Exeleon Magazine

Ashley Horner: Redefining the Meaning of Community

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Community is core to human health and society. Communities are woven into the fabric of a healthy life, not only socially but politically, environmentally, economically, and health-wise. And there is something very satisfying about belonging to a community and being part of something bigger than yourself.

Ashley Horner strives to live such a life, wherein she is part of a community where everybody learns and grows together. To Ashely, a community is a place that motivates and encourages her when she is feeling uncertain of some things. A place where everyone comes together with reliance and conjures the feeling of ‘we are all in this together.’

For Ashely, this community represents her love for the fitness industry. Being an athlete, trainer, model, and influencer, she has been a fixture of the fitness community for over a decade. Leveraging her experience of living on a military base, she has developed specialized training programs in her own unique and fierce style. Nowadays, the transformational leader uses her platform to help others with her insights and knowledge.

Ashley’s entrepreneurial side is similarly astounding, as she runs many businesses in her community of Virginia Beach She owns the world-class fitness facility American Sled Dogs, the Sled Pups children’s fitness community, and the local favorite American Brew, a coffee shop, whiskey bar, and restaurant. Valkyrie Surf & Snow is her own clothing business.

As a part of the community, she advocates a lifestyle that speaks of fitness and a place where people feel good about who they are.

Play to Your Strengths

Understanding the ability to trust herself, Ashley Horner paved the way for self-determined actions. According to her, being on her own has been her biggest challenge and roadblock, one which she overcame using her ability to believe. She advises that you must know the ins and outs of your business, crafts, and operations. It doesn’t matter how big you or your company can grow; ethos and guidelines are crucial for you or your business’ growth.

As a result, Ashley has constantly evolved as an athlete, trainer, model, and now an influencer. No matter the situation, whether it is training or creating fitness programs for others, she has stood tall to excel in her ultimate goal of building a healthy community.

Her commitment to being a part of the community especially extends to women. Ashley asserts, I wanted to be an example and a leader, especially for women, to seek beauty in their strength constantly. We often put ourselves last on the list when it comes to self-care and taking time for ourselves. For me, strength training is empowering. My time in the gym working on myself gave me confidence. I wanted to share my experience with women all over the world.”

In 2013, Ashley launched the Unbroken Foundation to help and support abused women and children. She also works closely with the Maison Fortune Orphanage in Hinche, Haiti. She has accomplished various athletic feats to generate funds for the orphanage and makes sure to spend time with the children regularly.

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Step into the Clients’ Shoes

While getting the know-hows about fitness is essential, Ashley believes that the trainers must think outside of the box. They must keep aside most of what they have learned and focus on their experiences and understand the clients. She also stresses on the mentality of not relying on a ‘one size fits all mentality,’ and emphasizes on the need for trainers to constantly mold, develop and create specifics in accordance to their clients’ needs.

An instance of such can be found in the fitness programs Ashely ran for the Military, American SWAT, and Defense unit. She worked with a wide-variety of individuals with a range of fitness levels.

Recalling her experience, Ashley Horner points out the striking difference between the US military units and foreign defence units, “They have the discipline to train and get the job done, but 80% of them are overworked (underpaid) and daily fitness and firearm training is not a part of their work schedule. This is very different compared to our US military units who check into work and physically train together, have yearly physical exams they must pass, and many have access to nutritional guidance counselors all provided by the military. Foreign defense units as well as organizations like SWAT need more funding, rigid training protocols, and baselines to give these individuals access to better and more training.”

A Glimpse at the ‘Transform You’ Program

Among the many programs Ashley’s platform offers, there is one that pushes the overall envelope of fitness as well as the community. The ‘Transform You’ program is a 10-week challenge where women and men come together to compete against one another for the most significant transformation. The winner receives $5000 and an all-inclusive trip with Ashley to the Nutrition Solution HQ to spend the day and workout with her.

She believes her fitness challenge program helps foster community building and a sense of group participation among the trainees. She asserts, “This…challenge is all about community and coming together.  We have weekly zoom calls, mini challenges and more to help one another stay motivated, and finish (this) challenge.”

Words to Live By

One of the core traits that make Ashley a transformational leader is her understanding that leaders also make mistakes. It can be a moment of humility to walk in front of your staff, owning up to your mistake. However, it only shows that you are human and are accepting your shortcomings along with taking the proper steps to make it right.

As such, Ashley Horner guides young aspiring women leaders in the fitness industry to be the best version of themselves. “Find yourself, your abilities, and what makes you different, and tell your story, inspire others. When others hear about your story, they will love how different you are. In no time, you will be part of a community and contributing to the betterment of others. So don’t be afraid to be YOU.”

The Commitment Continues

When asked what’s the one thing Ashley would like to have done differently starting, she gives a plain, simple single-word answer — “nothing.” Every experience, learning, and development has made Ashley Horner what she is today. Taking patience as her primary weapon among her arsenal, she guides us that whatever transformation you seek, whether personal or business, it will take its time. You just need to remind yourself why you are on this journey in the first place.

By its very nature, for forthcoming years, Ashley will continue to support her fitness community and use her platform to help those in need. Her entrepreneurial journey will seek opening another gym and expanding her restaurant, American Brew, and her Screen-Printing company American Screen Printing.

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Visit Ashley Horner’s Website.

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