After 24 years in the US Army, 21 of which was in Special Operations Forces, I was muscular and strong, yet incredibly tense and bound up. I had only a percentage of my range of motion in my
major joints. This affected how I ran, how I lifted, even how I slept.
When I met Ashleigh Gass at MOVE, she re-introduced me to stretching and a new way to create strength, and through working with her, my body began to respond and “open back up”. A great example of the benefit was after working on my chest and shoulders, it seemed as if my chest opened up after many years, allowing me to take in a full breath.
The feeling of being able to move again has allowed me to increase my workloads while still getting the requisite rest I need to grow and maintain my body at 52 years old.
Founder, The Tactical Games<\i>
I met Ashleigh Gass in Tampa Florida in November of 2017 and conducted several training session with her. I learned several principle, techniques and exercises that positively changed my quality of life and the way I train.
I am a Special Forces Soldier with 21 years in the Army and 12 combat deployments. During my time in 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) I have received three purple hearts for injuries sustained during deployments in Afghanistan. One was from a large blast injury and the other two from sustaining bullet wounds to the right hand, buttocks, right leg and right back area. These injuries have left me with severe mobility, and pain issues, in my leg, right shoulder and back. My back become such an issue in 2016 that I ended up in a wheel chair temporary.
After training with Ashley I have started to incorporate much more body weight, stability, mobility and gymnastics exercises into my workout regime. I have started to incorporate Jefferson Curls and back bridging exercises into almost every warm up. Core exercises focus around exercises such as pikes and hollow body rocks. Weighted mobility exercises and the use of therapist to scrap tight muscles and tendons have greatly increased my ability to move freely.
Our first workout together she had me conduct seemingly simple exercises that led me to being completely smoked. I remember that she has us do 5 rounds of hollow body rocks. Seemed incredibly simple and during the first round I commented to myself about how simple the exercise seemed. By the end of round two my entire core was on fire and I had great difficulty completing the next three rounds. After these and doing pikes I was left sore the next day in places I am not sure I have ever had muscle soreness in. She had me do Jefferson Curls with a very low weight and explained the progression of this exercise to eventually being able to do your body weight. I have incorporated doing these into almost every workout and for the first time since I can remember I don’t wake up with my back locked up and extremely painful.
After incorporating mobility and gymnastics exercises into my routine I feel like I can move freely again and with minimal pain. At 41 years old I can still easily outperform most of our younger soldiers. This was not the case four years ago before I started heavily incorporating more mobility and gymnastics exercises into my routine where pain and mobility issues effected my performance.
Proper State of Mind…
I started working with Ashleigh at the beginning of April, 2015. I had been inthe gym since my 46th birthday in late February of that same year; the reasons for going back were simple… I recently turned another year older; I was out of shape and going downhill physically, as well as mentally. And to top it off, 3 of my friends called me fat….
I have always had a sports background. I like endurance training and sports such as long distance cycling and running. But the further I went down the path I was on, the more I started disliking those activities that I once loved and made me happy.
I started working out with an old program that I had some success with 6 years prior that helped me lose 40 pounds and gave me the strength to run a half marathon and complete a double century. This time, after a month or so, I simply wanted help. That is when I approached Ashleigh.
“A good stance and posture reflect a proper state of mind.” Morihei Ueshiba
I love this quote, as it describes the transformation I am experiencing. Ashleigh’s training methods are quite unique from what I have seen in the past. She listens to your goals, helps you achieve them, and she cares about your well being; both in and outside of the gym.
The reason I love the quote is because of the changes I am experiencing. Ashleigh’s training has been to work with movements that place the body in the proper alignment which develops a good stance and posture. I am gaining strength. I am putting on and taking off inches in the proper areas, but the biggest change has come to my posture. I can actually feel the difference in the position of my shoulders, back and hips (No more Sciatic Nerve issue in my leg!).
All of this is leading to a “proper state of mind.” My confidence and smile are back. I feel great!! I always tell Ashleigh “thank you” and “she is a God send” and in typical Ashleigh fashion she tells me I’m the one doing the work, but without her help and guidance, I would not be at the place I am now.
“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.”
In September, 2012, I was referred to Ashleigh. For a few years, I'd really been having challenges. Kidney transplant in 2005, hysterectomy in 2011, years of immune compromise, with a frozen shoulder to boot. At that time, I was also on full dose medications for infections, chronic shoulder and neck pain, and an immunosuppressant drug called "Prograf".
Ash dove in and did numerous assessments, in addition to communicating with my doctor. Nutritionally, we changed a fair bit and really worked to boost my immune system. On the training front, we did a lot of injury prevention work while also improving my overall strength. She referred me to Dr. Joe Giovatto, who did my A.R.T soft tissue work on the side, making a huge difference with the shoulder. I am eternally grateful for their work - the only option presented to me by my physical therapist was a surgical procedure called "manipulation under anaesthesia", because my shoulder "wasn't getting better". Thanks god I didn't take that path. This shoulder injury usually takes 20+ months to heal - Ash and Dr. Joe did it in less than 9 weeks.
It's been several months now, I have my health and flu strength back. My doctor was literally shocked at the recent lab tests, which were so good he's lowered my dose of Prograf. First time in 8 years that's been possible, and it's mostly unheard of. Instead of getting sick a lot and having a frozen shoulder, I fight off infections easily (while doing chin ups and squats!!). My quality of life is better than it's been in years, and I am HAPPY!!
I am strong, happy, awesomely well, and have the ability again to LIVE LIFE.
Thanks Ash and Dr. Joe!!