Continuing my fitness education, favorites and my weekly workouts

Hi, friends! How are you? 

I hope your week is going along well. I feel like ours has flown by: It included meeting with a potential babysitter, attending a few group fitness classes, subbing a barre class, walks, work, loving on Brady, hosting a little get-together for some friends to watch a Warriors playoff game and … studying! Let’s get to the faves …

Studying for a new NASM personal trainer certification

For the last seven weeks, I’ve been extra busy, and I haven’t gotten around to telling you why yet. You see, it’s time for me to renew my personal trainer certification, and I decided to go after an entirely new certificate via the National Academy of Sports Medicine or NASM organization. (I’m currently certified through NESTA.

NASM CPT guided study text book by A Lady Goes West

Right now, I’m enrolled in NASM’s CPT Guided Study program, which is awesome and is a lot of work — with weekly assignments, quizzes and activities — but it’s keeping me on track to cover all the material I need to know to eventually take my exam over the summer.

Although I had plenty of continuing education credits in order to renew my NESTA personal trainer certification, I’m SUCH a dork when it comes to learning, and I just felt like I wanted to challenge myself and get a whole refresher on the science of human movement through a new program. Believe it or not, personal trainers don’t just have to know which weights to use, they also need to know about how the blood works with the heart in the body, the skeletal system, how the nervous system controls movements and motor development patterns and so very much more. And I feel like my NESTA certificate just scratched the surface, and I’ve always heard great things about NASM, so I wanted to go for it.

I’m planning to do a very thorough post after I finish the course and take the exam to let you know what I learned, what’s on the test and exactly how the course helped me through — but for now, this favorite is all about learning.

I’ve been doing my studying during Brady’s naps and when he goes to sleep at night, which I will admit, has cut into blogging time a bit — but it’s only temporary. I’ve even tried out some of the NASM “Optimum Performance Training” model principles in my own workouts, as it’s slightly different from what I learned via NESTA and through my rigorous training program as an Equinox Personal Trainer (one of the BEST PT jobs, although also one of the most demanding jobs I’ve ever held outside of motherhood, for sure).

A few things to note about personal trainer certifications:

  • If you are a group fitness instructor, I HIGHLY suggest you go after getting a personal trainer certification so you can truly understand how the body works. That way, you will have a lot more information in your back-pocket for creating workouts, coaching, as well as answering individual questions from class participants after class. And you don’t ever even need to do one-on-one training sessions or work as a personal trainer for it to be valuable.
  • If you are a social media influencer and like to give fitness tips, I absolutely recommend that you get the backing of a personal trainer certification. It’s just not right to advise workouts to others if you aren’t credentialed. 
  • If you are considering a personal trainer certification, do your research on all of the agencies that offer them — but know that NASM is considered one of the best, and it’s NCAA certified and accepted at almost all gyms. And also know that having a little assistance via the guided study is soooooo worth it, because there’s so much information on the test.

Even though I don’t exactly have a lot of extra free time now that I’ve added studying for this exam into the mix, I truthfully love learning and am totally enjoying the process of adding new knowledge to my fitness arsenal, which I will share with you via the blog and share with the people in front of me in my classes at the gym.

Sign up with NASM and get a discount! Interested in getting certified and learning more? The NASM folks are so awesome that they are offering 25 percent off all NASM products (courses, etc.) with the code LADY25. You can redeem the code by calling NASM at 1-800-460-6276, option 1, or visiting the NASM website, and the code is good through July 31, 2018.

*Thanks so much to the NASM folks for providing me a complimentary entry into the CPT Guided Self Study in exchange for sharing my thoughts with the A Lady Goes West readers.

Favorite foods from the week

I tell you what, there’s been a lot of delicious food happening lately. Let’s do it …

Avocado toast on local bread made by Dave

My Mother’s Day morning started off with Dave delivering me a bowl of fresh fruit in bed, while I snuggled with Brady and Rudy — like, perfection. And then, after I got up, Dave whipped us both up a plate of avocado toast. He bought some special chunky local whole grain bread, grilled it in coconut oil and mashed up some avocados and added a runny egg on top. It seriously tasted like restaurant quality. Props to Dave!

Avocado toast made by Dave by A Lady Goes West

Homemade pizza leftovers for lunch

I always tell you that we have pizza every Sunday night from our pizza oven, but I hardly ever capture a picture of the pizza, because we eat so late, and it’s dark. And we know what bad night-time food pictures look like thanks to this post.

Well, on Sunday, we actually had two pieces of pizza left over (nice work on portion control by Dave, because I finished mine), and so I had them for lunch during the week and added a couple of eggs for protein and kimchi just for fun.

Our pizza is made with fresh white classic dough from Whole Foods, red sauce, fresh mozzarella, a bell pepper, basil and lots of olive oil. Although it’s pizza and quite carby, it tastes so clean and delicious, that it’s not a heavy meal at all. I look forward to Sunday night pizza night every week! I wish there were always leftovers, but this was a rare occurrence.

Leftover pizza and eggs by A Lady Goes West

Veggie burgers and probiotic turmeric

Is this a lunch or a breakfast? It’s a lunch. You’re looking at four Trader Joe’s broccoli and cauliflower veggie burgers, two eggs, kimchi and a mug of organic bone broth all topped with EatSpice probiotic turmeric. EatBrand just sent me a few spices to try out, and I’m loving them so far. The turmeric has that turmeric taste that you expect, but there’s the addition or probiotics, which is pretty cool. EatSpice is a woman-created company, and all the spices are raw, gluten free, paleo and vegan — and I’m always happy to support that. 

Why do I always use turmeric, including in my morning golden tea latte? First of all, because I like the taste. Second of all, because turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has antioxidant properties, which means it’s really good for the body.

Veggie burgers and turmeric Eat Spices by A Lady Goes West

Little carrot cake from Sweet Affair

This week I was lucky enough to have cake from my favorite local bakery, Sweet Affair, not once, but two times. The first time was on Mother’s Day, of course, when I got this mini carrot cake.

The second time was on Wednesday, when we hosted our friends to watch a Warriors playoffs game. There had been two birthdays the week before, so I got a delicious and adorable Warriors colored lemon cake with cream cheese frosting for us to sing happy birthday to and then eat. Two cream cheese frosting bakery cakes in four days? Now THAT’s a good week!

We Love You carrot cake by A Lady Goes West

Super delicious Perfect Bars on sale

A couple of weeks ago, I went to check out the Grocery Outlet Bargain Market, because a few people told me you could get deals on good healthy items. Well, this place looks gross from the outside, and I was skeptical — but I was pleasantly surprised by what I found inside.

I bought kombucha, healthy snacks, peanut butter, some non-toxic body lotion and body wash from a good brand, natural toothpaste and Perfect Bars for only $1.49 each. These bars are found in the fridge aisle near the produce, and they are usually listed at $3.50 or more at other grocery stores, so I was excited to find them at this price point. I bought three, and they were so darn good.

I got a few questions on Instagram on whether Perfect Bars are healthy or not. Well, you don’t want to have them every single day, but yes — compared to many other bars — they are healthy. They have good protein, superfood content, fat, and are less processed than many, which you know because they have to be kept refrigerated. There is a lot of sugar and a lot of calories, but they are filling and satisfying, so it’s all good. I happen to enjoy them and really should buy them more often, especially if I can get them for under $2. Yay!

Perfect Bar by A Lady Goes West

Weekly workout recap at 31 weeks postpartum 

Now on to the fitness …

Here’s a look at my workouts from last week …

Weekly Workout Recap by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Took 1-hour BODYPUMP class, 10 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Took 30-minute BODYATTACK, 30-minute CXWORX classes, 9:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday: 25-minute full-body weights workout, 11 a.m.
  • Thursday: 1-hour walk, 11 a.m. (active recovery/rest day)
  • Friday: 25-minute full-body weights workout, 11 a.m.
  • Saturday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was pretty similar to the week before, except I was back to teaching my barre class on Saturday (there was an event last Saturday at the gym for Zumba, so my barre class was cancelled).

I seem to be doing tougher workouts the first half of the week, then shorter and lighter workouts the second half of the week, which coincides with my energy levels. I enjoyed a long leisure walk as an active recovery day and had a full rest day, as well as lifted weights three times. A great week of fitness for me!

Best reads from around the web 

  • Grammar nerd: I can’t help but enjoy these types of articles on misused phrases. I actually learned a few new ones from this one too, even though it’s an older piece.
  • All about the booty: Learning how to properly activate and use your butt muscles is so very important, and a lot of us need help, so this article is awesome. There’s a video of a GREAT move to add to your daily life, and you can do it at home or at work to get your whole body moving better. Fixing your glute activation could even help with lower back pain and more. 

Favorite A Lady Goes West archives 

Have a great weekend, my friends! See you over on Instagram until we’re back here again. And thank YOU for stopping by A Lady Goes West today. I appreciate you!

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Questions of the day 

What are you up to this weekend?

Have you learned anything new lately?

What’s something awesome you’ve found on sale lately?



  1. Ahhh! I was so giddy reading the beginning of this post! I did NASM CPT Guided Study this winter and just passed my exam in March. I LOVED it and am so excited to hear your thoughts on getting a CPT – I personally don’t know if I actually want to personal train, but I am on the route to becoming an instructor, and I 100% agree – I don’t know how I would instruct (or have a thorough understanding of what I’m instructing) without this background.

    Please let me know if you have ANY questions, want any info on my experience/exam thoughts, etc. Love chatting NASM! 😉 GOOD LUCK!

    1. Hi Kaitlyn, Well, because I’ve already worked as a personal trainer and had a CPT through a different organization, I’m soaking up the knowledge in a different way, because I know EXACTLY how I would be applying it in a PT job — and being a problem solver and helping people to feel the moves is the biggest thing for sure. Activation exercises and imbalances — that’s how the general population needs to be approached. Anywho, that’s so cool you did the Guided Study program as well. I’m totally enjoying it and will give you all my thoughts after I get it finished! Congrats on passing your exam too, lady! Totally agree it’s great just to have the knowledge and the credentials, even if you don’t train. Happy Friday, lady!!! 🙂

    1. That’s awesome, Emily! Good for you for being certified for both PT and group fitness — soooo good to have the backing of such a good organization. Hope you have a Happy Friday, lady! 🙂

  2. That’s so awesome that you are going after even MORE, Ashley! As you know I thought about pursuing some sort of certification as well, but just never made a decision. You always inspire me to keep going after what I want and what I’m passionate about. It just takes me a little (ok, a LOT) longer than you to pull the trigger.

    I recently tried Perfect Bars because they were cheap at Trader Joe’s. Sooo yum. Yes lots of sugar, but bananas have lots of sugar too and that sure doesn’t stop me! I justify it because At least it’s not super processed added sugar.

    Happy Friday. Xoxo.

    1. Hi Courtney! Yess — I wholeheartedly think you would LOVE to learn and go after a certification for sure — maybe a PT or a group fitness, but yes, you totally should. Maybe even a Les Mills program? Even if you don’t teach it, to go through the process would be awesome for you. And as far as Perfect Bars, they are delicious. They have great ingredients. I also don’t care about the sugar. I think people are just scared to eat basically anything these days, and that’s sad. hahaha. Happy Friday, my friendddddd! 🙂

  3. I got my NASM PT cert. in 2014 after doing a 2 year fitness trainer program at my local community college (LOVED this program!). I really love NASM! They are very thorough and their customer service is amazing. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts when you are done!
    That cake looks so good! Cream cheese frosting is just the best!
    Have a great weekend!

    1. Hi Brandy! That’s great! Have you been re-certifying every two years with your continuing education credits? How has that process been for you? I am very excited to switch over to NASM, because it’s totally considered one of the best. And I love that you also did a fitness program at your community college — go girl! Happy Friday to you! 🙂

      1. Yep, every two years! I am actually working on it right now! The process for me was a bit different because the school I went to really worked on preparing us for the NASM exam. We did practice exams and went through different scenario’s and training methods all the time! It was great!

  4. Hi Ashley,
    Congratulations on your decision to go for the NASM certificate. It may be a little more difficult but sounds you will get more benefits from it. You never get enough education. Things change faster than we can keep up with. I was still taking refreshing courses in my late 40s trying to keep up with all the new ideas in education.

    1. You are so right, Richard! You can never get enough education. I’ve never once regretted a training, course or workshop that I’ve attended. Hope you are still learning too! Happy Friday!

  5. Hi! Will you be attending the IDEA World convention this year? Love to introduce myself. I am planning on it! I talked to you awhile back about Group Fitness and you were so helpful. My classes have definitely grown. 🙂

    1. Hi Kristina! Yessss I will be at IDEA this year! Soooo happy to hear your classes have grown! What sessions will you be taking at the convention? Would love to meet!

  6. Congrats on studying for the NASM exam! That’s exciting. I’ve had my CSCS for years but in the next couple years I have wanted to add something new and fresh! You will have to report back on your thoughts. Once both my kiddos are in preschool multiple days I want to get back into some personal training!

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