About Stride Elite

Ashley Cooper is a certified personal trainer and strength, speed & conditioning coach. A native of Fort Walton Beach, Cooper attended Fort Walton Beach High School where he quickly excelled in soccer and football. He was a member of the U.S. International Soccer team and U.S Youth Soccer ODP (Team Florida). In 1995, he helped lead his football team to winning the 5A State Championship.

He attended Mississippi State University where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Fitness Management while further honing his athleticism as a defensive back for the MSU Bulldogs. A Jim Thorpe Award Candidate and Conerly Award finalist, Cooper’s hard-hitter intensity on the field contributed to Bulldog history with the team earning SEC Western Division title in 1998 and #1 ranked defense in the country in 1999. In that same year, he was voted All-American and first-team All-SEC.

After a brief stint in the NFL, Cooper was impassioned to share his 12+ years of on-the-field experience and in 2004 embarked on a full-time career as a personal trainer. His early years as a trainer led him to Orlando and then back to his stomping grounds of Mississippi, but it was the Emerald Coast that eventually called him home in 2008 where he now trains at Destin Health & Fitness Club.

Outside the gym, Cooper exercises his passion for sports-specific athletic training by implementing strength & conditioning programs for area high schools.


How long have you been a trainer?
I’ve been a certified personal trainer for nine years. 

What inspired you to create STRIDE Elite?
To share my passion of training and experience of competing with area youth. As a youth, I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a great team of coaches that raised the bar for training. It put me at an advantage when I got to college and I was grateful for it. STRIDE Elite is a platform for me to give back and pass it on…I think this area has an unbelievable number of rising young athletes that have the potential to do great things.

Is there any particular attitude you adopt to motivate the young athletes you train?
Get it done. Whatever it takes, just find a way to get it done.

Which professional athletes do you enjoy watching?
I have several but some of my favorites that stand out are Ray Lewis, Kobe Bryant, Ashley Cole, Brett Favre, Lionel Messi, Danica Patrick, Hope Solo, and Serena Williams.

Which professional athlete do you most identify with?
Rodney Harrison and Brian Dawkins

Who is your favorite college team?
My Bulldogs! Mississippi State University.

Best piece of advice a past coach gave you?
Well, there were many, but one of the life lessons that were given to me by one of my college coaches was to always expect the unexpected in life. He also talked a lot about the importance of doing what you love for a living. His words have stuck with me through the years. That regardless of what you do in life, make sure you do something that you enjoy.

What words or phrases do you most overuse?
“You gotta ATTACK it!” 

What is your idea of a perfect day?
Lounging at the beach with my feet in the sand…just listening to the surf, soaking it all in.

What do you consider your greatest achievement to date?
My daughter Alexandria

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