Interview with Ashley Benda:

Ashley came to us in November of 2016 as she was moving here from Florida and looking for a gym she could trust to help her reach her goals while staying healthy. She has been consistent in her training ever since she started with us. Ashley trains once a week with us, attends boxing classes, and finds other exciting ways to stay active! She has had great results in the last year! Read ahead to find out how she got stronger, reduced nagging injuries and found a healthy balance of weight training, conditioning and recovery workouts.


J: What was your motivation for seeking out a trainer?

A: I wanted to get stronger and leaner, but I wanted to be smart about it and do it in a healthy way that would build a good foundation for fitness now and in the future. I like having a workout program built around my goals and my progress. …plus I hate working out on my own!


J: What were your goals when joining LNFS?

A: I didn’t have specific, defined goals when I started; I wanted to improve my overall fitness level, especially strength.


J: Besides personal training, what else were you doing to reach your goals?

A: I take classes at a boxing gym. I hate most cardio, so boxing is a fun way for me to get my heart rate up. The classes also incorporate strength training. Outside of the gym I love hiking! Working on my nutrition has been key too.


J: What does a typical day of eating look like for you?


A: Breakfast: omelet with peppers, onions, bacon, and cheese

Lunch: something with ground turkey or chicken with vegetables

Snacks: Greek yogurt, protein shake with almond milk

Dinner: more ground turkey or chicken with vegetables – I recently got a spiralizer, so I’ve been making lots of things with zucchini noodles.


J: What do you think was the biggest factor in reaching your goals?

A: Consistency! Getting my workouts in every week (usually 5, sometimes 6), but also being consistent with my nutrition (this part is more difficult for me!)


J: Were there any obstacles that you had to overcome?

A: One of my biggest challenges when I started was building stability in my shoulders and hips. Consistently incorporating targeted body weight exercises and band work has really helped improve my stability and form.

Core strength/stability has also been tough for me, in particular my lower back, to the point that there were some core exercises I couldn’t do. Extra emphasis on core work and building it up over time has really helped and I’ve seen big improvements in this area. Now I’m able to do many core exercises that I couldn’t do a year ago.


J: Now that you have met many of your goals, what’s next for you?

A: My favorite goal that I’ve accomplished so far as been pull-ups! I want to keep building on those. Also, I recently did an obstacle course race and loved it, so I want to keep training to run another one.

As you can see, Ashley has made a lot of improvements in the last year. She can now do two pull-ups which was a big goal of hers.

She has reduced back pain by strengthening her core, hips, and improving movement patterns on her lifts and exercises outside of the gym.

Unlike many people who are so tight they can’t touch their toes, Ashley had to work on the opposite. We added a lot of stability work and focused on strengthening some of the smaller muscles that are responsible for stability in the hips and shoulders.

What you can learn from Ashley’s success!

Listen to your body. She is great at telling me when something doesn’t feel right. This has helped me to make adjustments and to dig deeper to discover what’s going on.

Make nutrition a priority. This is the number one priority when seeking weight loss or gain. Without proper nutrition, your success will be severely limited.

Be consistent. One great week will get you nowhere. 52 consistent weeks will allow you to achieve amazing results. Keep at it!

Don’t overtrain. By switching up training modalities and throwing in activities such as hiking she was able to recover while still staying active.

Have fun! If you don’t enjoy your workouts, you will never stick to them. Find activities you enjoy so you will be more likely to stay consistent!


-Jonathan Brawley, BS, NASM-CPT, PN1