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Meet personal trainer, yogi, nutrition coach – Ashley Hodge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Hodge.

Ashley, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My background includes growing up within a family that highly encourages you to “clean your plate” and I struggled with yo-yo dieting for years. It came down to being “sick and tired” of not getting the results that I wanted – I chose to take the opportunity to work with three personal trainers over six months to see what worked and what didn’t for me. I was fortunate to meet my first trainer who showed me the ropes and thoughtfully explained the “Whys” behind training, nutrition, and changing habits. I believe in moderation and sustainability in a fitness/nutrition lifestyle, and I’ve tried to model that through my powerlifting journey, training for my half & full marathons, triathlon, and my current daily lifting/eating routine.

My own personal transformation inspires me. I lost over 50lbs, gained lean muscle, and I know inside & out what it feels like to be frustrated, stuck in a cycle, surrounded by loved ones who do not support you or have a hard time understanding why you are going against the “norm”. In reality – no one knows you better than YOU. I shifted my attitude, took responsibility, and realized that true success is showing up for myself! Through my journey – how I show up and what I share authentically resonates with people I encounter. Which in turn from my sharing – people begin to consciously make changes for themselves to see into the possibility of their own self-transformation. That in itself inspires me, and I fall in love with this journey over and over again. I have an enormous respect & understanding for those who transform themselves – what a pay off the world we would be if we kept pushing pass our comfort zones.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Something not talked about often: emotional eating or stress eating

People learn emotional eating patterns: As a child – I was rewarded with McDonald’s pancake platter after a big achievement like getting a passing grade in school. I also often saw my family seek comfort in food in times of daily stress or major life events (positive or negative)

It’s not easy to “unlearn” patterns of emotional eating. But it is possible. And it starts with an awareness of what’s going on. Awareness could look like tracking food intake for a short period of time or an eating behavior journal. When you feel the urge to eat emotionally, just take five minutes and sit with that urge. Set a timer if you like. During this time, simply notice what you are thinking or feeling, whatever comes up. Ask yourself if you are hungry, angry or anxious, lonely, and/or tired. You may notice that you feel uncomfortable, but it’s okay. Write down what comes up for you. After that five minutes, make any choice that feels right.

Overtime, this will help you to identify what is triggering your stress and ask yourself why it’s making you feel the way it is. This practice will start removing or at least lessening any guilt or shame you feel around overeating. You may just notice that intense craving for the entire box of cookies sometimes turns into a more manageable desire for just one or two.

I’ve completely changed my relationship with food, improved my body composition, & living my best life along with helping many of my clients to create a life & body they love through my coaching programs.

As I get older – I can feel my body changing. However, my secret sauce has been: being consistent & creating better habits that are sustainable. The first time in a long time – I am in a very healthy space when it comes to my body. I am in love my body and in love with the journey it took to get me here. It took consistency, hard work, positive self-talk, and TIME.

We have to love & appreciate our bodies and give it so much love, respect, & kindness because that’s what we deserve. When we get into a space where we are surrendering to changes – we will be ok. It starts from when we come from a healthy relationship with ourselves.

Plans will change & evolve just like our body does. I coach my clients through this process. It’s not a singular diet. Food quality & quality. Balance. Behavior change is a nonlinear process. There’s no start & stop. It’s ever-evolving.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I help people rediscover what healthy means to them. There’s no one-size-fit-all strategy to approach with training and nutrition; I know that people have their own needs and goals and I want to make fitness work for them, not the other way around. Sometimes we lose sight of ourselves. It happens to the best of us – even the most successful and self-aware people can go through phases where everything seems… off. In fact, getting lost can be an awesome opportunity to rediscover and redefine ourselves, perhaps uncovering an even more fulfilling version of ourselves that has been trying to push its way through.

What I’ve learned in the last ten years of my journey that does work:
Focusing on my daily nutrition + exercise behaviors & mindset shifts
Find an eating strategy that is sustainable throughout my life.
Prioritizing eating whole, minimally processed foods (eat enough protein)
Resistance training that encompasses exercises that I truly love to do
Being flexible (being less restrictive) – so yes, I will eat a 🍩 when I choose to!!
Placing less focus on the scale and more focus on feeling good overall and improving my strength
Adherence is 👑 to whatever eating strategy you use
Committing yourself to the process
Proper monitoring (for me it’s tracking my macros)
Giving myself time – a buttload of time!!
Keeping stress down and getting enough 💤
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency

Figure out what works best for YOU and continue to do more of that! It’s not an overnight process – my journey took many years of hard work + progress. Was it easy? F*CK NO! But it got easier as I created habits that are now second nature to me. It’s super easy to feel discouraged because you aren’t seeing results fast enough. Patience and hard work will pay off. People often quit before they see the results. The most important – the mental gains you make along the way are even more worthwhile.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Winning 3rd place in my first powerlifting competition Jan 2017 – Squatting 225lbs, Bench Pressing 135lbs, and deadlifting 306lbs and Completing my 200hr yoga teacher training in Bali, Indonesia in Jan 2019.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photographer: Steven Plascencia IG @firstnamesteven

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