BodySpace Member Of The Month: Tricia Ashley can do a lot of things for its members, and though it's not our principle aim, sometimes BodySpace can make a love connection.

Name: Tricia Ashley Gutierrez
BodySpace handle: triciashley
Age: 25
Height: 5'1"
Weight: 110 lbs
Occupation: Paralegal
Contest History: 2007 Evergreen, 2008 Empire
Athletic Background: Competitive swimmer for 6 years
Super Powers: Powers of persuasion!
Ultimate Goal: Get my hiney back on stage and, maybe if given the opportunity, rep for my favorite supplement company!

When you welcome everyone, from every nation, every race, creed, shape and situation, the stories tend to surprise you. Sometimes it's massive weight loss, or mental mountain climbing. Often, like with Tricia, disease and glandular malfunction turn people to fitness.

With the help of and professional dietary help from the doctor who became her boyfriend, this Florida beauty turned illness into strength. Her body has never been better. Her life has taken a positive turn, and she even found love on our social site.

See how Tricia became BodySpace Member of the Month!

What led you to the decision that you needed to get in shape?

I started working in a gym when I was a 16-year-old and saw a bunch of my friends compete. I admired their transformations, so I hired my first trainer, entered my first figure competition and fell in love with fitness.

Tricia Ashley Tricia Ashley

What kind of changes have you made since you made that decision?

My body has made huge gains from 16-to-25 years old. I'm much more full where I need to be and my legs are leaner, from changing the kind of workouts I have been doing.

How did you discover BodySpace?

I have always ordered all of my supplements off of and just sort of stumbled into joining.

What would it mean to you to win a pro card? Which group? Fitness, Figure, Bikini?

Bikini will definitely be the category I will enter into and it would be a dream come true to earn and win my pro card.

You have gone through some scary health concerns. Can you tell us how you've overcome them?

I was born without a functioning thyroid and I have had to take meds everyday for the rest of my life. And just recently I learned that I have Hashimoto's Disease. Throughout my life I've never known what it felt like to feel "normal," but I am happy to say that my chiropractor, nutritionist, trainer, and knight in shining armor Dr. Jason Ackley, D.C., has found that gluten is a huge no-no for me.

He has taught me that I just need to make this a lifestyle, to be fit all year round and not put myself under so much pressure. I can't cramp dieting, weights, and cardio into three months for a show. I train to be fit for myself and have an awesome figure constantly. This way I can go splurge on ice cream and cookies and not feel like crap.

How has BodySpace helped you reach your goals?

Despite not being one of those gorgeous professional fitness models, I met my amazing boyfriend, Jason, more than three years ago on BodySpace. I picked up a lot friends and built a huge fanbase. I helped me stay in contact with tons of friends.

A lot of them email me daily with lots of words of encouragement. I also use it to just check in and see how my workouts are going. Thanks everyone for your support!

What is your favorite feature on BodySpace?

There are too many to pick just one!

You've been on BodySpace since 2007. How do you stay motivated for the long term?

I live in Southern Florida where there's a lot of fried food and lots of overweight people, so I have constant motivation around me everyday.

What training mistakes did you make when you first started?

I had a lot of meathead guy friends and, with that being said, I started lifting like a guy just like them! Fortunately I have learned that it's "quality over quantity."

How important is it for you to have a partner with similar fitness goals? Can you lift together?

That was on the top of my list when I was looking for a man! Luckily for me, my boyfriend and I train and do cardio together. We have the same fitness goals.

What are your favorite supplements?

Right now I'm really loving Maximum Human Performance Probolic SR . I'm taking some probiotics too. That's it! I used to do the fat burner thing, but they make me sick.

What has the biggest impact on muscle growth and recovery?

For me it's a combination of sleep, nutrition, training, and supplements.

What type of music do you listen to in the gym?

Lots of house music!

As styles of fitness change, do you find yourself adapting, or do you keep your programming rigid?

I try to keep things the same for a little while, so I know what's working for my body. Plyometrics and sprints have been big factors in my workouts as well.

What's your favorite way to spend a rest day?

I love to drive around town with my puppy and my man and see the new city we live in. We try new places to eat (gluten-free of course), grab some ice cream at Coldstone, hangout at the beach … too much to tell.

Someone will read this feature and consider joining BodySpace. Why should that person become a part of the largest fitness social network?

Because I think it would be a great way to both meet new people, find encouragement, trade workout and diet tips and, of course, feel inspired.

Fitness professionals turn their bodies into works of art. Are you happy with where your physique is right now?

I am very happy. I still have a lot of improving and I'm definitely not finished molding myself.

Do you stick to one type of training, or do you vary your exercise attacks?

I try to stick with one type of training for my upper body and attack my lower half.

Have you started to use our FitBoards on BodySpace?

Not yet! I need to figure out what it is and how to use it.

Bodybuilders have school, day-jobs and families, and still dedicate hours in the gym each week. How do you strike a balance? What happens when you get tired?

For me, fitness is not my life. It's a big part of my life, but I don't let it consume my life. I work full-time right now and we are constantly on-the-go. But, as a couple, we have found a way to make it work. We have gym dates every night and when I feel tired or worn out, I listen to my body and just let it rest.

I made the mistake of running it too hard and finally my body said "F you" and I went into the hospital. Never make that mistake!

Has BodySpace changed much since you joined? How so?

I've been on here for a long, long time. It has advanced a lot more throughout the years. There are a lot more features on here now that I like.

Would you like to add anything else?

Yes, women who are thinking about doing shows: Find someone who has a degree in nutrition! If they don't, just walk away and don't look back. You only have one body and one life, so take care of it and don't obsess. Everything great was not accomplished overnight so have patience and watch your body's reaction to foods, workouts, and cardio!

How can your fans find you on other social media?

They can find me on BodySpace!