The minute we tasted those unbelievably yummy, low carb, high protein, gluten-free pancakes, we were hooked. Then we got to meet Ashley in person and hear her amazing and inspiring story. Oh yeah, and then there was that successful appearance on Shark Tank, and we knew she was true Fit List material. We were honored to have Ashley as a part of Connect To Confidence in NYC last month and are thrilled to share her story with you here today. Welcome to The Fit List, Ashley Drummonds.
What inspired you to start ABS Protein Pancakes?
My mission is to help you “Fall Back in Love with Food” while also sticking to your fitness and nutrition. My goal is to change the way we do nutrition. No more diets; more foods that fuel your body and fill your soul. You should be able to enjoy your favorite foods regularly without feeling guilty about it and calling it a “cheat.” Just like you, I strive day after day to take care of my health and have the best quality of life with regular exercise and by sticking to a well-balanced nutrition program.
With a love for breakfast and also a love for fitness, I was frustrated with the pancake mixes and waffles that were on the market that were filled with artificial sweeteners, gluten, preservatives and other unhealthy additives, but that was all that I could find. Like you, I was tired of drinking protein shakes and calling it a meal. In my book, a meal involves chewing and feeling satisfied. So, I decided to create a healthy pancake mix that you can literally eat every day — like I do — that is made up of a custom blend of protein that is non-GMO, all natural, gluten-free, low carb, high protein, and has the highest quality of taste. Before creating ABS Protein Pancakes, I was just someone who loved breakfast. On top of that, I loved pancakes. Being in the fitness industry, constantly training clients on health and nutrition, along with doing photo shoots regularly, the only time I could have pancakes was my “cheat meal” which was one time a week if I was lucky.
However, every single time I ate one of the popular pancake brands on the market, I would immediately regret it. I would feel:
With my health and fitness experience and knowledge, I knew better than to consume the toxic junk that is in all of these other pancake brands that are filled with harmful ingredients. You see, I struggled a lot with myself and finding a balance enjoying things I love while still being happy with how I look. I believe in authenticity in relationships, in business, and in myself, yet it felt like my life reflected something completely different.
While working as a health and fitness expert, I was constantly doing fitness photo shoots, and in every photo shoot, in order to “look the part,” not only were my pancakes taken completely out of my meal plan, because there was no way I could consume them and expect to look fit, but I also was having to do cardio twice a day, on top of lifting for 45-60 minutes a day. I was on a very strict diet that consisted of plain egg whites, very little carbs, lots of protein shakes, rice cakes and broccoli — which just sounds awful today — and I was stressed to the max.
Getting ready for another shoot, I looked great on the outside, but on the inside, I felt like crap about myself and was incredibly unhappy because I felt like I couldn’t enjoy life, and I wanted to gag at the thought of eating more of the same foods. All I wanted was those freakin’ abs. I didn’t care what bland food I had to eat, I would do it. Well, obviously I made it and prepped for the shoot properly and pictures turned out great.
However, after the shoot, I had a very hard time going back to eating regular foods and loving my body as it is, and I was enjoying healthy versions of food. I trained just as hard and ate just as clean just to keep those freakin’ abs with only that one cheat meal I told you about, with the store-brand pancake mix to satisfy my pancake love. I was struggling a lot to find a balance to enjoy foods I love while staying in shape.
In the meantime, I was asked to do another photo shoot. Both excitement and fear ran through my mind. I loved doing the photos, but I hated having to be so strict and hard on myself and refused to diet and starve my body to prep for them.
I wanted to be happy.
I wanted to be beautiful.
I wanted to enjoy food again.
I wanted to be slim and fit.
Then it hit me. I wanted to be Authentic….Beautiful…and I wanted to be Strong… I wanted ABS!
What did that mean for me?
It meant things had to change. I had to create my own path and find a way to have ABS while helping other people do the same. So I did research and I started my journey to find a way that you can work on your ABS while eating pancakes every day that make you energized, slim and satisfied without sacrificing taste with flavors, like chocolate chip, cinnamon swirl and vanilla cake batter.
What makes ABS Protein Pancakes different?
Definitely the story behind the brand, plus the ingredients. If you look at any other pancake, or even protein pancake mix out there, you will find a huge paragraph of ingredients which usually means a lot of additives like sucralose and artificial sweeteners. The ABS Protein Pancakes brand is all-natural and gluten free while being delicious.
How do we get abs?
Your ABS, as in your abdominal muscles, not the Authentic Beauty & Strength, are definitely found with a combination of strength training and proper nutrition. I am an advocate for women lifting weights not only for what it does for your body, but also for your overall confidence. So many women have the false belief that lifting weights will make them bulky, but the truth is lifting weights is the only true way to transform your shape and get lasting results. Lean muscle mass burns more calories at rest. When you perform cardio, you are only burning calories while you are actually performing the exercise. You can lift weights for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week and you will see more results with your body then if you run for 30 minutes 3-4 times a week. Start eating whole foods that are all-natural and get on a regular strength training routine, like the one found at Flatabsforwomen.com, and you will see results.
How do we become ABS?
True ABS — Authentic Beauty and Strength — is not necessarily something we become, as it is something we already have and are. We spend our whole lives trying to be someone or fit some role that we think we “should” be from our body image to our career and relationship choices, so becoming ABS is letting go of all the shoulds and being our true selves. The best way to do this is through regular self-love and self-reflection practices, such as journaling and meditation, to continue to bring us back to our true selves. The biggest battle we have is the one going on in our minds, so when we learn to control and listen to our thoughts we will find most the answers and solutions we are seeking. I recently started the ABS TV youtube series to share stories of amazing women in business, in life, athletics, and who have well-known names, to inspire other women with their journeys to what they all thought was true beauty and true strength and how they learned to embrace their own authentic lives. I could go on and on about this topic because I think it is so important for women to understand how the story we tell ourselves in our minds every single day is what creates our reality (both good or bad), and the only way to change our lives and really tap into those ABS is to listen to our own voice. I write about this a ton. Follow me to read more at AshleyDrummonds.com
To the extent you can share, what was it like being on Shark Tank? Were you ever scared? How did you push through?
“Shark Tank” was by far the most amazing experience I have had yet — of course, the first of many to come. I wasn’t necessarily scared, but I was absolutely nervous and intimidated to step in front of such successful and well-known people, while being on camera presenting my business that was only 11 months old in the hopes of having my numbers right, and convincing these millionaires and billionaires that my brand was worth being a part of. Talk about inner-strength. It definitely forced me to tap into that inner-strength and believe that I had practiced for a whole year prior to that moment and that I deserved this opportunity, I could do this, and that no matter what happened I was still proud to be in that moment.
I pushed through that nervousness and fear by just doing it. I used to always hear “feel the fear and do it anyway” and this is exactly what I did. I was shaking; I was nervous; I had self-doubt, but I didn’t let those feelings become louder than the other side of me that was saying things like, “You can do this. You’ve got this. Trust yourself. Look how far you’ve come. Believe in yourself.” So, I felt the nerves and anxiety and did it anyway, because I knew what I wanted and I pushed toward my goal.
What’s your favorite workout song?
Ha! I have so many and it depends on what I’m doing. If I am strength training, which is usually the case, I prefer to listen to things like Eminem’s “Lose Yourself ” and other rap songs. If I am doing a fast-paced strength training session like HIIT, then I’ll listen to stuff like Arianna Grande and Katy Perry that are more fast- paced.
What do you consider healthy eating?
I am always careful with this question because I think it is different for each one of us. To me, healthy eating is enjoying whole foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies, but also having a healthy mix of my favorites foods too, like chocolate, pizza, and wine. Healthy to me is simply doing things that are beneficial to your body and overall well-being, while also enjoying life and foods that fill your soul. I created the ABS Protein Pancakes brand to help people enjoy one of their favorite breakfast foods of pancakes and waffles in a healthier way so you never feel like you are depriving yourself from something you love. Any time you start to completely cut out certain food groups or go cold turkey on things like no more sugar, no more alcohol, etc., you are setting yourself up for a struggle and eventually you will burn out. The best thing to do is to eat intuitively, which I also teach with the Flatabsforwomen.com, so that, in each moment, you are eating foods that fuel your body, but you are also listening to your what your body needs. I mean, sometimes we women really do just need a piece of dark chocolate to feel better and there’s nothing wrong with that
What’s the most fun part about being an entrepreneur?
Being able to create anything I want and being completely limitless on how far I can go. If I want to work all day, every day, then I can, but if I want to work one day a week and take a vacation, I can do that as well. I am a highly creative individual and love having the ability to say, “Hey, we should come out with a Pumpkin Spice flavor,” or “Hey, I want to start a Youtube Series to help empower women,” and actually be able to create that without having anyone set limits on a job role or expectations. Plus, the perks of having the ability to make as much money as you want is also nice.
Are you hiring anyone or looking for interns?
I am always open to interns and hiring. If someone has the passion and drive to help build the ABS Brand then I absolutely will consider adding them to the team. I get tons of resumes, but honestly it is the people who truly know and understand the brand while having a skill set they believe can add to the company that catch my attention. If anyone is passionate about health, fitness, marketing, and empowering women then I am always open to considering them. The most important thing is highlighting your drive, passion and how adding you to the team will benefit the company.
What makes you feel confident?
I can’t emphasize it enough, but I always get a huge confidence boost when I lift weights. Even if I am having a bad day, when I walk in the gym and lift some heavy weights that make me feel stronger and like a powerful woman. It always gives me confidence. On top of this, there are little things I do as well if I need a pick-me-up, like connecting with friends and family regularly who are supportive positive people. Hearing from ABS Customers and followers on how much the brand has helped them is a confidence boost. Being fully-engaged in my element, like when I am cooking or baking takes my mind off things and boosts my confidence.
What does She’s Fit To Lead mean to you? How does someone become fit to lead?
I honestly believe we are all fit to lead. She’s Fit To Lead simply means owning your story and knowing your worth and using that to help someone else. Being a leader doesn’t necessarily mean that you have some secret power that only a few people have. It means that you have decided to pave a different path for yourself and create life on your own terms. It’s choosing to take your experiences, knowledge and journey and use it to help others. Whether you are 12 or 80, you have something in your life that you have gone through or experienced that helped you become who you are today, and in turn there is someone out there is now going through that who you can help. She’s Fit To Lead is about stepping up in any area of life; maybe you’re a mom and you can help other women be a better mother, and maybe you’re a passionate protein pancake lover who can help other women make healthier pancakes. There are so many ways to lead and I think the more we step into our own Authentic Beauty and Strength the easier it becomes to lead others do the same.