Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Ashley Gay

Amateur Fitness Competitor of the Week: Ashley Gay! - Pics and info and more!

How Did You Get Started?

At the age of 5 I was enrolled in gymnastics and I began competing when I was 10 years old all through high school. Unfortunately, the college I chose did not offer a gymnastics program, so my career as a gymnast ended after high school.

Although my 13 years of gymnastics had come to a sudden end, I wanted to maintain an active lifestyle. I began running every evening and eventually joined my town's local running club. I have always wanted to push my body and try new sports, so I signed up for 2 triathlons, the Austin Marathon and finally began competing in INBF and NPC bikini competitions. When I began fitness competitions, it was important for me to build muscle onto my small frame. I had to cut down on my distance running and focus more on weight lifting and HIIT (high intensity interval training).

2009 was my first INBF bikini competition. I placed 2nd overall and immediately became addicted to the sport. I signed up for six more competitions over the course of the next year, placing top 4 in each. I finished my 2010 competition season at the Junior USA's in September 2010, where I placed 2nd in my class.

Ashley Gay.
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Ashley Gay.

What Workout Plan Worked Best For You?

I have a naturally high metabolism, workouts consisting of heavy lifting 5 days a week and 20 minutes of HIIT 3-4 days a week work best for my body.

I have never used a trainer or a nutritionist. Almost everything I have learned about competing, dieting and workouts was either read on Bodybuilding.com or were tips from friends who competed.

I like to do cardio at the beginning of my workout so I can maintain a sweat throughout the rest of my workout. Cardio days usually consist of 20 minutes of either sprint intervals or intervals of running forwards and backwards on a treadmill, always on an incline. If I am not doing cardio that day, my workout always begins with a quick 10 minute high intensity warm-up.

A typical workout week looks something like this:

TERMS YOU'LL NEED TO KNOW
Superset - Two exercises are performed consecutively without any rest.
Add Sets - An add set is similar to a pyramid set in that as you progress the weight used increases with each set. Unlike pyramid sets however you do not change the number of reps.

Day 1: Cardio/Legs/Abs

Day 2: Biceps/Triceps

Day 3: Cardio/Chest/Abs

Day 4: Cardio/Legs/Abs

Day 5: Cardio/Shoulders/Back

Day 6: Cardio Only

Day 7: Rest

Ashley Gay.
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Ashley Gay.

What Nutrition Plan Has Worked Best For You?

I like to eat 6 times a day, combining fats with proteins. Even though my diet is usually very strict, I do allow myself cheat meals every now and then. I believe cheat meals help keep me on track, without them I get bored with the diet.

Meal 1: 7:00 AM Breakfast

Meal 2: 10:00 AM Mid-Morning Snack

Meal 3: 12:00 PM Lunch

Meal 4: 3:00 PM Mid-Afternoon Snack

Meal 5: 7:30 PM Post-Workout

Meal 6: 9:00 PM Before Bed Snack

Ashley Gay.
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Ashley Gay.

What Supplements Have Given You The Greatest Gains?

I like supplements that give me a lot of energy without a lot of artificial sugar and carbs. I only take supplements during competition training, and the week before a competition, I completely take myself off all supplements to avoid any bloating.

My favorites are:

With Breakfast:

Pre-Workout:

Intra-Workout:

Why do you love Bodybuilding?

I didn't realize how much I loved fitness and bodybuilding until I started weight training. Running in the evenings kept me slim, but adding weight training completely changed my body. Every week I could see progress and could lift heavier than the week before. I love to challenge my body by trying new sports just to see what it's capable of.

What Motivates You To Follow A Healthy Lifestyle?

Occasionally, someone will come up to me in the gym and tell me that I am their motivation. I workout for my own health benefits, but also to help others. Being reminded every now and then that I am making a difference keeps me motivated! I want to inspire and help people reach their goals by offering any tips I can. Even if I am helping only one person change their lifestyle for the better, all the sweat and pain is worth it!

What Made You Want To Achieve Your Goals?

Physically, the harder something is, the more I want to do it. I am a sucker for pain! I know I won't always be able to run marathons, race in triathlons or walk a stage in a bikini but I want to do all I can while I am still able to.

What Are Your Future Bodybuilding Plans?

One day, I hope to be sponsored so that I can continue with the competitions. But in the meantime, I have signed up to race in a ½ Iron Man in June 2011. Like I said, I'm a sucker for pain!

Ashley Gay.
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Ashley Gay.

What One Tip Would You Give Other Bodybuilders?

Set small goals for yourself to gradually build up to what you ultimately want to achieve. Know you can reach your goals, it just takes baby steps to get there, Rome wasn't built in a day.

Who Are Your Favorite Bodybuilders?

I have a lot of respect of Jamie Eason. She seems to be perfectly toned at all times. I know how hard it is to work out and diet for months on end. I really look up to people that practice what they preach.

What Features Do You Use On Bodybuilding.com?

When my workouts become boring and stale I search the site for new moves. I love that there are videos to show you how it's done. I also use BodySpace regularly. All the members are inspiration to me. It's a whole world of its own, full of people just like me!