Overcoming an Eating Disorder and to the NPC Bikini Stage


How’s it going ladies and gents! Today I am excited and honored to share my client and friend, Ashlee Szabo’s 10 week journey to the bikini stage.

When Ashlee first came to me, 6 months ago, she was used to following a rigid meal plan that consisted of dichotomous thinking (either on or off the plan and black and white thinking within nutrition).

I knew before Ashlee could even think about stepping on that stage, we had bigger fish to fry. So 6 months in, we started working on:

  • Building her calories up
  • Improving some specific body parts, mainly shoulders and glutes
  • And most importantly improving her relationship with foods through flexible nutrition to overcome the dichotomous thinking

After 6 months, we both made a decision together that it was time to step on the stage after making great progress. We had 10 weeks to get Ashlee down to her desired stage conditioning. She absolutely crushed the 10 weeks! Never complained, never made any excuses…she put her head down, kept her eye on the prize, and made it to the stage in the best shape of her life!

I’m very proud of Ashlee and it was an honor being part of her journey.

Coach Chris



10 Weeks Out-

115.4 lbs

Waist circumference 25.25 inches


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Show Day-

102.3 lbs

Waist circumference 22.5 inches


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See what Ashlee has to say about her journey to the stage …


I started with Chris back in October of 2015. So it’s been about a year and a half that I’ve been a part of Team DDT. A year and a half is a long time to stick with a coach, so that says something about the caliber of service that Chris and Eric offer to their clients. I personally work with Chris, and he has been absolutely fantastic!

A little about my background: I grew up as a chubby kid. I could get into my story in more depth, but I won’t for time’s sake haha.

I basically had to climb my own way out of that hole and start a new lifestyle for myself. My sophomore year of high school I began running and losing weight on my own. By my junior year I joined cross country and track, and I was holding a spot on the varsity team. I was running pretty fast for being a total newbie, and I’m just one of those people that always pushes myself to the limits…SO I made progress fast, but I also developed some very bad habits along the way.

I struggled with eating disorders for a good 3-4 years while I was running competitively. This continued into college, but I began running faster and faster so I thought this was just how it had to be!

I had lost my menstrual cycle, and was eating like a bird while running 60+ miles a week. My diet centered around all “fat free,” “sugar free,” “diet food” BS. This continued my first two years of college, and then BOOM…I got injured (and got stuck in a string of injuries after that), and everything went downhill.

What would I do without my precious running?!

Within about a year, I put on 15-20 pounds (I’m being conservative with those guesses). I felt HORRIBLE about myself. I wasn’t “fat,” just more “skinny fat” at that point. I started drinking my senior year of college, and that made matters worse.

On the bright side, during that time, I found myself dabbling in strength training with one of my best friends and teammate (who was also injured and going through the same thing as me!). I’d always loved it since my high school coach introduced it to me my junior year, but with running so many miles I couldn’t do it as much as I wanted to. This was my chance. I educated myself and started following “fitness people” online. I was in absolute awe of their physiques, and I told myself one day I wanted to get there. I knew it would be a long journey, but I was persistent. I graduated college, moved home, and started working with a personal trainer at LA Fitness for some accountability. That kinda helped, but I made no significant physique progress. I tried to diet on my own, but I just had no direction.

The weight still wasn’t coming off, and I was in a very weird transition of my life on top of it. This was in 2013 (I graduated in May of that year). In February 2014 I hired a “coach” to help me prep for a WBFF bikini show. “This will help me, surely!” Well, I made progress at first but I was MISERABLE. My training plans weren’t consistent and periodized, I was doing HIIT cardio 2 x per day on top of training, and my diet plan was ridiculously cookie cutter and way too low in calories for my activity level.

I constantly felt like I was going to pass out at work because my carbs were so low, and I could barely make it through training sessions. Anyways, long story short, while I was still working with this coach, I starting educating myself further and reading up on dieting and training techniques. I was an exercise science major and working on my NASM personal training cert, so I had a knack for wanting a little more. I just knew something wasn’t right with what I was doing.

I came across Layne Norton, which then led me to Chris and Eric of DDT! I made the commitment and started working with Chris as my coach. I dropped out of the WBFF show and decided to postpone my desire to compete until the time was right, especially after chatting with Chris about it.

I started off in a reverse diet (using IIFYM/flexible dieting of course!) to get me in a metabolic building phase coming out of all the BS I put my body through with my above story. I also got on a properly periodized training program. I had my ups and downs. I had my times where I fell off the wagon and life got in the way, but Chris has always been SO understanding and been by my side through it all. Learning how to properly utilize flexible dieting is tough, but Chris has helped guide me in figuring it all out!

I finally got to a place last summer where I really wanted to ramp it up and start going after my goal of competing. I was in a good groove of hitting my macros and being consistent with training. I started a 10 week prep at the end of August/beginning of September. It went pretty seamlessly. Chris was always prompt with answering my questions and being there for me every step of the way.

Yes, I’m not gonna sugarcoat it and say it was a breeze to diet down for a show, but Chris set me up for success to make it the smoothest prep I could have imagined. I dialed in perfectly for my first show. I had a fear of not feeling ready come peak week, but I had total confidence in the package that I brought to the stage when it came time.

I’m a trainer myself now (I have been for 2ish years), and I teach group fitness classes full-time at Orangetheory. But even a trainer needs a trainer…I always tell people that! Yeah, Chris got me ready for a show and that was amazing, but I have also learned more about just an overall balanced, healthy, fit lifestyle from working with him. That is the long lasting benefit. I have learned a TON about proper training protocols. I have gotten insanely stronger…deadlifting 235 lbs, squatting 180 lbs, and benching 117.5 lbs for my 5’1 frame!

I have learned the IIFYM way of dieting, and it has truly changed my life. No, I’m not perfect counting macros all the time and I have my ups and downs, but Chris has taught me about the “volume dial” and truly letting it be flexible dieting. My relationship with food has never been better.

I honestly could go on and on, but I will stop there because I tend to be wordy haha. You guys get the gist. Dynamic Duo Training is an awesome coaching team, and you WILL be very happy with the services that Chris and Eric offer. Thank you to you BOTH for doing what you do!

Now, I gotta go get my lift in 😉

-Ashlee Szabo 

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