Success Story: Ashley Gruhlke
My story begins in third grade. Simply put, kids can be mean.
If you haven’t met me yet, I am Ashley Gruhlke. I make an impact wherever I go, I inspire, I am inspired, and I am determined. This has not always been so. I haven’t always felt comfortable in my own skin; on the outside, I was viewed as the big girl, on the inside I was just as thin and fit as every other girl, and I had an attitude to match. Due to my size, I was not able to participate in all of the sports and activities I wanted to. I was hampered by my body, trapped by my desire for comfort in food that didn’t judge. My personality and strength were the assets I fell back on; it is what has always been true to who I am. That inner Ashley wanted to be set free from the constraints of my health.
Two years ago, my life changed. In July 2011, I was walking around the track and something sparked. I felt renewed and reinvigorated, I made achange, I was ready, and I wanted the success that I witnessed. The next day, I joined the gym and signed up for personal training. The first session with Jason left me unable to walk, go up the stairs, sneeze, or just move a muscle… I loved it. My body was forced to be what Jason expected it to be, and it was. I pushed my limits and I succeeded. It was something to be proud of; now crawling down the stairs backwards was not a highlight, but my neighbors got a kick out of it. Jason found ways to get me going and moving; he encouraged me to eat smart, and be conscious of what I do to myself.
To challenge myself further, I joined a bootcamp class that Jason headed with another trainer. It was painful, challenging, and yet, invigorating. I met people who were on journeys similar to my own, I met people who supported my efforts, and I was never judged. My self-worth increased every moment. Through this bootcamp – and Jason – I met the love of my life. Jason sure gave me some grief over it, but how can you resist a workout buddy for life?
Since those days, I have found I am more driven than ever before. I have goals and I achieve them. I am a success. I have spent hours working out and people ask what I do and WHY I do it! I can only respond with a smile and say “I will now live my life and love it.” I get to play, run around, compete and don’t fear rejection. I am not alone when I workout, I workout with my friends, my confidants, and my biggest supporters. When I need an extra boost, I know where I can go for the support.
Over the past two years, I’ve lost more than 100 pounds and I am keeping it off. Thanks to Jason for finding my spark, igniting it, and feeding the flame. I am inspiring others to join my journey. One day at a time, I am making a difference. I will remember this forever.