Featured 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. Borden’s ability to customize her training system, coupled with her sharp wit and candor, suits many types of high profile clients from Christina Aguilera, Natasha Bedingfield, Mandy Moore and Ryan Gosling, to the likes of New York Yankee Nick Swisherand UFC Champion Matt Hughes. Borden also works as a master trainer with fellow trainers and coaches. Her tips and techniques have been featured inInStyle, 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 Livestrong.com 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 own health food stores for 11years and my father owned sporting good 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 meant to do. I got such a satisfaction from helping people feel way more connected with their own body and helping them discover their inner athlete.

FG: I love that concept! Do you believe most people have an inner athlete? 
AB: Yeah, it’s not even necessarily that someone doesn’t have it. It’s all in the coaching. For example, I just starting working with an individual that’s former trainer was incredibly verbally abusive to her which resulted in her being really down on herself and not being fully aware of her capabilities. As a trainer, you should be humble and open, being receptive to what your client needs, adapting your approach to accommodate  their needs.

FG: That’s wonderful. Spotlighting their strengths versus their weaknesses!  What are other attributes of your training style? 

AB: Well, it’s  funny, 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’re flat foot, 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 that is complimentary. It’s on my site under “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-high intensity training. It all depends on how often I see somebody, what they need specifically with their body, whether corrective work etc.. People really need to learn a lot of the movement patterns, you get those down100% and then I scale on top of that. People really need to know how to push themselves out, pull themselves up, how to squat, how to reverse lunge, how to forward lunge. Picking things up off the floor putting them over your head…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. I want to hear more..

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: There so many ways…..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. There are so many variations of things you can do, but that’s why learning how to properly place something over your head with the right form and how to use your core is so important in life. That’s how 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. It’s wonderful how you incorporate functional movement patterns into your training!

AB: It’s funny, when your 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 funny and so true! When you look in hindsight it’s interesting to think about how you viewed your fitness and health at different ages.You also find yourself thinking about or considering how your body will change as you get older and what you can do now to positively impact those inevitable changes.

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 only was a runner. That’s something a lot of women don’t understand that it’s critical for us, especially as we get older..the reason why you need to push heavier weights and pull heavier weights is because 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 are 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.

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 a shorter period of time, way more intense training during that time, more calorie burn, more hormone release and it’s good for your strength and bone density.

FG: That’s so true! I don’t think a lot of people realize how important bone density is and the important role it plays in our overall abilities, strength and injury prevention, especially as it pertains to our ever evolving and aging bodies. I had experienced an injury running on concrete several months ago..

AB: Concrete is terrible!

FG:  I know! I usually run on the treadmill or softer terrain…but decided to run in the neighborhood..a big mistake for me. Ashley it did a number on my knee! Had to change my whole work out, doing swimming and cycling…

AB: You know what else you would like and that I highly recommend to my clients that have injuries.. is rebounding. It’s like a mini trampoline. I have more information on my website and a link.  Rebounding has been around since the 70’s. NASA has done studies about rebounding and the effectiveness of exercising on a trampoline versus running and what studies have shown is that you get a bigger calorie burn with rebounding. The rebounder is not your traditional trampoline. It’s a smaller and sturdier surface, so your ankles and feet don’t collapse while your jumping on it. It’s important to use the best quality because you can really injure yourself on a bad rebounder. I highly recommend Bellicon rebounder. Rebounding has no stress on your joints and ligaments, helps to prevent Osteoporosis. It helps to activates  all your muscles so it activates your metabolic system immediately and it’s fun. It’s really excellent for your lymphatic system. Your lymphatic system is one of the only valves in your body that opens and closes with gravity and movement. So for instance running is excellent for your lymphatic system, but can be hard on your body. Jumping rope is  also be great for your lymphatic system, but for some people it can be hard on your joints. So the rebounder is awesome because it only requires a small space…you can even do it in front of the t.v. It’s travel friendly. I often throw it in my car and take it to my clients homes. You can use it inside and outside. You can run in place or high knees. You can do jumping jacks. I have a new series of YouTube videos that feature a variety of different workouts you can do on the rebounder (see below).

Watch Ashley’s amazing Rebounder “Ab Rock” video
View all of her Rebounder Workout Series on Youtube!


Click here to view Ashley ” Ab Rock” video
FG: That’s great to know. I’ll definitely be sharing your series with our readers! Do you have other things you think our readers might be interested in utilizing? 

AB: Yes, I have over free 40 videos available through my site. They’re all accessible on my videos page.  In-home workouts, and workouts for the gym.  All types of workouts.

FG: Terrific! Thanks for letting us know! Obviously, you’ve been quite busy. With that said, what’s next for Ashley?

AB:  Well, I plan on launching my retreats again.

FG: Congratulations!

AB: I’ll be doing my “rolling out and rebounding” combo. We’ve narrowed down the location to Los Angeles area. We’re in the process of selecting a hotel,  it will definitely be by the beach…..Also working on filming my latest DVD. Always training, making appearances on shows and consulting.

FG: Okay it’s official…you’re amazing! We appreciate your hard work and dedication to helping people get,stay and live fit. We thank you for sharing such wonderful tips, information and your insight with us. Please keep us posted on your new projects.

Visit Ashley’s website: www.ashleyborden.com

Interviewed by: K. Anthony