Reader questions answered spring 2022

Hello, my friends! How are you? It’s time for a big Q&A post with reader questions. I polled you on Instagram to get these questions over the last few weeks, and it’s finally time to answer them all in one place. I hope you enjoy, because we’re covering a lot of topics in no particular order … 🙂 

Reader questions answered spring 2022

Reader questions answered spring 2022 by A Lady Goes West

Do you miss teaching Les Mills classes? How does teaching freestyle classes compare to teaching Les Mills classes?

Okay, some of you are wondering what Les Mills classes even are, right?

A bit of backstory on this: I grew this very blog by writing about Les Mills group fitness classes, and many of my readers found me this way. I started taking and teaching Les Mills classes back in Orlando, and my love for the Les Mills brand runs deep. I loved taking classes and teaching these pre-choreographed classes and going through all the Les Mills trainings I went through over the years, because it’s how I entered the fitness world and built such a strong foundation.

I also love Les Mills+ (formerly Les Mills On Demand) streaming workout platform, and that has not changed at all. In fact, I still recommend Les Mills+ and I’m an affiliate for the program, and I use it myself whenever I can. Les Mills is excellence. Hands down. The workouts are amazing. The instructor training is top notch, and I call upon some teaching techniques all the time.

However, to be completely truthful with you, I don’t miss teaching Les Mills classes like I thought I would. When I moved to Charlotte, I knew right away I wanted to be at Life Time, where there are only freestyle classes, and at first, I was sad to know I was done teaching Les Mills BODYPUMP, BODYATTACK and Core (although I haven’t taught Core in forever). I had a great time with these programs and met so many people and have so many memories from them. But it was a season, and that season is over for me.

What I've learned from teaching group fitness by A Lady Goes West

I completely feel like everything I learned over many years of teaching Les Mills classes set me up for what I’m doing now at Life Time, by creating my very own workouts with my very own playlists. I was so scared to be in charge of making my own stuff, assuming it would be too hard, or I wouldn’t be able to come up with stuff that is as good as Les Mills. Now, I’m not saying I can create workouts like a team of international experts like Les Mills does, but I have hit my groove in the creation process, and I’m BEYOND proud of what I can do. I’ve officially been creating my own freestyle workouts set to music for one year, and I get better and better, and I think outside the box more and more.

Because it’s just me, and I know my members, I can be really creative, and I can source any type of music, and I can research moves and patterns and make them my own, and I think I have a good sense of what fits with the music based on so many years of teaching. It makes me really proud to know I’m teaching what I create. And because of that, I don’t see myself ever going back to teaching pre-choreographed programs like Les Mills. I will continue to do Les Mills workouts on Les Mills+, but I’m a freestyle instructor from here on out. 

Review of Smart Tech equipment by A Lady Goes West

Yes, it takes more time to create your own stuff than it does to learn what’s handed to you, but there is a special level of excitement about doing your own thing. And I couldn’t have done this without more than 10 years of Les Mills in my back pocket.

I wrote more about my music selection process in this post, and I’m probably due for another post more about the actual class creation, if that’s something you’re interested in, so let me know. While the actual class creation process takes a long time (several days, to be honest, per one-hour workout), when I sit down to learn what I created, that goes a lot faster than learning what someone else created.

And for the record, I’m not putting on background music and just doing moves, I’m choreographing the moves exactly to the music for two of my programs at Life Time — Barbell Strength and Life Barre. For my other program, Shred, the music is more of a background.

I love Les Mills, but I am happy to have evolved to where I am, because I’ve improved and grown so much in the last year (and I’ve even had people notice this and tell me, yay!). If I ever stopped teaching group fitness, I would do Les Mills+ workouts at home as my workouts primarily, but for now, I’m a freestyle instructor. And it’s freeing!

Making a playlist by A Lady Goes West

I know this is a long answer, but I wanted to be thorough. If you’re currently a Les Mills instructor and you’re still reading my blog, I appreciate you. I respect you, and I love that you’re spreading the Les Mills love in your classes each week. I hope you do it for as long as you want, and I’m also happy that I’m doing what I’m doing now. It’s a lot of work, but it brings me true happiness, and I never plan to stop.

Where is your favorite place to buy workout clothes?

I love workout clothes, and I have a ton, but I could really use more. So thanks for asking this, because it may inspire some shopping, as well as a whole blog post.

I wear workout clothes almost seven days a week, and sometimes more than one workout outfit in a day, so I need a lot. Most of my workout clothes are from Carbon38 or from Lululemon. And my favorite pieces are from those brands. But, I feel like lately, whenever I find something I like, they stop producing it because of manufacturing delays or whatever, and if I like something, I tend to get it in more than one color.

Fitness mistakes by A Lady Goes West

But currently, these are my favorite leggings, and I have them in two colors in a size six. And this is definitely my favorite sports bra, and I have it in three colors in a size small. These are both really compressive and quality items that I can wear for any workout.

I also love these animal print leggings, which I have in two patterns in a size medium and I wear them all the time, and I originally bought them through Carbon38. This workout tank is my current fave right now too, in a size small. 

Overall, I like high-waisted leggings and medium-impact sports bras and typically fitted crop tanks that go down just to the waist of the leggings. I don’t like loose or flowing stuff, because I need everything to stay put, and that’s where Lululemon really does a great job. More to come on specifics on workout clothes, but hopefully this answer is a good place to start.

Ashley after teaching Barbell by A Lady Goes West

Where do you buy seamless underwear for workouts? And do you wear underwear under leggings?

This is a random and specific set of questions, and I love it.

There’s a whole debate out there about whether or not to wear underwear under your workout leggings. Some people say no to underwear under leggings. Personally, I wear thong underwear under my leggings, and I always have. Can you imagine getting a split in your leggings or a hole and not having underwear on? Exactly. I stand on a stage in front of hundreds of people a week, so I wear underwear.

Depending on the leggings, a lot of time, you can’t see an underwear line. But in some fabrics, it’s unavoidable, even if you wear the seamless underwear. It’s not the end of the world, but you want to make sure you have a barely there underwear look.

Pink leggings by A Lady Goes West

I actually have a brand of underwear that I’m obsessed with, called EBY, and I found it through the Carbon38 site, but it’s not a Carbon38 brand. I ended up going to the brand’s website and getting the underwear there, and I just ordered a whole new batch. I get this thong, and I have both size medium and size small. Both work well, and I think I like the size small better for me. These undies stay in place, and they barely show a line. Love the quality. (Before this, I wore this seamless thong, which is cheaper, but doesn’t stay in place quite as well as the EBY ones, but is still a great option if you’re just looking for any thin thong.)

Whether or not to wear underwear under your leggings is up to you, but I’m team undies. And so I try to wear seamless thongs that stay put.

How do you teach your son to live a healthy lifestyle?

A loaded question!

You always wonder whether you’re doing things right with your children. And I’m sure I’m too lenient with Brady with a lot of things and I don’t always draw a hard line in the sand with discipline (Dave is most definitely our disciplinarian around here), but I know I’m teaching him to be healthy. While I sometimes explain things to him, what I mostly do is model it. 

Brady has been going to the gym and/or watching me exercise or practice for classes since he was an infant. Exercise is part of his/our life. When he sees me practicing, he always tries to join in. He’ll pull out one of the smaller foam rollers we have and roll on it when I’m rolling. He’ll grab the small dumbbells and pretend to lift them. And he is naturally active. He takes kids yoga weekly, he takes soccer, he’s in swimming lessons, and we go for regular family walks, and he always wants to run around and play. I will never fear that he doesn’t get a lot of movement, because movement is part of his life. I don’t even need to encourage it, because it’s just what he does.

Best toddler foods for Brady by A Lady Goes West

Even with food, he sees me cook my food and eat a lot of fruits and veggies and always have a post-workout or pre-workout snack for energy. And I/we explain how food gives him energy too. He also knows from experience that one cookie is yummy, but two cookies could hurt his tummy.

I never call any food bad, and he doesn’t have any “off-limit” foods. While he’s a super healthy eater, he’s a slow eater, and it’s a constant struggle to keep his attention on the meal at hand too.

One thing that I’m big about teaching to Brady is communication. It’s very important to me that he is able to communicate effectively, share his feelings, open up and be very clear with what he wants and what he feels and needs and sees — and to never suppress — and I think that falls under healthy lifestyle. I am constantly reminding him to ask specifically for what he wants and to over-communicate with me and with others in order to have more success in his exchanges. And the feedback I get from most adults who meet him is that he has really good conversation abilities for his age, and I’m cool with that. 

Ashley and Brady on a Wednesday by A Lady Goes West

But there are downsides to teaching him to communicate so well, and that’s that he points out a lot of things in public. I’ve recently had to explain to him that we never comment on other peoples’ bodies or their size, because he did that a few weeks ago. 

Back to the healthy lifestyle thing, because this topic could be a whole post, but I don’t necessarily sit down and tell Brady what to do to be healthy, but I try to show him. I don’t think you can tell your kids to care about what they eat and if they move if you’re not doing it too, so my suggestion would be to set a good (but realistic) example. 🙂 

Do you do workouts outside of the classes you teach?

Yes! But I want/need to do more, and it’s a struggle with time.

I feel pretty strong and fit in order to teach the classes that I teach (because they are quite hard), but I know I need some more solo workouts in my regular routine. I always do some foam rolling, stretching and percussive massage on myself a few times a week, I take some solo walks, and a few times a month I try to do some heavier weights at home. And I do my own personal warm-up before I teach a barbell class, twice a week.

Right now, most weeks, I do about six workouts, which is a lot, with usually one not being a class that I taught (I teach five regular classes a week). If I start adding in more of my own workouts, that number will go up and up. And I’ve done too much exercise in the past and am always careful not to repeat that. Therefore, a lot of times, I only do my classes, some recovery, walks, yoga and tennis. But yes, I want and should do some things that my body needs, outside of the group fitness studio. 

Short full-body workout at Life Time by A Lady Goes West

When I do my own solo workouts, I do heavy weighted barbell hip thrusts, assisted pull-ups, leg raises from the Roman chair (ab thing), and that sort of stuff. I hate this stuff, but it’s what I need, and I should try to be better about fitting it in each week. Overall, I feel great, but I could benefit from some more solo stuff, and hopefully this question will motivate me to get back to it.

By the way, if you ever want to see my regular workout schedule, I share a recap on it every Friday in my faves post with a little description. Here’s the latest one.

Solo workout by A Lady Goes West

How did you make friends so fast after you moved to Charlotte?

I get this question all the time, in fact, I even wrote a whole blog post about making friends, so check out that one out here.

I feel so lucky to have made good friends so quickly. I met my group of friends in July of 2021, after moving in January 2021, and we’re still going strong now, although one of our founding members moved away for her husband’s job a month ago, and I’m still sad about it.

All of my girlfriends live in my neighborhood and have young children, and they are very sweet people. I met the first lady in the group at the park while we were sitting on the side of the sandbox watching our children play. And she was putting together a dinner for a bunch of new ladies, and the rest is history. It happened organically and was very easy.

Dinner party friends by A Lady Goes West

But I do think Charlotte, in general, is a very social and friendly place. This type of thing didn’t happen to me in California, and it took a lot longer to find friends.

Overall, you have to be open to chatting with strangers, you have to be open to awkward first hang-outs, and you have to say yes to activities when you may not want to just to start meeting folks. Check out this post for more tips, and good luck!

And remember, you do not need a lot of friends, just a couple good ones. And in order to have good friends, you need to be a good friend — so care about others and open up. People love that.

Are you going to have more children?

My friends, this is the number-one question I get whenever I post a call for questions. Always.

This is the ongoing question from many people in my/our lives, because people really want to know. But I can’t give you a definite answer, and I hope you understand that. How you grow your family is not only personal and unique, it’s also not guaranteed, so it would be silly of me to say for sure. I wrote much more about my thoughts on a second child in this post, so I encourage you to go there to read it.

Family in Key Largo by A Lady Goes West

As of today, I can’t tell you with 100 percent certainty whether we will have another child or not. I hope I know our fate one day soon. I can assure you that I want to know the answer even more than you do, if you know what I mean.

Ashley and Brady in the primary by A Lady Goes West

Do you track your macros?

I do not track my macronutrients. (And if you don’t know what this means, here’s a very brief description: Food is made up of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, protein and fat, and if you “track” your macros, then you are trying to hit a certain ratio of carbs, protein, fat and overall calorie intake everyday by tracking it with an app.)

I tried tracking my macros for a very brief period years ago and it felt stressful to me. I know some people have a lot of success logging their meals and making sure they hit certain numbers, but that didn’t work for me.

Instead, I have a general idea in my head of what portions should look like, so I’ll try to make a balanced plate for most of my meals. I will say that I loosely mentally calculate my protein intake each day, and I’m always shooting for 100 grams of protein or more. That’s not that easy for me to do, because I’m not a huge meat eater, but I do usually hit 100 grams each day.

Smoothie date by A Lady Goes West May 2021

Tracking macronutrients is a tool for improving your body composition and fueling your body, but it’s not the only tool. You may be able to do it for just a short time here and there to assess where you are. And doing it for only a short while may be eye-opening enough to let you know what profile your regular foods are. A lot of successful healthy people will eat similar meals a lot of times, because they already know the protein/carb/fat make-up of these meals. 

I don’t think you need to track. And I know that it’s not something that felt right in my life, so I don’t do it. But I do think getting enough protein and eating the right portions matter, but there are more informal ways to do that. For more information on healthy eating, check out this one I wrote a while back.

Brussels and cottage cheese by A Lady Goes West

Do you ever get sick of eating eggs?

What a specific question, right?

I eat a lot of eggs and I’ve had people ask me before about my cholesterol too (which is great, by the way, I had it checked recently during a routine physical). I eat eggs usually four or five days of the week, and sometimes I’ll have four or five eggs in a day. That’s a lot, but I feel great eating eggs, and I enjoy them. I usually cook them over medium in the same style or hard-boiled. I think eggs go with everything.

Hummus toast and eggs by A Lady Goes West

I have yet to tire of eating eggs, for some reason. If I did, I would stop eating them. I’ve gotten sick of food before. I used to eat sweet potatoes every single day, and I started to get sick of those. And as a rule, I don’t make myself eat anything I don’t like, so if I ever feel tired of eggs, I’ll take a break and come back to them when I’m ready.

You can check out this recent post where I shared some healthy and easy meals I like to eat.

Avo toast and eggs by A Lady Goes West

Does your weight ever fluctuate?

Yes! But I don’t know my actual weight, although I could take a good guess.

I don’t weigh myself regularly at all, in fact I haven’t weighed myself since going to the doctor in October of 2021. I would guess I’m around 145 pounds, which is what I’ve weighed for years (and I’m 5’8″ for reference). (More on why you should probably stop weighing yourself regularly in this post too.)

But perhaps this question is actually more about whether or not my body regularly changes? Yes! On the weekends, if I have more wine, sugar or pizza or whatever, I do tend to feel a little more bloated, and I look it. And when I come back from a vacation, I definitely feel a little puffier, and I can see it in my face, in my mid-section, etc..

But I do not have drastic changes or major fluctuations, because I’m mostly consistent in my workouts and nutrition, always having “unhealthy” stuff every week, so there are no crazy days or extreme days.

If I’m being totally honest, I wouldn’t mind being a little more lean with more visible muscle (at times I feel like I don’t “look the part” of a fitness professional as so many others do) but I also know that sometimes that can take you into a less-than-healthy place hormone-wise, and I don’t want/need to go there. So I am what I am. I don’t have an eight-pack of visible abs, but I’m strong, and I feel nourished, and sometimes my jeans are tight, and sometimes they fit just right. It’s not really a roller-coaster, it’s more of a field, with a few small hills.

As women, we will always naturally fluctuate with our cycles, and that’s okay. The key is to have some strong daily habits around consuming plenty of water, plenty of fruits and vegetables, fairly good portions of carbs/protein/fat at each meal, moving regularly and sleeping as well as you can. Once again, if you’re still stepping on the scale daily, maybe don’t.

Post-Life Barre shot by A Lady Goes West

What are your goals for 2022? 

Can you believe we’re not that far out from the half-way point of the year? Geez, time is flying!

For the last several years, I’ve written out my goals for the year, and I often write a blog post about it. I did the same for 2022 and shared some of my goals this post. And I’m so glad you asked this question, because it made me go back and look at my goals. I haven’t been great about referring back to them this year, like I usually am. Shame on me.

I told myself that I wanted to start a hobby, and I’ve done that with tennis. I told myself I didn’t want to get over-scheduled, and sometimes I let that happen, and I need to pull back. I told myself I wanted to speed up my class preparation time, and I’m getting a little better at that. And I also told myself I wanted to grow my blog readership, which is still maintaining at a flat line from the beginning of the year, so I need to work on that. I told myself I wanted to grow my Beautycounter business, which still needs to be done. I also told myself I wanted to renew my Precision Nutrition and National Academy of Sports Medicine credentials — I already renewed the first and am in the process of renewing the second. And a few more things.

Blog reader survey results for 2022 by A Lady Goes West

I think it’s beneficial to make goals and check in, and this question was just what I needed to reassess where I am a few months into the year and refocus a bit. Also, I make my goals pretty specific and measurable, and I would recommend you do that too. It’s never too late to make new goals for the rest of the year, so if you didn’t write any down, now’s your chance.

Ashley at Chimney Rock by A Lady Goes West

And those are the questions! THANK YOU for submitting them, thank you for reading the blog, and thank you for supporting me … you have no idea how much it means to me that you click over to read. 🙂 

Related posts you may like from these questions …

Here are some of the posts I mentioned above …

That’ll do it for this one on reader questions! Thanks for reading and have an awesome day! And if you have another question, feel free to drop it in the comments below.

Questions of the day for YOU …

How was your weekend?

What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this week?

Are you team underwear or team commando?

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  1. Thank you for your authenticity and openness. It makes reading your blog joyful. In my opinion, you do look the role of a healthy fitness instructor. Your comfort in your skin shines thru and your look healthy and happy.

  2. I think you do “look the part”. You look strong and healthy and that is the most important I think 🙂

  3. This was so fun to read, as always, and thank you for being so transparent with your replies!
    Our weekend was spent at the Florida State Soccer championship with my 12 yr. old and yes, we made it to Regionals!!!
    Looking forward to my birthday weekend celebrations at Siesta Key beach, sans kids ;-))
    Always team underwear, and always a thong (I am also in workout clothes 24/7) for teaching and my own workouts.
    Loving your new blog design Ashley, I’ve been following since we went to Body attack training back in 2013!
    Have a fabulous rest of your week
    Natasha 😊

    1. Hi Natasha! YES!! That training was so fun, but so hard! I don’t miss teaching BODYATTACK to tell you the truth, all that jumping was a LOT on the body. Anywho, have so much fun in Siesta Key — that’s one beautiful beach. I’m so glad we connected back in training and you’re still here reading. I love it! 🙂 xoxox

  4. Hey Ashley! I am also a big Team Egg person lol, I eat two most days mashed with avo on an english muffin for lunch! Love it! Such a good source of protein and yummy! Thank goodness I am not afriad of them anymore due to the cholestrol thing! And also I have been a regular gym goer for nearly 20 years most of that doing group fitness and you definitely look like an instructor and don’t need to change a thing! I love that you talk about having carrot cake and wine most weekends and eat ‘normally’ – such a good role model to be up there teaching fitness!

    1. Thank you, Courtney! Your daily lunch sounds like something I would eat, and you’ve reminded me I haven’t had an English muffin in far too long. 🙂 I truly appreciate your kind words and for sharing with me. Have a great week!

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