With over 45,000 hours of personal training experience, fitness guru Ashley Borden certainly knows a thing or two on the competitive, health-forward industry. Her previous celebrity clientele has included Ryan Gosling and Christina Aguilera to Mandy Moore and Taio Cruz, plus she’s also a featured trainer on E!’s Revenge Body with Khloé Kardashian and The Kelly Clarkson Show. But beyond HIIT workouts, Ashley also dabbles in the wellness sector, offering immersive five-star retreats with luxury resorts across the nation. We speak to the expert on her background, how to kickstart fitness and what she looks for in a wellness retreat.
Could you tell us about yourself and how you got into fitness? I’ve been around fitness and health my entire life. My parents were ahead of their time with my mother owning her own health food store and my father having his own sporting goods store, both in the suburbs of Illinois in the ’80s. Ironically, I had a raging eating disorder growing up and hit bottom at 18. I entered a 12-step programme (OA) and my relationship with food and exercise completely changed.
I started working with clients who also wanted to have better relationships with their bodies and food and so, my business began. Fast forward 45,000 hours of training clients later, my career and brand have reached over 167 countries, cultivated over 10 million “how to” views on YouTube, curated and executed numerous private and semi-private 5-star retreats, and most recently can be seen on The Kelly Clarkson Show changing bodies and lives.
You’ve run many five-star retreats across the US. Could you tell us more about this and what retreats you are currently working on? I privately consult with hotels on streamlining fitness retreats, elevating and integrating wellness and fitness into events and/or consulting on their current programmes and how to level up.
You’ve worked with celebrity clients from Christina Aguilera to Ryan Gosling. How do you personalise programmes for your clients? Every person’s programme is based on what happens from the arch of their feet up. I assess every person’s biomechanics. Based on strengths, weaknesses, tightness, lack of mobility/hyper-mobility, conditioning and mindset, I create the programme and appropriate level of challenge for that individual as our starting point. As the person gets stronger and fitter, so does the appropriately scaled challenge of the workouts—celebrity or not.
You were also a featured trainer on Khloe Kardashian’s E! Revenge Body show. Are these body transformational shows motivation for those looking to kick start their journey in fitness? Absolutely! The show is actually so well done my participants work like the bosses they are! A 50lb weight loss and a 40lb weight gain is serious business. When I watched the show I bawled my eyes out watching my own episodes! True story.
What are your top favourite retreats? My boyfriend and I pick places where we can bring our small rescue pups Diego and Barb. I love dry heat so we lounge and relax in Palm Springs or Arizona weather.
What do you look for in a wellness retreat? I personally like to create my own experiences so I want to have an a la carte selection of services if I check into a hotel or spa. I love love love mountains and nature, so I prefer the surrounding environment to be green, desert, on the water or just quiet. I also love all things body scrub!