Rock Star Bikini
Meet Ashley Kaltwasser 3x Bikini Olympia Champion
Photographer Dave Laus
The Ms. Olympia Bikini competition might look like it is built on glitz and glamour. Bright lights and gorgeous women with gorgeous smiles dominate the stage to show compact and composed physiques. In heels, nonetheless. But make no mistake. This is a serious competition made of serious athletes with one agenda: to win.
The level of training and the mental fortitude required to master this particular physique is intense. The focus on nutrition leaves very little room for cheats. To become a national level competitor on the IFBB Ms. Olympia Bikini stage requires dedication, extreme effort and a truly competitive spirit. It is a big accomplishment to win the title.
Ashley Kaltwasser is the three-time Bikini Olympia Champion and two-time Bikini International Champion. Suffice it to say, she knows what it takes.
One could say that she has always been on track to be a champion. Starting at the tender age of four, she had an interest in sports that was fostered by her supportive parents who encouraged her to try new things. Her first venture in sports was with gymnastics, where she discovered that she had a natural gift for athletics. As she got older it became track and field, where she uncovered her competitive nature.
“I have always been a super competitive athlete,” she says. “I ran track on a scholarship throughout college, my event was the 400 Meter Hurdles. Once my college track days were over, I was going CRAZY knowing that I wasn’t training or competing in something. I discovered the NPC Bikini Competitions and was hooked from my first show! The rest is history.”
Ashley turned pro in 2011 and has been practically unstoppable ever since. She felt that this particular style of competition—bikini—fit her body type as well as her personality. So she set her mind to it and began the rigorous training required to become a champion. After the first year of competing she had a number of first place wins under her belt. By the second year, she was a rising force to be reckoned with. By 2013, she became the first rookie to ever win the Ms. Bikini Olympia title. She then amazed the bodybuilding world by taking it two more times, consecutively.
“I was not expecting to win. In fact, I told everyone if I got into the top 10 that would be beyond amazing and I would be the happiest girl in the world. Not only did I meet my goals, but I exceeded my expectations. It’s like a Cinderella story and I could not believe that it was actually real! I was so overwhelmed with emotion when they called my name that I cried out of pure happiness,” she says.
Her dedication to her sport is obvious. But there is so much more involved in becoming a champion than one could imagine; it isn’t just the physique, but also poise, stance and grace. The judges even look at the competitors’ skin tone and complexion. Kaltwasser puts in serious hours staying on top of her training and her nutrition for all of these important reasons.
“I incorporate a lot of variety into my workout routines. This includes plyometrics, weight lifting and cardio training. I am always changing my routine so that I am not bored and my body doesn’t adapt,” she confides. “My nutrition is also extremely important. It is a big factor in body composition.”
This rigorous routine stays consistent six days a week; four days a week, she doubles up on cardio workouts. This level of discipline makes it important to keep an element of fun into mix, which is one important reason that she constantly mixes it up. Sometimes she will even run a 5K, just to keep it fun.
But when it is time to start prepping for competition, Kaltwasser gets even more serious. She focuses on what motivates her to strive to be multiple-Olympia winner and digs into an even deeper level of focus. She never skips or cheats as she is prepping her body to peak at competition, staying at 100% a hundred percent of the time. And if she doesn’t feel like facing multiple workouts, or eating super clean, she thinks about how she would feel if she cheated herself from this opportunity.
“The guilt of skipping a workout is much worse for me than the workout that I’d have to endure,” she says. “That helps motivate me to get through it.”
The same holds true of her daily nutritional plan. Ashley eats super clean, and rarely cheats. She tries to stay only five pounds out from her on stage competition weight. This means that her diet is a critical factor of her training. During prep, she stays with high protein staples such as turkey, chicken, steak, Greek Yoghurt, cottage cheese and beef jerky. She keeps the carbs low and focuses on good complex carbohydrates to support her training such as oats, brown rice, whole grain breads, and sweet potatoes.
Your No-Excuse Workout
This is a full body workout, keeping heart rate up for maximum fat burning while challenging your muscles.
Low Plank Rollouts on Stability Ball
This exercise works the entire core band around your torso, and promotes spinal health.
12-14 reps, 3-5 sets
A regression of this exercise is to perform the same movements from a kneeling position. A more advanced progression is to perform circular movements on the ball from position A, “stir the pot,” for 12 reps clockwise and 12 reps counterclockwise.
Single Leg Hip Extension on Stability Ball
This exercise can be done anywhere; all you need is a stability ball. This exercise targets the hamstrings while providing function.
3. 10-12 reps, 3-5 sets
Ensure that the foot in contact with the ball is flat and stable before performing a rep. Engage the glutes before performing the hip extensions and squeeze at the top of each rep, then lower slowly with control. A regressed version of this exercise can be performed on a more stable surface such as a bench or step.
Single Leg Pistol Squat with Stability Ball
This exercise can be done anywhere, all you need is a stability ball. This hip dominant exercise forces maximal muscle recruitment while providing function.
3. 10-12 reps, 3-5 sets
To regress this exercise, increase the stability of the ball by putting it up against a solid surface such as a wall.
Advance Plank Modification
This exercise can be done anywhere, no equipment is required. This static plank develops a very strong and rigid core safely because there is no flexion of the spine.
Hold high plank for 1minute, then extend and hold out each arm for 45 seconds each. Take a 30 second break and repeat for a total of 3 sets.
To regress this exercise decrease the time of the arm extension until your core is strong enough to perform the prescribed protocol.
Born: November 22, 1988
Birthplace: Akron, Ohio
Residence: Akron, Ohio
Weight: 124 lbs