People who are passionate about fitness often find themselves daydreaming from their desk jobs of working in the fitness industry. This was the case for Fitmark Ambassador Ashley Nordman. After investing in a college degree in marketing and advertising, and landing the perfect job upon graduation, she left it all behind to pursue her passion for fitness.
My advice is this: don’t let FEAR stop you from what your heart wants ~ Fitmark Ambassador Ashley Nordman
Taking the Leap to a Career in Fitness
Changing careers is always a tough and scary decision, especially when you’ve invested so much time in your vocation. But finding the courage to make the leap is often easier than going into a job every day that you don’t enjoy. Ashley followed her heart and has never looked back. She told us:
I once worked a corporate desk job that required my 4-year degree and years of experience in the field. I was perfect for the job and it seemed perfect. I had a laid out salary, a 401k, and all these promises for growth. I absolutely HATED it! Every day I was in misery and it just didn’t feel right. All I wanted was to be in the gym, helping others, and continuing to train. It was really scary, but I ended up quitting my job and focused 100% on being a personal trainer full-time. I struggled for a very long time and lived paycheck to paycheck, but I refused to give up. I worked 3 jobs and made ends meet. I did whatever it took to be able to pursue training, and here I am, 3 years later, doing it full-time!
The Fitness Journey
Ashley was an active kid, and enjoyed playing soccer, softball, volleyball, track, and cross-country. Her passion for running continued throughout high school, and she qualified for the State Finals several times a year. But her approach to nutrition wasn’t always the healthiest or best informed. Sometimes clocking up 10+ miles a day, she began to lose a lot of weight, and by the end of her senior year, she was underweight, suffering from body image issues, depression and anxiety.
It wasn’t until she entered college and joined the gym that things began to turn around. She began lifting weights and made some healthy changes to her diet. This experience taught her a lot of things, which she now shares with her online clients. She told us:
My approach is pretty simple. I make sure that my clients set realistic goals, and then I make a plan of action to help them get to that goal. I make their programs realistic and I help them with adapting their program into their daily lives. This lifestyle can be overwhelming for some people, so I make sure that I am there every step of the way to help them. Communication is key, so I make myself very accessible!
Being a fitness professional has been a life-changer for Ashley. She now loves her job and enjoys every minute of her day. She says:
The best part about it is being able to actually impact people. I love seeing my clients succeed, watching them grow and change, and knowing that I am a reliable resource that they can count on. I trust myself and they trust me, and it brings benefits for everyone. Fitness can truly heal people and I have seen that first hand!
I bring my FitMark bag with me every day! It is so reliable and portable, and it really helps me because I can bring ALL my necessities with me, without taking up a ton of room. Without a good bag, I don’t know what I would do! I am the crazy bag lady and I need a bag for everything. FitMark is my choice for a gym bag any day.
Top 3 Favorite Exercises for Abs, Butt and Shoulders
Ashley is in the gym five to six times a week, and is currently working towards her pro card. We asked her for some of her favorite exercises.
My favorite ab exercise is definitely doing a plank with a 35-lb weight placed on my back. I do this for 60 seconds for 3 rounds and my abs are on fire by the end! My favorite butt exercise is definitely the cable pullthrough. I do 4×25 and really SQUEEZE at the top! For shoulders, my go-to exercise is the shoulder press movement. But I love doing it in the Smith Machine and doing a lot of drop sets until I hit failure!
On Track with Nutrition
She’s even taken up her favorite sport of running again, and is now training for a half marathon. We asked her for some training tips for spring running:
The best way to get conditioned for a race is to actually run outside on pavement! I typically do the elliptical or stairmaster for cardio, but now I will be transitioning to 3-4 mile runs outside. I drink plenty of BCAAs before and after my runs, and I always fuel up with carbs. Brown rice and apples are my top two choices.
When it comes to fueling her body, Ashley’s diet is right on track now. Watching her macros, increasing her protein intake and complex carbs have really helped her gain muscle and build a healthy body. One of her favorite recipes is a protein pancake. She says:
It is so simple! I just do 2 egg whites, ½ scoop protein powder, 1/3 cup oats, stevia and a little baking powder! I often add some almond butter on top and cinnamon!
Ashley is still a big fan of college sports and she follows the Fighting Illini. She told us:
I love college football! I will always be a Fighting Illini fan since University of Illinois is my alma mater. And being from the Chicagoland area, I of course love the Bears when it comes to the NFL!
If there’s one thing we can learn from Ashley’s experience it’s that you need to listen to your heart and follow your passion. She says:
You can achieve any goal you set for yourself. It just takes one thing: BELIEVING in yourself. If you don’t believe in you, you will never reach your goal. Nobody else is any more special than you. The people that reach their goals are just confident in the fact that they can and will reach success. My suggestion is to focus on that for yourself and to wake up every day believing that you can do it! <3
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ashley. We wish you the best of luck in your upcoming marathon, and of course, your next fitness competition.
Sport Your Lifestyle
The Fitmark Team