05/17/2013 11:28 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Beauty and Strength From the Inside Out: Clutch by Ashley Conrad

As a makeup artist I've long been devoted to keeping faces -- including my own! -- in shape. The power of a flawless face is undeniable and people of all ages go to great lengths to perfect their skin, employing makeup artistry, the latest skin care potions and treatments and plastic surgery to make the most of and maintain what they've got.

In building my beauty empire, I confess that I didn't always take the time to treat my body with such care. Constant travel, less than four hours sleep a night, and the stress and energy involved in running a global beauty brand has at times, really taken a toll on my health. As I've gotten older I've been forced to accept that I need to put in a lot more time, thought, and ownership when it comes to my body. And while I've long believed that beauty comes from within, I've been focused more on channeling that through confidence, self belief, and a sense of empowerment than a strong sense of physical health and well being. Over the last few years I've definitely shifted my focus from the external to the internal; that shift is largely due to the influence of my dear friend, Ashley Conrad. While Ashley is known around Hollywood and beyond for her expertise in helping Bradley Cooper, Kate Hudson, P. Diddy and Penelope Cruz both transform and maintain their incredible physiques, it's Ashley's holistic approach to building a strong and healthy body that has catapulted her to the top of lists like "100 Most Influential People Under 30."

Ashley grew up far removed from the Hollywood scene in Carmel, CA. She played basketball at USC and studied Performance Nutrition and Exercise while developing the skills and knowledge that would soon land her on the speed dials of professional athletes, A-list celebs and corporate types for her ability to transform a body in just seven days. At the age of 24 she dropped out of med school to develop her own business known as Clutch: a revolutionary approach to conditioning the human body. Having seen the fitness industry from the inside, she knew she had to do something to evolve the way we approach internal health and fitness.

The key elements of the Clutch program developed as an adverse reaction to advice that Ashley was force fed as a competitive athlete. She set out to develop an entirely fresh approach to fitness and nutrition based on science instead of marketing hype with an inspired nutrition plan based on quality food and supplements. Clutch debunks the theory that shunning carbs and fat is the key to developing the body you want. Instead the program focuses on cutting out substances that have a negative impact on how the body functions such as chemicals, toxic stimulants, gluten and processed carbs to name a few. In addition to her nutrition plan, Ashley's developed a line of 100 percent natural supplements to help boost the metabolism, detox the body of harmful substances and maximize energy levels.

I owe a great deal to Ashley as she has taught me so much about nutrition and fitness and has inspired me to be a lot more responsible when it comes to my health and what I put into my body. As a result, I've never felt more alive, more energetic or inspired. Who would have thought that a celebrity trainer would teach me that fitness isn't about six-pack abs, monastic diets, or chasing an unrealistic number when it comes to body fat. It's really about divining those deep reserves of inner strength and commitment and the drive to become your best possible self to live a healthier life. I know I'm far happier and healthier since Ashley landed in my life.