Wrestling with my Mind, Part 4.

28 Oct

So here it is, after my first ever Arnold experience and I decide to move forward with Fitness Modeling. I can’t tell you how safe and confident I felt when I was modeling this picture.


The Photographer, Andy Anderson, told me to look proud, and untouchable. Not many know this, but I have a degree in Theatre and Drama and always felt deep in my heart that I was supposed to go that route…but I didn’t. I was too chicken to move out to L.A. and do it. I remember standing here, we were at a gym with guys standing around watching Jamie and myself pat our hands with the lifting dust and pose in our sports bras…and feeling like this is it. This is where I am exactly supposed to be. This is where I’m comfortable. Maybe it’s putting a face on or acting confident that really intrigues me. Maybe it’s being a part of something creative like this and standing as a representation of something anyone can be if they put their mind to it. Yes, that’s what I did! That’s all I did. But for some reason people can’t get that idea down. That’s why so many fail at transforming their lives to what they truly, deeply, WANT. more than anything.

So Fitness Model International comes up. I spend (shrugging) $1300 with plane ticket, hair/makeup costs and FMI fees. I show up and nothing felt like they said it would feel. I did get to see my friend Parker and get 3 great shots out of 4 minutes total with 2 top photographers. I’m just going to spill out all the dirty details of my experience and the bull shit of it all because I never do do that. I also feel I am able to at this point and really don’t give a damn. I spent a shit load of money expecting more one on one time of learning how to pose, model, etc and meet people in the industry and instead, I felt more alone than ever before. I realized here what part of the industry I don’t want to be in: the part where everyone is trying to tug at a big mentor in the fitness industry’s arm and say, look at me, look how beautiful I am. It’s really not my style.

So after my 2 minutes with one Photographer and my less than Personal encounter with the other Photographer, (after spending 300 as part of the 4 pictures I get edited)…I decided to have fun, enjoy it and think of this as a blessing to realize what i don’t want. You know those experiences where you go through something only to realize what you don’t want;) think boyfriend/girlfriend.


remember Jeremy Jackson from Baywatch. I used to have a crush on him. He's started his own Supplement company now.

my hair was SICK!

My Third go at No Carbs.

I left Arizona (such an awesome place!) and headed to L.A. to meet my friend and Photographer who was going to take some pictures, with a little more of a realistic understanding of people in general. What I realized is what I do not want to be a part of. I do not want to be a woman vying for the attention of others just to get “noticed.” I don’t care if you say you have to hoe your way to get things, I know how I want to be “noticed,” and that doesn’t work for me. So moving on….I made a decision a few months later not to take part in this again.

Ok, so fast forward 1 month, I had prepared for a Bikini Competition where I became NPC Nationally Qualified. I worked with some great girls from another gym I know and we all worked on our posing together. I did not spend as much time as I’d like but it ended up being enough. For my preparation I did NOT do no carbs. From here on out, my days of No Carbs were over!!! I decided to go with a different approach: timing my macronutrients around what I had read and learned about myself. After one month, major changes happened and I felt really good in my skin. I still had a bit of a tub belly in a small sense;) but I actually don’t mind it when it’s a smaller version of a bloated me. I walked out on stage and strutted my stuff. My sister Gina beautified me and made me feel extra special with her mad makeup skills that always make me feel like a Queen. Maybe that’s one of my favorite parts of competing! I am a girl, after all!

So now, I competed in my 2nd competition, and did it a healthier way and my body responded. I was done with my last Bikini Competition where I became NPC Qualified and then went on vacation with my boyfriend and two great friends where I decided to relax and loosen the reigns. Basically, after the 5 days, I could not return in the shorts I went to Mexico with on my legs. I got so bloated from eating more basic foods, that any person regularly eats. It was a HUGE moment for me, realizing that my Boyfriend and other two Friends did not respond to the food and cocktails the way I did. I bloated everywhere. I felt horrible and just could not stop thinking about how i wanted to be thinner again. Then my friend said something to me that, at the time, made me think, “no, I don’t believe that.” She said, “Ash, do you think you just may not have the body type to be as thin as you’d like…I mean, you’re athletic, maybe your body doesn’t want to get thinner.” I was bummed to hear that a possible observation could be my reality. I never believe anything is IMPOSSIBLE; but this fit in that category. Could I just never be able to get there. But I said no! I believe I just have to get past my set point, stay there a while through constant sharp dieting and I will stay there and be able to add in more regular meals and more carbs.

So then a lot happened in between that conversation and now to make me realize that there was some truth behind that thought. What I have come to realize and will touch on more in my final Blog entry on this matter, is that my body was made a certain way and I need to stop going against the grain of what my body is telling me it wants and work on what my body loves best…being strong….not being skinny.

So after my vacation, I had 2 months to get ready for the Olympia. I was worried as I Just felt like my body wasn’t the same anymore…and I couldn’t change my metabolism. My body wasn’t responding positively to anything. I gained some weight all over. Nothing crazy but probably 8-10 pounds. I ate fairly decent, but was not able to eat as clean as you need to when you’re trying to cut your body fat down.

So I basically began doing 2 a days.
I thought, ok, my body is going to just drop the fat because it’s going to be shocked because after vacation, I decided my body was telling me it needed a break. So I took 2 solid months off. But no. Exactly the opposite.
Here’s what I did to get ready for the Olympia:

I cut carbs again and began rotating them and then would eventually taper out to very low for the last month as my body wasn’t responding.

I hired a trainer that KICKED MY ASS. I mean, I have never worked that hard and I thought I worked harder than anyone I see working.

I was doing 2 a days….morning cardio on empty stomach and weight training + hiit.

Cut calories to 1500 per day

I was monitoring my calories like a hawk.

I cut out (of course) liquor, sweets, processed foods. which are minimal for my usual diet anyways, but none at all.

I was stressed. I was worried and I got to the point of deciding I was not going to go, as I felt I had done EVERYTHING but was gaining weight. That’s right. I was gaining weight. I was working harder than I EVER have before…cut my calories to 1500 (little did I know!) and I was gaining tummy fat.

I had many breakdowns during this period. I was a cat chasing it’s tail.

I didn’t know how to stop. so I sucked it up and decided I am so lucky to be a part of BB.com and that I will just go and be confident, and smile through it all….so I did. It was tough and it was an acting game. One of the hardest I’ve played. The first day I put my blue tight pants on and they ripped in the croch and I just thought, I can’t do this. But I called Guest Services at the hotel and got a sewing kit and made it work, just like I made myself show up and smile.

I’m so glad I went, but I realized at this point that I came in, 6 months after the arnold, to the Olympia looking like I hadn’t been working at all during those 6 months, when in reality I had worked the hardest I ever had for the last 2months and maintained a pretty clean diet through it all.

so the thing was, I was stressed. I was relying on Sugar Free Rockstars to get through and I found out:

I was Adrenally Fatigued, which is basically Metabolic Burnout.

I wasn’t eating enough for my energy expenditure.

I was training like an athlete and spent $400 on a Trainer only to get nothing out of it, but to push my body farther into the direction I was trying so hard to keep it from being.

I was doing everything wrong.

I was thinking wrong and feeling wrong.

So as I returned home and looked at the pictures, it only hit me harder how everything from the Pinnacle show (all the hard core DIETING), all the stress, all the deprivation, had given me the body I have now. My body was resisting moving forward in a healthy way. I no longer looked like the Ash I turned myself into the first year of my Transformation, before all of these things took place, but I was looking like an unfit Ash. But trust me, I was doing everything I could to be fit and be healthy, except the caffeine.

In my last Blog entry on this, I will tell you when my epiphany happened, of me realizing what I was doing to myself. Not just outside, but mostly, INSIDE> and what I decided to do about it. It’s been a good month since my epiphany and since the Olympia.

I’m also going to tell you about what my current goal is and share with you something exciting! Something that I’m starting November 1st, something you can be involved in! I hope this touches someone in a way that I could not find someone else going through on the internet. I have looked up so many times, adrenal fatigue, athlete or fitness model and looked at other fitness models and could not find one person who had these same issues. I KNOW people go through them. I hope you do now too.

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16 Responses to “Wrestling with my Mind, Part 4.”

  1. capecodbarbie October 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    Please keep us posted on how you plan to deal with the adrenal fatigue. I suspect that it’s the opposite of what happens with PCOS (which is what I have), but I’d still be interested in hearing about it. It’s frustrating and fascinating the effect hormones have on our bodies!

  2. Melissa October 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    Thank you for sharing, Ash! As we have discussed before, I am having a similar problem. I’m working harder than ever and am gaining weight around my middle…Can’t wait to see what you are doing starting Nov 1st and can’t wait for you to be my trainer! :). You are such an inspiration! It is great knowing that im not the only one who has these struggles!

  3. Kathy J. Armada October 29, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Wow, your truly brave and amazing, Thank you Ashley for sharing your strength, hope and experience with us! You made it really real and you truly turned around some of my thoughts today into the RIGHT DIRECTION. I head out to do some interval cycling today with a different mindset…thank you!

    • fierceforward November 3, 2011 at 11:13 pm #

      Kathy, thank you so much for your comment. I want to let others know things I can not find others telling out loud. It’s amazing and I’m truly grateful to hear what you just wrote. That I can have an impact on your day, makes my day.

  4. Hailey Frentheway October 29, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Hey Ashley- Thank you for your posts! they are definitely motivating me-especially in the “diet” area. Its good to know that you aren’t the only one struggling with finding the right balance in your diet and training program. I am recently getting into this industry, and find your blog very helpful in my own transformation! Thanks for all you have done and continue to do! look forward to hearing what you are starting in November! Happy Halloween!

    • fierceforward October 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

      Hailey, thank you girl! Let me know if you have any questions about anything. here for you:)

    • fierceforward November 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      Hailey, are you still on the road to your transformation or have you transformed yourself already? 🙂 I hope you’ll follow me as I prepare for my competition in 6 months….it’s a lot of time and I”ll be sharing a lot. Thank you for supporting me! Ash

  5. Danny J Johnson October 30, 2011 at 6:30 am #

    Ash– after my last show (Nov 2009!!) I was going through the SAME thing (still am really) and I found SOOOOO many gals going through it.. the problem is, most of them dropped off the scene because of embarrassment. This NEEDS to be addressed and often PRIOR to ever competing because it can cause long term ill-effects.
    Part of the reason We started SBs was due to EVERYTHING in this blog!

    • fierceforward November 3, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      Danny J….so glad I’m not the only one that has gone through this. Thank you for reading and letting me know that you, too, have gone through this. It’s nice to know I’m not alone…ash

  6. Laura Sharun November 2, 2011 at 6:37 am #

    Hi Ash, I see so much of myself in what you are writing – from the always being about 10lbs heavier all my life to the satisfaction of getting lean and losing body fat and gaining definition when I prepped for my first fitness competition in my home town in May of 2010. I felt like I looked amazing but at the same time I knew I was too thin and that the way I lost the weight was not maintainable in any way, shape or form. I lost around 20 lbs for that comp and afterwards, put the weight back on very quickly. I made up for feeling deprived of any cheat foods that’s for sure! I did not enjoy the fitness competition experience b/c what I really liked was being strong, not being thin. Before I started the comp diet I felt good, was eating relatively clean and working out hard. The competition did a number on my mind that’s for sure – I found the diet so hard – I still look at some vegetables and still cannot make myself eat them. I am feeling so lost right now because I don’t remember how to eat anymore and because I feel confused I just say “forget it” and eat whatever I want. The pounds are slowly adding up and I am not a happy person at the moment. Thank you for sharing your story – I am eager to read your next blog to see what your epiphany is and to hear how you are going about repairing the metabolic damage you think you may have done. I know I will get back on track it’s just taking longer than I thought it would but you are motivating me not to give up so thank you.

    • fierceforward November 3, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

      Laura, thank you for your message. I love being strong, not thin. It has taken me a while to accept this, but I’m there now and loving it! what did you think from my last blog, #5? do not give up. message me or post a post on fierce forward so I can message you back if you need to talk. here for you. you’re not alone. ash

      • Laura Martin Sharun November 4, 2011 at 4:00 am #

        Hi Ash, not sure how to message you privately?? Is there a way through facebook maybe? Laura

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