ashleybensonfitness: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Anti-Aging: 14 Tea

Every Tea has its own health benefits!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Anti-Aging: 13 Spices & Herbs


Our amazing Earth produces a wide variety of SPICES and HERBS that contain thousands of plant chemicals that are




ginger - turmeric - cinnamon - cloves - oregano -

parsley - rosemary -

thyme -mint - tarragon - dill

Check out Dr. Oz 

Top 10 Anti-Aging Spices & Herbs

So spice up your food and know that your are fighting against aging!

Let us know what your favorite spices & herbs are and how you use them in your kitchen!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anti-Aging: 9 RED WINE


"Red wine contains the superstar Antioxidant resveratrol, which can improve blood flow in the brain by 30 percent."

Pilates Style

To get the health benefit,

you just need one glass of wine up to five times per week.

If you DO NOT drink,

don't start just to get the health benefits.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anti-Aging:: 8 Pomegranate Juice


Studies suggest  that long-term consumption

of pomegranate juice may::

It contains more

ANTIOXIDANTS than other juices!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Anti-Aging: 4 Nuts


Long term studies have consistently shown that people who eat nuts several times a week have a 30-50% lower risk of heart disease!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Anti-Aging: 3 Blueberries


Hold Beautiful Anti-Aging Properties!

All berries are good, but I mention blueberries specifically because they are referred to as a MEMORY FOOD.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Anti-Aging: 2 Green Leafy Vegetables


  • full of antioxidants from plant compounds from polyphenols, flavonoids, lutein, zeaxanthin, and carotenoids to fight against free radicals
  • Vitamin K, C, E, and many B vitamins
  • rich source of minerals -  iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium
  •  rich in fiber and low in fat and carbohydrates

Kale - Collards - Turnip Greens - Swiss  Char- Spinach - Mustard Greens -  Broccoli - Romaine Lettuce - Cabbage - Ice Burg Lettuce - Parsley

Anti-Aging: 1 Wild Salmon

Slow down the aging process by controlling inflammation and eliminating  free radicals from your body through your diet!


No More Stains on White - Baseball Season

My 6 year son is playing BASEBALL this spring, and he has a great looking uniform.

A Blue jersey and WHITE pants.


WHITE pants!

 My first question to another mom was,

"How will I EVER keep those pants white?"

Iver spends his time on the ground- rolling, falling, diving, sliding and any other way you can think of to end up on the ground!

These are the pants after the first game.

I was told to scrub with FELS-NAPTHA.

So I did.  Then washed them in my normal DIY detergent and added extra Borax for an extra boost.

I am surprised and proud to say they ended up

WHITE again!



Anti-Aging Foods - Intro

As you know, we can't prevent the aging process from happening but we can slow it down and improve our vitality, energy, and quality of life through what we eat!

Inflammation & Oxidative Damage

These are two processes that happen within our bodies that contribute to almost every degenerative disease.

They are involved in...

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • heart disease
  • Alzheimer's
  • cognitive decline
  • other, less serious diseases that affect quality of life

They can...

  • damage cells
  • damage the delivery system for oxygen and blood


the body's response to injury or irritation.

Acute inflammation occurs so that the body can recover from injuries, colds, or infections.  This is all good... the body's healing agent!

Chronic inflammation is not so great.  Over time, it does damage that goes unnoticed because of the lack of symptoms.  For this blog post, I am referring to inflammation as a result of a poor diet, stress, smoking and the lack of exercise.

Oxidative Damage:

 I'm talking about free radicals.  These rogue cells attack your good cells and actually damage your DNA.  Simply put, they affect the way your cells repair and rebuild...

which leads to aging.


Unfortunately we can't completely eliminate inflammation and free radicals from our body, BUT we can significantly reduce them!
  • We can add foods filled with anti-inflammitory properties to our daily food routine
  • Reduce the amount of chemicals that come in contact with your body.
For the next 2 weeks I will be talking about a new SUPER FOOD each day that will help fight against inflammation and free radicals!

Take this journey with me and invite your friends!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Confession Session

One thing I love about personal training is the food confessions that take place on weigh-in and measuring days!

I get to hear all about the splurges from the week!

My family takes a 90/10 approach to eating.  

90% of our eating is for the purpose of growth, health and recovery. 

 10% is to enjoy food because it's YUMMY!


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pregnancy: Exercise Guidelines


Exercising During PREGNANCY

If you exercised before your pregnancy, you should be able to continue your activity in moderation. Don't push yourself like you did before you were pregnant.

Low impact aerobics are encouraged over high impact.

Keep your heart rate under 140 beats per minute.

Do not lie on your back to exercise after the 1st trimester.

Listen to your body!

To All My Prego Friends Part 2

This is my personal experience with exercise during pregnancy.

Round 1

Prior to my first pregnancy, I was working at the Memorial Hermann Wellness Center in Houston, Tx.  I worked as a fitness specialist and also taught various group exercise classes like step aerobics, ball & band classes, and abs and stretching.  I was in good shape.  When I became pregnant, I kept the same exercise schedule for a while.

A friend of ours was a massage therapist, certified to work with pregnancy, and worked on me a few times during that 9 month period.  Early on I had a little sciatic pain that he was able to help relieve.  I continued teaching - following the pregnancy guidelines.  I do remember that it was much harder for me to teach while pregnant.

 At the end of my 5th month I went back to my massage friend with quite a bit of sciatic pain.

He said I was too strong to be having this pain and asked what all I was doing.  When I told him I was still teaching step aerobics, his eyes grew large and he said, "STOP THAT!"  All of the knee lifts were doing a number on my back.

 Gradually I weaned my way off of my classes and in my 7th month got promoted to a

"Sit and Be Fit" class!  LOL  The sad part for me was that this class even became hard!  It was hard to bend and twist... even sitting down!

The last month I found my way to the water.

I started attending some water classes and LOVED it!  It was just what I needed.  I felt better on the days I swam and I slept better on those nights.

Labor and Birth

I went into labor in the spring of 2001.  I chose to have a natural birth and had prepared for it mentally as best as I could.  My doctor was not supportive of my choices, but I stuck with her anyway not realizing I had a choice.

I labored for 8 painful hours and pushed for 7 minutes.  That was a LONG 7 minutes.  It was hard and it hurt!  After it was all said and done, I found out that I had been given regular doses of pitocin... a medication given to induce labor.  Instead of my body contracting at its own pace,  the medication was controlling the contractions.  Pitocin is supposed to be given with an epidural...  I WAS NOT GIVEN AN EPIDURAL!
Well, it hurt worse than it had to, but I did it!
My baby girl was born :)

The 6 Week "Go Ahead"

I recovered quickly after having Taylor.  I was up and moving in no time.  It felt like it took forever, but finally I had my 6 week checkup and the doctor said I could start exercising again!  Yay!

So THAT night I attended a kickboxing class........


My brain thought I was right back where I was before pregnancy.  My body was not!

What I thought I looked like.

What I thought I looked like.     

What I ACTUALLY looked like.
Parents Square

I remember hardly being able to jump off the ground.  I remember my heart rate being high and my feet not moving quickly.  I also remember having to leave class a few times for the bathroom :)

It made me mad that I couldn't do it like the other women, so I pushed harder.....

 I hardly made it home.  The rest of the day I laid on the couch and couldn't get up.
 I felt BAD.
I learned to start back slowly and not to expect to be like I was right away before pregnancy!

A Year Later

I stayed home with my baby for the first year and began teaching classes again after her 1st birthday.

 At this point I was weaning her off of nursing and ready to get out of the house,
so I started back teaching my exercise classes.
Soon after, my boss began training me in Pilates.

After a few months of studying and teaching this type of exercise, I decided to stop teaching the high impact exercise for good and focus only on pilates.

5 Years Later --- Round 2 

During the time I was blessed with our second child,

I was teaching only pilates classes throughout the week.

I continued instructing until the end of my 1st trimester.  At this point it was not smart to lie on my back anymore.  The first half of my class was performed lying on our back, while a good portion required us to lie on our stomach... not great either!

In the 2nd trimester, the uterus gets bigger and when you lie on your back, it puts pressure on the vein that returns blood from your lower body to your heart. This could interfere with the flow of blood & nutrients to the placenta & your baby.

The 2nd Trimester

When I stopped teaching pilates, I began weight lifting.  This was not new, I had consistently lifted weights long before my pregnancy.  I began having braxton hicks contractions during weight lifting in my 5th month.  I kinda ignored them and continued lifting.

We also moved during this time.  Me being me couldn't wait for my husband to come home and decided to unpack and rearrange all the furniture... by my self.  Again, NOT SMART!

In the beginning of my 6th month, my contractions were VERY regular and I was told to avoid ANYTHING that caused contractions!  WOW, what didn't????  I wised up and took it easy from this point on.  I even had to walk slower to avoid contractions.

Labor & Delivery

My baby and I made it to full term!  This time around I knew that I had a choice in doctors and found one who supported my natural birth plans.  He was a great doctor and I had a great day.  I labored easy from 6 am to 4 pm.  Then I labored hard from 4-5:15, and then I met my son!
It was such an easy experience.  First of all, not being shot up with pitocin made all the difference.  Second, my body was a rock star in pushing my baby out.  3 pushes and ta-da!!!!   When the baby popped out, my nurse turned to my mother and asked, "What does she do?"  As I was delivering my afterbirth
(I hope this is not TMI for you... it's just reality!),
I explained what pilates is and how it has changed my body.

The Future

I don't know what the future holds for us.  I am so happy with the way my family is right now, but if we were to grow in number, it would thrill me!
What I DO know is that I will learn from my mistakes!
I hope my mistakes can help you have a healthy, blessed pregnancy.

Enjoy this unique season!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Post Workout Recovery Shake

It is super important to feed your body after a workout!  You must give it the fuel it needs to repair.  To keep your metabolism kicking after you exercise, you need to eat a proper post-workout "meal" within 45 min of that workout.  That can be hard to do, and that's why I love a good supplement shake.  This is one of my favorites!

Chocolate Almond Protein Shake

1/2 of a banana
High quality chocolate protein powder- BUY NOW
1 cup Almond milk
1 TBS Almond Butter

Perfect for the body and yummy to your tummy!

To All My Prego Friends

 Time I have spent with my pregnant friends lately has reminded me of the miracle of life and the beauty of our beginning.  Being a part of something so monumental will always be one of my favorite experiences in this life.