Sheffield fitness model wins national title
A fitness model from Sheffield could be in with the chance of representing Great Britain in a competition held in Texas later this year, after recently winning a national title.
Ashley Gayle, 24, of Cemetery Road, Sharrow, has always led an active lifestyle, after getting into sports such as football and rugby at a young age.
But he has since swapped a pitch for a stage after recently winning pro status at the Next Fitness Model UK competition held in Derby.
Ashley realised he had a passion for sport throughout school, later studying a BTEC sport at Norton College.
However, it wasn't until he started an apprenticeship in personal training that his love of fitness grew.
After suggestions from his peers in the gym, six years ago he began training to get himself competition ready.
His first competition was three years ago, with the United Kingdom Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation,
"It was my first competition, but I didn't manage to place," he said.
"I thought I'd take it as a stepping stone to improve, and the following year I won the regional which gave me an invitation to the British final. I came fifth in that."
"I'm always seeking bigger and better things, so I took a year out to improve on my physique and concentrate on bulking."
In May this year, Ashley travelled to Derby to compete at the Next Fitness Model UK competition, having entered in the men's physique category.
NFMUK is a new show that started in June last year which caters for a wide range of fitness modelling classes including bikini, men’s physique, men’s muscle and athletic bikini to name a few.
It was Ashley's first time competing in the physique category, with around eight other men on stage, and after being crowned winner in his category he then went on to compete in the overall stages.
Despite not managing to place, Ashley received a pro card which acts as an invitation to compete in the pro class at the October show in Wales against other pro status competitors.
He said: "It's an opportunity to win the big overall. It's a competition that is held around the UK and brings all the winners from each location together, it's like the best of the best."
As a pro he will compete for his share of Â£1000 prize money and the opportunity to win an all expenses paid trip to Texas to represent Great Britain at the Mr & Ms Atlas show.
However, Ashley says that his training is healthy, despite what his mum says.
"She's been to one competition, but she doesn't get the commitment side. She thinks it's unhealthy and that I'll end up hurting myself in the gym. She does also see the good side, the change over the six years but she still tells me to be careful."
Ashley still goes to the gym around 4 times a week, and follows a regime of training in preparation for the next competition.
"It's about training and consistency," he said.
"I had the knowledge of nutrition, training concepts and the principles - gaining mass and trying to stay lean, gaining strength and size.
"I've been trying for six years altogether, but you go through a cutting phase where you lean down to a low body fat percentage to get you 'stage ready', you prep for six or seven weeks.
"I do it in a healthy way in a sense that it's a short period of time. It's about knowing your body and it's best way to cut. It's not for everybody, it's short term meaning low carbs or no cards."
At the moment Ashley is 'bulking' meaning a high number of calories for 'growth and development', and is continuing his work as a freelance personal trainer.
As for the future, he said: "It's changed me as a person, from a mental point of view. I've always been outgoing but it's helped in a positive way.
"I could potentially compete all around the world, competition doesn't phase me. I could go pretty far, it's part of my lifestyle now. I've got a good feeling."
Suki Hayer, NFMUK Founder and Promoter said: “Ashley really stood out the moment he stepped on stage. Though his condition could have been tighter, he physique was flawless.
"He was in the running for the overall title but only was just pipped. At such a young age, he has a bright future no matter what stage he steps on - domestic or international.
"Without a doubt he’s one to watch”.