The Instagram training sensation is serious about helping make fitness more approachable for women.
Interview by Mike Carlson
As a city, Las Vegas is not famous for its modesty. Sin City is famous for its pool parties, nightclubs, and being an epicenter of IFBB/NPC Bikini contests. If you live in Las Vegas, you either have a great body or you’re working toward one.
Tana Ashlee is definitely one of the former. But this self-described “Instagram trainer” is more likely to share her thoughts and life lessons than an arched-back shot of her glutes.
“I did one bikini contest when I was 17, but to be honest, I pretty much pissed myself. Not really, but if I could have, I would have,” she laughs. “I don’t do well in the spotlight. It was not my thing. I don’t like contest dieting. I want to live a healthy, balanced life. God bless the people who can do competitions, because I don’t have it in me.”
What Ashlee does have in her is a genuine desire to help her fellow women lead fitter and healthier lives. Her wildly popular Instagram account is filled with videos offering women-centric training and diet advice, such as how to combat cellulite or the dreaded “bat wings.” Part of her online appeal is how she mixes solid training advice with authentic snippets of her life with her boyfriend and her two 80-pound pit bull rescues, Theo and Bailey.
“I want to help people, and my being real helps people talk about their problems,” Ashlee says. “I just try to be real with who I am.”
Mike Carlson: How many online training clients do you have?
Tana Ashlee: I get about 200 clients a month. I have had some for three years. Some are even on their way to becoming personal trainers, too.
MC: Your Instagram account seems especially devoted to fitness for women.
TA: I only train women now. I have had some very creepy experiences with guys online. It bummed me out, because I love training everyone, but I don’t want to put myself in a crappy situation like I did before. One guy sent me his weekly progress picture and it was a picture of him completely naked! It makes for good stories, though.
MC: Your logo is an image of you deadlifting. What are your workouts like?
TA: I really like to deadlift. I love to deadlift and squat. Those are my two absolute favorites. My workouts are usually an hour of weights and 20 to 30 minutes of cardio, five days a week. Monday is legs. Tuesday is back and shoulders. Wednesday is arms. Thursday is legs and then a whole upper-body routine on Friday.
MC: You seem very personal on social media.
TA: I just think people need to be realistic about who they are. My life is that I wake up, go to the gym, run errands, and then I work. I get bored being home, and I know that a lot of other people struggle with that boredom, too. So I felt like I should talk about it so they know they are not the only ones going through that.
MC: Do you have a digital strategy for your social media?
TA: I have OCD where I want to post a video and then a picture and then a video and then a picture. I’m just weird like that, but it’s never planned. Everyone tells me I need to plan my posts, that it’s better business-wise, but I don’t know what I’m going to feel like this week. I might have a life lesson that day and I’ll feel a need to talk about it. I want it to feel real to who I am.
MC: What’s a common hurdle for the women you coach?
TA: I think so may people get very doubtful. They’ll tell me their goal and then immediately say, “I don’t know if I can accomplish that.” I tell them that they can do anything they set their mind to, but they can’t keep sitting there saying, “I can’t do it.” It’s constantly coaching them through that.
MC: Do you ever get frustrated with your clients?
TA: I’m a pretty patient person. I have gone through so many struggles myself, I try to be very understanding, There’s one girl I saw so much potential in and she was plagued by self-doubt all the time. I had to text her and say, “We need to talk.” I try my best not to lose my patience. When I first started online training I would be kind of a brat, but I learned that was not how to motivate people. I had to take a different approach.
MC: What’s next for you?
TA: I want to do online boot camps, Skype training, traveling boot camps. The one thing I’m having problems with is I don’t want to leave my dogs. So it will probably be more online stuff and give people more variety about what they can do with me when they train online. I eventually want to have a pit bull rescue in Vegas. I have a monthly income I want to hit before I do that. It could happen within the next year. If I hit my goal, I will start the LV Bully Crew.
Name: Tana Ashlee
Lives: Las Vegas
Profession: Online trainer, helping people transform their body and life
Likes: Food, animals, and dumbbells
Dislikes: Mean people
Best Body Part: Probably my legs
Favorite Drink: BCAA, wine, and water—not all mixed together!
Favorite Clean Meal: Spaghetti squash with ground turkey
Favorite Cheat Meal: In-N-Out burger and ice cream
Favorite Movie: Sabotage
Who Would You Cast To Play Yourself in a Movie?
I love Jennifer Aniston
Desert Island Exercises: Deadlifts, squats, and lat pulldowns
Favorite Charity Or Cause: NYBC—New York Bully Crew