Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lauren Ashby Interview

I have long said that Lauren Ashby is the owner of one of my favorite physiques in the industry. Her physique on stage is a display of great conditioning and symmetry, highlighted by great abs. Laure is taking this year off, both to let some injuries heal and to focus on getting her personal training business going. After a year off to make improvements, Lauren is going to be someone to watch out for in 2013.

Q: First, can you talk about how you got started in the gym?
A: When I stopped swimming competitively when I was seventeen, I started going to the gym and lifting weights. It was just a hobby for me to do in place of swimming, and I kind of got hooked on it from there.

Q: When you first started, would you have ever imagined it would get to the point it is now?
A: No, I never thought I would actually make a career out of it or end up competing. It really was just a hobby to start with, just something to stay in shape and then I got bit by the working out and fitness bug.

Q: What led you to competing?
A: It really started when I moved to New York City from the Washington D.C. area. Its pretty big here and a lot of the guys at the gym where I worked were really into it and convinced me to train for my first show. So it was a lot of encouragement from the other trainers at the gym.

Q: I have often said you have one of my favorite physiques. To me, what stands out is your abs and conditioning, would you agree?
A: Yeah, I think the conditioning started with swimming, I developed a pretty good v-taper, and most of us have strong cores just from being in the water. So those are the areas I have the least trouble getting into stage shape. It was leg strength and muscle that was a struggle.

Q: Many people say they wish they had abs, would you have any tips for people?
A: Everyone has abs, its just a matter of getting rid of the layer on top, if that's the problem, which it is for most people. It is seventy to eighty percent what you are eating. If you clean up your eating, your abs really do change drastically.

Q: When I see your stage pictures, I never see you without a smile. I that a reflection of how you generally are?
A: It depends day to day. I am a pretty happy person. I live in New York, I guess we don't walk around and smile all day here. When I am on stage I am super happy, it is a release and exciting to be up there so it comes naturally.

Q: You aren't competing this year, why is that?
A: Well, I just found out yesterday I have a tear in my hip. I am dealing with a couple injuries and have been for a long time. Its a matter of I was ignoring them, but I have pinched nerves in my back and tears in my hip and I am getting a bit older and have to listen to my body and rest. I cant do the kind of workouts that I would like to do for my lower body because my back wont allow it right now. So I won't get on stage if I cant train the way I like to train. I am also busy building my personal training business. Living in the City you have to go after it. Its expensive here and highly highly competitive here. Things are on a roll and I don't wanna stop the roll. I am also spending time traveling and experiencing different cultures. I don't want to travel and train and diet at the same time.

Q: What do you enjoy about training others?
A: Its great to be able to get people to actually enjoy fitness, try different things and get outside their comfort zone. They might not love it everyday, but its great for them to do something they never thought they could do. Introducing different kinds of ways to work out or look at their diets and nutrition. I also enjoy working with post rehab clients, I have quite a few people with injuries. Its nice for them to be able to get up off the floor without pain.

Q: Some trainers only do the training and some only do the nutrition, do you do everything?
A: I am open to doing everything. I customize according to the person. Some people are resistant to the nutrition side of it, they don't wanna hear diet. I feel them out and make suggestions. Then other people want a complete overhaul, so if that's the case, I am happy to do both. I got certified in both training and nutrition, so I have enough knowledge to guide them in nutrition.

Q: For people new to training why is it important to look for a new trainer and what should they do?
A: I think you have to research. There are a lot of great great trainers out there and there are a lot of not so great trainers. People tend to develop relationships with people and don't realize their trainer is not so good. Ask around, ask for referrals, I've done interviews with people before they sign on with me. I think its important to do research and get with someone knowledgeable.

Q: If someone wanted to contact you, how can they do that?
A: I have a website, www.trainingwithlauren.com. All of my contact info is on there, and my email and a little bit about me and my background.

Q: When you are at the gym, is there a question or comment you would call the most ridiculous you have heard?
A: That's a tough one. The gym I am at now is pretty no nonsense so there isn't a whole lot of that going on. You can tell when people come up and ask a question but are really just looking at you. Its more the uncomfortable eye contact or looks than the comments I think. I don't workout with headphones on because I find music to be distracting when I am lifting, so I think that makes me more approachable, so people tend to come up or speak because I don't have things in my ears.

Q: With the eye contact, some can block it out and some can't, are you able to?
A: Yeah, I can completely. I have done it long enough I don't even make eye contact with people. I am there to workout and then have to leave so I don't have time for socializing.

Q: If you compete next year, are there any improvements you want to make?
A: Yeah, I need to put some roundness on my shoulders. I have very very long arms so my arms tone up nicely but my shoulders are just there. I am just thinner in the shoulder and delt area. I am always working on my legs and glutes, keep everything tight and lean.

Q: With physique starting, would you consider that?
A: No, I will stick with figure. It would be difficult to put that amount of muscle on my frame. I am kind of taller and lose muscle pretty easily on top. So I am good with figure.

Q: Anyone you want to thank or mention?
A: There are so many people in this little fitness community that I have become friends with. I have always done NPC shows and people in the community here are great. Its nice to have people to turn to and help out.

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