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Oxygen: Congrats — a little late — on your 2014 Olympia win!
Ashley Kaltwasser: Thanks! I am the first two-time champion so that was a very special moment for me.
Oxygen: You seem to have dialed in your contest prep.
AK: Actually, I change it up all the time. I believe that prep should never be the same. This Olympia I only did a six-week prep. I came back from a vacation and hit it hard. I ran 5Ks every weekend to get into shape and peaked just in time.
Oxygen: How did you do in your races?
AK: I was kind of competitive! I even won a few over the summer, which I wasn’t expecting!
Oxygen: What is new coming up for you?
AK: I have a bunch of appearances and clinics lined up for this year, and I get to travel and see some fun new places, which is also exciting.
Oxygen: How do you maintain your training and nutrition when you travel?
AK: It’s hard, especially if you’re going somewhere like Australia where the time is so different and you’re so jet lagged. Some countries also restrict what kind of food you can bring in, so you have to adapt and make healthy choices when you’re eating out. As for training, I always bring a resistance band with me so even if I can’t find a gym I have something to train with. I’ve been known to grab two water bottles to use as weights, too – cliché but it works.
Oxygen: Is your training routine the same on season and off?
AK: The only thing that changes is my cardio. Off-season I don’t do any, but contest time I do three 15-minute HIIT sessions per week and I run 5Ks to get lean. I get a lot of cardiovascular work within my strength workouts with the pace I maintain as well as the plyometrics I incorporate. I just don’t do the machines off-season.
Oxygen: What kind of weights do you like to use?
AK: I switch things up all the time — sometimes I go heavy, sometimes lighter with higher reps. I also use advanced techniques a lot, and pretty much every workout do a superset or a giant set to boost intensity.
Oxygen:When is your next planned show?
AK: The 2015 Arnold then the Arnold Australia the week afterwards. (Editor’s note: Ashley made history with the first repeat win at the Bikini International!)
Oxygen: Good luck!
Ashley’s Top Nutrition Tips for Lean Abs and Tight Glutes
1. Unfortunately, we can’t pick and choose where to shed our body fat, and often the abs and glutes are the last places we lose it. Even for me, my butt is the last place to shape up when I am training for a competition. Just be consistent and don’t get discouraged.
2. Carbs are essential for building muscle. They are needed to repair and rebuild your tissue, so don’t cut them completely from your diet, even if you’re trying to get lean. After your workout is the ideal time to have a quick carb like cream of rice or fruit when it will be used immediately by your body rather than being stored.
3. I don’t like to train on an empty stomach, but I also don’t like to eat in the morning. So I use this trick to make sure I have some fuel and don’t become catabolic: I mix a scoop of protein powder in my coffee and drink it before my workout. That way I have some nutrients for my body to use and it doesn’t upset my stomach!
4. Keep track of the seemingly little calories you eat throughout the day because they can really add up. For instance, the creamer in your coffee, condiments like ketchup and barbecue sauce, a few bites of your kids’ french fries — things like that can make or break your nutrition plan if you’re having trouble.
5. Drink water, even if you don’t think you’re thirsty. Many times we mistake thirst for hunger and reach for food when we should just have a drink. Shoot for a gallon a day, if possible, to stay hydrated and on track with your program.