A Lady Goes West 2017 year in review in both blogging and life

Twenty seventeen was a year for the books. Literally. When I sat down to write the 2016 year in review for A Lady Goes West last year at this time, nearly everything was different. I was holding back on telling you the biggest issues that I was facing, and I was clearly not crazy about how things were in my life, although there was still a lot of good stuff. But today, boy has so much changed, and it’s awesome!

A Lady Goes West 2017 year in review

A Lady Goes West 2017 year in review

In fact, I can’t talk about 2017 without referencing 2015 and 2016, which were two very hard years for me in a lot of ways, in spite of some consistent happiness (like Dave, family, Rudy, etc.).

In 2015, I was teaching more than a dozen classes a week and running around town from gym to gym, juggling freelance assignments and blogging and trying to figure out what was wrong with my body and why I wasn’t getting a period.

In 2016, I was in a corporate job that wasn’t the right fit for me, I was also teaching just a couple of group fitness classes and writing the blog, and I was desperately trying to get pregnant, all the while keeping all of my pain and struggles to myself, because I wasn’t ready to talk about any of it yet.

Then, in 2017, just a few weeks into the year, I decided to give my notice at that corporate job and jump back into doing A Lady Goes West full time. And just after that, I found out I was pregnant, right before we were supposed to begin treatments at a fertility center. Oh the timing.

Since then, I’ve spent much of 2017 thanking my body and the world for slowly giving me what I want, but not without teaching me tons of lessons along the way and helping me to have patience and be a better person. And now that Brady is here and we’re finding our balance, I can honestly say that I’ve never been better. And I can’t wait to see what other good things are to come in 2018. 

Ashley eating at Urban Plates by A Lady Goes West

Now let’s get to some specifics …

Top 15 most popular posts by visits in 2017

The following posts received the most pageviews during the calendar year of 2017, and only four of them were actually written in 2017. As usual, most of my best-visited posts were those about group fitness, and people found them via Google or Pinterest. Here they are …

  1. Everything you need to know about the Orangetheory Fitness workout (Written when I was a coach at an Orangetheory Fitness back in 2015.)
  2. What is CXWORX: CXWORX 101 overview and tips for first-timers (I haven’t taught this Les Mills class in a while, but it’s a good one.)
  3. How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout (This post was inspired by questions I would receive as an Orangetheory Fitness coach back in 2015.)
  4. What is BODYPUMP: BODYPUMP 101 overview and tips for first-timers (Yay BODYPUMP!)
  5. What is BODYATTACK: BODYATTACK 101 overview and tips for first-timers (Oh how I miss teaching BODYATTACK.)
  6. Signs you’re taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor (Forever one of my favorite posts I’ve ever written and one that constantly gets shared on social media.)
  7. Class review: CorePower Yoga is hot, hot, hot (Because who doesn’t want to know what to expect before taking a yoga class at a fancy studio?)
  8. 15 things you should know about working out when you’re pregnant (The most popular post I wrote this year.)
  9. A super-fun Key West bachelorette party (How funny is it that this post from 2015 still gets so many views — clearly, there are ladies out there researching ideas.)
  10. Top 10 ways to grow your group fitness classes (One of the most common questions I get via email is all about how to grow your classes, so I wrote a post on it.)
  11. Class review: The Bootybarre workout (When I go back to teaching, this will most likely be the first program I return to.)
  12. Six ways to be a polite group fitness participant (Another fun one to write and from 2017.)
  13. 13 ways to teach a good group fitness class (An OLDIE, but a goodie.)
  14. How to modify a BODYPUMP class when you’re pregnant (Because yes, you can definitely still take BODYPUMP, and this one is from 2017 too.)
  15. My journey to get pregnant and how I overcame hypothalamic amenorrhea (Without a doubt, sharing this story was a huge thing for me this year. More to come on that!)

It’s easy to see that fitness is the bread and butter of A Lady Goes West, so I don’t expect it to ever leave the blog entirely, even if it isn’t the main focus any longer. And pregnancy is inching up there, as some of those posts make their rounds and get more traction the longer they’ve been live.

Ashley doing prenatal Pilates stretches at 32 weeks pregnant at MNT Studio by A Lady Goes West

My top 15 favorite posts to write in 2017

Even if the following posts didn’t get quite as many overall visitors as the ones above, they were my favorite to write — writing is therapeutic and enjoyable for me. You’ll see that they are either very personal and inspirational or they are about achieving optimal health through balanced fitness. These are in no particular order and all were written in 2017.

  1. A Baby Goes West (Do you even know how long I wanted to write a post like this?)
  2. What a difference a year makes and why you shouldn’t lose hope (I love this so much!)
  3. Announcing my first ebook: “Fit and Fertile”
  4. My journey to get pregnant and how I overcame hypothalamic amenorrhea (This is the only one that made both top 15 lists this year.)
  5. What I’ve learned from five years of living in the San Francisco Bay Area (True story: This is the last post I wrote and published before going into the hospital to have Brady, so it was live on the blog’s homepage for about a week before anything else went up.)
  6. Five blogging rules I break every day (Still doing all of these things.)
  7. A busy gal’s shopping list for healthy items to save time at Trader Joe’s
  8. What it’s like to get acupuncture and why you may need to try Traditional Chinese Medicine (For the first time in years, I’m not going to acupuncture, and I totally miss having it in my life.)
  9. What you should know if you don’t love fitness and what you can do about it
  10. What you should know about working out in the morning (The best time to do it!)
  11. Maybe it’s time to throw out life timelines
  12. Brady’s birth story: Part 1 and Part 2 (Not fun to go through, but therapeutic to write about.)
  13. What I’m doing to have a healthy postpartum recovery
  14. A look at our first 12 weeks of having Baby Brady in our lives (Keeping it real, folks.)
  15. Are you doing enough? Here’s how to be a better judge of yourself

I feel like I opened up more on the blog this year than I had in a long time, and so many of you opened up back to me, whether that be through email or direct messages or even comments. I love that we are connected, even without ever meeting face to face, and I love that I’m not scared to put so much out there any longer. We all have our issues, and sometimes, reading about other people’s stuff makes yours easier to handle.

Ashley full-body shot by A Lady Goes West

Blogging and A Lady Goes West

This was the best year ever in the A Lady Goes West business. More people visited the site on a daily and monthly basis, A Lady Goes West was featured on other sites quite a bit, and the community grew. I was consistent with three weekly posts on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from the beginning of the year until the end of the September when Brady was born and since then, we’ve usually seen two new posts a week. I expect this twice-weekly cadence to continue for now.

I started the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group, did some back-end work to optimize the blog experience, began offering a free download to people who subscribe to the email list (not subscribed yet? Head over to the sidebar to sign up, pretty please), revamped my A Lady Goes West media kit and continued working with brands on sponsored campaigns, while doing a lot of giveaways. I’m so incredibly thankful that I can call this little blog my job, because I sure do love it, and I plan to keep working to make it bigger and better, while always keeping it real.

Writing the “Fit and Fertile” ebook

Perhaps the biggest project that I worked on and got off the ground this year was releasing my first ebook, “Fit and Fertile.” I’ve always wanted to write a book with stories and super intimate details that don’t make it onto the blog. There was never a more perfect time than to share my recovery and fertility story, while also offering help and tips to other women who may be going through what I went through — tracing back to my initial move to San Francisco more than five years ago.

I still sell a few books each week after the initial big launch, and I also still get emails from women who have had luck following my advice that I lay out in the book. I’ve heard from multiple women who were able to get their periods back while continuing to work out, I’ve also heard from women who became pregnant after taking the steps I suggested when they didn’t think they had any hope. Seriously, those emails make me smile from ear to ear. I LOVED writing the book and sharing it, and if you haven’t read it yet, please do. πŸ™‚ 

I also loved getting to share my story on a greater scale and being featured on Mindbodygreen and POPSUGAR, as well as being interviewed about the writing process of my book on a podcast too.

Ashley's pregnancy announcement photo by A Lady Goes West

Managing my own fitness

Being a fitness professional and writing about what I know is what has ultimately made A Lady Goes West a blog that can actually be a business. However, my own fitness has been somewhat on the back-burner for two years, as I struggled to get pregnant — and then was pregnant — and then was recovering from childbirth.

While I’m not currently teaching classes or training clients, I’m still learning and staying up-to-date on what’s out there, and I hope to optimize my own fitness abilities and share a little bit more about it all on the blog in the next year. I expect 2018 will be my year for truly feeling free to get fit, and I can’t wait!

My trips and travel

I went on less trips in 2017 than I have in a very long time, but there were some good ones. In the beginning of January, I was down in L.A. for a shoot with my favorite podcaster Shawn Stevenson from The Model Health Show. In March, I went to Chicago for the first time and Dave surprised me by coordinating with our best friends to meet us there — we had an awesome time, and I was also able to break the news to them that I was in the early stages of pregnancy at the time. I was also able to hang out with Erin and Susie and explore the beautiful and clean city.

I also went to San Diego for Dave’s sister’s wedding at a gorgeous resort, and we went on a most beautiful babymoon for our first ever visit to Santa Barbara, which we loved. Finally, I traveled back to Florida for a baby shower and got to see my Florida friends and my parents (and had a shower here too). I love to travel and have a few trips lined up for 2018 already, most excitedly around my older brother’s wedding. Yay!

Skydeck Chicago by A Lady Goes West

Growing our family

I think it’s clear that getting pregnant and ultimately having baby Brady Oliver Pitt was the true highlight of 2017. He’s the light of our lives, and we love him more and more everyday. I’m so happy to be his momma, and I feel like I can be a better writer, group fitness instructor, friend and person based off of what I’m learning as a parent. Hands down, Brady wins for 2017! 

Baby Brady newborn shoot 19 A Lady Goes West

Other highlights from 2017

  • Two super-long visits from my Mom. I totally loved having my Mom come to stay with us for two weeks when Brady was born and another two weeks recently. Having her around is everything to me.
  • My two baby showers. I was so moved by the love and support we received from friends and family leading up to Brady’s birth. I had a shower in Florida (hosted by my Mom and future sister-in-law, Stephanie) and in California (hosted by three of my girlfriends) and nearly every lady I love attended them, if they could. And our friends from all over sent us such generous gifts too. 
  • Rudy the pup. Rudy is still our best fuzzy guy, and he is such a trooper as Brady’s big brother. I couldn’t NOT mention Rudy in this post. Also, we have some amazing friends who are so kind as to watch him when we need it, and he loves them.
  • The Golden State Warriors win. Dave is now the proud owner of two large NBA Championship rings, and we got to walk in the big celebration parade for the Warriors in Oakland over the summer, and I was 20 weeks pregnant at the time. I was also lucky to be at the winning Finals game, and couldn’t be more proud of Dave for all the good work he does for the team too. What fun!

  • A visit from my brother. While Dave and I didn’t have as many visitors this year as we had last year, I was still happy to welcome my older brother for a weekend stay earlier in the summer. He came out for a Warriors game, and it was the only time I got to see him all year.
  • Launching BODYPUMP 100. In January, I got to teach the debut of the momentous Les Mills BODYPUMP 100 release, and it was so fun to be a part of that. I can’t wait to get back to teaching Les Mills programs one day, because I sure do miss it.

While I won’t cover everything that happened in 2017, suffice to say that it was a busy year full of many good things in both blogging and in life. 

And if you’re currently back where I was this time last year, remember what a difference a year can make! Keep your chin up!

Birthday hug with Brady 2017 by A Lady Goes West

My friends, thank you so much for reading this blog and following my journey. I truly appreciate you and your support! πŸ™‚ And here’s to an amazing start to 2018! We’re in it together! I’ll be around on Instagram until we meet back here again, so stay in touch. Have a great New Year’s weekend! Cheers!

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Questions of the day

What’s the best thing that happened to you in 2017?

What’s a goal you have for 2018?

21 Comments

  1. I love seeing these posts. I missed the Trader Joe’s one and can’t wait to read it next. 2017 sounds like an absolutely amazing year for you Ashley! The best thing that happened to me this past year was finishing college with a 4.0 in the spring semester (only one in college!) and graduating summa cum laude in engineering. When I was a freshman I had no idea I was capable of it but was so proud and happy that I did!

        1. Of course! You too! With the summa cum laude thing — I actually got it at University of Florida too. We had to submit portfolios and take a bunch of steps — it’s a huge honor — so props to you! πŸ™‚

  2. My best thing of the year was also my little boy (born 11/9). I actually found your blog when I was looking for birth stories and am so glad I did. I enjoy your honesty and am looking forward to reading in 2018 πŸ™‚

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