Inspiring Instructor - Ashley Basiri

May 19, 2018

Inspiring Instructor - Ashley Basiri

Getting Started in The Wellness Industry

My journey to the fitness studio and wellness industry is far from linear, to say the least! My journey took me into corporate America however, the only time I felt like I was in touch with my authentic self was when I was working out in the gym, taking or teaching fitness classes and speaking, writing or reading about health and fitness.

One day as I drove home from a morning spin class I couldn’t stop thinking about that instructor who had already started her day in the best way possible - by inspiring others to be their best, happiest, healthiest, strongest selves for 45 minutes - no matter how messy life could be. That job was my dream.

Your dreams are never going to show up on your doorstep right on time in a perfect little Amazon box two days after you decide what life you want to lead. Chasing your dreams takes sacrifice, hard work, patience, humility, and most of all vulnerability. If you want something - fight for it because life is too short to be anything but happy.

 

Starting Pretty Fit Life - the Blog That Helped Me Be My Truest Self

I started Pretty Fit Life when I turned 25 years old. I was working in an office and was feeling stuck. I didn’t exactly have the means to walk away from a paycheck with benefits to chase my dreams at such a young age, but I certainly could take the time to create a place where I could be my truest self. For me, that meant being involved in health, fitness and, nutrition.

I struggled with anorexia in college and throughout my journey, I learned a lot of really fabulous stuff. So I thought…why not share what I’ve found works to make you feel and look happy, healthy, pretty, and fit with the rest of the world? Writing about health, happiness, fitness, nutrition, and my eating disorder recovery journey was the one thing that would make me happy and if I could help one person who might be struggling along the way, then it would be more than worthwhile.

Pretty Fit Life will be getting a major revamp soon so stay tuned!

 

My Biggest Challenges and How I’ve Overcome Them

The biggest challenge I’ve faced on my path to health and fitness was my eating disorder. I was diagnosed with anorexia during my freshman year of college and had to drop out of school to seek medical treatment. After many failed recovery attempts, the best thing I ever did was try one last time.

My advice to those who might be in the same position? You truly cannot do this alone. Eating disorders are a deadly, terrible disease and require regular, professional help just like any other illness or addiction. Recovery is worth it - every single time.

10 years into recovery from anorexia I still felt like I was a fraud for wanting to be in the fitness industry. However, I knew I couldn’t be a successful coach or mentor if I couldn’t take my own advice and lead by example - so I made the decision to just stop hating my body and believe in its strength. Running my first Boston Marathon was a huge confidence booster was probably the biggest and most validating wake-up call for me. I felt powerful and strong. I finally realized I deserve to share this strength and energy with the fitness community just as much as the next fitness pro out there.


Next Big Trends in the Wellness Industry

Well, first and foremost I think the next big trend in the fitness industry is something B/SPOKE has already taken on - and that’s bringing the spin class concept of “moving to the beat of the music” to other class formats.

Secondly, in regards to wellness I think people are becoming much more aware of the chemicals we are putting in and on our bodies unintentionally - when we are simply trying to be healthy. So, The next big trend? Continued growth, creation, and development of ethical, consumer-focused, natural, pure, real-ingredient, plant-based products on the market (ahem...sound familiar!? #vitalfitforlife). Also, side note as a vegan myself, I’m always quietly (and patiently!) waiting for veganism to become, and stay the next big thing--- because I’ll never say no to more vegan friends and restaurants in Boston!


Future of the Fitness and Wellness Industry

Strong women and body positivity all day every day baby! I already see it happening and it feels good. I know I want to see more of this, and I certainly think other people do too. I had the opportunity to witness this firsthand a few days ago when something really cool happened to me. A woman who takes my class with her high school daughter came up to me and thanked me for being a positive role model for the young girls who come to class. She said her daughter takes my class and likes that I have a “real body” and wear a tank top when I teach (most instructors wear a sports bra, which I certainly have no problem with, it’s just not my style). I actually teared up and hugged her. This is why I do what I do. It doesn’t matter what you look like. Strength looks different for everyone. Wear the shirt. Don’t wear the shirt. Who cares. Do what feels best for you. Show up, work hard and have fun.

 

Fitness as a Health Strategies

Fitness is still my number one health strategy. Some people go to church or meditate to feel centered - I sweat. Happy? Sad? Stressed? Angry? There’s really nothing a good sweat can’t cure for me (or at least calm me down or clear my head until I come up with a real-life solution to a problem). I am most happy when I’m busy and working on a million things, but to be honest, sometimes I spread myself a liiiiiittle too thin. Downtime with family and friends (particularly with my husband, Mom, and college girlfriends) does a whole lot of good for my mental health - and my heart.  Lastly, I know sleep is important, and I’m DEFINITELY not the best at it, but I do know I am happier when I have it so I am working on this one.


What Is Important To Me in a Health and Wellness Product

Much like my response above, I look for minimally processed, real, plant-based, organic, ethical, and often local products. I like to know where my products are coming from, what is in them, and how those ingredients will affect my body.


Where I See Myself in the Future

I see myself teaching fitness classes, writing, speaking, volunteering, and coaching. I’m currently finishing up my NASM-CPT and am also halfway through nutrition school to become a holistic health coach. I look forward to taking on clients very soon! I also plan to write and publish a book (it’s been in the works for some time now!), and continue motivational speaking in regards to eating disorder awareness, healthy exercise habits, and eating disorder recovery - my biggest passions in life. I would also love to mentor and work with young girls and women who are tackling recovery. I plan to continue to grow a community of awareness and support surrounding Multiple Myeloma, the rare and incurable cancer my mom was diagnosed with two years ago. And lastly, I’d also like to run a few more Boston Marathons and have a couple kids somewhere down the line too -- which opens up a whole new awesome door in the fitness realm, because Moms can be super fit and strong too you know!


Products I Would You Like to See From VitalFit in the Future

My one major vice is coffee and caffeine. Starbucks has me in chains. Venti-sized ones. I would love to see something coffee-based (or coffee-like?!). VitalFit Source gives a great boost, but I miss that coffee taste! Also - anything with turmeric is right up my alley! Maybe a natural protein bar or natural energy chews as well for us gals on the go!


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