Protect Yo’self with Ashley Guarrasi

Author: Jana K. Hoffman
04.13 / Fitness

California native, Ashley Guarrasi uprooted her life to move across the country and help open Rumble, New York City’s hottest (literally and figuratively; have you seen the trainers?) boxing gym. This 29-year-old trainer, actor, model, marathoner, volunteer, and soon-to-be Hollywood stunt double lets nothing stand in her way. Ashley's incredibly down to earth, but don’t get it twisted, she can definitely kick some ass.

MISSBISH caught up with Ashley in Los Angeles and we asked her to give us a crash course on boxing combos and self-defense moves. Watch and learn how to protect yo’self, then dive into her full interview below.

Congrats on the opening of Rumble! Can you tell us a little bit about Rumble and what differentiates it from other NYC boxing gyms?
It’s a group fitness concept that includes 10 rounds of boxing and strength training for a high-intensity workout in a cool, underground club-like environment. We try to make it a really fun environment so it’s not intimidating, especially for first-timers. A sold-out class maxes out at 60 people. In class, it’s basically like two workouts going on at the same time. Half of the room is hitting the bags and the other half is doing their floor exercises.

At other boxing studios, students are usually on the bag the whole time. No one’s really done this concept before. Think of a Barry’s Bootcamp-style class, but the bags are our treadmills. Our bags are a different style and aesthetic than normal boxing bags. They’re aqua bags that are filled with water and really fun to punch.

Besides keeping all the Rumble boys in line, what’s your role there? Why did you move from LA to NYC to join the crew?
I’m one of the founding trainers so I teach group classes and do private training for people who want to learn the more technical aspects of boxing. I also help out with some of Rumble’s influencer events and social media.

I had been training at Wild Card, a famous boxing gym in Hollywood, and Eugene Remm, one of the owners/investors, approached me about the opportunity. I flew to New York to check out the concept and felt like I had to take it even though I had amazing clients in Los Angeles. It’s been amazing so far yet kind of tough being across the country and away from friends and family. But I’ve gotten to help build the gym from the ground up.

Who or what inspired you to start boxing? At what point did you decide to turn it into a profession?
I was pretty athletic growing up. I was a runner and a swimmer and had a football trainer for awhile. Back in California, I had been working in sales for a health and fitness company and met a boxing trainer. At the time, I wanted to do something that would make me feel confident and strong. I did a couple of sessions and became obsessed immediately.

I got really into it. I mean, really into it. I started watching boxing all the time. I had my favorite fighters that I began following and I went to fights to experience the culture and history. The feeling that I felt seven years ago when I started versus today is the same after a workout. More importantly, it’s that guys aren’t the only ones who can do this. No matter who you are or what you come in for, boxing will make you feel empowered.

You have 84.5 thousand Instagram followers. Let’s talk about that for a second. How did you gain such a large following?
I started building it over the last three or so years. I’ve been working with some of the bigger brands like adidas and also gained a large boxing following. I guess it comes from a combination of influencer work, commercial work, boxing, and being featured on other brand pages. It just kept growing and so I just kept being consistent with my content.

I want to keep things very real, fun, and true to me. It’s a mixture of real life, brand stuff, fitness, and boxing. I also like to post about my clients and the people who come into the gym. I’ve had a lot of companies reach out, but they don’t always align with how I want to represent myself and my own personal brand.

Can you take us a through a typical training week? Any other exercises that you do to complement boxing?
When I do have time to get into the gym, I’ll do Muay Thai, which is more like MMA, jiu-jitsu-style full-body combat. When I go into a regular boxing gym, I’ll do a 1.5-hour workout that includes jump roping, shadowboxing, hitting mitts with a trainer, and bag work. If I’m planning to do a fight or want to brush up on some sparring, then I’ll usually pair up with another female and get into the ring with her to work on formal technique. I also incorporate strength and weight training a couple of days a week. As for other exercises, I do yoga and I love SoulCycle. I try to cross-train as much as I can when I’m not teaching.

What’s your power move/combo?
It would be a cross-hook-cross combo (2-3-2). It’s a really powerful combo because it’s all power punches.

You recently pledged to run a marathon. Is this your first one? What does training for that entail?
It’ll be my second full marathon. I’ve run six half marathons. PowerBar asked its influencers to pledge to complete a challenge. I used to be a runner in high school, but I don’t run as much anymore. Twenty-six miles really pushes you mentally so I decided to do that as my PowerBar challenge. My family lives in Hawaii now so I’m going to do the full marathon there in the fall.

To train, it’s a minimum of three days a week running, max of five days. I’ll also have to switch up my diet and calorie intake since I’ll be burning so many more calories from running.

When you’re not kicking butt in the gym, what do you do to wind down?
If I were in Los Angeles, I’d go to the beach. I love going to the beach and hiking. In New York, it’s hard to wind down. The city is literally the city that never sleeps. But, that said, I find time to meditate and go to red sauna rooms. I’m obsessed with coffee and will go chill at coffee shops, read a book, and get away from the craziness.

In what ways do you think boxing helps to empower women?
From what I’ve seen both training women and being around them, it makes them stronger both mentally and physically. They’re also so much more confident. In life, everyone’s fighting for something. I volunteered with a non-profit called The Ruby Project that supported young girls who had suffered from trauma and domestic violence. I taught basic self-defense skills, and it’s crazy how teaching a few basic things made them feel so much more empowered, no matter what they’d been through.

At the end of the day, it feels good to punch it out!