The Sassy Sandpiper: Meet the Greenway’s Fitness Guru!
The Sassy Sandpiper talks fitness with a regular at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park (which is changing its name to honor Lealman resident Ray Neri).
By M.R. Wilson, Columnist, TB Reporter
I bet you didn’t know Joe’s Creek Greenway Park (which is being renamed to honor Lealman activist Ray Neri) is an open-air gym each weekday for a powerhouse of a woman named Ashley Anderson. Anyone toting a gallon jug of water has some serious intention/motivation. As I wandered along, Ms. Anderson bounded ahead. When she rested and I caught up, a simple request to take a photo for her business sparked a conversation. I knew I’d just met someone extraordinary.
Ashley is tall, lean, muscled and model-gorgeous, but has chosen to build her own business coaching basic calisthenics in park settings, including the Greenway. When we met, she was in Day 15 of a personal 30-day fitness challenge, which translates as high-octane workouts including abs exercises, broad jumps, and aerobics.
When asked what fuels her body, Ms. Anderson said, “Whole food, brown rice, lots of fruit and vegetables and water, water, WATER!”
Born and raised in Selma, AL, the Greenway’s Fitness Guru, now 31, has resided in St. Petersburg for the past 14 years.
“I am a happy mother of two children: daughter Genesis—9 years old—and son Craig, 7 years old. Ask me my why? My reply will always be my children.”
A passion for fitness and nutrition began with admiration for her coach and friend, Brakki Brazzle, who works in sales at LA Fitness in Clearwater. For a time, Coach Ash was an independent Herbalife distributor and member of the company’s Nutrition Club. She later decided to do research and start her own business.
Ashley’s younger brother, Dontay Anderson, 26, also played a role in her determination to realize her fitness and business goals. In June of 2017, he sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. His doctors claimed Dontay would suffer in a chronic vegetative state, but he defied the odds. Ashley took time off from her training regimen to care for her brother. Today he is mobile again with the use of a walker. That’s what I call a success story.
“The fitness world is my Happy Place,” Ms. Anderson wrote. “I am very attentive to the needs of others and thankful that I am able to push a person to their farthest abilities while making it fun! Helping others and seeing them smile makes me happy.”
You usually can find Ashley Anderson, aka Coach Ash, at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park weekdays between 10-11:30 a.m. doing her 45-minute workouts. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious. Ask about her 30-Day Calisthenics Transformation Challenge. The sign-up period is Oct. 1 through Oct. 5.
Photos courtesy of M.R. Wilson.
M.R. Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Joe’s Creek Greenway Park | Ashley Anderson | Tampabay News
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