Professional trainer Ashley Guarrasi seems to have endless energy. She’s relentless in her pursuit to elevate herself and her community, going from teaching boxing classes at dawn to volunteering at local nonprofits. As we look forward to the long-awaited return of the Olympics, we asked the motivated athlete how she keeps stepping up her game both inside and outside the ring.
Stay in the game
When my clients are intimidated by tough situations or trying something new, I tell them to remember what they're fighting for, and connect with the “why” behind what they’re doing. My mission is to inspire and empower others by sharing my passion for health and fitness. The “why” that drives each of us individually is valid.
Boxing empowers you, but also humbles you. It taught me that in every step back, there is an opportunity to grow, learn, and change. I try to teach my clients that when life knocks you down, it’s all about how you’re going to get back up and come back stronger. We all have our down days, but you’re not going to stay down there. Just reevaluate and then get back in.
“Being in a field that’s so focused on self-betterment, it's important for me to also reach outside myself and give to others.” — Ashley Guarrasi
Go beyond the “self” in “self-care”
I love partnering with nonprofits like Love Justice, Ruby Project, and Boys & Girls Club to teach fundraising classes or team up with a sports brands like Everlast to donate boxing gloves, shoes, and other gear. I just really love that work. I find it’s very empowering, especially when I do it for women and girls who’ve been through trauma.
Teaching a basic self-defense class at Ruby Project, I worked with girls who had been abused and battered through sex trafficking and other traumatic situations. I taught them some basic moves, but I also learned so much by hearing their stories.
Everyone has a purpose, whatever it is. I love my job, but I also know I’m not here to just do cool photo shoots and train. My goal one day is to open a nonprofit. I really want to keep sharing everything I’ve learned.
“Sure, I think we learn the most about ourselves when we're uncomfortable and pushing our limitations, but it’s also important to take care of yourself, rest, and recover.”
Up the quality, not the quantity
Whether it’s a well-made piece of furniture that lasts forever, or a 45-minute workout, I believe that you get what you put into it. I used to have one- to three-hour training sessions with my clients, but that’s not what they’re looking for anymore. They want to be inspired but efficient.
I'm all about moderation. I don’t do extremes in my diet or exercise. And as a trainer and a person on social media that people are looking to, I feel like it's important to meet people where you're at and to be authentic.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
I’m already a high-energy person (who’s also on coffee) so I often do stretches at my desk. If I know I’m going to be sitting and writing emails for a while, I’ll set a timer to remind myself to stand up a couple of times per hour. It’s like a health and focus reset for me.
I also need my Herman Miller chair. I’ve been sitting in the Aeron Chair for four to five months now and it really makes a difference. I’m kind of short and it’s challenging to find chairs that don’t feel too big, so I went to the Herman Miller store for a fitting. It really helped me get the perfect alignment, even when I lean back.
I believe in the saying “fail to prepare, prepare to fail,” so organizing and prepping everything I need for the day is a really big thing for me in my workstation. I’ll write things down—whether that’s journaling some positive quotes, an overview of the day, or bigger goals that I'm trying to manifest and accomplish in my life. Sometimes my mind is moving faster than my body, so this helps me get focused and energized for the day ahead.
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