Ashleigh Brennan is a Dual Olympian, Dual Commonwealth Games gold medalist, 3 Times World Championship Team Member, National Champion and Victorian Champion. Ash is now a qualified Sports Scientist who resides in Melbourne but can also be found teaching at Premium Performance HQ Studio PP.
Favourite memory from your first Olympics?
Beijing was everything and more than I expected it would be. I enjoyed it all and there are so many favourite memories that come to mind. The highlight of course was competing against the world’s best in the team final where we finished 6th, Australia’s best ever result in an Olympic Games. Another great memory I have was outside of the Gym when we got to cheer on our Women’s basketball team in the gold medal match against USA. There was no way we could get tickets so my teammates and I pretended to be basketballers quickly flashing our accreditation and somehow managing to get in and watch the game.
Favourite memory from your second Olympics and how was the experience different second time round?
Second time around was so special because I knew what to expect in terms of the hype and pressure surrounding the event. Having been to an Olympic games, this motivated me to give absolutely everything to ensure I earned my spot on the team. My lead up to London started in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games where we were gold medallists, then on to Worlds to qualify for London. National championships was our selection trial where I was crowned National Champion contributing to my good run leading up to the Games. Making the individual All Around final in London was definitely a highlight and finishing on beam – my favourite apparatus and ‘sticking’ my dismount was very special and also such a huge relief. Close second was watching the Spice Girls perform at the closing ceremony (I definitely embraced my inner 7 year old)
Where does your passion for health and fitness come from?
I like to think that I have always been active and loved sport and all that came with it from a very young age. The truth is, I was so very fortunate to find gymnastics. I was terrible at every other sport I tried. I was little, shy and perhaps a little timid. To begin with, I wasn’t very good at gymnastics either and only rarely placing in junior competitions. While others may have been disappointed, it really didn’t bother me, I knew you didn’t go to the Olympic Games as a 7 year old. I just loved the sport and wanted to continue to improve. By the time I turned 11, I was training 30 hours a week, so fitness and training to achieve a goal was ingrained into my lifestyle from a young age. I loved that gymnastics kept challenging me, not only to learn new skills and increase my difficulty so that I remained competitive, but it was important for me to manage school and later university to prepare me for life outside of the sport. A quote from my national coach that I will never forget, “I don’t want you collecting my trash cans Ashleigh when this journey is over”. Now that I’m not an athlete, finding the time to be active and healthy is equally important to me and I find that I’m a much happier person when I’m in a good health and fitness routine.
Favourite indulgence? (food or lifestyle)
I just love food so much! Chocolate is my major weakness and I will never pass up the opportunity to have brekky at a new café with mates! If anyone suggests brunch I’m there too! I also love the sun – going to the beach and being in the sun is a major indulgence. A bit of Vitamin D makes me super happy.
How do you stay fit and healthy now that you are not on a crazy Olympic schedule? Was the transition hard for you?
At first the transition was difficult. I went from a very routine based intense training regime of 6 days a week (40 hours) to having to find the time to exercise. I much prefer to exercise early in the morning when I wake up and then feel energised for the day ahead. Initially I was challenged to know what to do apart from gymnastics strength. Now I’ve learnt to incorporate some of my favourite gymnastics exercises into my program. I love squats. Squats, jump squats and/ or alternating lunges are always in my circuit.
What made you want to work as an EP and what’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I spent my 14-year gymnastics career preparing my body for competitions and ensuring that it was in the best possible condition to compete and reach my performance and fitness goals. A major part of our training was injury prevention and management so going down this path was a relatively easy choice. In elite sporting programs, we are surrounded by the very best health / strength and conditioning people in their chosen field and this level of expertise is now being shared by the work of EP’s. I’m continuing to learn and understand better ways to treat different pathological conditions and help people to live a happy, pain free and healthy lifestyle. The most rewarding part of being an EP is that I love feeling like I’ve made someone’s day. I love seeing people being active and leading a healthy lifestyle. I’ve learnt that exercise is the cheapest, most available and life changing form of medicine.
What do you love about working at Studio PP?
There are a few things…
- The studio vibe – when you walk in everyone is so happy and welcoming!
- The PP philosophy – its all about balance.
- I love being surrounded by strong and motivated people