Name: Ashley Olson
Location: Punta Gorda, FL
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Being healthy, having plenty of self-love, and waking up excited, thankful, and content every day. It’s all about feeling great!
How long have you been training?
I grew up swimming, running, and playing tennis. I started hitting the gym in high school and kept it up in college (unfortunately I approached exercise and nutrition from an unhealthy place). After college, my training was sporadic. Over the past year I’ve approached getting fit from a positive and balanced mindset. I’m loving getting into lifting heavy and sprinting. I want to keep pushing this body to new levels!
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Right now I’m doing two days of Escalating Density Training (one day lower body and one day upper body), two days of full-body Metabolic Conditioning workouts, and one day of sprinting each week. I’m getting ready to change things up a bit and will be moving to body part splits and sprints.
Lower body: Bulgarian split squat. Upper body: Arnold press.
Most memorable PR: I honestly don’t track PR’s. Getting stronger has been more about regaining my health, the feeling behind lifting heavy, and constantly taking baby-steps forward in my life. The great thing about baby-steps is that one day you look up and are amazed at how far you’ve come!
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Extra hair ties (it’s the worst when it’s leg day and your only one breaks), interval timer, and H2O.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
Training with a partner is fun for me. It’s great to share funny moments and it keeps me accountable. Lifting builds great bonds!
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
I keep my headphones in to avoid pick-up lines.
I love almost any kind of Mexican food ― YUM! With guac and queso on the side (uh, who doesn’t love liquid cheese)!
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I LOVE ice cream, so hitting DQ for a Blizzard a couple of times a week is a treat for me. It’s a time to just sit, enjoy, and decompress. Pair ice-cream with the beach and I’m in heaven!
Press on: nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ― Calvin Coolidge
The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. I have read so many great books in the realm of personal development, but this one was a gamer changer for me. It’s been my charge to get out there and live my life and this book helped me work through some negative thoughts.
What inspires and motivates you?
Everything! That sounds silly, but I want to be strong and healthy enough to take on whatever I’m excited about in life.
What does a typical day look like for you?
(From waking up to bedtime) Here it goes!
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
Confidence! I always feel like I am ready to take on the world after a good lifting session! It’s also given me a new appreciation for my physical abilities. I try to focus on the fact that movement is an amazing gift.
Next training goal:
I want to rock my push-up! I know my form could be better, so I want to take the movement to the next level. Busting out a few push-ups always makes me feel strong!
If you had to choose 3 words to describe yourself, what would they be?
Vibrant, strong, and imperfect! Most people think being imperfect is a bad thing, but I’m loving letting go of my perfectionist mindset and just doing my best each day.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Lifting has done more than change my life over the past year, it’s allowed me to live my life. I struggled with disordered eating, unhealthy exercise habits, and being a perfectionist during college. I worked to break the cycle, but was struggling to let parts of it go. A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with a syndrome that affects my heart. It was a scary time for me and I immediately felt the need to live fully. I wanted to harness my physical and mental strength to make it happen. I started by walking and kept moving towards lifting heavy.
I think the best part is that the journey never ends; I’m still baby stepping. It’s amazing: feeling strong can change how you view yourself and how you relate to the world.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
I think it’s natural to be nervous. Finding a qualified coach is a must in my book. Enjoy the journey and take your time - you aren’t racing towards a finish line! Oh, and don't worry about those haters that say you’re going to look like a man…all of the GGS Spotlights are proof that’s not going to happen!
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