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What's your workout: Ashley Nicholls

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Briefly describe your daily/weekly workout routine:

I usually start my workout with some cardio to get my heart rate up, then I focus on one or two muscle groups that day. For example, I will work on my chest and shoulders one day, then the next I’ll do my back or legs.

Why is it something you have stuck with?

Exercise helps me relieve stress and unwind. It allows me to set a good example for my children. The Bible tells us to honor God with our body. I believe it’s important to take care of myself and teach my children the same.

How do you make time to work out?

 I wake up early and get my workout in first thing in the morning. It’s the best way to start my day. I work out for an hour in the morning and can be home in time to shower and help get the girls ready, then we’re out the door. I work out on the weekends, too, since there’s not such a rush to be somewhere, and use a weekday as my day of rest.

When and why did you get serious about fitness?

I was not happy with my body and the way I felt after gaining 45 pounds with each of my pregnancies, as I’m sure many women can relate.

Have you lost or gained muscle mass through working out? How much?

I’ve increased my muscle tone and decreased my body fat.

What’s your favorite exercise?

The deadlift. It works your back, glutes and legs. There are several different types of deadlifts you can do, but they all leave you feeling stronger.

Any exercise you dread but do anyway? Why?

I probably dread shoulder exercises most. I have poor posture so my shoulders could really use some work. But for some reason, shoulder exercises are challenging for me.

Do you listen to music while you work out? What’s on your playlist?

 I listen to music while I run; something upbeat with a fast tempo to keep me going. While I lift weights, I listen to whatever is playing at the gym.

Do you follow a special diet?  If so, describe it briefly. Do you “cheat” much?

I try to eat clean as best I can, but I really have a sweet tooth. My favorite is ice cream and I’ll have some from time to time. I don’t think it’s bad to let yourself have the foods you love, as long as you practice moderation.

Do you have a favorite fitness moment, for example, when you reached a tough fitness goal or overcame a plateau?

 I ran my first half marathon in September and it was so much fun. I initially signed up for the 5K, but after some persuasion from friends and neighbors, I decided to go for the half. I remember thinking to myself, “Thirteen miles, that’s crazy!” But with training and some tips and advice from experienced runners, I felt prepared and it was a great race.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated when you just don’t want to work out?

I think about how I’ll feel when I’m done working out, versus how I’d feel if I didn’t. There’s a sign on the window at the gym that says, “Wow, I really regret that workout. (Said no one ever!)” and I totally agree.

What advice would you give someone who wants to start working out?

Start slow, don’t give up and don’t be too hard on yourself. Going to a gym can be intimidating, so find a trainer or someone to guide you. Have a plan of attack or a goal in mind and just stick to it. You’ll get there.

What’s a little-know fitness fact about you?

I used to play co-ed softball with my husband before we had kids. It was great for us to get to know other young couples from Columbus and it was a fun way for us to be active together.

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