The woman who helped create Ryan Gosling‘s insanely killer bod speaks candidly to Celebuzz about a career training A-List talent; how she pushed the Gangster Squad star to peak physical condition — and how she once confiscated Christina Aguilera‘s mini bar.
Celebuzz: Training the gorgeous Ryan Gosling must be the best job in the industry. Was it as good as it sounds?
Ashley Borden: Ryan’s very consistent, he works hard. Yes, he’s got a very good body.
CB: What kind of food does Ryan eat?
AB: When I was training Ryan he was on a very high calorie diet. He was in the middle of bulking up for a movie role, you see. Ryan was eating, eating, eating, but he was eating whole foods. Good food from the ground, like real food! Oatmeal, protein, vegetables, fruit, as opposed to crap. Hamburgers every once in a while are fine. But Ryan was a clean eater!
CB: What film role he was bulking up for?
AB: Ryan was bulking up for a film is he was attached to about a wrestler. It was interesting to train him for that role because it wasn’t a role where he had to just look good with his shirt off, he had to look and perform like a sportsman. And his body had to withstand injury.
CB: Tell us about Ryan Gosling’s work-out regime?
AB: We were building Ryan’s movement patterns. So we go over your forward reverse lunges, I watch you do push-ups and pull-ups. What that means is I’m looking to see if you’re in your gluts, or anywhere, then we start a personalized training plan. I’d say Ryan is probably the most consistent with his training.
CB: Where does Ryan work out?
AB: We always worked out in a gym, when Ryan is in town he always goes to the same place. He has a number of trainers, he works with Aaron who is a super cool guy who does his strength training.
CB: How did you get Ryan in fighting shape?
AB: We would start with a full-body warm up and then we do what’s called ‘rolling out’, you roll out your whole body before you train with a foam roller. We’d do a lot of dumbbell work, lots of lifting, and then some reverse lunges. Ryan uses a lot of resistance bands, so he’s pulling on those, building up strength. The key to Ryan’s physique is core strength, so we’d do a lot of work on that—including wearing a weighted vest. He’d wear a 10lb-weighted vest while working out. He was being trained to be an athlete.
CB: How long did you work with him?
AB: It was for about six months, unfortunately the movie wasn’t made in the end.
CB: Does he get why people think he’s hot or does it baffle him…?
AB: Ryan’s an incredibly down to earth guy, he doesn’t act like a star—I mean, I’m working with him, so he acts like all of my clients, we get down to business, we sweat, I’d never ask about personal stuff.
CB: Tell us about the sweating!
AB: Yes, Ryan Gosling sweats when he works out! I hate to break it to you, but he’s a normal human being and he does sweat when he works out. He works hard in the gym, yes, he sweats his ass off!
CB: Does he get lots of admiring glances from onlookers when they’re working out?
AB: He likes to work out at the same place, it’s an LA gym where lots of celebrities and ‘industry people’ go, so he never gets mobbed. LA is too cool for that, it’s cooler to ignore a celebrity than ask for an autograph. It’s never happened.
CB: Was Christina Aguilera a diva to work with? We can’t imagine her sweating away in the gym…
AB: Christina is the hugest celebrity I ever worked with. I trained her from when she was 19 to 23. During the Stripped tour… At that time, we were just getting her in shape and putting on some muscle. Explaining nutrition to her in a way that she could absorb it was important, because at the time she…ate like a 13 year who’s parents were out of town!
CB: Where did you start with Christina?
AB: I just introduced her into eating healthier, but she was not interested! But she worked hard when she was on tour, and we were getting her ready for music videos and for tours. It was my job to manage her food…and drink. I ordered all the mini bars in the hotels to be cleared before she got to the hotel room. When she ordered room service—the kitchen was told me to check with me before delivering it.
AB: I take all the booze away from clients if I’m on the road with them. On tour, no client can order food without my knowing about it. I basically treat people the way I want to be treated and train the way I’d want to be trained.
CB: How did you get into the training business?
AB: Well, I grew up in a highly active, fitness health family. My mom owned health food stores, my dad owned sporting good stores, my mom was a marathon runner, and my dad was into athletics. I was into Jazz dancing growing up, but I always thought I was a terrible athlete. I moved to LA when I was a dancer at 18 or 19 and I was always into fitness, but I had a terrible eating disorder for many years, starting when I was about 8 years old and hit rock bottom in ’90.
CB: How did you recover your disorder?
AB: I went into treatment right before I graduated from high school. I decided I wasn’t going to die from my health, I was gonna die from my head. So that’s what I wanted to fix. When I got out of treatment I was acting. I had done commercial work and I had done stand up comedy too, but there was something missing, something to fill my soul and when I got out of treatment I realized training was what I want to do.
CB: You always read about female celebrities who claim they don’t work out, they just ‘walk their dog’ or ‘do a little yoga’. Is that true?
AB: Some people don’t train; there are some really lucky genetic celebrities…but no one I’ve worked with. To look like a celebrity you have to work hard. Halle Barry works the hardest. She was at Gold’s gym when I was at Gold’s gym. But Halle trains and I do know her and she looks amazing. And some celebrities do give props to the people they train with. I admit, I have worked with some people and they just say “something’s just shifted in my life,” and I’m like, ‘I practically lived at your house for six months!’ That’s what shifted!
CB: Did you always want to train celebrities?
AB: No! And most of my clients are regular people! I get 100’s of emails a year from trainers all over the world asking me how to train celebrities and I usually say, ‘you should find another profession, because you go into training because you want to help people.’ It’s true though, my celebrity business helps the rest of my business…but remember celebrities, they’re not any different than us.
CB: What makes you different to other trainers?
AB: I specialize in Myofascial release, which is sexier than it sounds. I use a foam roller to give a deep tissue massage. You roll out your whole body before you train. The rolling out opens up your muscles and provides you with more blood flow in general… So like your quads, you can do your IT bands… This is the prep for everybody. The rolling out is really good for reducing cellulite. Because some women don’t care about mobility, they just want to get rid of their cellulite.
CB: Do your friends think you have the best job in the world?
AB: Sometimes. But I’m not bowled over by celebrities; I was only bowled over by Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer! He worked with my dogs… It was like I met Jesus!
No changes are to be made to this player
What’s your favorite thing about Gosling? Sound off in the comments section below.