Competitor talks about her fitness/ nutrition regimen
Mark Nonkes/for Metro Toronto
Nearly instantaneously, Ashley Harrison goes from girl-next-door to bombshell.
The 22-year-old former jazz-dancer turned fitness model who has just spent the last 20 minutes excitedly explaining work-out routines and healthy diets suddenly transforms as a photographer begins to lift up his camera.
Gone is the sweet and cheerful Hamiltonian. Looking into the lens is a want-to-be pin-up model. Her spine is straight, her posture more precise and her grin wider than a minute before.
“You’ve got to bring it all to the table,” says the 22-year-old former CFL cheerleader.
This is ‘competition Harrison.’ This is a picture of a girl getting set to vie for the title of Canada’s Fame Fitness Model, a national competition self described as the “ultimate hardcore sports fitness competition.”
Heralded as the ‘must-experience fitness event of the year,’ the June 9 and 10 expo brings hundreds of sculpted guys and girls together at Exhibition Place. At stake are modeling contracts, photo shoots, free traveling and prize packages valued at more than $250,000.
“We’re showing off our fit physique,” explains Harrison. “We’re normal people you’d see in the gym.”
It’s taken Harrison a long time to get to this point.
As a disciplined dancer, Harrison hit the gym to tone her body. Her lifting and curling, stretching and pumping turned heads and soon she was asked to enter a fitness modeling competition.
“I did my first show and from there it was history,” says Harrison.
Quickly she began to alter her diet, eating more often and in smaller portions. Carbs were moderated and vitamins were increased.
“It’s not just about eating fruits and veggies,” says the part-time nutrition store employee. “It’s about eating everything.”
Training for a competition like this weekend’s goes into high gear 12 weeks prior to the event. Every week the 5’4” Harrison tries to lose a pound through weight training and diet.
“I want to be very defined but I still want to have that femininity,” says the soon-to-be Mohawk College student.
And then there’s the day of the competition.
Bodies are painted with tanning oil, nails are manicured, hair is sprayed and make-up is applied.
“You’re pretty much running on adrenaline,” says Harrison.
The winner is selected based on personality, physique and a swimsuit and sportswear competition.
“The swimsuits get made for the competition.” Harrison comments: “They’re very tiny and covered in rhinestones, not something that you’d see at the beach.”
For more on FAME, taking place from June 8 to 10 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Exhibit Hall, visit