“I’m too busy to work out.”
“I don’t have the time to take care of myself.”
“I hate the way my body looks.”
Do any of these statements resonate with you? If so, then my recent Elite Achievement guest will inspire you to step into your power and find the balance between life, exercise, and healthy eating!
Ashley Rice is a working mama who is an expert on fad diets, fitness, working out, and balancing it all. Ashley, along with her sister, Jocelyn Gaddie, created the Lavender Lifestyle, and they are on a mission to help other women become who they were always meant to be.
I begin our conversation by asking Ashley what inspired her to start the Lavender Lifestyle with Jocelyn. She shares how she and Jocelyn had just given birth to their third children about five years ago. “We were so tired,” Ashley says as she describes life with a newborn. “We were sleep-deprived! Jocelyn and I were both college athletes and always super active.” She explains how in their world, they didn’t know anything less than a full one-hour workout. But they didn’t have that kind of time, so both set fitness to the side.
“We were hanging out at my house, with all the kids, and we were tired,” says Ashley. “The kids were going nuts. And we’re just sipping wine in our baggy sweatpants, hair not fixed, no makeup. And we’re looking at each other, asking, how did we get here? This isn’t what we imagined for us. And so, we were like, we have to do something. We have to get active again.”
Ashley explains how their old, hour-long workouts seemed overwhelming. So, Ashley and Jocelyn decided to start with ten minutes a day, three days a week. They committed to holding each other accountable and, at the same time, started an Instagram page. Jocelyn was a working mom and Ashley stayed at home, so women from all walks of life resonated with the journey they were sharing on Instagram.
“It started out at 10 minutes a day,” Ashley recalls. “And then it grew to 30 minutes a day, four to five days a week. But we never really did more than that. And we started getting results. Women were reaching out to us, like, how are you doing this? Jocelyn and I realized, wow, we could impact women. We each have a degree in health and fitness management. So, we were always into fitness. And we were personal trainers in college, so we always had a love for that.”
As more women reached out to Ashley and Jocelyn, they realized that they had an opportunity to go back to what they loved. Two years after creating their first Instagram page, they started a blog and updated their name to the Lavender Lifestyle. By 2020, they had created and tested a program with their community, then launched a fitness coaching program to reach people one on one.
“At that point, we were able to really help women get results,” Ashley shares. “We could guide them from start to finish and help them not only transform their body, but their mind. It’s so much more than a physical transformation! We’re helping women transform the way they think about themselves, the way they love their bodies, and their confidence. It’s great to be able to do this! Jocelyn and I literally pinch ourselves every day that we get to do what we get to do. It’s pretty cool.”
I am so excited to learn more because in my 20s, I too used to work out hardcore. If it wasn’t an hour, it just didn’t count in my mind. I ask Ashley how they help women shift their mindset around what counts as a workout.
“I love this question so much because Jocelyn and I were all or nothing,” Ashley begins. “Before kids, for sure. And after kids, it just became nothing because we didn’t have time for our workouts. And it was like, what’s even the point?”
Ashley goes on to explain how when they started showing up consistently, even for just 10 minutes in the beginning, they were getting results. They learned that the magic happens in the consistency. Ashley and Jocelyn always remind their clients and their community to shoot for progress over perfection. Making progress might mean just getting started. Or increasing the intensity during your workout or the length of your workout. All of those things are going to help move you forward. “We’re not shooting for perfection,” Ashley shares.
I notice many parallels between fitness and the goal achievement process. And I love how Ashley said the magic happens in the consistency. Sometimes, especially as women, we strive for perfection. And it’s all or nothing. We either worked out seven days, or we failed on our fitness journey. But Ashley has reminded us that something is always better than nothing, and we should aim for progress.
I ask about the background of the Lavender Lifestyle and how the name came about. Ashley shares that Lavender was their maiden name, so they were inspired to continue it after they got married. And they use that name for their blog, Instagram page, and a version of it for their fitness group and programs, TLL Fit.
Ashley shares how so many clients come to them because they want to reach a certain size or weight. But for Ashley and Jocelyn, the goal is to educate women not just to focus on their outer appearance, even though diet culture feeds information that says you have to eat less to achieve your health goals. Ashley explains how easily that creates poor habits. Instead, they support their clients to achieve overall health, from the inside out, addressing everything from fitness to immunity to stress levels.
“And again, it’s about progress over perfection,” says Ashley. “It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Someone could be so far from feeling like they’re healthy and be like, I don’t even know where to start. But just start by moving your body. Just start by making sure you’re getting more sleep and drinking 90 ounces of water. A little will go a long way. We see women come to us and get started on a fitness journey. And they become so much more confident. Not only because they see physique changes, but because they’re doing something for themselves. And that’s huge. When you’re trying to achieve health and show up every day for yourself, you have the confidence that I’m able to commit myself to myself and follow through on something, and that’s huge too. There are a lot of things that overall health can bring.”
I used to be a marathon runner. I say used to because I now prefer yoga and the Peloton. Today, I know exactly what Ashley means about confidence. When I was training for marathons, I had mid-week, double-digit training runs. And if I woke up and ran 10 to 12 miles before work, I would show up in that office feeling fierce, like nothing was going to stop me. I still start my day by working out. It’s good for me. And it’s good for my clients. I bring a different level of energy and enthusiasm throughout my day because I’ve already accomplished something.
I’m fortunate that working out has been a part of my morning routine for years, and I ask Ashley what advice she would have for someone who wants to incorporate a workout routine, but may need a little motivation to get going. She explains that it’s unlikely that motivation will appear. The biggest thing you can do is just get started because action creates momentum. And momentum will lead to motivation.
Ashley also addresses the fact that motivation is not always there. Sometimes we need to start so the endorphins can kick in, we feel good moving, and from there, we will keep going. She also shares how there are so many resources to get started, from free workouts on Instagram to their blog. Many of these workouts can be done in thirty minutes or less.
I love Ashley’s simple outline. Action will create momentum, and that will create motivation. So often, we wait until we feel motivated. But it’s the action that’s going to get us motivated. It’s time to get out of our own way and start taking action in the direction of our goals.
Today, Ashley and Jocelyn both have four children, and they’re running TLL Fit and the Lavender Lifestyle. I ask what advice she has on balancing working and being a mama and exercising and eating healthy. How do we do it all?
“I feel like it’s always a work in progress,” Ashley shares. “I’m always trying to stay balanced. And just when I think I’ve got it mastered, then something happens. But then we work to get things back into a flow. For me, it’s really planning ahead. I’m not an organized person by any means, and it’s something I have to really work at. We always tell our clients to look at their week and schedule workouts ahead of time, like we schedule an appointment. We’ll show up for those appointments with ourselves. And if for some reason something comes up, if life happens and we have to cancel, we always reschedule those workouts because you wouldn’t cancel a hair appointment and not reschedule, right? It’s the same with nutrition. And we haven’t talked too much about nutrition today. But I’m always planning ahead. Maybe I’ll make a healthy crockpot meal on the days my kids have sports, or we’ll pick a healthy place to go out to eat. If you don’t have a plan and you’re reacting in the moment, you’re probably not going to make the best choices.”
As Ashley continues to outline great options, I don’t hear her mention one of the things that is in the Burke household multiple times a week – pizza. “If I want to be healthy, is there room for pizza in my life?” I ask Ashley. She assures me, yes. They believe that no foods (outside of allergies) are off-limits. She shares that, in fact, often by making foods off-limits, we will frequently overindulge in them when we do have them. Instead, it’s about progress, not perfection. If you know you can have a cookie or a glass of wine at any time, you’re less likely to overdo it when you finally have it. And that’s a mindset that Ashley and Jocelyn work on frequently with their clients.
I love that we don’t have to be perfect. If you eat the cookie or eat the donut, it doesn’t mean everything has fallen apart. We’re really going after a lifestyle versus a fad diet, or what Ashley mentioned earlier – a diet culture. I ask her what she means by that term and how it impacts the women they work with.
Ashley explains that diet culture is the idea that you have to do certain things that probably aren’t the healthiest to reach a specific size or shape. It’s very driven by outward appearance, not healthy lifestyle goals or getting healthy from the inside out. The majority of their clients come to TLL Fit severely undereating. But they’re still overweight because they have restricted so much that their metabolism slowed down. They lose natural hunger cues, and they have high cortisol levels from constant stress on the body. And all of that leads to holding onto body fat, decreased sleep, and a low sex drive. Ashley explains that is why it is so important to get healthy from the inside out.
What Ashley explained brings me back to a time in my life that I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about publicly. There was a time when I was in grad school that I was way too focused on that outward appearance and had thoughts like “I’m so fat,” or “I look terrible.” I remember exercising a ton and being very aware of what I was eating. I would cut Luna bars in half and eat that as a snack. And I got to a place where it was unhealthy. I was down to about 100 pounds. It was a really crazy, crazy time. I think I was striving for control. And to me, focusing on what I ate and focusing on my workouts gave me a sense of control. But it was safe to say that I hated my body. It has been a big journey to go from that mindset to now working out to gain energy and inspiration. I ask Ashley how they help women fall in love with their bodies and the miracle of what our bodies can do versus hating them.
“I love this question, and it gives me chills and all the feels,” says Ashley. “First of all, I’m so glad that you were able to work through that. I’m so glad because so many women don’t. And that makes me sad. And that is a huge, huge reason why Jocelyn and I do what we do. I went through something like that in college. And it was hard. I remember wanting to have a normal relationship with food. Now here I am where I can honestly say I have such a great relationship with food and with my body. When our clients come to us, the very first thing we do is teach them to appreciate something about their bodies. We want them to find something that they love about their body and focus on that. What we focus on we create more of, and so instead of focusing on where you’re lacking or where you want to be, let’s focus on what you have right now that brings you joy. And you know, the women that come to us, they’re able to move their bodies, they’re able to exercise. Those are huge positives right there. Every day they will write down one or two positive affirmations. And that gets them focusing on the positives about them. And it doesn’t have to be a physical thing. It can be what you’re doing in your life or that you are a kind person, whatever you’re happy about with yourself. So many women are moms who are stretched to the max and pouring into their kids and family so much that they’re not thinking about themselves and what they love. So that’s number one for our program.”
I had my conversation with Ashley right around the holiday season. And the holidays typically mean really rich, decadent foods, desserts, perhaps cocktail parties. There are all these temptations alongside prepping for parties and shopping and gathering and sending holiday cards. I ask Ashley for her advice to stay focused on our fitness goals amidst these temptations and an increased busyness in our lives. Ashley shares that planning is a huge help, along with making fitness a priority. Even if you have to shorten your workout to 15 minutes, that’s ok. It’s that consistency that will help you stay on track and make better choices. She also recommends drinking lots of water throughout the day, aiming for 90 ounces. Staying hydrated helps you eat less since thirst can often be confused with hunger. So at parties, add water in between alcoholic beverages. And don’t look at the rich foods as off-limits. Instead, remind yourself that you’re trying to be healthy and then balance your choices to indulge with healthy options at home.
Throughout our conversation, Ashley has shared that it’s not about depriving ourselves. But rather, figuring out a way to create healthy lifestyle habits so we can continue our health and fitness journey.
“We are so big on sustainability,” Ashley confirms. “You could jump into a low carb diet and maybe get results at the beginning. But it’s probably not going to be sustainable. So, you lose 20 pounds right off the bat but gain it back a few months later. And then what’s the point of all of that work and all of that deprivation? So yeah, it’s all about balance. And you may not get to a physique goal as quickly as if you had deprived yourself, but you’re going to enjoy your life, and you’re going to be able to sustain it. So, you’ll only have to do it once. That’s what we tell our clients all the time; you’re only going to have to do this once. Because we’ll have clients say, oh man, when I cut out carbs I got results, so I’m just going to do that again. And it’s like, if it works so well, why do you have to do it again? Let’s do something that you can do forever, still enjoy life, and then do it one time, so you won’t have to do it again. That’s the goal with us in our program.”
If it worked so well, why do you have to do it again? That is a fantastic reflection question that every one of us can take from this discussion. As our conversation comes to an end, I ask Ashley about their big plans and vision for the Lavender Lifestyle in the future.
She shares that the goal is to continue with the one-on-one program because they love helping women. But they are also in the process of launching an app that will include a subscription site with workouts for their community. “There is a need for it,” Ashley says. “And we have been asked over and over and over when we’re going to get it done. We’re hoping to launch it at the beginning of 2022. So be on the lookout for that.”
I can’t even imagine how much work goes into creating an app, but Ashley gives credit to their great team of coaches and ladies. She also shares that a Black Friday challenge is just around the corner and will include some early bird pricing. The challenge will help women stay on track throughout the holidays so that they can make progress, enjoy the holidays and not feel guilty during this season.
I ask Ashley where people can connect with her and Jocelyn, and she suggests their Instagram where you can send them a message and find connections to listen to the podcast and more. They also have their website, where they post their blogs, and people can reach them there by email.
I am so thankful that Ashley took the time to share her insights about creating a healthy lifestyle and learning to love your body. To hear our full conversation, click here and listen to the Elite Achievement podcast episode.
And with that goal achievers, keep celebrating your weekly wins, noting the lessons you are learning on your goal achievement journey, and identify your priorities so you can continue pursuing progress in the direction of your goals.