Join me in a challenge, latest food favorites and fitness endeavors

Well hi, friends! So much to talk about today with fitness, food and everything in between. First things first, the weather here was absolutely beautiful this week, so we spent quite a bit of time outside …

Stroller at Lafayette Reservoir March 2018 3 by A Lady Goes West

And how was your week?

Outside of the nice weather, ours was well … it was just okay. It started off a little rocky with a rough and nearly napless Monday for little Brady — and quite frankly, while that doesn’t sound like a big deal to most, when you’re a mom of a young one — a napless day is bad for many reasons, especially for a work-from-home momma, who needs some baby-free time at the computer.

Anywho, the rest of the days were much of the same on the napping front, so I’m pretty spent. More details coming soon in the 6-month update post on Brady about everything else that’s going on with him. And wow — speaking of 6 months, can you believe it’s been half of a year that he’s been in the world with us? He is one cute dude, and that’s a good thing, because he is a lot of work!

Here we are after our baby-at-the-barre workout class this week …

Ashley and Brady at baby barre in March 2018 by A Lady Goes West

In spite of the lack of naps, we were able to fit in some workouts, enjoyed a lot of walks in the sunshine, including two walking dates with girlfriends, got some work done and now are gearing up for a weekend without Dave — who is traveling to Las Vegas for my older brother’s bachelor party. The days flew by, and I’m sure the weekend will too, as I’ll be solo on the parenting front (single parents are seriously my heroes).

Wow, that was a bit of a Debbie Downer opener, wasn’t it? So let’s change the tone and get some things straight: I’m super grateful to be a mom to my little guy, and I’ll keep the complaining tempered down, because I have a whole lot to be grateful for, napless days and all. Also, I hope you have some fun plans this weekend, peeps. And I’m so happy you are here to read the blog today.

Now, let’s get to the faves and the challenge! 

Drink up! Join me in a 12-day hydration challenge!

Something new! 

I’ve wanted to run a challenge with the folks in the A Lady Goes West Friends group on Facebook for quite some time, and I toyed with the idea while pregnant but was never quite sure what the topic should be. I’m not into cleanses or restricting food groups or going crazy with exercise every single day, so I knew those weren’t going to work. But then I realized there was something I wanted to do to challenge myself, and I think we all need it: HYDRATION! Literally, one of the most important things you can do for your health.

Starting on Monday, we’re going HARD with hydration, and I’ll share ALL the details in Monday’s post. But here’s what you can do to prepare …

  • Join the A Lady Goes West Friends group on Facebook.
  • Get a journal or use the notes column in your phone to jot down how you feel every day morning, lunch and night. I bet you’ll start to notice some positive changes!
  • Purchase, procure and prepare the right BPA-free water bottles with ounce markers on them (this, this and this are good ones). Grab some limes, lemons, cucumber or sparkling water, if you know you’re going to need something a bit different to help you reach your goal.
  • Keep track of every beverage that you consume all day, trying to meet the goal. And we’re tracking by ounces, so write it down.

I’ll lay out the goals, background and details on Monday, but plan to hit the ground running by drinking up first thing to start the week! Ready, set, GO! And here’s the hashtag: #aladygoeswestH20challenge

A clean bill of health

Speaking of health!

Oh, the doctor’s office. I went to the doctor about 8 million times over the last few years trying to figure out what was wrong with me and ultimately stumbling upon the diagnosis of hypothalamic amenorrhea (which I was able to heal from and then get pregnant too), and then there was the bi-weekly and weekly doctor’s appointments that come along with pregnancy for almost 38 weeks, so I’ve actually enjoyed taking a break from check-ups for the last few months.

However, it was actually time for me to do a basic preventative physical, and so I had that appointment this week. I got a host of blood-work done and had all my vitals checked. I’m very happy to say that I’m healthy as a horse (where did that phrase come from?), and as my doctor said, she’s only ever seen one other person with cholesterol and work-ups as good as mine. She told me to keep doing whatever I was doing, which is always good to hear. I’m glad my labs showed that I was doing well, because other than being a bit tired and stressed, I feel pretty darn good, and that’s important. But you know what I think I can improve on? HYDRATION! 🙂 

Moving on …

A line-up of my favorite meals and snacks from the week

Here’s what I’ve been loving this week on the food and beverage front …

Kids-sized snacking with RxBar

Yes, you heard that right. Kids-sized snacks. So the other day I was strolling around Whole Foods Market 365, which is perhaps my current favorite grocery store BTW, and I noticed that the kids RXBars were on sale for like $3.50 a box (or something like that) for five, which is quite the deal, because single RXBars are always $2 each. (Yes, I do a lot of strolling around grocery stores these days, because I’m always shopping for more food!)

I checked the nutritional content and ingredients and was pleased to see that these smaller versions were TOTALLY clean and had 7 grams of protein per bar. I bought a box and was thrilled with the taste. And then I went back a couple days later and bought three more boxes. 

Kid-sized RXBars for snack by A Lady Goes West

The best part is that these are better for a smaller snack, when you don’t need something quite as hearty as the full RXBar. Now, a lot of “kids” bars will have more additives and sugar, so you have to be careful, but when it comes to RXBars, the smaller ones are just the same great quality. I’m a big fan!

Beet and salmon salad at Urban Plates

I recently branched from my usual herbed salmon salad at Urban Plates (our go-to weekend lunch spot) and selected the beet salad with an additional slab of honey mustard baked salmon. I was pleasantly surprised with it. Funny story, there was a guy who didn’t really speak English behind me in line, and he liked the look of what I ordered, so he was able to signal to the salad-maker to get what I was having. Okay, not a funny story, but it was noteworthy at the time I guess.

Urban Plates beet salad lunch by A Lady Goes West

Beet-flavored kombucha

You know I love my kombucha and beets!

This was another surprise find on a separate occasion at the Whole Foods Market 365. I was so excited to see a totally new-to-me flavor of Health Ade kombucha in the fridge section. (By the way, I think is one of the cleanest of the kombucha brands, because some have too much added sugar.)

Well I picked up the beet flavor, and don’t you know it tastes just like beets. Loved it! I like to have a couple of kombuchas a week in the afternoon as a little pick-me-up. Why? Because they taste good and I love the fizz and probiotics. (Looks like I got some make-up on my headband huh?)

Health-Ade kombucha beet flavor by A Lady Goes West

Open-face burger wrap at home

This week’s at-home stand-out lunch I had a few times featured some spinach and kale sprouted grain wraps I was sent from Angelic Bakehouse — good stuff. I heated the wrap up in the oven for just a few minutes at the end of cooking my veggie burger, so it had a little toast to it. So here’s what’s on the plate: 

  • 1 toasted Angelic Bakehouse spinach and kale sprouted grain wrap 
  • 1 high-protein Trader Joe’s veggie burger
  • 1 handful of Organic Girl arugula 
  • 2 big spoonfuls of Lantana Foods black bean hummus (spicy!)
  • Half of an avocado (the other half fell on the floor … sob, sob, sob)
  • 1 spoonful of Farmhouse Culture kimchi
  • 2 Vital Farms eggs cooked in coconut oil
  • All covered in turmeric and Himalayan sea salt


Kale and spinach veggie burger wrap lunch by A Lady Goes West

That’s that for food! 

Weekly workout recap at 24 weeks postpartum and Les Mills On Demand

Here’s how I was moving last week, and there are some new additions thanks to a streaming service I tried …

Weekly Workout Recap by A Lady Goes West

  • Monday: 30-minute Les Mills GRIT Strength at home, 25-minute walk, 11 a.m.
  • Tuesday: Took 1-hour barre class, 2 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 30-minute Les Mills Barre class at home, 11 a.m.
  • Thursday: 30-minute Les Mills GRIT Strength at home, 25-minute walk, 11 a.m.
  • Friday: 1-hour walk, 10 a.m. (active recovery day)
  • Saturday: Taught 1-hour Bootybarre class, 11 a.m.
  • Sunday: Rest day

I decided to give Les Mills On Demand a try this past week and did two Les Mills GRIT Strength sessions, as well as a 30-minute Les Mills Barre class via the streaming service, which offers more programs than I have access to as an instructor. (By the way, you can try out Les Mills On Demand for free for 10 days if you want, which is what I did. Totally go for it!)

I enjoyed all of the workouts, and I mostly enjoyed that they were all three done in 30 — because that’s all I can fit in at home, while I’m trying to keep Brady entertained. I haven’t done very much HIIT (high-intensity interval training) in the past year or so, so it was nice to go hard in GRIT — a HIIT-based strength workout with lots of squats, push-ups and rows using a barbell and weight plate. I plan to do it more often moving forward, because it was a nice new challenge.

Of course, I prefer to work out at the gym, so I was happy to get out to teach Bootybarre once as well …

Ashley post-barre selfie by A Lady Goes West

This past week, I had a full rest day, a walking active recovery day and did three different sessions of barre for flexibility and additional strength work. Overall, a great week of workouts, with all but two completed at home in my living room. You just have to do what you can, when you can.

Best reads from around the web 

Who loves to learn? Here are some good ones …

  • Workouts: Although I think it’s great that more people are wearing heart-rate monitors and tracking devices that let them know how many calories they are burning during a workout, I LOVE how this article reminds us that the calories burned do not necessarily tell you how useful or effective the workout was. Spoiler? Weight training may technically burn less calories, but it’s more beneficial for you in the long run, especially as you increase your overall muscle mass.
  • Food: Other than loving the keto diet, I think this article about ways the food industry is changing thanks to millennials is spot on, and I agree — local food, healthy options, grab and go — yes, yes, yes. Are you a millennial? What do you think?
  • Fitness balance: I was happy to share my thoughts for this article on whether you not you are exercising too much. Balance, people. Overtraining is a bad thing.

Favorite A Lady Goes West archives

Need something to do? Here are some posts from the past, both recent and far, which you may enjoy …

That’ll do it for today! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

A healthy challenge, fitness and food faves on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

P.S. Congrats to the winner of the Vega giveaway, Miss Courtney, who recently started an adorable blog, by the way. I’ve got another giveaway coming next week. See you soon, friends! Go get your water bottles ready!

Questions of the day

What are you up to this weekend?

What’s your favorite Easter candy?



  1. Les Mills GRIT is probablyyyyy my favorite workout. I usually do it once a week at my gym – in fact, I’m going tonight!

    I will keep an eye out for that beet flavored kombucha. I tried the cayenne cleanse flavor yesterday and it was not good! I love all things spicy and I’m okay with ginger flavored things, but this combo was just too much for me. I finished it, of course, because I paid for it, but it was pretty hard to get through.

    1. Hi Julie! Oh yay! LOVE GRIT — I love that it’s short and there are countdowns and you can go at your own pace, oh and the moves are simple, but effective. A nice change-up from all the choreography in BODYPUMP, you know? And the cayenne cleanse is WAY too much for me too hahaha! I’m a wimp with that — the beet flavor is way more mild. Happy Friday, lady!

  2. Sometimes, I think that people perceive my ruminations on motherhood as complaining (like the fact that my child can outlast my marathon times etc). But really, I find this whole motherhood thing exhilarating and amazing and downright hilarious at times. How can humans have evolved like this? It is utter nonsense. Our heads are too big, we can’t take care of ourselves, we scream for no reason. And yet, the way we have evolved as well is to have a mommy who (hopefully, as well as Daddy) loves us enough to look past everything and forgive us our “sins” of unruliness.
    Also, we are just so darn cute.

    1. Oh my gosh, you are so right. LIKE ME, you had a very hard time conceiving, so I think people could potentially be more sensitive to our complaints — because we wanted to have babies so badly. However, I mean — I think it’s a difficult and super rewarding season of life and we are just being real by telling it like it is. Keep up the good work, momma. It’s NOT easy! But boy are they cute!

  3. I’m up for a hydration challenge! I already track mine in my Fitbit app and I think I do pretty well. But it will be fun to do it with you and your followers!

    I think I need to go eat breakfast now because my mouth watered throughout this whole post with all the yummy food deets! And I must find that Healthade beet hooch.

    Happy Friday, friend. Xoxo.

    1. Ohh I haven’t seen the kids bars anywhere but WFM 365, but they do seem like something you could find at Target! 🙂 Keep looking, Em! Happy Friday

  4. SO wish Les Mills On Demand was available in France. I’ve been on the waiting list for a few years now so not sure what’s taking so long. I may have to test it out using a VPN because the offerings look great. For now, we just launched new choreography at my gym but around week 9 or 10, I get bored of it so On Demand would be great.
    Congrats on your clean bill of health!

    1. Hi Diane! Ohhhh that’s too bad it’s not working in France yet. I didn’t even think of that! Hope you can get access to it one day soon — there are a ton of classes to choose from and even some combo classes, which I love! 🙂

  5. Ooooh I think I need to join the hydration challenge! I was just telling my trainer that I need to set a goal to drink more water! ? I bet it would help my headaches too!

    We are going to see the Easter bunny tomorrow and then spending Easter at my parents house for dinner 🙂
    I like any candy! Hahaha.

    Love the blog! And I feel you on the lack of sleep.. it’s a good thing our boys are cute! 😉

    1. Kelly! Ohhh sleep! We’ll get it again one day, I’m sure! 🙂 hehehe Sounds like you have a fabulous Easter weekend planned, lady! Get ready to get hydrated!

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