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Interview: Celebrity Trainer Ashley Borden


Interview: Celebrity Trainer Ashley Borden

Ashley Borden is a fitness and lifestyle consultant to some of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces and world-class athletes. She attributes her unique approach to fitness to having tackled her own personal struggles, transforming them into a positive philosophy and dynamic training program – making her one of the most sought-after experts in her field–just ask clients Christina Aguilera, Natasha Bedingfield, Mandy Moore and Ryan Gosling, New York Yankee Nick Swisherand, and UFC Champion Matt Hughes. Borden also works as a master trainer with fellow trainers and coaches. Her tips and techniques have been featured in InStyle, Vogue, Elle, Allure, Shapeand the Los Angeles Times, to name a few. Most recently she can be seen on The Cooking Channel’s Drop 5 Lbs as a co-host. She is also an advisor for and Fitness magazine. Women’s Health named Borden a top “Body Transformer” in 2011, one of only six trainers in the country. The Huffington Post recently declared her one of the top 20 fitness experts worth following on Twitter.  She’s also a featured expert on the Today Show, Rachael Ray, Discovery Health, the Tyra Banks Show, MTV, VH1, E! 

Interview with Ashley Borden

FG: When and why did you become a personal trainer?

AB: Well, I grew up in a fitness and health food world. My mom owned health food stores for 11 years and my father owned sporting goods stores. My mom was a marathon runner and my father was a triathlete. I was around fitness a lot. But I had a really bad eating disorder for many years. And the way I was training, in hindsight, was psychotic. In high school, I ended up going into treatment at Overeating Anonymous. While I was there, I had a huge epiphany. I realized that if I could get it together with food, I want to help people to understand that they have a lot more positive control of their body than they realize. They can have they bodies be healthy and lean by making better choices with their food and actions. As I got older, I started to have a real affinity for training and realized that was what I was meant to do. I got such satisfaction from helping people feel more connected to their own body and helping them discover their inner athlete.

FG: What are some attributes of your training style? 

AB: Whether you’re a celebrity, a professional athlete, mom, attorney or an assistant hairdresser–I train everyone the same. They’re all equal. It’s the same system with everyone. When I first meet a client, they take off their shoes and socks and roll up their pants. And I watch them stand. That alone tells me a ton about their body. I look at their feet because that is the foundation for the body. So for example, if they have flat feet, it tells me exactly where they are going to have problems with their mobility and their ability to maintain a squat position. I am a huge fan of “rolling out.” I have a PDF I created called “training systems”. It’s an amazing free guide that you can download on your phone or computer. Then we go through a full-body active warm up for 20 minutes and then I do a number of varied conditioning, strength and high intensity training. People really need to learn a lot of the movement patterns, first you get those down 100%. People really need to know how to push themselves out, pull themselves up, how to squat, how to reverse lunge, how to forward lunge–functioning movement patterns. They’re crucial to learn because that’s what you do all day long. I don’t understand training that does not involve functional movement patterns.

FG: That’s so interesting. What are functional movement patterns like in real life, exactly?

AB: Ok…so you see it in action for instance, when you’re on a plane and everyone is putting their bags in the overhead compartment and then you see some people struggling, most often women. That is a perfect example of functional movement patterns and why it’s essential to strengthen them.

FG: Amazing. So what what types of exercises would you recommend to strengthen those particular patterns?

AB: One would be an Olympic movement pattern called the” clean and jerk.”  Or you learn how to “dead lift” where you pick up something heavy from the floor and  bring it to your waist level or do heavy pressing over your head with dumbbells, handbag or medicine ball. Learning how to properly place something over your head with the right form and how to use your core is so important in life. People often injure themselves by not doing functional movement patterns properly… turning to get something from the back seat and throw their shoulder out.

FG: That’s so enlightening. 

AB: It’s funny, when you’re twenty you think about a six-pack, when you’re 30, you might think about your overall body and when you’re 40, you’re like…I just don’t want to fall apart!

FG: That’s so true! When you look in hindsight it’s interesting to think about how you viewed your fitness and health at different ages.

AB: My mom  is in the best shape of her life at 63.

FB: Wow! What’s her secret?

AB: My mom started lifting weights. She never lifted weights. She was only a runner. That’s something a lot of women don’t understand–weight training is crucial, especially as we get older. The reason why you need to push and pull heavier weights is that as females, it needs to be heavy enough for us to feel an exertion while we’re doing it,  in order for us to release growth hormones and testosterone which is what we need released to keep are core fats low. Growth hormones are what keep us very lean, strong and keeps our muscles from getting dense.  So when you don’t lift heavy enough, you don’t get the hormone release. So when you do types of training, like endurance training, high volume repetition with lighter weights, you are not burning nearly as many calories as you would  with a shorter work out with heavier weights…it offers way more intense training. [Tweet this fact: Reason women need to lift heavier weights: it releases growth hormones and testosterone that keep our bodies lean]

FG: So the key is heavier weights and less repetition?

AB: So here it is, going back to science…not a fad, but science: When you don’t have the exertion on your muscles with weights that are not heavy enough, if you not a little winded when your done, then it might not be strenuous enough. So high intensity interval training (HIIT) is way more effective because it’s done over a shorter period of time, more intensely during that time. It offers more calorie burn, more hormone release, and it’s good for your strength and bone density.

Next page -> Find out what Ashley recommends for a healthy lymphatic system!

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Kim Anthony
Kim Anthony is a fitness enthusiast and freelance writer. As an adjunct psychology professor, with extensive experience in counseling, she is an avid believer in the mind and body relationship and its connection to overall wellness. She enjoys pouring her passion for fitness and wellness into, a website that features fitness and nutrition tips, workouts, recipes and the latest fitness fashion. You can follow Fitness Galore on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Kim Anthony

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  • sierra

    I got the new workout DVD and I love it. I have three little kids so a good 20 minute workout is gold to me. Thanks Ashley!

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