DiverWire Profile: Meet the inspiration behind ScubaFit-Gretchen Ashton
(DiverWire) When Gretchen Ashton and her husband became certified scuba divers 12 years ago, she was immediately fascinated with the experience and sensations of being underwater. These were matched only by the incredible colors and creatures she encountered. As a fitness professional, she also quickly discovered that countless scuba divers needed to become more aware of physical fitness and developing an overall healthy lifestyle.
An active lady, Ashton knows her way around the gym, training, coaching and competing for many years. Her success includes 21 American records, another 21 World Records and induction into the AAU Powerlifting Hall of Fame. Her passion for physical fitness inspired her to open a private training facility where she continues to train clients today. She’s fortunate to have been able to combine her passion for fitness with a passion for scuba diving.
In 2007, Ashton started ScubaFit®, an international program designed to educate and inspire scuba divers into a more healthy and fitness-minded lifestyle. “Every scuba diver feels fortunate to be able to explore the underwater world. That experience is even better when the diver is healthy and both mentally and physically prepared for scuba diving.”
“Diving is physical and sensory. It attracts me body, mind and soul,” she says. “Diving motivates me to practice a fitness lifestyle and maintain good health so that I can continue diving for many years. I’m dedicated to helping other divers extend their diving lifespans through proper fitness education and training.”
Ashton shares that studies reveal that half of the people who begin a health-related program quit within six months and a majority of adults who do exercise don’t do it regularly enough to see significant benefits. ScubaFit® and Ashton’s FitDiver® programs are designed to help divers discover fitness, experience results and begin a longlasting fitness-for-diving lifestyle.
Diving is perceived by many as a recreational activity that can be enjoyed without regard for physical fitness. There will always be a group that just isn’t interested, but most divers are simply not informed of the benefits of fitness and the necessity of fitness for diving. Until recently, divers who are aware have not been provided with the entire fitness package; specialized workouts, nutrition recommendations and motivation. Dive instructors that have been looking for solutions to prepare new divers and keep their loyal clients engaged, now have researched-based programming and proven methods to encourage good health and safe diving.
Recently Ashton began taking her training programs to local consumer dive shows. The next ScubaFit® presentation is scheduled for THE SCUBA SHOW in Long Beach, California in early June.
Gretchen grew up enjoying outdoor recreation such as hiking, biking and gardening. She learned to sail, racing the Olympic-class laser for fun, and began to explore the water ways of California by kayak. She became certified as a diver at the invitation of a friend and has enjoyed diving the Yukon, Point Loma Kelp Beds, the Coronados, and other local sites along the southern California coast where she lives. Gretchen and her husband/dive buddy have also traveled to Florida, Hawaii, Curacao, U.S. Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Fiji, Tahiti, and Cozumel.
Her favorite dive site? “The next one”, she proclaims, explaining she gained that perspective from a 75-year old diver she met in the Cayman Islands. “Every destination and dive is unique. I put a lot of research and planning into each trip we take. What’s important is that Dennis and I are healthy and physically prepared to enjoy each and every dive.”
At home, Gretchen focuses on family first. Her adult son is an OIF Wounded Warrior, her daughter-in-law is a Navy Intelligence Operations Specialist, and she has five grandchildren. She attends church regularly and along with her husband is active in community service, working on projects such as Helping Hands and leading efforts to bring more community gardens to her city. Prior to her fitness profession, Gretchen operated a consulting and business services company, spent 10 years in the construction industry, and a few years in banking.