Ashley Aul - Figure Competitor

I've always been a competitive athlete playing softball and volleyball for many years along with being a cheerleader and sprinter (track and field). I've always had a dream, I guess sort of a "bucket list dream", to do a body building competition but I never knew how to get started. As I looked more into it and finding out that most competitors have coaches, posing coaches, nutritionists, etc it was so overwhelming that I pushed that dream aside. One day about 2 years ago I found out that a friend of a friend who was an all encompassing coach was moving to LA from PA and immediately got in contact with her and the rest is history!! Competing went from being a "bucket list dream" to something I've come to truly enjoy, love and feel I was put here on earth for this journey!!

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During my season, I have to be very particular in the food I put in my body. For example this last prep, unnoticed that veggies were causing me to hold onto water so we had to eliminate them. I also ended up getting an allergy to chicken so the only meat I could have was extra lean ground turkey. It's VERY minimal calories during my season, however, I do eat every 3 hours so it's not THAT bad. In terms of my offseason, it depends on what my goals are after getting feedback from the judges. I need to get a little bigger especially in my back so this offseason I will be consuming lots of carbs and protein while adding in super healthy fats. I also add in a cheat/refeed day during offseason which I do not get in my season. To cut during season prep, carb cycling works the best in my opinion especially when partnered with HIIT training/cardio.

I haven't tried anything that hasn't worked. I always carb cycle which is most effective for me. During carb cycling some will add in a refeed day or cheat meal but unfortunately my body doesn't respond well to those days during the season.

For me, I do a lot of drop sets, supersets and pyramid training. During the offseason I lift really heavy but during the season I tend to keep it at medium to light weights depending on what my goals are for the next show. I do a lot of cardio adding in HIIT training to keep the body fat off! Have to be in a caloric deficit to lose and caloric surplus to gain!

Building self-confidence: Prayer and practice. I can't stress those enough. If you're not comfortable posing (especially the mandatory poses), being on stage will be very uncomfortable! I studied (and still study) all my favorite pros and practice every day at the gym! As I got comfortable with posing, my stage confidence dramatically got better! I also pray right before I go on stage and that keeps my nerves from going crazy!

My experiences have been great!! When I did my first NPC show, I was constantly warned about the other girl competitors being rude and snobby but I have had the opposite experience and have truly enjoyed all the time I've spent with fellow competitors! It's like a little sisterhood and family! The days are LONG so it's nice to meet some new friends to chill with backstage. One word of advice for show day, stock up on food and practice patience!! And just stay READY as anything can happen show day!

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Being an athlete has changed my whole life. It's helped me stay disciplined in all areas of my life not just diet/exercise. Helps me stay focused and committed and gives me something to look forward to every day. I've got big goals for the future and hope that this becomes a career for me! I truly love how it's changed my life! It's made me a better person!

Future plans are to compete on the National stage and get my pro card so I can start competing at the pro level. And the ultimate goal is to step on that Olympia stage!!


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