Ashley Conrad's 21-Day Clutch Cut Program: Meet Your Trainer
Clutch training was borne from a lifelong love of sports. I've channeled that love into hardcore training programs for celebrities, pro athletes, and you. Get the story behind Clutch Cut!
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When I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to sit around in front of the television. I had to be outside. I had to be doing something. My parents' insistence that I stay active made sports a huge part of my life. I was enrolled in soccer at a young age; from then on, I was always an athlete. Sports are a central part of who I am. Sports have shaped the methodology and psychology I use to train clients like you.
It wasn't enough for me to just play sports. I wanted to be a professional athlete. It didn't matter what sport, I just knew I wanted to "go pro." My parents always supported me 100 percent in that dream. I remember one time when I was eight I came home crying from All-Star baseball team practice. The boys didn't like having a girl on the team and they were mean to me. My father told me, "Honey, they're just jealous because they all know that you're going to be a professional athlete." I felt better after that.
Clutch Cut Meet your trainer
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In high school, basketball was my central sport. There, I learned that training for a sport went beyond what we did at practice. I learned how to train and eat to become a better athlete, not just a good basketball player. During my sophomore year, I decided I wanted to play at the University of Southern California. When I made that decision, I did everything in my power to make myself good enough to go there. My coach helped me make that dream a reality. He taught me how to break that long-term goal into smaller chunks and visualize the next step.
I made it to USC. When I got there, I was aware of the athletes they were bringing in. The bar was set high and I needed to meet it. I was the underdog. I was never the fastest; I trained hard to get fast, but I wasn't the best.
There were always those girls who had a genetic advantage. To be the best, I would do everything that the team would do: conditioning, practice, lift … and then I would do more. Before or after my workouts with the team, I would do another hour or two of training.
While I was playing, I sustained two really serious injuries: one in my back and one in my knee. The doctors told me that if I continued to play, I wouldn't be able to run when I was 30 years old. "You won't have any cartilage left in your knees," they said. One of the great doctors I was working with saved me from surgery. He treated my injuries through rehabilitation instead of a scalpel. Because my injuries would probably keep me from realizing my dream of becoming professional athlete, I had to alter my goal. If I couldn't be a pro, I still wanted to work with them. My new dream became training and rehabilitating athletes.
After I finished at USC, I enrolled in medical school. My future, I thought, was set.
Training Gets Personal
After I was done playing ball and going to med school, I stopped worrying so much about my training. I was pretty much eating whatever I wanted. After being so disciplined for so long, I allowed myself a break. Suddenly, I weighed 20 pounds heavier—170 pounds on my frame is substantial. One day I looked in the mirror, took a good hard look, and thought, "You need to do something about this."
I didn't have seven hours to train anymore; I only had 45-60 minutes. I had to figure out what I could do to get rid of the extra weight in that short amount of time. So I sat down and combined everything I learned at USC—my kinesiology, exercise prescription, and nutrition classes—with everything I'd been learning in my pre-med classes to create a training program. I also threw in what I learned and experienced as an athlete. When I put my plan into action, I couldn't believe the results. I saw changes in the first couple of days. I didn't have to train twice per day or deplete myself of carbohydrates or water-my metabolism was just speeding up.
Taking a Risk
In the beginning, I didn't exactly know what I had created. As I continued to go through the program, I began to understand. What I made was new, it was different, and it worked. I thought it could be extremely valuable in a place like Los Angeles. I trusted my instincts and made the decision to drop out of med school and pursue training. My parents thought I was making a mistake—everyone thought I was making a mistake—but I knew I was making the right decision. I knew my program was going to be huge.
I thought fitness centers and gym would want to hire a USC basketball player with years of health and fitness education, but nobody would hire me. I had to go into 24 Hour Fitness in Hollywood every day for two weeks and beg the fitness manager to hire me. He finally did.
After I was hired, I sat through a week of training where they described to me how to train somebody. Those lessons were just further confirmation that I was on the right path. What they dictated to me was completely opposite of my program and what I knew to be true. I was right. Within the first month, I had more clients than I knew what to do with. People were getting such great results in so little time that word just spread around L.A. like wildfire.
Things were just getting big when I got a call from a huge A-list celebrity. She told me that she had a film that she needed get ready for and she only had a couple weeks to train. I showed up at her door with a medicine ball in one hand and a resistance band in the other. She thought I was kidding. She thought there was no way I'd be able to challenge her with so little equipment. I smiled at her and said, "We'll see."
After two minutes of the circuit, she was pouring sweat. As she was hunched over trying to breathe, she looked at me and said, "What are you doing for the next four months? I need you to come to set with me." That was the beginning of my career in celebrity training.
Later that week, I sent my mom a text: "I'm on a private jet flying to Boston. I told you I was going to be OK." From that point on, I had the support of my family. They couldn't believe I went from having absolutely nothing to training a celebrity in six months.
My dream now is to take what I've done with these celebrities and professional athletes and give it to everybody. I want to inspire people through exercise and nutrition. If you can inspire somebody, you can change a life. Having a six pack isn't going to do you any good, but if you can create a positive change in another person, you've set him or her up for success. My life has been a perfect example of that notion.