Trainer-to-the-stars Ashley Borden worked progressively with the veteran actor over a dozen years to build her into the best shape of her life.

For 18 years, Ashley Borden has been chiseling Hollywood bodies into works of art: She's an elite trainer and author. Sure, she's ripped and knows her stuff, but it's her unwavering honesty that's most striking. Borden has recovered from an eating and exercise disorder, and is on a mission to help others love and respect their bodies.

Her candid, no-nonsense approach appealed to Annabeth Gish, 39, who has trained with her for 12 years. Gish, whose breakout role was as a college-bound teen in the film "Mystic Pizza" in 1988, is also well-known as Special Agent Monica Reyes in the final seasons of "The X-Files", and more recently as the conflicted Eileen Caffee in Showtime's hit drama series "Brotherhood".


"Annabeth and I met at a West Hollywood gym and clicked", says Borden. "In the beginning she wasn't very in touch with her body and wore baggy clothes to cover it up Over time, I taught her to look at her physique as a strength machine rather than an aesthetic object. Our first goal involved creating a great foundation so she didn't swing from extreme training for a project to doing almost nothing beyond yoga class when not prepping for a role. Once we got a consistent base, we could focus on fine-tuning. Recently, a role on the show "Flash Forward" called for her to appear in lingerie. So our goal became fine-tuning her for that, mostly focusing on her core and arms."


"Annabeth is truly in the best shape ever since I have known her, thanks to smart lifestyle choices and dedicated training", says Borden. "I almost cried when I saw the pictures of her in lingerie. Ten years ago, I couldn't have paid her to wear that on camera and there she was - a knock out '10'. More important, she felt good about herself. Her confidence improved her posture and gave her that extra boost on camera."

Gish is mother of two sons, ages 3 and 1, with husband Wade Allen, a Hollywood stuntman. She and Borden continued their workouts through both pregnancies. "Not only did she rebound phenomenally post-pregnancies", - says Borden, "but she is one of the most centered Hollywood actors and mothers I have ever seen."

Gish praises Borden as well: "Training with Ashley always engages my mind as my body", Gish says. "She is specific and clear her instruction and lovingly insists that I'm conscious about the structural mechanics of my body as I move it. I laugh and breathe and sweat and sometimes get annoyed at how focused I must be during our workouts, but I trust her implicitly and always know I am bettering my body on all levels as we train. I simply adore her."


"To me, it's about finding a balance and consistency along with truly understanding how training works", Borden says. "When you understand the process and how to correctly use food as fuel, it's easier to commit and make changes. Training improves your mood, increases bone destiny and allows you take control of your health. Weight-bearing exercise builds muscle, which is turn revs up metabolism. It's that simple. And of course consistency is the key. I am also a firm believer is rolling out the body every day on foam rollers and soft balls as a 10-minute pre-workout ritual. It's like a deep massage that opens up the muscle tissue and increases blood flow and oxygenation."


Growing up studing dance, Borden battled a severe eating disorder. Based on her recovery experience, she created SOS (Satiation of the Senses) food plan to teach people how to maximize their health through proper eating.

"My philosophy takes into account the texture and color of food", Borden explains. "Each meal should stimulate all of the senses - sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. If you have something hot, cold, colorful and crunchy on your plate, you are less likely to overeat. Color means vitamins and antioxidants from good veggies and fruit. Hot and cold foods sate different cravings."

"Good fats are your friend and help you to not overeat sugar and flour, but you have to watch portions, meaning keep it to a quarter of an avocado, 12 nuts or tablespoon of nut butter, not half a jar !" she adds.

Borden also recommends keeping a food journal for a week, both to watch your eating patterns and your highs and lows. "Be a detective", she says, "so you can see where you are crashing or abusing caffeine or getting into a starvation cycle. It's also a place to write down your emotions. This is about making a lifestyle change - not a diet. Diets end in a fiery hell."


"You have to eat well to have muscular, toned body", - says Borden, who recommends eating frequently during the day to ward off hunger and keep your metabolism revved (and she does not believe in obsessive calorie counting).

Here is a typical menu:

Breakfast - scrambled eggs with whole-wheat toast.
Snack - 12 almonds with a sliced apple sprinkled with cinnamon.
Lunch - 6 ounces of tuna over 1/2 bag of spinach, colorful veggies of your choice and balsamic vinaigrette.
Snack - sliced mango and avocado with lime juice.
Dinner - turkey breast, green salad and 1/2 artichoke dipped in balsamic vinaigrette.
Snack - Cranberry-juice ice pop.


"When Annabeth is in town, we train three days a week for 60 minutes at the Fitness Factory in West Hollywood. I prefer that my clients come to the gym to limit interruptions. Besides, everyone works a little harder with audience around", Borden says with a laugh. "Annabeth is my soul sister and I can feel what type of workout she needs."

"Depending on her mood, we might do kickboxing, cardilo, training circuits, full-body work, etc. Each session involves circuit strength, core work, flexibility and stability training. We'll do 15-20 moves each session, using her own body weight, bands, dumbbells and a soft rebounder (mini-trampoline). We do a lot of volume in one session with little talking so we can really focus", says Borden.

Click to see photo...
7thSky Design Studio