#065 – Mother of 5, full-time employee, and a health and wellness enthusiast, Ashley Terry, talks about how she realized she was in an unhealthy state. This prompted her to take ownership of her health, started running, and eventually participated in races, triathlons, and cancer walks. Ashley also started a business, Pure and Simple Fitness, to keep people accountable and encourage them to take control of their health.
Taking ownership of your health, for yourself and your family
Intuitively transitioning to better nutrition through smaller portions and healthier options
Making fitness simple and accessible through bodyweight training and running
Ashley Terry, who also goes by Coach Ash, is a wife, mother of 5, a full-time employee at a financial institution, and a health and wellness enthusiast. Ashley is a certified personal trainer, certified yoga instructor, and founder of Pure and Simple Fitness.
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Hey everyone. Today we’re going to hear from Coach Ashe, who’s going to share her inspirational story about how she changed her life through running and proper nutrition. She’s also going to share some tips that will help you in your health and fitness journey, as well as how to stay motivated for the long term. Hope you enjoy.
Welcome to Inspire to run podcast. Here you will find inspiration. Whether you’re looking to take control of your health and fitness or you’re a seasoned runner, looking for community and some extra motivation, you will hear inspiring stories from amazing runners, along with helpful tips from fitness experts. Now here’s your host, Richard Conner.
Richard Conner 0:44
Hi, everyone, welcome to inspire on podcast. I’m so grateful that we have Ashley Terry with us today, who also goes by coach ash, she has a wife, mother of five, full time employee at a full financial institution, and a health and wellness enthusiast. Ashley is a certified personal trainer, certified yoga instructor and founder of pure and simple fitness. Welcome to the show, Ashley.
Ashley Terry 1:09
Thank you, thanks for having me. Glad to be here.
Richard Conner 1:13
So happy to have you here as a fellow health and wellness enthusiast. I know you’re you’re a runner, I know you have your own business, and you have a great inspiring story that I can’t wait to share with our community. So no listener and just a little bit about you, you know, just a little bit about your background and how you got started.
Ashley Terry 1:33
or so to kind of get started basically, from a, which I’m kind of sad to say. But it came from a very shallow place. So my husband and I, we were swimming with my boys, our youngest boys, we, my husband took a picture of me, I saw it and immediately started crying. Because I was at a place that was just, and I didn’t even realize it. But I was in a very unhealthy state, out of shape, eating whatever I wanted to because I was comfortable with doing that. And so and that was after my youngest son, he was probably about six months. And so that really took a turn for me where I was like, I really need to do something. Because I was unhappy with how I looked, I realized I really wasn’t feeling well, mentally, physically. And that’s really what started everything for me. So another scare actually happened with my doctor who told me that I had to take blood pressure medication after I had my son, and she actually gave me the autonomy to you know, take ownership of my health. And at that point, I said, I will never, I don’t want to take medication forever. And she said you don’t have to, you can, you know, eat well and become a little more active, and then you can come off the medication. So I made sure that when I went back to see her that I did not have to be on medication anymore. And lo and behold, have gotten my blood pressure down. And she took me off the medication. So after that I took ownership for my health and been great everything.
Richard Conner 3:11
Well, congratulations. And I understand what you mean about like start starting from a not so great place. Are you starting from a dark place? And, you know, there’s there are a lot of common stories like that, where we just kind of find ourselves in the place where we rather not be right, we don’t really understand how we got here. And sometimes it feels like well, how do I kind of get out of the situation. So I really applaud you for kind of taking control of your health and fitness and taking those first steps towards, you know, kind of a healthier life. And you know, I’m just kind of curious as you were sort of kind of before the blood, the blood pressure medication, kind of when you saw yourself you saw the photo and you weren’t happy about it. Someone could not could be in that same state today, but still not take those steps. So you know, kind of what was going through your mind and maybe was there other motivating factors that got you to say, You know what, I’m gonna do something about it.
Ashley Terry 4:03
Um, so what went through my mind was just just I needed to do something like I wanted to be able to run around with my boys, I wanted to be able to go to a swimming pool with them in the future and not care, you know, about the way I looked or how people might be perceiving me. So really, it was all intrinsic. It was very self motivated, like, I just wanted to make sure that I could be there longer for my kids. So the motivation was just to be able to run around with them. And I just took the easiest thing for me was to run. It was free. There was nothing that I needed besides some shoes, which I recommend making sure you have good shoes. And it was free. I could go to the park didn’t have to pay for the park. I could just go outside and run around if I wanted to. So that was that’s really what did I just said you know what this is the easiest thing for me is to control what I eat and to get out there and do something. So first thing was running and Making sure that my diet was okay. And I can’t say my diet was perfect, but it definitely became better than what it was in the past.
Richard Conner 5:08
That’s great. That’s great. And we’re going to talk a lot about that the nutrition piece, but also the running piece. So, you know, kind of starting with the nutrition, what were those first steps that you had to take to kind of change your diet, I’m just thinking about folks may think, diet or nutrition as being restrictive, that means I can’t eat a lot of things, and they may shy away from it, or it may not be sustainable, right? If they feel like they’re being restricted, so kind of how was that journey for you?
Ashley Terry 5:37
It was really hard to be honest. Because we do get attached to our foods, honestly, we eat the things that make us feel good, we eat the things that tastes good. And it’s just easy that way for us. But I had to really hone in on those things. And so I know that for myself, I am a bread lover. So if we went out to eat, I would eat several rolls, several biscuits, several, whatever. So I had to learn to limit myself. And just taking small steps, there’s Alright, instead of eating the whole basket, I’ll have one or two. So it was starting there starting small, like maybe not the whole basket, but to maybe instead of getting the burger and fries, maybe I’ll get the burger and a salad, you know, so trying to substitute some of the things that I know aren’t the best, or limiting some of those things that I know are not the best, that’s the best way I would say to start off because, um, it made the transition easy, instead of limiting myself to, I’m just gonna go, you know, have salads every single day, instead of doing something like that I was able to have what I like to have what I need to. And I think that’s the best way to go about it.
Richard Conner 6:47
Yeah, for sure. And I remember at a point in my life where I wanted to lose a little bit of weight, but it really wasn’t about just the weight, it was really just kind of like the body fat. And I just wanted to slim down a little bit, really, for my running for performance from my running. And I remember I was tracking macros, and there’s apps that make it easy to do, and you really just track the foods that you eat. And if you’re eating similar foods every day, it’s not too burdensome to do that. But but until you do that, I mean, this work for me, I know wouldn’t work for everybody. But until you do that, it’s hard to know really what you’re putting in your body and what kind of impact it’s having right in terms of number of calories. And if you’re eating the right percentage of carbs versus protein versus fat. So for me that works, but I know there’s you know, other philosophies about kind of how to manage that. But yeah, and I tried not to be restrictive at certain times, I was leading up to racism example. So there’s certain things I said, you know, what, I’m just not going to do these things leading up to a race. But otherwise, I tried to be a little bit flexible. I don’t know, maybe my family would disagree. They’d be like, no, no. Crazy, go out to the street with your nutrition. But
Ashley Terry 7:58
yeah, I was I’m the same like I track. When I got serious about it, I did have to track my foods I needed to track what was going in. And I think that really does help because we mindlessly eat often. You know, we’re picking up things and don’t realize it. So when you do begin to track your food, it’s a little easier for you to be like, oh my goodness, I just ate 1000 calories worth of trail mix, which I’ve done. And it’s very easy to do that because trail mix has a lot of fat in it. So the calories are high. But until you do that actually track what you’re eating, it’s hard for you to really understand what you are eating and how much you’re eating. But I’m the same way I eat. I pretty much eat the same thing every single day because I know what works. I know how to prepare those quickly. And it’s easy. And I know what I have. And I don’t have to guess it just makes it easy. But I think for a lot of people just not limiting themselves maybe substituting some things to start off with a very easy transition before they start tracking.
Richard Conner 8:59
For sure. Yeah, for sure. You can certainly make better choices. And I love what you said instead of having french fries, could I do salad or something green. I love that because they’re not necessarily restricting yourself for eating less. You’re just eating smarter in that case, right. So that’s, that that’s really great. So so thank you for sharing that nutrition is a huge part of I don’t we don’t talk about it enough on the podcast. So I appreciate you sharing that. And you know, now let’s talk about writing. So that’s my favorite topic. That’s a theme of the show. So of course, we’re going to talk about running. And I love what you said about you know, the low cost of entry, right, that low barrier to get into running. It’s you know, relatively inexpensive, there’s not a lot that you need to get started. So let’s dig into that a little bit. So tell us first off what was your journey like, like, how did you learn how to run? Did you follow a program? Did you get a coach like what did you do?
Ashley Terry 9:50
So for me, I just kind of started I wanted to be outdoors so I just went to one of my local park. Visually it’s very nice. The trail isn’t very hot. Aren’t there some hills, things like that. So I just went there. And what I tried to do was like interval. So like, walk a little run a little walk a little run a little. And each time, I wanted to track it to see if I would get any better. So someday, that will challenge myself and say, Okay, we’re going to run for a minute, and then we’ll walk for a minute, or vice versa, maybe I’ll run for 30 seconds and walk for, you know, something like that. So that’s kind of how I started, I did not get a coach. Sometimes I felt like I should have. But you know, I did not get a coach. And I did not follow a plan. I just went out there. And I was like, Well, this is what makes sense in my head. So there’s just what what I what I went with, but that’s the reason I say you should get a good pair of shoes, because when I did start running, I just ran in a pair of shoes that I had gym shoes I had and ended up with a sciatic issue. Because I think that I ran either my form was off. For the I know it’s part of the shoe, but either form was off, and the shoes, or it was just the shoes. And so it took a very long time for them for that to be repaired. But luckily, it did repair itself. But that is why I do suggest people get running shoes when they start.
Richard Conner 11:13
For sure. So my story, I’m going to interject with my stories here. But a similar story. So when I started running, I started in high school. And I never ran before in my life other than running around as a kid, but not in any kind of sport. And I had cross trainers. So if you can imagine I had unusually large feet for a sophomore in high school, you know, tall and then and I just went out there on a cross country team. And I think it was like, after a couple of weeks, I felt it. I just had pain. And it was at the point that I had to get running shoes. So I learned that very, very early on in my we’ll say running career. But the importance of having, you know, running shoes, and even the ones that I bought, I can’t even tell you if they were even the right ones. But it was better than what I had. So it’s it’s a great point for anybody who’s looking to get into running. And if you’re not running today, you can probably get away with just regular sneakers if you just walking just to kind of get moving. But if you’re to the point where you need to run, definitely go to your local running store, get fitted for the right shoes, and just start your journey off the right way. Because it’s good that your injury didn’t persist. But for sure, you can end up with something that, you know, assist.
Ashley Terry 12:25
Definitely. And I was I was nervous about it. Because it wasn’t, it took a long time for the pain to go away. So, you know, I really that’s why I’m huge and making sure I tell people get some running shoes, because I don’t want other people to run into that issue. It was bad.
Richard Conner 12:42
Yeah, for sure. Well, I’m glad that kind of resolved itself. So that got you into running. So, you know, tell us a little bit more about your running journey. So what kind of races were you doing? If you have a memorable race? I’d be great to hear from, you know, from you there. And did you eventually get a coach at a certain point? Or did you say, you know, I know what to do. Now I’m just gonna kind of keep moving forward.
Ashley Terry 13:03
So what really got me interested in races was my daughter who is now 18. But she joined Girls on the Run, it was a foundation. at her school, they were filling out paperwork, and I was like, Oh, this looks nice. I want to join this. And so I really loved the encouragement that they gave for the girls. I loved how they did train them. So they would have like times after school where they were like, run some laps a few times at the school. And they would meet a few times. And I just thought that that was a really great way to encourage girls. And it was also a great way to get them active. She wanted me to do the race with her. So I went ahead I did the race I had not trained and so I was like, I don’t even know what I’m doing. But I did it because she wanted some support. And I just was fascinated by it. So that was my first race ever Girls on the Run. And then after that I’ve done I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, so they have the flying pig marathon and they have some races around that. So I’ve done some cancer walks and things like that. At first it was just walking. But recently, I’ve done the queen bee that’s here in Cincinnati. I did the four miler, I’ve done. Goodness, I think I did a couple races last year. And then for my parents for fitness, I do a walk every year free walk that just kind of allows people to be active, get out and get in. And then in nature, and that’s kind of what I do. I didn’t mention I’ve done triathlons too. But anyway, so this year, I do want to do my half marathon or a half marathon and I’m nervous about it. I have not gotten a coach. I did like look at a race on not a race for a guided run on Nike Run app, but haven’t been following it. Because like, like I shoot it. So I kind of just intuitively run with For myself, you know, intervals have worked for me. So I just try to increase intervals or increase my time as I feel like my body is ready. For sure, well, what is the half marathon? This year? If I do it, it’s in May,
Richard Conner 15:15
as you do it no, no, no, we have to get this commitment. You’re gonna do the half marathon in May.
Ashley Terry 15:21
I know. I do plan to do it.
Richard Conner 15:25
All right, well, it’s, there’ll be an amazing fee. And I know you have to be ready to do it. Right? You have to be ready and mind and body to do something like that, because it’s definitely a different race than a 5k or a 10k. And vi ks were my jam, you know, growing up and in high school and beyond. But just about two years ago, I ran my first half marathon. Never in my life would I think that I would do a half marathon. And I did it as part of the Spartan Races. So I tended to do the Spartan beasts, which is a half marathon distance, I signed up for it in the year, the first year of the pandemic, everything like virtuals, I said, you know, I’m still going to do it. So we’re going to do this virtually, which they offered that option, and I had to run the half marathon distance. So that’s when I did it. So now I’m in my third season of running half marathons, and I’m thinking, I don’t know, next step would be a marathon. But I’m like, where you are with half marathon is where I am with a full marathon. I’m like, I like to do it. So what kind of say,
Ashley Terry 16:27
alright, it sounds good in theory, but I’ve done plenty of five days I’ve done Girls on the Run. I’ve done Black Girls Run. I’ve done, you know, a couple here in Cincinnati, but triathlons and but the half marathon just sounds very daunting to you. I want to do it. And I will do it, I will do it. I just got to get prepared.
Richard Conner 16:50
Yeah, for sure. Well, you have enough time, four months is enough time to do it. So having the right plan between now and then will certainly get you there. So that’s really great. And you know, we’ll be cheering for you in the group and following your journey. So you know, let’s talk a little bit more kind of around movement. So one of the things I’d like to hear from you is, one of the questions I like to ask is, what would you say was your biggest obstacle and running or fitness? And how did you overcome it?
Ashley Terry 17:20
I think the biggest for me, was just the scale, in all honesty, we get really hung up on big changes quickly. And the scale was not changing drastically, like I wanted it to. And that’s because I wasn’t what I was doing was sustainable, something that could last for a long period of time. So pounds weren’t going to be dropping like that. What I did was incorporate cardio, and I incorporated strength training, so that I could build muscle as well as kind of lose some fat simultaneously. And so doing that, and I did not, you know, my Monday wasn’t extremely restricted. So, you know, with doing that the scale did not drop drastically, which was hard at first, because we’re used to what, and we want instant gratification. So I would say that was the biggest issue, or the biggest obstacle for me is kind of getting over what you see on the scale. But once I kind of understood, okay, what I’m trying to actually do is something that I want to last a lifetime, I’m not trying to lose 10 pounds in two days, or 210 pounds in a week type of thing. I need this to last a while. So when I finally you know, came to those terms, I was like, okay, you know, if I lose a pound this week, that’s good, which is actually a really good thing. Because over time, that pound each week, will turn into 20 pounds over, you know, a timeframe. So that was the hardest, honestly.
Richard Conner 18:51
Yeah. And I’m wondering, you know, I’m sure a lot of others kind of struggle with that, that kind of instant results, right, and maybe following plans that they think they’ll get instant results, but they’re not sustainable. So I love you know, the work that you’re doing here, it’s kind of it’s slow and steady. But it’s going to be results that last. So that actually takes us into the next part of the conversation around motivation. So how do you stay motivated, when you don’t see the numbers change on the scale or you don’t see your time improve for a particular race, you’re not seeing the results, you would expect a certain period of time, which happens to all of us, right? We’re not always improving. We’re always we’re always improving, but it doesn’t always show up in the way that we would expect in the scale and our time. So how do you stay motivated? How do you keep moving through all of that?
Ashley Terry 19:39
I’m just realizing that it’s a process. The process takes time. And so fortunately, I’ve been able to see results over time and so I just keep that in the back of my head like Okay, actually, you know, that it takes time to get results. So, you know, keep doing what it is that you’re doing whatever the new thing might be for Mi. So that’s just what I keep in mind, you know, trust the process and enjoy the process while you’re going through it. Because you won’t always have this experience, again. So I just try to keep that in mind, I try to hammer that into my clients letting them know, trust the process, it will work, you just have to keep doing your part, you know, you have to stay consistent. And just being mindful of that I really enjoy the discipline in it with as far as fitness is concerned. And I do like the fact that it challenges me to, to stick to my word, and it challenges me to do the right things, you know, I can’t, I can’t just go out here and just eat whatever I want, at any given time, all the time. Because I know, consistently doing that will give me the results I don’t want So, and either fashion consistency, doing the right things will get you what you want, and consistently doing the bad things will get you that result. So just keep that in mind, you know, you gotta be mindful of what it is you’re doing, and what your goal is.
Richard Conner 21:02
For sure, for sure, I was gonna say the same thing about goals, having that goal and why in mind, and you know, kind of keeping you moving. So so that’s really wonderful. And, you know, he talks a little bit about pure and simple fitness. So love the name, and love to hear a little bit what you you know about what you do and what your business is about.
Ashley Terry 21:22
So I am a I consider myself a wellness coach, because I kind of talk about all the things fitness, meditation and yoga, nutrition, I’m huge on that and mindset. And so my, I try to really speak to women, especially mothers, around all of those things, because we tend to put ourselves on the back burner, and focus on our spouses, our children, our careers, or whatever the case may be everything except for ourselves. And so I really tried to make sure that mothers are and women and men to know that it’s okay to take care of yourself, parents and will fitness The name came from just the fact that we really make fitness harder, we really make nutrition mindset, we really make all of this stuff complicated. And it does not have to be if you know what your goal is, you know what it takes to get there. And even if you don’t know, and you have someone coaching you and holding you accountable to it, you just got to trust the process and do it instead of showing resistance to the process. So basically, it’s just, it’s simple, we just like to make it hard. And so I try to really hone in on that and let the clients know, you don’t have to make it hard. We don’t have to. So that’s pure and simple fitness, I try to make sure that I make it easy for people. As far as fitness is concerned, as far as workouts are concerned, we do a lot of body weight training, because that’s free, you don’t have to purchase anything for that you walk around with your body weight all the time. So I try to find workouts that are simple for us to do try to make our meal plans or our meal guides. Simple. That’s that’s pretty much the gist of it, we got to make it easy on ourselves.
Richard Conner 23:15
I love it. I love the work that you’re doing and helping others you know, you’ve, you’ve kind of found a better life through health and wellness and you’re helping others do the same. So that’s really wonderful. And, you know, kind of as we wind down here, I’d love for you to share with our community, what would be the one thing you would say to our listeners to inspire them to run,
Ashley Terry 23:34
I would say just do it. That sounds so cliche. But really, it’s free. As an aside from getting a good pair of shoes. It doesn’t require anything but just the desire to do it. You can start off with a jog, you can start off walking. You can start off with a walk and kind of jogging here like but it’s as easy as you want it to be. And it’s free. You don’t have to do anything to do it. Just go out there and start
Richard Conner 24:06
for sure for sure. Thank you so much Ashley, I really enjoyed hearing your story, your journey with running as well as with your nutrition, your business pure and simple wellness. So how can our community find you and follow your journey online?
Ashley Terry 24:23
So my business Instagram is parents simple fitness it’s underscore after each word. And then my personal one is Mrs. Live laugh love so you can follow either one. I try to update those. The parents simple one is really kind of motivational and just kind of keep people accountable for their actions. So you can find me there and I try to post my workouts are binary my run. I tried to post up there.
Richard Conner 24:53
All right, and for our listeners, definitely check out Ashley amazing posts amazing work in the fitness Syria. Again, really appreciate you coming on the show. I will put your information in the show notes. So make it easy for our listeners to find you and follow you online. And you know with that, thanks again for coming on the show and have a great day.
Ashley Terry 25:13
All right, thank you. Thanks so much for having me.
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