RRD: Firstly, thank you for making time to speak to us about your sport and passion. What got you interested in competing as a Bikini athlete?
Ashleigh Frost: I was always sporty at school, I played netball in high school, first team for the last 3 years, swam throughout my entire school career. I did sprints and relay as well as long jump and high jump. I was also doing at home gym sessions before school with my mom at our small home gym. When I left school I missed my sport so much that I decided to join a gym to do the classes for the atmosphere. I was taken under the wing of a consultant studying o be a personal trainer and he started training me, 2 years went passed and I heard of a thing called Body Beautiful which was a Fitness show and being a dancer, the idea of being on stage was just a no-brainer. So I decided to prep (with very little knowledge) and did my first bikini line-up in 2009 where I only placed 8th out of 32 girls.
RRD: How do you keep motivated?
Ashleigh Frost: Contrary to popular belief (and social media), lol, I also have days and even weeks where I find my motivation is lacking, It is usually, ironically, during these times I receive messages from random people just saying Thank you to me for being such an inspiration and how certain posts I have made have helped them when I wasn’t even aware of it. Moments like these make me realise that there is always someone watching, especially since I have worked my way up into my position. So even though there are days where I might not feel motivated, I always take a moment and think about the fact that there is always someone else that might need my strength more than I do.
RRD: Who is your fitness idol?
Ashleigh Frost: I have a few, I believe that each of them embody different ideals and characteristics that appeal to me. A few are Jamie Eason, Michelle Lewin, Mike O Hearn and Mike Rashid. These individuals are incredible examples in their own right of hard work, persistence and consistency. What sticks out mos of all is their humility and love and passion for the sport and helping others, not just their own success and fame.
RRD: What for you is the most important part of your fitness regime?
Ashleigh Frost: I believe that the sum of the parts are crucial to the whole in the sense that they all work together to yield optimal results. You need to train and eat correctly for that ultimate look you are striving for but personally for me, nutrition is the most important part of my regime for me. I have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and I have to make sure that I keep my insulin levels up and sustain them to get me through my day as well as multiple workouts.
RRD: What is your average day of training like?
Ashleigh Frost: My training usually depends on where I am with my goals and whether I am prepping for a show or just maintaining. If I am prepping I would usually go in first thing and do my cardio on an empty stomach, we call this fasted cardio. I would then go eat and rest for an hour or 2 and then do an hour of stretching (this includes some yoga based stretched as well as foam rolling and rehab if I need any). I will then carry out my usual day and get to do my lift session a few hours later or later in the evening depending on my schedule.
If I am not prepping for a show then I combine my cardio (which will be much less in terms of time spent) with my lift session in the evenings. If I am prepping for something like a photoshoot I will then revert to show like prep but not necessarily as intensive.
My lift sessions are usually broken up over a 4 or 5 day split. I train select muscle groups in isolation and then one day is a full body plyometric session.
RRD: What is the highlight of your career thus far?
Ashleigh Frost: I would definitely say winning my first Pro show in 2015 in Canada and then defending that title in 2016, making me the first bikini girl ever from SA to ever win 2 International Pro titles although there have been many highlights in the last 17 shows I have done in the last 4 years so It is difficult to pinpoint one specific highlight. Each show and experience has a memory and a pinnacle moment attached to them.
RRD: What are your aims for the rest of the year?
Ashleigh Frost: Currently I am just working on improving my weak points and trying some new disciplines to add to my fitness regime. I have no plans to compete in 2017 but will definitely be on stage in 2018. I Would like to use this year to focus on my brand and up-skilling myself as a coach and trainer.
RRD: What was it like competing in Las Vegas? What was the biggest difference for you as a competitor?
Ashleigh Frost: Vegas was an absolute incredible experience. My first Vegas show was at the Fitness America Pageant in 2012 where I won the body round and placed 2nd overall. I then went on to compete a s a Pro in the WBFF in 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Vegas and every time the experience was just mindblowing. Competing internationally definitely opens your eyes to the big world of fitness and competing as well as the level of competitiveness. The calibre of athletes abroad is just insane. I definitely think it helped me from the get-go to get out of a “local” mentality and focus my goals on that level having seeing and experienced it first-hand. I believe being exposed to so many international athletes was a big factor in helping me stay driven and achieve international results.
RRD: How important is nutrition in your training?
Ashleigh Frost: Nutrition is of utmost importance for me. I like to think of the human body as a vehicle. It has parts and components that need certain things to function. Just like a car needs oil and water and so on to function optimally, so too does the body. If you are giving your body the correct fuel as well as enough of it, it can only benefit you as an athlete and optimise your performance in the training sphere.
RRD: You’re sponsored by 1UpNutrition – how important are these supplements to you and what supplements do you use?
Ashleigh Frost: Supplementation is imperative to me as a professional athlete. 1UpNutrition has blown me away with their incredible quality and flavors. Their Pre-workout for ladies, the Chocolate and Peanut Butter Blast Whey protein as well as the “make her Lean” fat burner is my favorite to stack at this moment. I also use the BCAA’s intra and post-workout. The Pre-workout is probably my favorite at this stage because it gives me the energy and stamina I need to get through my workouts without the crash.
RRD: You’re a personal trainer and nutritionist in your own right, what is your favourite part of the job?
Ashleigh Frost: The best part for me is seeing the responses from my clients when they tell me they feel amazing or they fit in to their favorite pair of jeans again. The small things that make a woman feel confident and sexy and for the guys you see their confidence lifting. When my clients start to walk more upright and not hunched over, when they get excited over coming to their sessions or hearing compliments from random strangers. My goal is to help my clients realise that the hard work, sacrifices, time and effort they put in can NEVER be taken away from them.
RRD: Where did the interest in fitness and health step from?
Ashleigh Frost: I was always active and as mentioned before, had to, from a young age (14), be wary of my nutrition intake because I could have developed diabetes if I didn’t. So when I started weight training, my nutrition was already pretty good and so I saw results within 6 months. When I started to love my body changing shape I started to love looking after myself even more. I loved how great I felt after pushing myself through an intense workout and I also loved being sore the next day. I loved it so much that I just wanted to share the endorphins and feel-good euphoria with everyone else so I started developing a love and passion for wanting them to feel good and enjoy the benefits as well.
RRD: You are open about your struggles with self-esteem in your past, how has being involved with fitness helped you overcome this?
Ashleigh Frost: I believe that if it wasn’t for those exact struggles I never would have moved in the direction I did. As a young teenager I struggled tremendously with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy. I fell to the pressures of social norms and became a victim of eating disorders. I was blessed enough that it never got to a crucial physical breaking point but the biggest struggle was in my mind. When I started the training in the gym and started seeing the results I started to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. I started to realise that all this hard work is paying off and no one could take it away from me. So I started to channel any negativity I would experience into looking after myself. I figured if I am ok then anything around me cannot affect me as much. I started to respect myself and my body and what it was actually capable of. The more it responded to me looking after it, the more fascinated I became with the human body. Alot of people always say that I have always been lucky because I have always been a small person but the truth is that, even though I came from the other end of the scale I still struggled, it took me a long long time to get my mind right and to start appreciating and loving my body for the incredible vehicle that it is…So a couple of shows later and about 10kg’s of muscle in 10 years of training, I can honestly say that turning to fitness literally saved my life. If I can help even just one young lady to learn to love and respect herself enough to look after her health and her body then I am happy. Fitness completely changed my life, it gave me confidence, self worth and allowed me to be the girl I always knew I was. Fitness helped me crawl out of my shell and allowed me the ability to be more comfortable with speaking to people in general and share the valuable knowledge I have learnt.
RRD: What advice would you give any young ladies looking at getting involved with Body Building?
Ashleigh Frost: The first thing I would tell any new young girl wanting to compete, is to give herself at least 2 years of correct training and eating as well as learning before she steps on any stage. There are no shortcuts to a great physique and if you want to do it with longevity then take your time. There will ALWAYS be shows so you will not miss out, it is not worth risking your health for a trophy. I would rather tell a new athlete to put the work in and step on stage with a physique and mindset that’s strong enough to win and keep excelling without falling off the way, than throw a newbie into prep for 12 weeks and onto stage and then have all the insecurities, uncertainties and possible disappointments that follow a hasty decision. This can be a very consuming sport if you don’t have the right guidance and go in with the right reasons for doing it. So the most important thing for me would be to guide new girls/ladies this way rather than just throwing them on stage.
RRD: What for you makes your sport so rewarding?
Ashleigh Frost: As I mentioned before, no one can take the hours of work and the moments of sacrifice from you. There are many people that don’t understand the “sport” in terms of the sacrifices required in the diet and hours in the gym etc, at the end of the day I always tell everyone it is not for others to understand, if it’s important to you then the right people will support you regardless of your reasons. For me the sense of accomplishment comes when I see the results but most of all when I have random people come up to me or send me messages thanking me for being a role model or for inspiring them or even helping them through a difficult time with a single post that I may have made on social media. I do what I do because it makes me happy and I love doing it, and if in that process I manage to reach others that are struggling with the same things I struggled with or anything they may struggle with, that is most rewarding.