And the winner is…

and the winner is...

I was blown away and humbled by the number and quality of the responses to the Third Annual 30 for 30.  There are a lot of people out there who stepped outside of their comfort zone, tried a new workout and/or set a routine for themselves over the last 30 days.  Thank you ALL for sharing your journeys and experiences with me!

The winner of the first giveaway is: Tiffany Pham.  Tiffany wrote a fabulous piece about conquering fear, stepping outside of her comfort zone and tackling a bucket list item of “learn to swim.”

Tiffany, congratulations! You embody Genuine Joy and I look forward to your many adventures to come.

Until Tomorrow…

What I Learned: Third Annual 30 for 30

April has come to a close and May is officially here.  Events such as weddings, horse racing (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes) and graduations are taking over the calendar, which makes me happy that I blocked out the month of April to dedicate to my fitness and health. Health is a journey, not a destination and this year, there were a few lessons I learned.

Healthy Living

1) Stay hydrated.  This is especially important as the weather warms up and the humidity soars.  Water is needed by every metabolic and cellular function in your body, and when you are dehydrated — even slightly — your body has to extract fluid from your food and hold onto it, creating a supply reserve, to ensure your cells have enough to work properly.  This energy is used to take water from your foods rather than repair your body.  Dehydration also causes fatigue and mimics feelings of hunger. To make sure you are properly hydrated, divide your weight in pounds in half and drink that number in fluid ounces every day).

Water

2) Schedule workouts.  I have to put workouts on my calender and schedule them one week out.  If I don’t take the time to plan, workouts get pushed to the back burner and work, coffee dates and dinners take priority.

calendar

3) I have a hard time trying new “things” and in this case, workouts.  I’ve said for months (possibly years) that I’m going to take a Zumba class.  Guess what? This year’s 30 for 30 came and went, with nary a Zumba class in sight.  Or a barre class.  Or paddleboarding.  You get the point.  I stick to what I know: running, biking, swimming, yoga, strength work.  Exercise should be fun, and the above workouts are, but I often “forget” that hiking, hip hop class or kayaking count towards my daily activity.

4) Fitness is more than a number on a scale.  While I didn’t lose the 5 pounds I had hoped (I lost 3), I did notice that clothes fit better, which ultimately means a more toned body. I felt better from day to day, there was a smile on my face and a bounce in my step.  Working out until it breaks me or severely limiting my calories won’t provide any of those effects.

Thank you, dear reader and 30 for 30 warriors, for joining me on this leg of the journey.  But, as I said, this path continues and we continue to walk it together.  I LOVED reading all of your experiences and am grateful for all of the wonderful (and constructive) feedback.  Tomorrow, I will announce the winner of the Giveaway, which includes a Springy Danielle Nicole handbag and items (including nutrition bars!) from Vega.

Keep plugging along; update me on your progress and remember to enjoy the journey…

Until tomorrow (or next year for the challenge)…

slow and steady

Day 30- Final Day

FeelGoodinaMonth

Tomorrow is May 1, meaning that today marks the last day in Genuine Joy’s third annual 30 for 30. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Today is a gym workout before I get on a plane to fly across the country and have my running shoes packed for a run tomorrow before my meeting. You know what’s interesting/odd? Of all the hotels I searched, in the entire city, there were only a handful that had a gym available in their hotel.  I feel like they are in every hotel here on the East Coast, even if only an elliptical machine and a TV mounted to the wall.  However, I really enjoy running in a new city, because it’s a great way to explore while working out and any way to muti-task works well for me!

In the next few days, I’ll summarize what I learned, results and my experience.  Even as a seasoned athlete and lifelong fitness advocate, there are times when I experience an “ah ha” moment, and continue to learn, grow and evolve, which is a great thing in life.  We are always learning!

I want to hear from you.  I want to hear your experience.  What have you learned? Are you happy this month is over or have you picked up some tools along the way, which help you to continue on this path? Do you plan your workouts out on your calendar? Did you try something new (sadly, I did not during this year’s 30 for 30… but, that doesn’t mean I can’t next month!)

For those who didn’t join this year, no worries.  Tomorrow is a new day and you can begin your own challenge whenever you see fit (pun intended). Fitness isn’t a destination, it’s a journey.  So take the first step and start your own journey.

Until tomorrow…

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Day 29: The TV Workout

We make time for what is important, but there are some days that fly by in the blink of an eye and by the time I get home all I want to do is put on comfy clothes and decompress.  On those days, when the time has flown and the couch is calling your name, there are a few exercises you can do to ensure you get your heart pumping, aptly titled the TV Workout!

TV Commercial Workout

On those days when the gym sounds unappealing, it’s raining outside and the thought of twisting yourself into a yoga pretzel is daunting, the TV workout can be completed while enjoying your favorite sitcom or reality TV show.  Win win!

Now… what was your excuse for not working out today?

Until tomorrow…

Day 25 – Can’t vs Won’t

there-is-no-such-thing-as-cant-only-wont

What a week.

This week, I’ve run. A lot. More than I have in a long time.  Monday was a yoga/cardio day; Tuesday and today were both long runs and to be completely honest, I missed yesterday.  One meeting ran into another, with a day that began early in the morning and ending late into the evening.  Truth be told, I could have grabbed a change of clothes, hustled off to the gym and done cardio for 30 minutes before it closed, but I didn’t.  Instead, I put on some sweat pants and baked a healthy banana bread (recipe forthcoming).

Since the challenging run on Tuesday, a thought has stuck with me.  It’s one that I haven’t been able to shake — the difference between “can’t” and “won’t.”

For those with children, grandchildren or in my case, a niece and a nephew, you hear this when they say “But, I NEED this” while forcefully squeezing a stuffed animal discovered in the card aisle.  Trying to explain “need vs. want” is a challenge.  “You NEED food and water, but you WANT the tiger. Right?”  They stare back at you with a look of “ah, yea, same thing Auntie!”

Tuesday’s run took me through Virginia and into DC.  The way into the city was downhill, and as we all know, what goes up must come down, or in this case, reverse that.  Running downhill, I knew that I would have to turn around at the base and head back up, a few miles, to make it home.  I’m thinking to myself “Ugh, this hill won’t be fun. I shouldn’t have come this far. I’m worried about my knee.  I CAN’T DO THIS!”

As I put one foot in front of the other, I made it to the top of the hill and eventually home, but have been thinking about the idea of “I can’t do this” that crossed my mind when in reality, it’s I don’t WANT to do this, therefore, I WON’T.”

On the heels of missing yesterday’s workout and then picking it back up today, I realized that I again said “I won’t.” It wasn’t that I couldn’t…  Because, honestly, those who CAN’T are the men and women in a hospital in Boston, whose leg(s) has been amputated.  Those who “don’t have time” are the women and men who woke up every morning not by an alarm clock, but by gun fire, as they fight for OUR freedom.  “I’ll start tomorrow” doesn’t apply to those for whom tomorrow never comes.

Yes, it sounds dramatic and sensationalized, but why put off doing tomorrow, what you can do today? Why make excuses and say that I can’t or I don’t have time, when the truth is, I’m simply being lazy.

Too often, I take time for granted.  I take for granted that my legs get me to where I want to go and that my eyes — albeit with contact or glasses — will guide me through the words of this post. Life is too short and unpredictable as it is, without us getting in our own way.

You don’t have to win the Tough Mudder, do an Ironman or win Gold at the Olympic Games to be healthy.  You just have to get out there and start.  Those of you who started on April 1 have almost completed a full month worth of workouts.  Good for you and what a gift to yourself! I bet you can feel the difference after 25 days. If you didn’t start at the beginning, now’s a good a time as any.  The sun will come up tomorrow and it will be a new day… the question is, what will you say? I don’t have time, I can’t or HECK YEA I’m going to get out there and do something for ME! Only you can choose.

Until tomorrow…

StartNow

Day 22 – Tough Mudder Challenge

The days left in April are quickly ticking away, with May knocking on our door, which means the countdown to the third annual 30 for 30 is coming to an end… I look forward to sharing some exciting news with you all tomorrow!

Last week was gym, yoga and a whole lot of walking on Sunday. Today was a double workout — 75-minutes of yoga this morning, followed by an hour of cardio this evening.  I don’t feel as if I’m getting the results that I want, so I changed it up.  That means three days this week — every day that I do yoga — I will do two workouts.  Workin’ it.

Yesterday, my sister Whitney competed in the Mid-Atlantic Tough Mudder competition.  For those of you unfamiliar with the race, it’s a 10-12 mile trail running course with 22 obstacles thrown in for good measure.  It’s called “Tough” for a reason, with everything from live electric wires to greased up monkey bars and a dumpster full of ice water (said to have used 3,ooo pounds of ice for the weekend activities).   Those challenges, added to the hills, mud, water and fire, and you have one seriously intense race.

bus ride

We set out early yesterday morning and headed for the mountains of West Virginia for an 11am start time. People were decked out in crazy costumes, including bright pink knee high socks and patterned duck tape wrapped around their shoes.  The knee high socks were to prevent rocks from lodging in their shoes during the race and the duck tape was to keep their shoes in place while running through several, deep mud puddles.

pre race

As spectators, we were able to watch approximately 10 obstacles, as many of them were scattered throughout the trail, that went far into the woods and away from the race’s starting point — we walked a total of 4 miles yesterday, which explains why my niece and nephew promptly fell asleep on the ride home.  While sprinting to the finish line to see Whitney cross, I had them both tucked under my arm charging for the top of the hill.  They were troopers and everyone today has sun kissed faces from a day spent outdoors.

We saw the pack of runners after they completed the first three obstacles and Whitney was the first woman to pass.

After the third obstacle

When we saw her at Obstacle 14, she was still in the lead.  As she ran past, she said “This is hard.”  And I believe her.  My sister isn’t one to complain or talk about the difficulty of a task — she’s a workhorse and an accomplished athlete.  For her to say it’s tough, I knew it was a serious challenge.

From obstacle 15, we had 1/2 mile to the finish line — two kids, two bags, one massive hill and everyone in rain boots (prepared for the mud, natch), we hustled to the finish area.  We made it there right as Whitney came through … AND she was the first woman (also, finished in the top 25 participants overall!) to cross in just under 2 hours. Incredible.

First woman

The race was a true testament to determination and grit.  Many were there to complete the course, but some were there to dominate the race.  Whitney dominated the Tough Mudder.  She works, rarely complains and finished the race with a huge smile.  I was proud to see her accomplish such an incredible feat.  A man standing at the finish line said “she’s my hero today” and I thought to myself “mister, you have no idea. She’s mine everyday.”

Until tomorrow…

Day 18 – Movin’ Along

Good morning! How’s everyone today? Can you believe that we’re over half-way through April?

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While I have missed a few days on here, the 30 for 30 marches on and I haven’t missed a workout this month… and I feel great!

Sunday was a Level 2 yoga class, where I tried new poses and was successful.  During class, I felt accomplished as I achieved physical feats and realized that I feel most successful by my physical accomplishments, but define myself by the person I am on the inside — a good friend, kind and thoughtful.  It was an odd moment, but that’s what happens sometimes during class – I have these “ah-ha” moments, where I uncover more about myself.  Does that ever happen to you?

Monday and Wednesday were both runs and Tuesday was yoga.  Today, I’m doing HIIT at the gym.  It’s gloomy and the air is full of pollen in Washington, DC today.  Every year, around this time, the blooms on the trees come out and creates a yellow film on the cars and in the air, but the positive side of this is that SPRING is here!

It’s been a big week of birthdays, starting off with my college roommate and dearest friend, Kathy.  Then, my sisters, our adopted sister (not really, but she feels like family) Laisee, followed by our Mom’s birthday yesterday.  Lastly this week is my cousin Sara. Phew, what a week, huh? Restaurants and birthday cake galore, albeit all delicious.

Yesterday was the first day that I felt different.  Although the number on the scale didn’t move, I felt lighter, which ultimately gives me the motivation to keep moving forward.  Often I let the number on the scale determine my mood, rather than how I feel.  Muscle weighs more than fat, and when clothes start fitting a little less snug, that’s the best gauge for a healthier me! (That darn scale!)

eatinginModeration

Until tomorrow….

 

Day 12: Friday, Rainy Friday

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Good Morning from a rainy Washington, DC!

Yesterday was cardio (which, for me, means elliptical or stepper). Today, is a 75-minute heated Vinyasa.  As I write these posts, I realize that a lot of my workouts are repetitive.  One of the goals of my personal 30-f0r-30 was to try new workouts… I still haven’t taken a Zumba class, but have been “thinking about taking one” for years. But, the primary goal of this initiative is to do something active for 30 days, so I can’t beat myself up too bad about the repetition – I’ve been movin’ this body and getting in the activity!

I’m tired today.  I haven’t been sleeping well, which affects my quality of life.  I’m one of those people who needs consistent sleep and a fair amount every night.  The allergies in this area are also just kicking in, which means lethargy.  I’m sipping a coffee as I write this, which I’m hoping gives me a little boost to get out of first gear this morning. Come on coffee… come on coffee…

coffee and berries

The sad part, with the rain that’s falling outside, is that it will most likely wash away the cherry blossom buds, which have really bloomed this past week.  The city is filled with tourists from all over the country, who have have come to see the beauty firsthand. Come back this afternoon for a healthy Japanese inspired recipe to kick off the weekend!

What are your plans for today? I’m making tomorrow an active recovery day, which means that I’m not sitting on the couch all day, but will be active and spend a large part of the day walking.  And eating healthy, lots of water!

Until tomorrow…

Days 10-11: 2 Pounds Down

My body feels broken.  My legs are sore and burn just walking up the stairs.  But, on the flip side, I feel great, which sounds like a HUGE contradiction.  It’s the push-pull; my body is tired, but my energy is incredible.

Health Relationship

Tuesday was a run, where my legs felt heavy.  I pushed through and completed the run, but felt slow and I swear there were moments when I was trotting no faster than a snail.  But I kept going. Some days just feel slow and worthless.  But I believe that there’s no such thing as a “bad workout.”  There is a such thing as a tough workout, a hard workout and a slow workout.  But not a bad workout.  Everyday I do something for myself, by way of exercise, is a GOOD day.

Yesterday was a heated Vinyasa class.  This teacher pushes the class to it’s edge and I’ve been seeing results.  The past few classes, I’ve been able to include “Bird of Paradise” into my practice (image below).  Yesterday I noticed that the yoga mat is the place where I don’t seek validation or approval from others.  It’s only me.  No one else in the class knows my practice or how far I can take a pose.  The teacher doesn’t walk around and tell each student “good job.” Only I know if I’m pushing my body, giving positive feedback or judging myself in that moment.  And of late, I’ve learned to be loving and gentle with myself.  That’s a huge change from that critical voice in my head, in years past, that has said “you’re not doing it right, go further, push harder, you’re not good enough.”

Bird of paradise

Today is cardio.  I need to get some heart pumping exercise in before heading to Baltimore for a function tonight.  With the heat in the Mid-Atlantic region, I’m pounding water, which will also help to flush the lactic acid (which causes soreness in the muscles) out of my body and recover more quickly.  Cherry juice may also be in my near future, which helps with inflammation (I add a little bit to my water — it’s WAY too sweet/tart for me on it’s own.)

On a positive note, I’ve seen a shift on the scale — 2 pounds in 11 days.  I’ll take it! Being 100% transparent, I’ve also been eating much better and cutting back on sugar, eating more vegetables and cutting back (not eliminating) refined carbohydrates, such as breads and pasta.  When I have a carb craving, I’ll have a piece of toast with almond butter at breakfast, quinoa at lunch (which has more protein than any other grain) or Greek yogurt at night (the protein helps with the craving).

Keep going! You’re one-third of the way there.  If you’re tired now, push through… It will get better and easier.  Until tomorrow…

Day 9: Feelin’ Fine

… more like S.O.R.E.

start

The second day soreness from Sunday’s HIIT workout kicked in and I could feel it as I climbed out of bed this morning.  This is about the time when the fatigue sets in — I was in bed by 9pm last night — which is when I need to push through to get to the incredible feeling on the other side!

I changed yesterday’s run to a power walk.  My body is exhausted.  To keep moving and working out for the 30 consecutive days, I got outside, enjoyed the sun and used it as an active recovery day.  To me, active recovery means a walk or a gentle yoga class (no heat, no power vinyasa). It’s something, once a week, where I am still getting exercise and moving my body, but taking it easy to allow my body ample time to absorb the workouts that I’ve done earlier in the week.

My meetings for this week were pushed until May, which means I am here in DC for the lovely 80 degree weather.  Can you believe it? 80 degrees!? Since I’m here, yesterday’s run is scheduled for today and as I type this, I’m sipping a yummy green smoothie.  Sounds odd, right? But it’s super easy and really filling.  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 banana
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup of blueberries
  • 2-3 cups of kale
  • 1 cup of water

Blend well and enjoy!

green smoothie

The blender helps to break up the food allowing your body to save the energy that would normally be used in breaking down the food.  The nutrients from the smoothie go directly into your body, providing you instant energy!  Plus, you already get in 4 servings of fruits and vegetables before even leaving the house in the morning!

If you need some additional motivation to workout today (or any day) check out this list of 100 Reasons to Workout Today

Until tomorrow…