THE EARLY YEARS
Born and raised in Akron, OH, Ashley Kaltwasser started her athletic career at the young age of 4, when she began competing in gymnastics. She was always competitive and loved being active and challenging herself, even breaking records in jump rope, chin-ups, sprints, and pushups while in elementary school! She continued in gymnastics until her sophomore year at Coventry High School, when she became interested in track and field. Ashley found a perfect fit in this sport that required speed and agility, and she quickly began making her presence known in both cross country and track, participating in the 300 and 100 meter hurdles, long jump, and the 3.1 mile cross country run. She was ALL-STATE in both sports, running cross country solely to stay in shape for track. While competing at Coventry, Ashley broke over 7 track and cross country records, ALL of which still stand. Ashley was awarded a track scholarship to a Division I college, where her main event was the 400 meter hurdles. “I truly believe that my track background helped shaped the body that I have today. It taught me discipline and a strong work ethic. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of nausea after running multiple 400s because you pushed yourself so hard! After my track days were over, I needed a new sport to dabble in, because I’m way too competitive of a person not to be involved in something. Thus, I discovered the NPC Bikini division, and the rest is history.”
FROM THE TRACK TO THE STAGE
It was actually through running that Ashley found her way to the NPC. Her high school cross country coach was a long time NPC Figure competitor from North Canton, OH. Ashley embarked on a few bootcamp classes, and when she decided to compete, she began training specifically for the bikini division, and entered her first amateur competition in 2011. She quickly rose through the ranks of bikini competitors, and was named the 2012 Arnold Amateur champion, earning her pro card that same year. Her early pro resume is impressive, including top 2 finishes in 5 shows, which was only a hint of the success that would come to Ashley in the years that followed. It was early in her career that she also began working as a fitness model, garnering the attention of many corporate sponsors.
MAKING HISTORY AND TRAVELING THE WORLD
Ashley’s early pro success was merely the stepping stone to a flourishing career that would thrust her into the international spotlight. Ashley qualified for the 2013 Ms. Bikini Olympia, hoping to break the top 10 in a competition that features the most elite bikini athletes in the world. Ashley did more than make the top 10; she was declared the winner, earning her most prestigious title to date, Ms. Bikini Olympia. She was the first rookie to ever win this title. That honor was followed by a history making win at the Feb. 2014 invitation-only Arnold Classic. These wins cemented her name in the history books as the only bikini pro to ever win both titles. And what followed became somewhat of a whirlwind, as Ashley began traveling the globe, both competing in and appearing at shows in India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Korea, Russia, and Toronto, gathering more 1st place finishes along the way, and earning international acclaim and respect from the fitness industry.
AN UNPRECEDENTED WIN
By this point, Ashley Kaltwasser was a household name in the world of bikini champions. She garnered endorsements from top-of-the line fitness companies, including Gaspari Nutrition, Better Bodies Clothing, Liquid Sun Rayz, CJ’s Elite, FUEL Meals, and MuscleEgg. She graced the cover of 2 of the most popular fitness magazines on the market, FitnessRX For Women and Oxygen. As a contracted athlete, she wrote a column in each magazine, and also contributed to the FitnessRXWomen.com website with a column called “Keep it Fresh with Ashley K”. Her following on social media grew larger each week. Ashley was continuing to train with relentless determination, never veering from the strong work ethic and diligent training regimen required of any elite athlete. And then it was Sept. 2014, and the time had come to defend her Olympia title. “There was a lot more pressure going into the Olympia the second time around,” says Ashley. “I had a title to defend, whereas last year I came into the show a relatively unknown competitor.” But Ashley was ready, and her confidence came from being part of a winning team of coaches, trainers, and competitors. She became the only woman in history to win back to back Olympia titles, earning a perfect score from the judges at the 2014 Bikini Olympia.
FITNESS AMBASSADOR AND ROLE MODEL
Ashley Kaltwasser has experienced a flurry of events and accolades over the past 3 years. And it is admirable to note that, despite her rise to fame in the fitness world, she remains grounded, humble, and truly grateful. “I have so much to be grateful for,” says Ashley. “I have been coached by the best from day one. I have had incredible motivators and trainers, encouraging and supporting me along this journey. And I’ve been given so many opportunities! I’ve traveled to 9 countries in one year. I’ve met so many people in my travels and through social media. It has been awesome to be an ambassador for IFBB Bikini, and spread the word about this sport. Most importantly, I get to inspire a lot of young women, which is very rewarding to me. The NPC and IFBB give athletes such a great opportunity to compete and even turn our passion into a career. I am very grateful for the path that I have chosen!”