How Ashley James Overhauled Her Bod

Ashley James looks incredible, right? The 28-year-old self-confessed ‘skinny fat girl’ is now super fit after being whipped into shape by James Crossley, aka Hunter from Gladiators. Ashley’s gone from eating 800 cals a day – it made her feel ‘lethargic’ and ‘tired’ – to 1500 cals a day, with full-body workouts that combined Tabata, HIIT and gladiator style workouts, obvs. Er, it certainly works! We got James’ rules and tried it ourselves…

1. Lift Heavy


“Stick to basic compound movements and use full range of motion. Don’t rush – the eccentric part (lowering) is most important, so it needs to be slow. Use an adequate load, I see women using a weight for 10 reps that they could do 30 reps with. That last rep needs to be tough!”

2. HIIT It In 20

“HIIT intervals combined with weights is the most efficient way to change your body shape. Try a 20 min TABATA workout – 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds rest – repeated 8 times, with 60 seconds rest in between.”

Move 1: Deadlifts


3 sets, 10-12reps, 20 seconds rest in between

– Stand with the middle of your foot under the bar

– Squat down grab the bar about shoulder-width apart.

– Keep the bar close to the body and lift

– Pull up, lifting shoulders and hips in one move

Move 2: Barbell Squats


4 sets 10-12 reps, 20 seconds rest in between

– Place the bar across shoulders, feet shoulder width apart

– Squat down with straight back – make sure knees don’t bend in.

– Drive the squat back up to standing

Tip- raise the heels slightly with low a block to help your form

Food Rules

1. Regular eating

2. 2-3 litres of water a day

3. Protein and SMART fat for breakfast – no cereals!

4. 7-8 hours sleep

5. No alcohol

6. A protein/carb drink straight after training

Ashley’s 1500 Cal Meal Plan

Option 1

Breakfast: Free-Range Boiled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes

Morning Snack: Mixed Berries and Sunflower Seeds

Lunch: Asparagus Soup with Chicken Salad

Afternoon Snack: Tzatziki with Celery Crudites

Dinner: Turkey Bolognese with Courgette Noodles

Option 2

Breakfast: Free-Range Boiled Eggs with Roasted Tomatoes

Morning Snack: Satsuma and Brazil Nuts

Lunch: Warm Mackerel Nicoise Salad with Baby Potatoes

Afternoon Snack: Tomato Salsa with Cucumber Crudites

Dinner: Chicken Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Quinoa

Option 3

Breakfast: Free-Range Omelette with Roasted Tomatoes Morning Snack: Plums with Sunflower Seeds

Lunch: Spiced Chickpea and Tomato Soup with Organic Rye Bread and Turkey Salad

Afternoon Snack: Gluten-Free Apple and Raisin Flapjack

Dinner: Braised Fennel and Shallots with Roasted Cod and Brown Rice with Beetroot, Parsnips, Carrot and Turnips

Our verdict? Here’s what Gemma Yates, Fashion News Editor has to say: “20 minutes with James and it’s easy to see how Ashley looks so amazing. I’d consider myself pretty fit, but I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life. I’ll definitely be adding James’ moves to my gym routine.”