1. Can you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in Oklahoma, you could easily say that I was a country girl. My Parents bred and broke quarter horses. I was a ‘tom’ girl running around bare foot and trying to keep up with my brother and his friends building forts, spending my summers on our multi-acre ranch riding horses bailing hay. I was never inside. If I can recall it was hard for my mom to keep me sitting for long periods of time. I had all kinds of pet animals growing up. My parents really let me come into my own, exploring the world.
2. Have you always been active? Did you play any sports growing up?
Because of my activity level, I was put into sports at a young age, softball, dance, gymnastics and soccer. I think I tried just about every sport you could think of. I loved gymnastics and soccer keeping up with both through middle school and high school. I played for the ODP (Olympic Development Program) soccer team. Travelling on a bus around the states playing with other Select players and teams. I continued playing soccer in College and I now play for Guam’s Woman’s Soccer Team.
3. When did you become involved in fitness/bodybuilding? What inspired your decision to become a Fitness Competitor?
After I had my son, I wanted something to push me. I’ve always been a very goal-oriented individual so setting a goal for myself to compete was the perfect thing for me. I competed in my first competition, OCB Spirit of America in Cape Cod. I placed first and took home the overall. Since then, I fell in love with the sport and I’ve been hooked ever since with the community the bodybuilding family. The inspiration came from me wanting to be a mom and to still be super fit. So many moms lose themselves during motherhood; I wanted to be both & prove that you can still be driven focused have goals for yourself and still be an incredible mom. In fact, I believe that it makes me a better mom. To have that 1-2 hours a day where I’m able to focus on nothing else except me.
4. How long did it take you to achieve the physique you have now?
I look back at my very first show that I did, I had very little muscle mass some and not as balanced as I am now. It’s all about muscle maturity, training hard and giving your body a break when it needs it. I began training 5 years ago and for every competition I do or anything that requires some serious dieting, I see how my body gradually changed and developed slightly better than the time before. My body was excellent for my first competition where I took home the overall, I trained HARD for 8 months after I had my son. My training and overall physique just continues to get better because Im able to work with my weaknesses.
5. How intense is your workout program? Do you vary your training program during on and off-season?
My workout programs are very intense. I live for intensity, however there are times when I need to slow down during a certain training session to help strengthen and build a particular muscle group that may need to ‘pop’ a little more, for overall symmetry. My training intensity and style stays the same all throughout the year, the only thing that will change is the cardio I add in. It will increase the closer a competition comes.
6. How strict are you with your diet? What’s a typical diet like for a female figure competitor?
Most people say that I am very strict with my diet, but to be honest it doesn’t seem strict to me because its not hard for me to live and eat the way I do. I love the way my body feels, look, and performs when I eat great. I eat CLEAN all year round and again, depending on what Im getting ready for my Caloric intake will vary accordingly. Female Figure Competitors eat a balance of good clean/whole grain carbs, such as, Sweet potatos, Brown rice, Oatmeal, Rice Cakes, Ezekiel bread, Whole Grain pastas. lots of veggies, good lean sources of protein such as, Chicken breast, Lean ground turkey, Bison & Fish. Also rich sources of fat, such as Almonds, Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut, Salmon & Natural Peanut butter.
7. What are your views with regard to supplements? Will you consider using them? What role do you feel supplements have in developing a muscle mass?
For me personally, I don’t use a lot of supplements. I have a protein supplement that I like to take sometimes for convenience. I have been genetically blessed in a way that its not hard for me to build muscles. I feel like I have to be careful not to gain too much mass to keep my feminine physique. I think specific supplementation is great for some people depending on their goals.
8. You recently competed in Ironman Naturally Championships. Can you tell us what it was like? How did you prepare for the big show?
The Ironman – yes that was a great show. That was a crazy trip. 2 weeks prior I have 2 scheduled photo shoots with photographers in L.A. Keep in mind at that time, I was living in Guam so I traveled 18+ hours just to get into Los Angeles. From L.A. I then flew into Miami, Ms. Universe for Fitness America. Placing 6th in my division. This was my very first competition with the Organization, Fitness America. After the show in Miami I then flew up to Chicago to work with Tony and Katrell for OAMG photography and the designer Dominique Vein. (All this time, I was staying in hotels, so you talk about hard to eat clean).
After spending a few days in Chicago I then traveled to LA where I competed in the IRONMAN NATURALLY placing first in my division and took home the overall. I had everything planned ahead before I traveled, making sure I’d have access to whole foods or another market that I could buy fresh foods in walking distance. I also traveled with a George Foreman (it was my LIFESAVER). That was one crazy journey but well worth all the hard work.
9. You placed 3rd in the 2012 Bodybuilding.com BodySpace Spokesmodel Contest. Can you tell us more about your experience?
Wow, that was an incredible experience. The bodybuilding.com team and everyone behind the scenes are truly amazing. They work so hard and are really good at what they do delivering, you the best information. We were so busy from 6am-9pm or later at night working on materials doing interviews and photoshoots. All the other contestant, who are now my team members on bodybuilding.com are like family now. When preparing for a competition like we did, your stress levels are so high, your energy levels are low so you must encourage each other to help push through them. Essentially we were all competing against each other, but in the end we really didn’t care about who took home the title, it was more like us finishing the week stronger as a whole then when we started.
10. You gained 45 pounds during pregnancy, how long did it take you to get back in shape after pregnancy? Any lessons learned to share with new moms?
I had gained so much weight during my pregnancy. I took a liking to Oreos and milk every night. It took me about 9 months to get it all back off. I set a goal for myself to compete in my first competition thats what drove me to get my pounds off. I feel like at that moment it was like a crossroads, I could have gone either path in my life. I know I wanted to better myself and feel good about my body again so I worked my tail off getting there. It was HARD work, but the feeling of accomplishment afterward was worth every bit of sweat, growling stomach and sore muscle that I felt during those 9 months.
11. As a fitness model and a mother, how do you influence your children to eat healthy?
I believe its very important that we teach our children at a young age about balance diet. My boys (3&5) are already learning the difference in good and bad foods. Every time we eat, I open up the door for conversation about what we’re eating and why its good for us. I do however love taking my kids to local bakeries or having pizza and movie nights, but like anything in life, it’s about balance. For example if we’re having pizza, I offer them a side of oranges and water or milk instead of french fries and juice or soda. They need to understand that it is okay to eat the things that we enjoy but to also eat the things that are good for our active bodies.
12. Any advice on how parents should educate their children on how to live a fit & healthy lifestyle?
This is a big issue for me. I was lucky and had a mom that taught me at a young age about being active and healthy, so many times our youth is uneducated about how to eat that they begin to develop eating disorders, low self-esteem, obesity or diabetes. They go from one extreme to the other. If we, as adults and parents begin to teach our youth, it’s the gift that forever gives back. They will continue to learn and build on the foundations that you have given them and in return, teach those around them including their own children one day. You have to teach them to love the outdoors to be active and learn to love fitness not as punishment for eating the box of cookies but for something they do out of enjoyment.
13. You work as a personal trainer to military spouses. Can you tell us more about this? How does your approach to training differ from most personal trainers?
I love my job, and to be honest I would have a hard time ever giving this up, Im truly passionate about helping the spouses of the active duty military. It has to be one of the most trying jobs as a couple. Deployed spouses from anywhere to 7 months to over 14 months can be so hard on an individual. Packing up and moving every few years, is stressful on the entire family. It is my job to give them a goal something to focus on, something to learn and to get better at. No matter where they move too they will always have a gym, although their home will change they will leave friends and family behind, but they will ALWAYS have a gym to train at.
It’s my belief that the spouse of a deployed military member has to be just as strong, they hold the family together through times of trail. They offer encouragement and support to the children when they are sad. And they have no one else but themselves to get through the days and the long nights waiting for the return of the deployed. I have helped so many to see them go through breakdowns and saying they can’t do it anymore. I tell them that they can do it and they will. They continue to overcome, achieve and make themselves stronger both physically and mentally!
14. Are you planning to compete again this year? Are you doing anything different to help you prepare for the next show?
I am, I will be doing a few more shows this year. My husband, who is in the US Navy and is currently deployed, will be retuning next month, we are in the process of getting orders and moving to a location in California. As soon as I can get his schedule on hand I will plan out the rest of my year, my sights are set on the 2012 Olympia in Vegas. No promises but it’s looking pretty good.
15. What are your long term goals in this industry? Are you working on any upcoming projects?
I have so many long term goals.. I want to continue to build the name Ashley Horner with Bodybudiling.com as an Athlete for them and a Team Member to develop a long relationship with them. I have started writing for a few magazines landing my own columns so that’s been incredible as well. But, I’ve said this in the beginning that I have set out to be the best, in everything that I do. I want to excel in modeling and becoming more mainstream, I want to open up all doors and not just in fitness but in all aspects of modeling.
16. Any shout outs? Where can we find you on the Internet?
Well, I’ve said this many times, to be successful in this industry you must have a good support system. I have a husband that is so proud of me and supports me with everything I get myself into. People don’t believe me when I say its hard to be married to a fitness model. The people who understand this statement and know what Im saying have to either be a Model or with a Model. Not only are we models but it’s about FITNESS and PHYSIQUE so it’s about our bodies. It takes a confident man, a level headed man and one with a lot of patience to be able to deal with our lifestyle. There have been many times that, Blaine would write me, even while he’s a million miles away on deployment and say, “did you see what that dude’s comment was on Facebook?!!. If only I could get my hands on him, I’d teach him to show some respect!” He means it partially joking but I know especially the alpha male type that he is, he has to bite his tongue a lot.
I have to say too, thank you to all my fans! I don’t mean this in a cheesy way but I love you all and you guys have made me successful by listening watching and interacting with me at all different levels. I feel truly truly blessed. And to all the photographers & makeup artists who have so helpful and who have worked and pulled some LONG days with me. These have been some of the best experiences of my life. Thank you to Natalie Minh for the great interview.
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