Our new home

moved

Dear readers,

I have officially packed up and moved to new digs.  Our new home is full of dynamic content, information, photos and of course, blog posts.  You can subscribe — and continue to receive the posts by email — here.

Thank you, thank you for all of your love shared here.  This is officially the last post on this domain.  www.HilaryPhelps.com is fully operational.

Fondly xx,

Hilary Phelps & Genuine Joy

 

It’s official…

Summer 2013

… the first day of Summer 2013 is here! And what a fun summer we have planed for you on HilaryPhelps.com!

Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and celebrated when the sun is at it’s highest peak in the sky.  June 21 (officially began at 1:04am Eastern time in the USA) is the day when the earth’s axis is most tilted towards the sun, making it the day with the greatest amount of sunlight. After today, the days will slowly get shorter until December 21, when they will then start getting longer. June 22-23 is the arrival of the Supermoon, which promises to deliver the biggest and brightest moon of the year.  (This article tells you when to watch)

Continue reading

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 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…

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Sounds like an oxymoron, but I promise you, it’s creamy, delicious and yes… even healthy! And, just in time for the weekend.  Happy Friday everyone!

The ingredients also sounds a little, um, abnormal for dessert, and trust me when I tell you that I had the same reaction to the odd list.  But once I got over the foods not usually seen in desserts and just tried it, I really enjoyed it and have made it a few times now. The secret ingredient is… ready? Avocado!  It sounds odd and the combination of the green with the chocolate-brown sounds a bit strange, but mark my words, if you like chocolate mousse, you will LOVE this recipe!

The avocado provides good fat and sets up a creamy consistency.  The mild flavor of the avocado is masked by the other ingredients.  All you will taste is the delicious chocolate!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3 tablespoons agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used raw cacao powder)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons almond, soy or regular milk
  • 1 cup washed raspberries or strawberries (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut the avocados in half and remove the pit.  Scoop out the green flesh and put into a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients (other than the berries) and combine. I recommend adding a tablespoon of sweetener at a time, as you can always add more but can’t take it out if it’s too sweet for your liking.
  3. Scoop into a bowl and chill until you are ready to serve. You can eat it immediately (or taste a spoonful or two) but it thickens as it sits in the refrigerator, which gives it a thick, mousse-like texture.
  4. Top with berries before eating or drudge strawberries through the mousse and enjoy!

mousse

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

Genuine Joy’s First Giveaway

Who likes winning and getting fun packages in the mail? Um, EVERYONE! So, my loyal readers, as the Third Annual 30 for 30 day challenge comes to an end, I want YOU to win and receive a fun Genuine Joy package, from me, in the mail! I want to hear from you, readers!

Over the last 23 days, I’ve shared my workouts, challenges, frustrations and “lessons learned.” Now it’s your turn to share! Here are the steps:

  1. Tell me your story.  Share your personal experience from this 30 for 30 day challenge in 300 words or less.  Put your story into the body of an email and send it to info@hilaryphelps.com.
  2. “Like” Genuine Joy on Facebook and follow Hilary Phelps on twitter.
  3. Share the giveaway on your Facebook page and Twitter to encourage others to share their story
  4. Entries must be received by May 1, 2013 at 5pm EST.

The winner will win a few of our Genuinely Favorite Things: Vega products (to keep your workouts going) and a Danielle Nicole handbag (for a fashionable Spring look).

So, what are you waiting for? Send me your stories and start sharing it with friends!

Day 18 – Movin’ Along

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

motivation_deturmination

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….

 

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…

Days 6, 7 & 8: Today’s the Day to Be Great!

Be Great!

Happy Monday! How was your weekend?

It was gorgeous in the Nation’s Capital — sunny, cloudless sky, a slight breeze and around 60 degrees all weekend. Spring has officially sprung.  The Cherry Blossoms haven’t bloomed, but there plenty of people who came to enjoy the city as well as run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

The weekend was a good mix of activity and relaxing.  I’m looking forward to an exciting trip this week, so I spent some time getting prepared and sketched out what I was going to pack. Saturday morning, my niece and nephew had their first practice of the year — nephew played lacrosse and niece did t-ball.  They were adorable! Later Saturday afternoon, I headed to the studio to take a 75-minute heated vinyasa class.  And it was tough.  I was drenched and my legs were shaking.  (I had also taken a class on Friday, which was equally as challenging). I’ve found this great space inside of myself when I practice yoga.  I feel strong, accomplished and happy at the end.  The sweat helps to remove the toxins from my body and my elevated heart rate helps with cardiovascular health and calorie burn.

Sunday was HIIT at the gym.  A warm-up, followed by weights, jump rope, box jumps, jumping jacks and a few other various strength moves, completed in a circuit with minimal rest.  My heart was pumping! After the circuit, I got on the elliptical to complete my workout.

Today is another beautiful weather day, which means a run.  I’ll add a few more minutes on today’s workout (I’m running for time, not distance) and enjoy the lovely weather.  I’ve contemplated adding some yoga to the day, but I will probably do a home practice that is more restorative (restful) than the ones I’ve been taking at the studio.

What is your workout for the day? Don’t forget to join the Community Forum on HilaryPhelps.com to chat with other 30 for 30 participants or “Like” on Facebook to leave a comment on your journey.

Until tomorrow…