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My Favorite...Ashley


EDITOR'S NOTE: Each week, will spotlight a Texans Cheerleader and follow her through her favorite activity or hobby for a series titled, "**My Favorite...**"

Texans Cheerleader Ashley demands a lot of her body, especially these days. With the Texans playing four consecutive home games this month, the cheerleaders are practicing most weekdays and performing every Sunday for the month of October. On top of that, Ashley spends her days teaching dance and coaching fitness classes.

"A day at practice with Alto Gary (cheerleader services manager) is just like a day at practice with any collegiate strength coach or any collegiate track and field coach," said Ashley, a former college track star. "It definitely takes a toll on you physically. And also my career in and of itself, just being a coach, is very physically demanding.

"All of us are trying to keep our strength up and our endurance up. It's a challenge. I don't think we've ever experienced having four home games back-to-back like that. Normally, we would get a day or two off before a game. With the games being back-to-back, there's not time for that."

{QUOTE}To keep from getting worn down, Ashley treats herself to a day of pampering every few weeks. Typically, she starts by getting a manicure and pedicure at a nail spa near her home, Venetian Nails.

"It's necessary for me to come in here and just pamper myself every now and then," Ashley said. "I like to take care of myself. We are constantly taking pictures and signing autographs and so one of the things that we have to do is keep ourselves up. It's something I enjoy, too, so it's not a huge task."

Of course, getting a massage isn't a chore, but it's something Ashley finds necessary because of the her hectic schedule this month.

"I'm a huge fan of massage," Ashley said. "It's necessary when you live such an active lifestyle. You need that just as general maintenance to keep your body up. I coach; I dance. Everything that I do is extremely physically demanding. In order for me to continue on and stay strong and be able to give 100 percent to my clients, I feel like I need to take care of myself. In order to give 100 percent on that field, I need to make sure Ashley is taken care of first."

Ashley takes the sport of cheerleading seriously and wants to make sure she can deliver a peak performance each Sunday at Reliant Stadium.

"I'm proud to be one of the Houston Texans Cheerleaders because I think that we set the standard in the NFL as far as cheerleading is concerned," Ashley said. "There are so many talented girls on our team that have amazing experience. It's an honor and a privilege to be a part of this team. You dance hard or you go home. If you don't bring it, you will get out-danced. People will dance circles around you."

And after her a day of pampering, the third-year veteran knows she is a step closer to dancing her best.

"You feel like a completely new woman," Ashley said. "You go into your day of pampering exhausted, tired and beaten up. After a day of pampering, you feel like a completely new person, rejuvenated, ready to take on the world.

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