Current faves: Cardio shoes, ballet, mica documentary and weekly workouts

Hey, hey, beautiful people! Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m sending you lots of love today, because I appreciate you so much. 🙂

How was your week?

Brady had preschool only one day this week instead of two, due to a teacher workday, and I happened to be subbing BODYPUMP the morning he had school, so I didn’t get a lot of day-time working moments, outside of his naps. That meant that every night this week was full of work after he went to bed, and that’s not always my top choice, but seems to be the norm. The good news is that I like what I do for work. And I also like what I do as his caretaker (most of the time) …

Ashley and Brady in Pleasant Hill A Lady Goes West - February 2020

He had a little Valentine’s Day party in school on Wednesday, so we put together some Paw Patrol cards with healthy treats for his classmates. And I made Valentine gifts for one of my group fitness classes too — so lots of creating going on over here, which isn’t something I normally do. But I actually enjoyed it this time.

This weekend, Dave has extra time off for the President’s Day holiday, which is much needed for us all. We’ll be hanging out together around town at our usual spots. In addition to that, I’m going to an event with a friend on Saturday, subbing a BODYPUMP class on Sunday, and Dave and I are doing a dinner date on Sunday too. Yay for all of the above. Now, let’s move into the favorites of the day.

And if you’re new around here: Every Friday, I like to round up a few things I’ve been loving lately — usually with no rhyme or reason. Here we go …

Current faves

Workout gear

New BODYATTACK/cardio/HIIT shoes

You’ve heard me say this many times before: If you do most of your workouts in a gym and are often doing cardio or HIIT (high-intensity interval training), you need to change out your sneakers more often than you think. That’s because the shoes may not be dirty at all, but the continual repetitive impact will wear down the support on the insides.

Here’s an example: I kept thinking my latest BODYATTACK shoes (which only get worn two or three times a week) were still “new,” but turns out they were a few months old (purchased in August), and I started to feel just a tiny bit of discomfort in some areas of my feet from being worn down, even though they looked great. I immediately knew it was time to re-order once I felt that feeling — because many, many years ago, I got a terrible stress fracture from wearing worn-down sneakers, and now I’m super careful about it. It’s not worth risking it when you do super-tough impact workouts, that’s for sure.

New Reebok cardio shoes by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

(Loving these new Reebok sneakers made for cardio and HIIT.)

So a couple days later, I went on to the Reebok website and decided to order the brand new shoe they just developed, which they say is designed for HIIT or cardio, and of course, for BODYATTACK.

I wore the sneakers the day after they arrived. They feel super light on the feet and provide plenty of lateral support, which is always the hardest part and one of the most important for workouts like BODYATTACK with a lot of side-to-side movement. I wore them again to teach BODYATTACK earlier this week and have officially decided I’m a big fan and would recommend them, if you do a lot of HIIT workouts or cardio — they are solid. Here they are.


Taking an adult basics ballet class

Yes, friends, I went to an adult ballet class. And I liked it. I’ve been saying for so long that I want to dance. In fact, I even put dancing on my wellness bucket list. However, I stay busy enough with my regular routine that I don’t seem to branch out much — but I finally decided to change that.

I had been stalking the website of The Ballet School in Walnut Creek for a while and was thinking of doing a contemporary dance class on a weeknight. However, before committing to that, I figured I’d scope the scene first in something more entry level, which is how I ended up at the once-monthly Sunday morning adult basics ballet workshop. 

I loved the instructor, Jenny, who is also the owner of the studio. During the one-hour session, we went through postural alignment, all the ballet positions and some basics moves and terminology. While I had taken ballet many, many years ago, and I also know some ballet terms from teaching fitness barre classes, I still learned some great technique. I also walked out of there feeling about 10-feet tall from a few little alignment tweaks.

Ashley at Ballet class A Lady Goes West - February 2020

(Just ordered these barre socks I’m wearing above and love them.)

Even though we didn’t do much actual dancing, going to this class gave me the courage and inspiration to pursue this hobby further. Because as Jenny said, it’s never too late to dance.

By the way, here’s the posture tip I loved: Line up your ears directly over your shoulders, your shoulders directly over your hips, your hips directly over your knees, and then imagine there’s a suction cup pulling the crown of your head up to the sky. Instant lift! Love it.


A short documentary about the mica industry

So this is a favorite, but it’s not easy to watch. Just another reason I’m happy to be a part of Beautycounter though …

Beautycounter spent a year researching the mica industry, and then created a short documentary about the results thus far. Mica is an ingredient widely used in the cosmetics industry to create that shimmery glow we all love. While mica is a clean and safe ingredient, it is known for shady operations, including forced child labor, wage theft, corruption and much worse. Beautycounter is on a mission to source its mica responsibly. If you have 12 minutes to spare, watch this documentary.

Mica documentary by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

And if you want to help, here’s what you can do:

  1. Vote with your dollars, and choose companies that sustainably source their mica, such as Beautycounter.
  2. Share this documentary teaser with your friends and family to spread the word.
  3. Read more about the mica situation here.

The documentary has had a lot of press, including a feature on FOX Business and on Mindbodygreen and more. I think this is just the beginning of hearing about this.

Free gift with purchase

Speaking of Beautycounter, a new promo started this week, and if you buy a full regimen or skincare collection (a set of products that are discounted and designed to work together), you get an additional free extra product as a gift.

I use the Countertime regimen, and it’s amazing. It’s designed for protecting your skin against environmental stress and easing fine lines. But there are also regimens for blemish-prone skin, for men and for sensitive or combination skin.

Beautycounter clean promo

Shop the regimens/collections right here. And if you need help picking out what may work for you, fill out this skincare survey, and I’ll help. Also, I’m doing a little giveaway, and anyone who purchases from me during this promo is entered for a chance to win an extra free product.


Weekly workout recap

Here are my workouts from last week …

Weekly workouts by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: Practiced BODYPUMP for 45 minutes, 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday: Taught 45-minute BODYATTACK, 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 9:30 a.m., taught 1-hour POP Pilates, 5:30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 30 minutes of POP Pilates, taught 1-hour barre, 12 p.m.
  • Friday: Taught 1-hour BODYPUMP, 12 p.m.
  • Saturday: 25 minutes of BODYATTACK, 9:30 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

This past week of workouts was pretty good, but once again, full of classes and practicing for classes only, which is something I need to change. I picked up weights three times with BODYPUMP (and once in Bootybarre too), did cardio with BODYATTACK and took a rest day. I’m definitely feeling the need and urge to get back into some solo workouts to focus on my own fitness. 

Best reads

A few things from around the web …

  • The art of the unfollow. Did you know Instagram just rolled out a tool to help you unfollow accounts that you don’t interact with? They did. Here are instructions on how to do it
  • Clean beauty, business and motherhood. There are a lot of reasons to listen to this podcast episode of the “Rich Roll Podcast.” And one of them is that Gregg Renfrew, who happens to be the CEO and creator of Beautycounter, truly tells it like it is on being a working mom and how no mom should judge another mom on their decision to work or to stay home. She also talks about how Beautycounter is trying to change the industry and why the company chose to have both direct sales and retail methods to get the word out about safer products. It’s long, but there are a ton of takeaway tips for your own life, even outside of beauty.

And here’s the quote of the week from the Calm app, which I use to do my daily morning meditations

Change quote by A Lady Goes West - February 2020

A Lady Goes West favorite archives …

How to become a Les Mills group fitness instructor by A Lady Goes West

The five best books I've read this year (fiction and nonfiction) by A Lady Goes West

Thank you so much for reading the blog today! Have a most wonderful day and weekend!

P.S. I’m hosting a barre class and beauty event next weekend in Walnut Creek, and I have a couple spots open. If you’re local and want to join, send me an email today, and we’ll see if we can fit you in! 🙂

Questions of the day

How was your week?

What’s your favorite brand of workout shoe?

What are you up to this weekend?

Do you have any post/topic requests for the blog that you’d like to see covered soon?



  1. You would be horrified to know how old my gym sneakers are….. probably 2-3 years, at least. But the good news is this post inspired me and I just ordered two pairs of Reeboks with their BOGO sale happening now, so I will use one pair now and have the other waiting for me in a few months (hopefully not years :))

    1. Girlfriend!!!! Those are some old shoes. But hopefully you have been injury free! And who doesn’t love a good BOGO sale?? Glad you took advantage of it!! Happy Friday, my friend!! 🙂 xoxo

  2. I LOVE the blue sweater you are wearing in your top picture! Where is it from?!

    Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

  3. Perfect timing on the shoe reminder! I just checked to see when I purchased my current pair of workout sneakers and it was a year ago! Time for something new :). So glad you decided to go to the adult ballet class, it sounds awesome. That’s so nice that you gave Valentines to your group fitness class! One of my coworkers gave out some as well and I’m so sad I didn’t think of it! I’ll have to put a note in my calendar for next year to buy some.

    1. Hi Jessie! I did a lot of Valentine’s Day gifting this year — I don’t always do that haha, so don’t feel bad. Hope you get some comfy new sneakers soon, friend. Have an awesome day! 🙂

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