“Sports are for men and men alone”, “you play sports? but you’re a woman!” How many times have females all over the world heard this? How many times have they been faced with surprise and disbelief every time they mentioned they were into sports? In the last decade, the world has finally been catching up with the situation and leaving gender stereotypes behind. One powerhouse, Ashley Paulson, is out there working every day to destroy these perceptions!
Ashley started young. She’s been working on her fitness and her skill ever since she was a kid. What started as a 5-mile jog with her father every morning quickly developed into regularly participating and winning marathons! But as this is not a fairy-tale, she faced some issues herself. No road is smooth and neither was hers. Initially exercising was her way to feel better about herself after she developed an eating disorder. The fight was arduous and hard, but exercising quickly became a way to fight the disorder instead of promoting it! The changes it brought to her body made her love it and accept it and that’s what paved her path to where she is today.
It wasn’t always sports for Ashley, she hated watching sports as a kid. She was an outdoorsy kid, always climbing trees or running from one place to another. She’s one of the fortunate people who made her passion and fun her career. 20 years ago, she ran her first marathon, and now she’s participated in over 80 marathons and 20 intense triathlons called the Ironman’s and have won over 22 competitions. She’s not only great at what she does, but she’s also a record-breaker in her field, having broken the record of the Ultra Ironman by 6 hours! This is what drew the iFit team to her in 2018 when they were searching for professional trainers. iFit is an app sponsored by the NordicTrack, where she works as a coach thus in this way, her work fuels her passion, and her passion fuels her work!
What’s even more extraordinary about Ashley however, is that she didn’t compromise anywhere in her life to get where she is. She didn’t let go of any of her goals in her social life or her family life in order to excel in her career. She is surprisingly a mother of four kids- an inspiration to all women who feel distraught about their careers after bearing children. She never used her pregnancies as an excuse to stop working on her body, but rather worked on it, even more, to ensure that it remained fit and she could continue doing what she loved. All of this was not possible without hard work. Ashley spent long hours every day on her regiment. She starts off her day with long workouts, afternoon doubles that she manages to squeeze in, and late-night treadmill runs! She clocks in over 70 to 80 miles running, 12 to 15 hours of cycling, and 5 to 6 hours of swimming just in a week! She also has strict control over her diet to ensure that she’s always taking in enough nutrients to keep herself going! All of this paid off when she received her status as ‘Pro-triathlete’ just 9 months after she gave birth to her 4th child.
Ashley is nothing less than extra-ordinary being able to manage a family and her career and not giving anything less than her hundred percent in both. She often skips out on her scheduled workouts if her little kids need some extra time or if they need her for any reason whatsoever! She has a clear idea of what she values and where her priorities lie and what she needs to focus on when. Though she admits that balancing it can be tricky, she manages to do well in both aspects of her life. Ashley has been married to her husband Matt for almost 20 years and claims that his support is what keeps her going.
All of Ashley’s hard work paid off when she qualified for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials after a finish time of 2 hours and 44 minutes at the Grandma’s Marathon! She’s amazed her throughout everything she’s done in life, and we’re sure that she’ll keep doing so with her continuous achievements!