I LOVED the results. I bought a piece of exercise equipment to do cardio on my own, seeing definite changes in my body, and feeling great. I was eating better. I was choosing more activities versus sitting on the couch. I really didn’t lose a ton of weight, but that was never my goal. My goal was to be in better shape and feel better and that’s what I got. Oh yeah and no back pain.

I was off exercising for 3 months due to an accident. I went back to Ashley – because I trusted her – and in no time I was back up to my earlier performance. I tear up when I think about it. At one point I couldn’t walk without a walker and now I am dancing with my hubby again. It’s the best.

The biggest thing that Tammy had to change in order to be successful:

I had to change my outlook on exercise. I had to realize that being active is a lifestyle choice, not just 30 minutes, 3 times a week.

What surprised Tammy most about this journey:

How much other people noticed the changes that I felt were teeny, tiny. My confidence improved and that was never an intention. I don’t mind sprinting now, though no 10ks for me...but I never say never now. I eat well, but never say no to a favorite. The biggest thing, how much I missed moving when I was laid up in bed and couldn’t move. I am so blessed to have the ability to be active; I plan never to take it for granted again.

Tammy's advice for others who are struggling:
There is no better use of your time, or your money, than investing in your health. You do deserve it. It is as important as ANYTHING else you will invest money in, I promise. If you want someone who really cares about you – Ashley is an excellent choice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

7 Habits of Highly Successful Exercisers

I am a big fan of Stephen Covey's book, 7 Habits of Highly Successfull People. From it I got the idea to create a list of habits for Highly Successful Exercisers. I hope this provides motivation if you are currently exercising to kick it up a notch or if you are not exercising at all to break it down and get started.

1. Be Proactive
It is your responsibility not only to show up to class or your workout session, but be well fueled and hydrated, have proper shoes and comfortable attire, and be ready to work.

2. Begin with the End in Mind
Set your goals. What do you want to get out of the exercise session or class? Take inventory and remind yourself of the reasons you want to exercise on a regular basis. Place inspirational pictures and motivational sayings where you will see them often. Surround yourself with others who have similar goals in mind.

3. Put First Things First
Is exercise a priority? Be sure that when you are planning out your week you keep the things that are most important to you on the top of your list. Write exercise in your calendar and treat it like any other important meeting. It is a meeting with yourself. If something does come up and you can not attend class ask yourself how you can still be active throughout the week. Be sure to follow through with that action.

4. Think Win-Win
When it is just one of those days that you do not feel very well or your muscles are sore think of how you can still make the most out of the situation. Try going to class and just taking it easy or choosing a form of exercise that will be not as strenuous on your own such as swimming or just walking. Movement usually makes you feel better.

If you are not seeing the results you thought you would stay positive and look at all the little things you have been doing well or the small changes that are taking place.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Don’t assume you know exactly what to do in order to achieve your goals or even if your goals are what you should be working towards.  Be a sponge and take in all the resources that are around you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions of other exercisers around you, a friend, or a certified trainer. You will never know if you do not ask!

6. Synergize
Value the differences between you and other individuals in class, around the gym, or outside. Gain their insight into health and wellness. Most of the time they are going through the same things you are. Let them provide you with support and guidance.

7. "Sharpen the Saw"

Take time for yourself in all areas of wellness. Remember that wellness is all encompassing and one aspect affects all others. Stress management, nutrition, and exercise are interrelated and if you are just focusing on one area the other areas will keep you from maximizing your results.