Mom to Mom with Ashley Jenkins

Mom to Mom FEB RRP
RiverRegionDerm DigitalFull Mar

RRP: How do you balance mom life with being a CrossFit and Nutrition Coach?

AJ: John Mark Comer said, “The solution to an overbusy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what matters.” Cliche, I know, but I’m convinced that our brains don’t have an off button. The mental load always exists, but having consistent blocks throughout the week for non-negotiables (built-in playtime with my daughter, workouts, time in the sunshine, etc.) helps breed consistent rhythms instead of leaving the important things up to chance.

RRP: How do you encourage your two-year-old daughter to eat more veggies?

AJ: We started baby-led weaning with Hadley at six months old, so she’s always eaten what we eat. She loves food (we just got lucky there), and a lot of consistent exposure has normalized fruits and vegetables as part of her everyday diet because it’s a part of ours. Also, it helps as a parent to acknowledge that vegetables aren’t all that appealing (I’m looking at you, steamed Brussels sprouts), and toddlers have opinions, so I don’t panic over it.

RRP: What advice would you give to ensure children develop healthy physical fitness habits?

AJ: If it’s the norm for you, it becomes the norm for them. My daughter thinks working out is fun, not punishment, and I think that’s how it should be for all of us.

RRP: How do you maintain your own identity as a mom?

AJ: “Mama” is my primary role, but I consistently have my goals (however small they may be) to look forward to. My husband deserves a gold star for always encouraging that one. In some seasons, that’s 30 minutes for a new recipe, and in others, it’s training hard for CrossFit competitions, but I’m always looking forward to something challenging and rewarding.

RRP: How do you model a healthy lifestyle for your toddler?

AJ: She’s done everyday life with me since her first gym days at five weeks old, and it’s the fabric of who we are. She works out with me, grocery shops, and preps food with me. Exercise and a nutrient-dense diet are our defense against the modern lifestyle that wreaking havoc on pediatric health. It’s my responsibility to make that defense as impenetrable as possible.

RRP: How does nutrition play a part in your everyday life being a busy parent?

AJ: We always have readily available protein sources and go-to 15-minute meals (which is my attention span in the kitchen, anyway). Our “fridge basics” are rotisserie chicken, eggs, protein shakes, turkey pepperoni and shredded mozzarella, yogurt, and rinsed-off fruit. And Ghirardelli chocolate. Staying stocked with our basics helps eliminate failure to adhere when the week gets flipped.

RRP: How do you help other moms plan for healthier lifestyles?

AJ: Plan for the unplanned. Have five easy meals that you can prep on autopilot, five high-protein snacks that you like and can grab in a hurry, and five go-to meals at restaurants that you know fit your calorie goals.
Understand the science behind energy balance. It’s simple. If you eat more calories than you burn, weight gain occurs. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, weight loss occurs. Knowing (and hitting) your daily caloric and protein goals is bulletproof success.

RRP: How will you foster a positive body image for your daughter?

AJ: The CrossFit community has done a great job normalizing training for performance over aesthetics, and Hadley is deeply immersed in that culture by simply tagging along. I train so I can live a pain-free life now and in 30 years, not for a quick fix or a summer body, and my two-year-old already grasps that in her way.

RRP: What has been the greatest surprise in your motherhood journey?

AJ: There’s a sense of confidence and empowerment that comes with being the healthiest I’ve ever been while being a 31-year-old mom. The responsibility of “mama” is one I don’t take lightly. I ask the questions, read the labels, and do the hard things. (I’m like 85% holistic and 15% Chick-fil-A and winging it.)

Ashley Jenkins has been married to her husband for ten years and they have a two-year-old daughter, Hadley. Ashley has been a personal trainer for nine years. The family lives in Montgomery.


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