Ashley Kurtenbach Interview
Ashley Kurtenbach is a NPC Bikini competitor, sponsored athlete, and published fitness author. Get an inside look to her diet and training in this exclusive interview.
I believe in living a healthy and active lifestyle, while being an inspiration and motivating others in fitness. There is one life to live, it’s important to live it to the fullest and take advantage of every day and every opportunity.
How did you get started in fitness and training?
My interest in competing really peaked after dancing as a Skyleader for 2 seasons with the local NBA-D league basketball team (Sioux Falls Skyforce), and I was ready for the next thing in life, the next opportunity, more importantly the next CHALLENGE.
I have always had an interest in fitness, I like to think of my body as a machine and having the ability to change it with certain tweaks, all around fitness and nutrition intrigue me. When I was dancing for the Skyforce, I learned a lot about my body and really started to take my fitness and nutrition to another level.
Then I started reading up on competing and thought, “Yeah, let’s do it!” After contacting my coach/trainer and friend Brandan Fokken, Bodybuilding.com Athlete, he thought I had the determination and discipline to take on the challenge of competing in the Bikini Division.
With his guidance combined with my hard work and determination, he took me to the level of fitness we all search for, your absolute peak. It paid off when I took 1st in my bikini class and the “Overall” at the 2012 NPC Upper Midwest and 1st in my class at the 2012 NPC Gopher State Classic. Then qualifying for nationals it was time to do work, and I competed at my first national show, the 2012 Team Universe in New Jersey; it was rewarding to receive 11th in my class and looking the best I ever had to date.
I am still training hard for my next competition and can’t wait to see what the future holds as I pursue to make an impact within the fitness industry while inspiring and motivating others.
What are your short and long term fitness goals?
Short–term: Continue to improve my physique daily/weekly and I always look forward to my next competition and give it my all, my absolute best.
Long-term: I want to compete to obtain my IFBB Pro Card in Bikini and someday be able to compete with some of the top competitors in the industry, all while continuing to push myself and take my fitness to the next level.
Short/Long term: Every day I will continue to motivate others to live a healthy and active lifestyle, be a fitness role model to all people, and show anyone that fitness can be a part of your life.
What workout routine has worked best for you?
• Leg press 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Ball wall squat with weight 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Leg extension 3 sets (15-12-10)
• Sumo squat 3 sets (15-12-10)
• Standing hamstring curl “on leg extension machine” 4 sets (15-12-10-15)
• Seated hamstring curl 4 sets (15-12-10-15)
• Calf raise on leg press 4 x 15
• Bent knee calf raise 3 x 12
• Inner thigh machine 3×20
• Outer thigh machine 3 x 15
• Cardio: 50 min. run with 25 min. of HIIT mixed in
Tuesday: Back/Rear delts/Abs/Cardio
• Lat pull-down 3 sets (12-10-8 reps)
• Close grip pull-down 3 sets (12-10-8 reps)
• Single arm row 3 sets (15-12-10)
• DB Pull-overs 3 sets (15-12-10)
• Bent over rear delt raise with DBs 3 sets (15-12-10)
• Full sit-up on stability ball 4 sets (30-25-20-15)
• Crunches 4 sets (30-25-20-15)
• Leg raise with hip lift 4 sets (30-25-20-15)
• Cardio: 40-50 min.
Wednesday: Chest/Biceps/Calves + cardio:
• Incline chest press 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Pec fly with DBs 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Pec fly on machine superset with pushups to failure 3 sets (15-1210 reps)
• EZ Bar curl 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Alternating DB curl 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Standing calf raise 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Seated calf raise 3 sets (15-12-10 reps)
• Cardio: 50 minutes with 25 minutes of HIIT
• Cardio: 50min.
• Box squat jumps 3 x 30
• Lateral box jumps 3 x 30
• Split squat jumps 3 x 30
• Tuck jumps 3 x 30
• Lateral bounds 3 x 30
• Side hops 3 x 30
• Squat jump (progressing forward)
• 20-30 minutes of additional cardio (either HIIT or steady state depending on how your body is feeling)
• Shoulder press 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Cable side raise 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Cable front raise 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Rear delt fly on machine 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Bent over rear delt fly with DBs 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Lying triceps extension 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Cable underhand triceps extension 4 sets (15-12-12-10)
• Full sit- up on stability ball 3 x 50
• Double crunch 3 x 50
• Bicycle crunch 3 x 50
• Cardio: 45 min.
What is your favorite form of cardio for cutting bodyfat?
I like HIIT workouts, they burn fat fast and they aren’t boring! Also Plyometrics goes a long way to build muscle and lean out. It’s all about keeping my heart rate where I need it to be, to cut the fat.
My HIIT workouts are pretty basic, typically on a treadmill and changing the incline all the time, (incline 1 to simulate outside and to kick it up a notch I may do anywhere from 5-7 incline), but I typically run 45 second sprints and 30 second (or less) rest, for no less than 25 minutes with additional running at a steady pace for 20 plus minutes.
Could you outline your basic daily diet?
Meal 1: Egg whites and oatmeal with flax seed
Meal 2: Whey protein shake
Meal 3: Turkey /Chicken, broccoli/asparagus, brown rice
Meal 4: Whey protein shake, natural peanut butter
Meal 5: Chicken/Turkey/Tilapia, spinach, sweet potato
Meal 6: Casein protein shake, natural peanut butter
My diet doesn’t change much, if bulk training it changes slightly but for the most part this is the basis of it. To fill out more fruits may be reintroduced in Meal 2 and 4.
How do you deal with cravings for junk food, sweets and salty foods?
I continually tell myself and those who ask me for advice on this subject “to look at food as a need not a want”. After training for so long, I know how long it takes to burn all that extra “stuff” off and to me it just isn’t worth it. But if the cravings get bad I typically chew gum, which is usually a flavor of Trident.
What are your favorite pre and post workout meals?
Pre-workout I take a pre-workout L-Arginine concentrated supplement, and take a BCAA during my workouts.
Post-workout I take a whey protein shake with Glutamine.
What supplements do you take (if any) and recommend to others?
CLA, Vitamin B, C, D, Magnesium, L-Carnentine, COq10, Glucosamine, Multi-vitamin, Calcium, Fish Oil, Glutamine, Whey Protein.
I have always taken what is listed, never took fat burners or anything else. I recommend the Myotropics Physique 2.0 shake, it tastes very good, mixes well and makes a great post-workout shake.
What has the biggest impact on muscle growth and recovery?
A “rest” day, your muscles need a break, it is not good to train the same muscles so close together in a week. Your muscles will grow the most on your rest day, besides it allows for your body to recover, which will prevent injury along with many other benefits.
What is your favorite motivating quote?
There are many good ones out there, but these are few a think about often.
Self-Motivation: One thing I tell myself and those I train with in the gym is, “This is likely the hardest you have to work all day, there no reason you can’t give a 110%, make it count.”
“I can do all things, through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“There is no doubt in my mind that there are many ways to be a winner, but there is really only one way to be a loser and that is to fail and not look beyond the failure.” – Kyle Rote Jr.
What newbie mistakes did you make when you first started training?
I know I did some lifts wrong, it’s one of those things that if you don’t know you need to ask so you don’t injure yourself and you want to do lifts correctly to benefit 100% from the exercise. It’s great to learn from mistakes, it’s what gives you experience and knowledge to help others, so they don’t make the same mistakes.
Thinking I didn’t need a “rest” day, it’s important to listen to your body, it needs rest. Especially with injuries, allow them to heal before you get back at it.
It really does benefit to have a knowledgeable coach and trainer, any time I heard of a fad that I may have considered or a question on my diet, it was nice to be able to ask my trainer and find out if that was the best thing for me.
Any last advice for beginners or anyone looking to get into fitness?
If you are curious about getting into fitness, try it; you never know until you try. You have one life to live and one body, why not take care of it and see where you can take yourself.
Where can we get in touch with you?
Follow me on Facebook!
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