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I Love Legs Workout

12 Apr

Bring it!   My workouts are never JUST for the Ladies….they’re tough and nails and are for the Men too, so don’t you forget it mister!

I personally LOVE legs.  I love when I see a man who has a strong upper body and balanced legs and when a woman has strong legs.  You know they work hard for them.  It’s challenging to get any muscle group to “pop” but for some reason I like training my legs and glutes best:)

I suppose that is why I was so unbalanced in my upper half a year ago!  Be careful not to neglect upper body vs. lower or vice versa.  You want a Balance of all your muscle groups.  There will be some muscles that respond more than others to what you do, but then you’ll have to work on those muscles more.  For me, that is my Shoulders.  I do shoulders twice a week and they’ve grown tremendously.

DISCLAIMER:  Please don’t think you are going to get massive legs by doing one leg workout.  It takes a lot of heavy weight and major consistency and patience to start to see muscle growth.  The below workout will help with endurance, long and lean legs.

This Workout is for creating long, toned legs and works to create endurance by using higher reps and little rest.  There are still heavy weights and it is still challenging as all get-out.  Fear it not, just do the damn thing!


(In parenthesis are the weight and reps I did, you can obviously switch this up.  The exercises are great ones!)

~Stiff Legged Deadlift with Barbell  (45 pound and added 5 to each side—55lb 12 reps)

~Bench hops in and out (15)  Straddle a bench with bench between legs and jump up with both legs on bench then hop immediately back down.

~Plate pullbacks (25lb. plate 20 reps/leg)  Lying on matte on back, put a 25 lb. plate or 10lb. plate on ground on top of a towel.  Your butt will be down at end of matte and bend left knee, then put right heel in center of plate (usually a little hole there) and lift your glutes so you are in a “Bridge” and pull your right leg back so it bends towards you.  You are pulling the plate towards your glutes and then push it back out.

~Single Leg Stiff Legged Deadlift (25lb. barbell 10/side)

~Single Leg Presses on Leg Press Machine (just weight of machine, this will get hard! 20/leg then straight into 30 calf presses with toes on bottom of leg press plate)

~Band Walks/Monster Walks *see picture below (20 steps to the left, 20 to right, repeat one more time)  *make sure on these you are keeping tension on the band the entire time.  Do not drag your other foot that is following leading foot.  Sit low and be in squat position to work more glutes and legs.  This should hit your medial glute HARD!   I did them and couldn’t help at the end of no rest/20 walks, my mouth just opened in pain.  :)I got a glute pump from this, unheard of!

Photo of Ashley, my Client

~In and Out Hops (30) *get in plank on ground, hop both your legs out to each side so your legs are then far apart from one another then hop them back in.  So you’re scissoring your legs.  Out and in is 1 rep.



Set stairmill to 15 minutes and Interval Setting.  Setting:  hard!  I did setting 8 and it got fast, just be mindful because you just did weights and your legs should be tired….so you don’t need to set it to highest setting and honestly think you’re going to pull it off;)   On the easier interval, skip a stair while walking up.  When it gets harder, then just single stair steps.




Workout Wednesday! Stairmill & Yoga

11 Apr

Today I did the Stairmill (some people call it a Stairclimber, I’ve always called it a Stairmill) for 40 minutes, while mixing my foot positioning up.   I kept the workout “type” (options on Stairmill to choose from) on “Aerobic,” as today I was focusing on lower intensity since I will also being doing yoga tonight.  I focused my positioning on the muscles I was trying to it, whether quads, glutes, middle glutes, outer hips, etc.  *biggest thing, do not hold onto the top of the handles and take away from your lower body working.  You are not there to nap or rest on it while dripping sweat on top of the buttons;)  I’ve seen it all!

Here is what I did:

~Feet forward

~Turned body and feet, angled my step left

~Turned body right, angled stepping right

~Forward, skipping stairs

~Crossing feet over one another hitting my outer hips & middle glutes

For more information on the benefits of using a Stairmill, go here.

I will also be doing one hour of Gentle Yoga in 3 hours!

I do Yoga so I can be like her!

Tell me what you are doing today by commenting below! 

Putting Yourself first, because you have to.

4 Apr

I had been getting hints here and there for the past few months that I have not been putting myself first.

You just have this feeling like something is off, something is out of balance with where you truly want to be.

I have chosen the Tough Mudder as my current goal.  I was super psyched (talking about past tense for time being) and really stoked to have a different type of goal, one that would require lots of hard training and some added cardio, the thing I had been avoiding for some time.  I’m not completely sure why I was avoiding it, but thought that I could get to my goal without doing all the sacrificing, dieting, two a days, extreme cardio, etc.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Me” update.  I think it’s very important, for me, to always be open to sharing my health goals and even my struggles with you because we’re all human and I’m just striving everyday to move forward, just like everyone else.

So it had been some time like I mentioned above that I did cardio and I finally hit a breaking point where I was not seeing progress in my body.  None like I used to see.  So I stopped and thought about what I was doing when I was seeing progress, aside from the dieting period in between the start and now.  I took myself back to my first year I dropped all the weight and realized I had been doing mostly cardio, (lots of stairmill) some weights and eating healthy but balanced, not crazy strict.  And in 8 months I had cuts in my obliques.  I truly believe if I would never have done my first competition, I would have kept moving forward in the right direction, but at the same time, this competition is what catapulted me to “want more” out of myself in this Industry and really, to realize my potential strength of character and that opportunities are MADE, created and worked for, not handed to.

So here I was the past 6 months, trying to recover from my string of dieting and lifting heavy and not performing any cardio!  I’m not quite sure what I was thinking except that I put myself on the back burner while I put my focus into my work.  I’m sure many people can relate to this, as it’s not uncommon.  It is, however, hard to grasp the fact that you have to begin a new Journey, one that puts emphasis on YOU, and will be taking some time away from other things.

In a nutshell, I’ve been struggling with losing weight and getting to where I want to get.  I have been in the frame of mind that results should be seen soon and then I’d try something new when one thing wasn’t working.  You know it’s funny because I’m so adament with my clients and students to ‘be patient’ and here I am, not taking my own advice, as if it doesn’t apply to me!  The truth is, I don’t treat myself like a student, and that’s the problem.  Lately, I’ve been really great at being resourceful, making connections, making things move forward with my business but honestly, have put myself and my own personal goals on the back burner, which ultimately go hand in hand with my business goals and really, only help strengthen other areas of my life, if I am happy in that area.  One of the biggest things I preach is about persistence and patience…..and well well well, lil me forgot to take my own advice!  They say teachers teach what they themselves need to learn.   Below I’ll tell you what my new path entails and what I’ve learned from this hiccup.

The past two years after the initial transformation stage, I developed some new practices…..not good or healthy, but things that came with the package and the move of competing and dieting.  But from these things, I found clarity and an understanding as to how I must move forward.

1.  Did I develop body image issues?   Yes.

2.  Did I tamper with my metabolism in a harmful way by dieting for too long?  Hell Yes!

3.  Did I create food allergies by eating chicken, egg whites, asparagus and tilapia way too much?  Yes.

4.  Did I ever want to give up?  Too many times to count on my hands.

5.  Did I ever give up?  Not once.

6.  Will I persevere forward and make it past this struggle?  Absolutely.

7.  Is it just a matter of working on my mindset and sticking to one thing and being patient?  110% YES.  This is all it comes down to people…..keeping it simple, eating fresh, healthy whole foods your body uses and desires for energy, putting the work in in the gym and building a strong character that will move you forward towards whatever you want in this life.

I BELIEVE IN SIGNS and I was running on the treadmill the other day, picked up a “Yoga Journal” and began reading to pass the arduous feeling of lifting my muscular legs and repeating thousands of times.  lol   I’m totally open here, running is my nemesis, but I’m open and working on making it mi amigo!

I found an interesting article that really moved me to realize what I need to begin practicing, day by day, in my move forward on this new path.  Here they are laid out:

1.  Solid Ground

    Whenever you undertake anything new, recognize that there is going to be some effort involved  (ding ding ding).  Realizing that what you are undertaking cannot be perfected overnight, that you have to commit over time to get lasting results you are happy with.

2.  It’s All About the Attitude

   An attitude of friendliness toward those who are happy, compassion toward those who are suffering, pleasure and delight at those who are doing good deeds in the world, and an attitude of non judgmental watchfulness toward those who do harmful deeds will help us to attain a peaceful and balanced mind.

3.  Core Strength

   We must cultivate self confidence and conviction to help us maintain our persistence and strength, and to remember our direction so that we may attain our goal of a focused mind and clear perception.

*I really connect with this one because I began to just Feel out of balance and out of align with how I knew I should be feeling.  and honestly, I forgot my direction.

4.  Make the Connection

  Knowing the Self, and finding a greater peace and ease through that connection.  Come to a place of independence from the agitations of the mind, and to a deeper connection with your own inner compass (ie…*feeling something isn’t right or isn’t in the place it’s supposed to be)  When you are connected to this inner compass, you are better able to handle the twists and turns of life.


I believe everyone has his own time of being ready to tackle something.  Sometimes it’s a matter of realizing you’re ready, or a matter of having learned what you need to learn to be ready, and sometimes it is just a moment you have that you realize you HAVE to be ready otherwise you’ll be continuing moving backwards.

I don’t believe falling or something not going the way you thought it Should go if failing.  I don’t believe in failure unless you just give up altogether and surrender.  I believe you learn from things and to each in his own time.  When the time comes that that person is ready, it’s game on and you just know it.   What I have learned the most from my experience is that wavering back and forth and not making up your mind to choose one direction….you will feel “in the middle.”  You must choose one way.  You have to choose your path, stand in it and then pour concrete over it.  Don’t leave it, stick with it and when things get tough, hold on.  Sure, sometimes you lose your way but time goes by and when you realize that way is missing, you go back to it and try again and now you have even more behind you because you carry a lesson with you!  There is no wrong way.


Glute Workout Sure to Kick Your Booty!

19 Feb

Everyone’s got a different idea of what they want the shape of their butt to look like. For me, I had a flat shaped butt and after 3 years, have started to see a much bigger change in my shape and I really enjoy it. I feel stronger through my exercises I do and feel my glute strength carry over into my leg strength.

I will say that my butt now does not fit into my pants like it did when I got really thin. I prefer it this way though. Either way you like your tush, just remember it will take time to develop muscle and a lot of hard work!! Who doesn’t love putting in hard work and feeling the results. Empowerment, self love, confidence, strength, pride….all great things!

I always start off with one warmup set of lighter weights with the first 3 exercises or so and see how I am feeling and then move into bigger weights or higher reps (depending on what you’re trying to do–goal wise).


1. You will be getting somewhat of a Leg workout here but it’s secondary. I would recommend doing a separate leg day, your farthest training day away from this, so your glutes get enough rest. You could also lesson the exercises here and just incorporate them into your leg day but if you really want to hit your glutes hard, do this on its own day. I do it once every other week and the other week will do glutes with my legs.
2. Your glutes should be shaky at end of workout, this is a good thing!!!
3. THINK about the mind-muscle connection when performing an exercise. Ie. When I do split squats I think about my glute actually firing and pushing the weight up vs. just thinking about getting through the push. It WILL make a huge difference in which muscle you are isolating if you think about it to create a deeper isolation. and that’s what we want, to maximize that.

We’ll start on the Smith Machine. If you don’t have a smith machine or workout at home, a bench with dumbbells in hand(or none) will work, but it will be more challenging if you have dumbbells than putting your weight back on the smith machine bar.

This is a superset: Repeat for a total of 3 times and rest 1 minute in between each superset
1. 12 reps on each leg—Smith Machine Split Squats pressing through heel with toes on plate *see image above and leg up on bench (driving through your heel, you will be pushing up the weight with your glute, vs. mostly with your quad.
-I started with warmup of 10lb plates on either side of smith machine and then went to 15lb total on each side.
-If you’re not sure what this is a good description

3. 10/each leg Single legged squats on bench. This may be very challenging for some and I’d say start on a high bench and give it a go. If you can’t get one, this will be a good determinant that you should work your glutes more! 🙂 I go to a short bench and it gets hard QUICK. I will tell you that this is one of the best exercises that always gets my glutes on fire.

The farther away your foot is from the bench, the more glute it will hit vs. quad but you might have to start closer until you feel comfortable.

REPEAT two more times for total of 3 sets.

*I did some single legged jump ropes for my next exercise. It is an amazing thing to incorporate into your training and you’ll feel your calves, legs and glutes burning. 50 reps each side. It is challenging at first but surprisingly enough, becomes easy quick once you get hang of it.

1. Standing Cable kickbacks 20/leg (you’ll need to find a weight that isn’t too heavy)

2. 20 per side. I did 30 lb. barbell. Barbell Side Squats

I always try to imagine pushing my weight back on my glute (no weight on my leg in my mind) and then sticking my butt at an angle backwards.
3. 40 Alternating Box Steps ups on HIGH BOX (maybe shoot for 20 if you are super shaky) Think about pushing through with your glute and when you step back off the box, the farther back you step, and the more distance from your feet to the box, the more glute it’s hitting vs. quad. Weights not needed here.


One more round of jumpropes single legged (50 per leg)

20 minutes Stairmill, pushing through glutes.

Remember, when it gets tough, PUSH THROUGH. Be mindful of your body and how far you are pushing yourself. If you feel an unusual feeling, then stop. If your muscles are tired, you can continue on if you’d like but know you will be sore the next day. Just a small disclaimer;)

It WILL HURT, IT WILL BE TOUGH, BUT YOU CAN TOUGH THROUGH IT LIKE A CHAMP AND LOVE THE FEELING OF YOUR MUSCLES GROWING IN THE MORNING! Also, make sure you rest your lower body the next day and maybe even the day after if you are very sore. I promise you those single leg squats on a bench will kick your booty.


Eliminating The Foods That Are Making Me Fat.

11 Nov

After my final blog in the Series about finding myself the hard way and realizing how to now move forward, I came to the conclusion that I needed to rule out one more question that had been bugging me: Do I have excess stress that is creating cortisol, which will put Belly Fat on you. The results came back and my Hormone Doctor called me and we discussed my stress levels and what I found out was shocking.

I had no excess or unusual stress patterns. I’m telling you I thought this was going to be the answer, because I know I had been stressing about this for over a year now.

So then I broke down and told her that I thought that was going to give me an answer and that maybe I JUST HAVE A TURTLE FOR A METABOLISM. Let me back this up with the fact that I have been diagnosed with a sluggish thyroid, which runs in my family and which can also be caused by excess dieting. * I am supplementing with natural hormones for my thyroid and am actually on level now. She reassured me that since my last blood test, my levels are now in normal range.

So here I am, sitting there thinking, WHAT THE HELL is the answer then. I do everything right, and I WILL NOT except no as an answer…I work very hard and even though in my blogs I have mentioned that my mind set has shifted to accepting that I am an “athletic” girl and that I know I have to work harder than most others at even maintaining my frame, I still want to keep moving forwards. I want to be able to move forward in this industry and I can’t do that with excess stomach fat around my waist. I just broke down and told her I didn’t know what else to do.

She was not in town when I got my food allergy results back but her colleague was who read them to me. So she went to my allergy testing pages and said, “holy moly, you have more intolerances than me.” She seemed stunned. Her reaction was not the same one her colleague gave me. She then asked me, “Have you eliminated these foods yet?” I replied, “I only eat gluten when I have my cheat meal but other than that, no.” She replies, “Ashley, you have intolerances to Lactose, all Cheeses, Whey, Chicken, White Fish…tons of things….you need to realize that this could be your problem.” I took this very seriously and asked more questions. She said people can build up food intolerances to foods they consume over and over again and that’s why it is important to rotate your foods.

I left her office feeling a mix of emotions. I felt a bit confused, that how can I still not have figured my own body out. How could I have not taken the Food Intolerance test more seriously and when will I start with the holidays coming up and me 6 months out from my next goal, which means a long time of being strict. After little debate, I decided to start the next day. I went out to get my favorite, Mexican:) and cleaned out my fridge. 6 weeks of no chicken, white fish, sweet potato, whey, lactose (this means my cheat meal will be affected, haha), turmeric (no more Turkey Loves Curry:( Ashley doesn’t love these results) 🙂 and many, many other items, this was going to be a new start almost. It’s not like I have to just cut out gluten. That would have been fairly easy, aside from my cheat meal. But there are TONS of resources for getting around that.

Here is my fridge after cleaning it out. The empty shelf is the shelf that I cleaned. NOTHING remains that I am not intolerant to. I think that says for itself what the doctor told me. No eggs either:(

These are all the spices I had to put into storage because they either have “pumpkin, turmeric, mustard, or a few other things I can’t have in them.”

Goodbye Mustard and all you great condiments.

I began reading some articles and I do look at sources. Here is a paragraph from one of them that hit me like a ton of bricks.

“One example of how food sensitivities/intolerances negatively impact the body is weight gain. If your body interprets your “trigger” food (or food allergen) as a chemical toxin that must be either rejected of buffered, your body will initiate a protective mechanism in which your fat calls bind to and sequester the food toxins. Your fat cells act as buffers between these chemicals and your organs and tissues. As a result, your fat cells grow larger, and your percentage of total body fat increases. Thus, you’ll gain weight and bloat despite your best efforts at dieting and exercise. For more information on stubborn weight issues see Dr. Cushing’s free report on “Explosive Findings on Useless Diets and Dangerous Drugs.””

Here is the article:

3 in 4 people have food intolerances and they just don’t know it.

So 6 weeks, elimination. I have gone 2 days. It has been the start of a new journey. It is tough but maybe I’m supposed to help others with this same issue down the road, who knows:) I’m not ruling anything out, I never do!

Getting through the holidays will be tough, but my creativity will have to be turned on even more in the cooking department to avoid most things I always ate.
Imagine eliminating most things you ate. Here is my list!

eggs, egg whites, chicken, white fish, lactose, whey, gluten, pumpkin, turmeric, all berries, grapes, teff(a gluten free grain), peanuts, mustard, green peppers, and so forth.

I’m ready for you 6 weeks!

I look forward to sharing with you another piece of my life, that is centered around understanding my bodies needs. It is really important to me to understand my body so then I can move forth fiercely, in the way I want to and see growth. Then I can wipe out anything that is holding me back!

Here’s to another something new and a new community of people with food intolerances. I hope you’ll feel free to share any recipes you may have, as I’d really enjoy that. You know I’ll be working on some myself!

Day 4 Detox

21 Sep

Day 4 Detox

I’m excited to announce nothing is seriously wrong with me or my thryoid; however, I did learn I’m off balance hormonally, which affects more than 10% of women.  Usually without them knowing.  I will be taking some natural, non-synthetic medicine and see how that balances me out.  The verdict is:  my thyroid is sluggish.  With all my hard work on diet and exercise and me working more on less stressing and more yoga, I believe the balancing out with natural medicine will help put me where I want to be.

Day 4, I am doing really well.  Overall, I feel more in control of my choices by doing gluten-free, and am not finding myself eating carbs when I really don’t need to.  Tonight we are going out to dinner, and I already plan on having fish with veggies as a side with water.

The biggest thing is, I feel less bloated than I have in over a month.  Perhaps gluten-intolerant?

Continuing on with the detox, 26 more days…

So how do you know if detox is for you?

Are you experiencing symptoms of:

-adrenal fatigue (looking for caffeine to get you “up” and feeling highs and lows mood wise throughout the day

-not seeing weight loss results

-believe you might possibly have a food allergy, such as gluten intolerance *do you bloat after eating normal carbohydrates?

-notice you do not have much motivation throughout the day

-frequent headaches throughout the day

-skin rashes

-gas and frequent intestinal disorders

-constipation, irregular bowel movements

These are all signs of toxins in your system.

From a site I trust, here is a small writeup on how often you should detox.

Please ask me any questions you have!  I am learning a lot and in the process, want to share with you the benefits of detoxing.

Day 2, Detoxing My Life

21 Sep

Day 2 Detoxing my Life

So I’ve decided that this detox and my results that I will get back soon from the Hormonal/Stress/Food Allergy testing are going to give me a lot of answers and a fresh start anew.

Day 2 and I’m trucking along!  This morning I felt less bloated than normal and loved it!  I taught my High Intensity Class this a.m. did the workout with them without feeling tired or sluggish.

Here is what I am doing on my detox:

No sugars (except fruit–2 small handfuls per day, berries only)
No alcohol, no problem I say;)
No processed foods
No caffeine
No gluten
Drinking tons of water (half of my bodyweight in ounces which I do anyways)
Doing best to eat all organic protein and wild fish (this is hard as the organic chicken is very $$, since I don’t have money spilling out of my pocket at this point in my life I am opting for Miller’s Chicken, which is the closest I can get to Organic.  All natural, but not organic.  So clearly, I am not doing the cleanse as 100% as you are supposed to, but I can not maintain that cleanse for a month on organic costs.
I do most of these things anyways, but it’s the no gluten and no caffeine part.



Here are my “start” pictures.  I am retaining some water right now but I do believe that will change once more days accumulate.

You know, what I think I’ve learned is that some people have to work for a fabulous, fit body and some have to work super hard for it.  I believe genetically I was not dealt the card with the fast metabolism, and even because I have been, for most of my life, “10 lbs. around the edges), that my set point does not want to move.  I still believe I can get to anywhere I want to get to, that nothing is set in stone and that with fine tuning and a detailed understanding of what’s going on beneath the surface, that I will get there.  I have the work ethic, the drive and the passion and so a year of trying so many different things and not seeing much results except muscle growth here and there (which is a great thing too), I am really excited to continue trying since I will know what the underlying issues are, if any.  (I’ll be hard pressed to believe something is not going on, but we’ll see)

What I know about myself is I am not afraid to admit my shortcomings and am self aware enough to know if I am in denial and after admitting any shortcomings, such as having a cheat meal and then eliminating that from my diet and still nothing happening, I know I am not denying anything, conscious or subconscious.

If you are not seeing results from your efforts, and I mean more than just trying one thing….and feel discouraged, do not give up.  I believe firmly in examining all routes.  Perhaps, before you spend the money on testing your hormones, food allergies, stress levels, etc, look at amping up your workouts and shocking your body, or writing down what you eat in a food journal.  I also know that things happen as you age and sometimes stress plays a huge part in it, so taking a yoga class and calming your mind and your soul also helps.  Just never give up hope and never say that you can’t do or be something.  For me, this is just another road block that I am tearing down again.  No biggie.  I am just grateful to have learned the tools to not give up and keep trying until you get it.

Ash, Living Fiercely.