The food you put in your body determines your fitness success. Clearly, if you want to lose weight, you must lower your caloric intake and change the types of foods you consume.
Ashley Horner, a 2011 BodySpace Spokesmodel Search finalist, makes nutrition fun and delectable with a rolodex of recipes guaranteed to satiate hunger spells and feed the body.
"I want my body to run on the best possible fuel I can give it," Horner said. "I eat clean all year round. I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way it energizes me and I love eating whole foods. There was a time whenever I was eating a lot of processed foods. I didn't even know the meaning of clean eating. I slowly changed my whole lifestyle over to eating clean foods (anything from the earth)."
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Once Ashley started eating 5-to-6 meals per day, she started to see results, just like that! But, as with every regimen, she runs into complications, namely the taste buds of her two young sons.
"I've learned to make things they will like!" Horner said. "Every kid seems to love pepperoni pizza, but you can find turkey-roni (which is so much less fat). Your kids won't be able to tell the difference, but you're making a smart decision for them."
Slight changes, healthy alternatives and complete avoidance of processed foods give Ashley's nutrition plan a very earthy feel. She is not vegan though. She simply eats real food, a sort of evolved Paleo diet.
She will do cheat meals on occasion, but they are limited as competitions come nearer.
Ashley's Nutrition Philosophy
"My ultimate goal is not to gain size, but to maintain. It's more important for me to stay lean rather than going through a bulking stage. I like to have myself always 4 weeks out from anything, including photo shoots and competitions.
"My diet is 90% clean; the other foods that make up the other 10% are ketchup, creamer in my coffee, Stevia and the occasional diet soda. I keep carbohydrates coming from whole grains fairly low and I eat a lot of veggies. I've never met a vegetable I didn't like.
"My fruits and sugars stay low too, consuming less than 25-35 g daily. And the only dairy I consume is the creamer in my coffee and reduced-fat cottage cheese. I increase my carbohydrates anywhere from 4-to-6 weeks out from a show. It's important to keep changing your diet.
"Just like training, your body will become accustomed to the same foods every day. I never count calories; I just listen to my body. It wants to eat every 2-to-3 hours regardless if I'm training for a show.
"When I'm hungry, I eat and I eat well. When I'm 6 weeks out from a competition, I make sure my food timing is on, eating every 3 hours."