We are so happy to have connected with the amazing Ashley Wiles. Recognized by Brooks as the “Most Inspiring Coach of The Year,” Ashley is changing the lives of tween girls, helping them find body positivity and confidence through Sole Girls:
What inspired you to start Sole Girls?
Sole Girls was inspired by my own personal experience as a girl growing up trying to fit in, and deal with my body image, and my luck in finding running and a mentor at a young age. Running has been my guiding light through anxiety and helped me to create a community where I can be myself. I want all girls to know that they aren’t alone and that physical activity is so so great for our mental health.
How does Sole Girls empower the girls who participate?
Sole Girls focuses on helping girls build their confidence and enjoy physical activity. Every girl has a different experience based on her life at that moment. Some girls make huge strides with their anxiety. Others start to understand that they do have the ability to be active and enjoy it. Others learn to stand up to bullies and love themselves.
What are the key messages that you want to get across?
We want girls to know that they are not alone, being a girl is awesome, and that they are capable of more than they think.
In one of your Ted Talks, you talked about how running saved your life. How did it?
YES! I was dealing with a lot of anxiety and bad decisions. I turned to running and started to build a community around positive health and goals, and the rest of my life started shifting as well. It gave me a renewed purpose and passion and something I could share with others.
Who do you think are some positive role models for girls today?
I think role models are everywhere! They are the people who are inspiring you! For me, my role models are women who are striving for incredible goals and changing the paradigm around what is right vs what is wrong…and making possibility a probability! I have business role models, and ironman (my favourite sport) role models and also just people who are rocking at life (Both men and women!).
Tell us about your coaching award.
I was nominated for Brooks “Most Inspiring Coach of the Year” Award and out of 1000s of nominations across North America, and I was among the 13 finalists invited down to Seattle for the awards show. And I won! I was the only Canadian this year too! This is such a huge honor, and I really think this award goes out to our entire community, because all of our coaches are incredible and it takes a village to make a concept come alive and people to support you, sign up and believe in you!
What is next on the horizon for Sole Girls?
We are focusing on coaching coaches and leaders and the role models who want to see girls succeed. So many of us have been through things, whether it is eating disorders or mental health or negative self talk and would like for girls to never have to experience that. We have a triple fold leadership training where we focus on understanding ourselves, aligning with values, and creating space for impact so leaders, teachers, coaches, parents, young women can understand the tween world and be the life changers they want to be.
Do you have a favorite quote or line from a song that you can share?
One of my favourites is “Believe you Can.” I think it was Henry Ford who said that If you believe that you can or you believe that you can’t – either way you are right.” So I choose to believe that I can, and that you can too.
What’s your favorite power meal?
Good Question! I really love greens – so spinach anything usually makes me feel pretty powerful. I also love broccoli and cheese. For breakfast I LOVE acai with bananas and chia
What makes you feel confident?
I feel most confident when I can make eye contact with someone and share a smile. There’s something really special about connection and sharing an experience, even if it’s just momentary that I love.
I also feel super confident when I finish my workout and I’m sweating like crazy. I absolutely love that feeling!
How fit to lead is that?! Thank you Ashley, and welcome to The Fit List.
How can we get involved?
We are in the process of planning a winter 2017 trip across the US to train new leaders and start the program in new areas! In the mean time we have 3 trainings happening in Canada! In Vancouver in August 12-14 and November and in Toronto July 22-24th and we are hiring new coaches and volunteers for this year too!
Our Winter schedule will be released soon!
You can also join us on Social Media and stay up to date with where we are going and what we are doing and also share inspiration!! Twitter and Insta: @sole_girls and FB: @solegirls