Tag Archives: fitness

Karina’s Vanilla Caramel Chai Blondies

Hey there Holy F!t fitfam, I’ve missed you guys! Life has been crazy starting a new job and moving at the same time…It’s been a handful! So needless to say, I haven’t had much time to cook or creative space to come up with new recipes. Lately I’ve been working crazy hours, eating mostly fresh fruits and veggies from work, and falling asleep as soon as I have a moment to myself.

When I do have time, like always, I am checking out other healthy food blogs on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and here. One page I’ve stumbled across a few times is Karina’s blog Liberation 2 Karina.

All of her recipes come with absolutely drool worthy photos, easy to follow directions, and INCREDIBLE results. I always go into a new food blog or cook book with the thought in the back of my mind that things might not quite taste as good as the pictures look…but these Vanilla Caramel Chai Blondies did NOT disappoint! Thank you Karina! You guys seriously have to try these.

Vanilla Chai Carmel Blondies

INGREDIENTS

2 Vanilla Chai Tea Bags

1/2 C Boiling Water

1/2 C Lightly Packed Brown Sugar

1/3 C Butter (use non-fat if following Karina’s recipe strictly, I try to keep my recipes as all natural as possible)

1/2 C Applesauce (I used an unsweetened, all-natural brand)

3/4 C Sweetened (I used Truvia, Karina uses Natvia, but you could also use regular sugar, coconut sugar, or honey powder)

1 Egg

1 t Vanilla Extract

2 C All-Purpose Flour

1 1/2 t Baking Powder

1/2 t Salt

1/3 C Caramel Baking Chips

There are few flavors I love more in this world than caramel! Yum
There are few flavors I love more in this world than caramel! Yum

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Steep the tea bags in the boiling water and set aside.
    I LOVE Chai tea, but this was my first time cooking with it.
    I LOVE Chai tea, but this was my first time cooking with it.

     

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, butter, and apple sauce until light and fluffy, just a few minutes.

    I always use the real deal when it comes to brown sugar. It is less processed than refined, white sugar. And the few alternatives out there, such as Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, just don't quite cut it when it comes to that special brown sugar flavor.
    I always use the real deal when it comes to brown sugar. It is less processed than refined, white sugar. And the few alternatives out there, such as Splenda Brown Sugar Blend, just don’t quite cut it when it comes to that special brown sugar flavor.
  4. Add sweetener, egg and vanilla, and mix together.
  5. In a small bowl combine dry ingredients (except caramel chips).
  6. Gradually beat try ingredients into wet ingredients.
  7. Make sure to squeeze all the liquids out of your tea bags and add the chai to your batter, mix until combined, but not much more!
  8. Fold in caramel chips.
  9. Pour the batter into the baking tray and spread evenly.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges have turned golden brown.
  11. After removing, make sure the blondies are completely cooled before cutting.

 

By following Karina’s strict recipe and cutting the Blondies into 24 equal pieces, they come to only 83 calories or 2 WW points. Pretty awesome!

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Rebel Reps: Rowing Machine

Hey guys! So I am officially a published fitness writer on spotmegirl.com . It is a great women’s fitness website with a strong social media presence bring you workouts, gym humor, recipes, and more!

My first series I will be doing is Rebel Reps: Doing it Wrong Never Felt so Right! Where I take standard gym equipment you all have access to and show you fun, new ways to use it in ways you might not have thought of!

Today check out how I use the rowing machine to work both abs and booty. Click here to open up the full article! These moves include:

  • Ab Roller
  • Plank to Pike
  • Sliding Lunges
  • Sliding Lateral Lunges
  • Sliding Glute Bridge

Photos included!! Don’t forget to check out the full article by clicking here.

There will be more to come soon, I’m working on the assisted chin up machine as well as the smith machine. Do you have any machines in particular you would like me to play around with? Let me know in the comments below!

353 Dollars, 13 Pounds, and 5 Weeks

So I last left you at the bottom of Mt. Washington, my friends and I reeling in the glory of our accomplishment, smiles plastered across our exhausted faces. Although my blue toe may have been a blip on my radar at the end of the day, it grew into a much bigger problem. $353 in doctor bills, 13 pounds, and 5 weeks later, I finally began to pick up the pieces after a serious injury.

We all hear about injury protection and worry about over-exerting ourselves. But for the most part, it remains just that: a worry. Now, of course I didn’t go through Tommy John surgery or a broken femur, but I can imagine the experience is similar, on a grander scale, of course.

Suffering through an injury is a grieving process, it comes in stages, it leaves you a better person for going through it, and it hurts like hell.

Stage 1: Denial

“No, babe, I’m fine, I just need to keep it elevated and relax,” I told Tom. My feet were propped up on three pillows at the end of the bed, the right looking normal, and left about twice it’s normal size, flushed, and topped with a dark blue big toe.

“I just need to take a shower first,” I said as I hoped off the bed, hobbling around the room. I couldn’t feel anything below my ankle, so my gait was awkward, clunky, and I relied completely on my right leg. Tom tried to help, but I refused to look weak. Injury? What’s that? After struggling to take off all of my clothes and get the shower started, I stood under the pouring water, bracing myself against the wall. Every movement felt more uneasy than the previous, so I slide down the back of the tub, tuck my knees into my chest and let the scorching water run down my body, finally letting my muscles release. The water burns but my left foot throbs hotter, like it’s soaking up all of the water like a sponge. I think about anything to get my mind off of the pain, what am I going to workout tomorrow at the gym? I’ll probably be pretty sore, maybe it’ll be a yoga day. Or how about some handstand practice? I wonder if my arms will be sore too…

Once it’s felt like a long enough time for a proper shower, I crawl to the front of the tub, turn off the water, and sit there, air drying is a thing, right?

 

Stage 2: Anger

All couch and no gym makes Mia an angry girl. I can barely stand sitting around on a Sunday, let alone every day of every week for about five weeks.

It took a lot for me to accept that I had to go to the doctor in the first place, and then for him to tell me that I basically couldn’t walk for the next three weeks, I was not a happy camper.

“Well, basically we have two options,” Dr Malcom told me, “you need to stay off of it as much as possible, then in three weeks we will have a follow up where I’ll either have to make an incision and fix things manually, or you’ll be good to go!” Well that’s fine and dandy, but what on earth is wrong with my foot? “What we have here is acute frostbite, combined with an impacted nerve.” Who the hell does that happen to?

The anger spiraled from that appointment, to me ordering people around from the couch, to spewing out pure negative energy at all times of the day, every day.

It felt like I had a certain amount of energy that had to be released every day, and since I was barred from the gym, most activities at work, and basically anything aside from watching Netflix, that energy had to come out in anyway possible; unfortunately the easiest way was to just overflow in anger and frustration.

I was mad that I couldn’t do anything, I was mad that I was gaining weight, I was mad that my half hour doctor’s appointment left me with a $100 co-pay and $150 antibiotics. It began to spiral out of control, to the point where I was barking orders at everyone around me, lashing out in any all every capacity.

 

Stage 3: Bargaining

By week three, I was exhausted. The energy I couldn’t place in any healthy capacity began to fade, and was replaced with endlessly restless thoughts. If only I had checked my boots one more time before heading down the mountain…if only I hadn’t worn the liner socks…if only I had said something when my toe started to hurt… At this point, I think everyone around me became grateful that I had quieted down, but the gears were still turning just as quickly. All of the anger internalized, and I tried to think my way out of my injury, fixating on every detail of the hike.

I made a lot of pacts with myself during this stage of the injury. “I will listen to my body more throughout my workouts,” “I will allow myself to rest in order to not over exert myself, “ “I will do yoga twice a week,” “I will stretch after every workout,” and the list goes on and on. This was the fist light of positivity, but the internalized anger began to slowly change into an inner sadness that I slipped into quite quickly.

 

Stage 4: Depression

This is the stage that I got stuck in the most. Self-pity is an ugly thing we never want to admit to, but the sadness overwhelmed me, and soon the gears stopped turning, but I remained silent, stuck in my own head, wallowing in my sadness. I binged not only on crap food I never used to bat an eye at, but even more so on feeling bad for myself. “aw, poor me, I don’t even know who I am anymore” I was completely detached from the woman I was pre-injury.

The pacts I’d made faded away, I stopped writing, and I barely paid attention to the TV shows I spent all of my time watching. My work began to suffer, and even Tom began to suffer, feeling helpless as he watched me fade into a very different version of myself.

At this point, there really was no energy being transferred anywhere. I could no longer identify with myself or anything else; I became my injury.

“Why don’t we just go to the gym and do some abs and upper body?” my good friend and gym buddy, Kara, asked me. “I can’t even put my gym shoes on, I don’t want to be seen in there in Uggs.” I’m sure she could smell the bullshit, but she understood. I would come up with any excuse I possible could to stay in this safe, comfortable depression I found myself in. Not only had I grown a little more fluffy and complacent, but also lazy. It was just easier to be depressed, after all I had an excuse, right? I had freakin’ acute frostbite!

 

Stage 5: Acceptance, Healing

His hands were cold as he poked and prodded at different parts of my foot. The tip of my big toe was still numb, but it was back down to its normal size, no longer throbbing, and the nail wasn’t completely purple.

“Good news,” he started off with, “It looks like the nerve has settles back into place on it’s own, the nail matrix feels in tact, and I don’t think we’ll be cutting anything open today.” I was waiting for the next sentence, the “but…”, the bad news. When nothing came, I asked, “so, can I, like, go to the gym and stuff?” Dr. Malcom laughed a little and just said “yeah.”

In my head I’m thinking, what??? How long have I been able to go back to the gym. I can go back!!! I can use my foot! And although that co-pay was an odd $103, I was dancing out of that office like I had never been injured at all.

Just hearing that I was okay, changed my entire outlook immediately. I finally snapped out of my injury depression and was ready to push my boundaries and get back into action.

Sure, it took another few weeks to get completely back to normal, and I’m still not where I was, physically, but my head was back in the game right away, and a bum foot, or a few extra pounds is nothing compared to a sick mental state. The physical aspect of an injury is just the tip of the iceberg, below there are layers and layers of self-doubt, anger, depression, and so much more. It’s no wonder to me now that there are sports psychologists getting paid millions of dollars each year to work with professional athletes through the pain and frustration of injury, recovery, and re-instatement into their respective sports.

I may still not be completely healed, but I know my body better, and I know my self better.

6,000 Ft., 8.5 Hours, and 7.3 Miles

On a snowy, 23 degree morning, my boyfriend, our friends Andrew and Emily, and I stared up 6,288 ft at the summit of Mt. Washington. Known originally as “Mother Goddess of the Storm”, it is not only the highest peak in the Northeastern US, but it is most famous for its dangerously erratic weather. For 76 years until 2010 it held the record for the highest wind speed ever measured on earth at 231 mph. At 7am on Monday, March 2nd, 2014 it looked like a scene out of a movie. Snowflakes the size of a penny floated slowly in thick blankets around us. Going into this experience I prided myself on being in excellent shape in terms of both strength and endurance. After all, I go to the gym every day, six days a week and am constantly striving to lift heavier and run further. But in the gear room, I wasn’t putting on a pair of Nike’s and a sports bra.

Emily on our PB&J line
Emily on our PB&J line

Emily and I worked on our PB&J express line as the boys geared up. Everyone was pretty quiet, acting busy with the task at hand, but really just grateful for our last few moments indoors. The first inkling I had that it would be a rougher journey than anticipated came when our guide, Shawn, handed me the ice pick. We were already wearing 2 inch spikes on the bottom of our boots…how much more traction could we possibly need?

Frozen waterfall
Frozen waterfall

The first several miles are a steady incline on rather easy terrain. We hiked quickly, hearts racing, trudging through the snow. It felt familiar. Sweat building, pulse racing, breathing deeply. I could do this all day, I had practiced for this on the treadmill. I did my best to focus on my surroundings, it really did look like the entrance to Narnia. Distraction is key for any endurance workout, you can’t focus on each footstep against the pavement, you think about the end goal, whether it be the top of Mt Washington, the finish line, or minute twenty. After about an hour we stopped to switch up our gear and get ready for the next section of the hike. Snapped out of cardio-mode, it wasn’t until then that I realized no one else was enjoying themselves. Tom looked completely exhausted, Emily focused on her gear with a zoned-out look in her eyes, and Andrew was already cringing. Looking to break the mood, Shawn lead us in some stretches. “Shit,” Tom was leaning over to his left, in a lat stretch. I was worried about him a little bit. Tom doesn’t really workout, and the last time I could remember us doing something active was the summer before when we did a light hike up to Diana’s Bath to see the waterfall. I chickened out of asking  him about  climbing a mountain of the winter twice before Andrew and I sat him down after a few beers and broke the news. Tom laughed a little, “yeah, I think I pulled a muscle.” Part dumbfounded and part amused, I think everyone else took it lightly, but I was concerned. Convinced that I knew what the day ahead would be like and how I would react and everyone else too, I figured they all had a long day ahead of them. In reality, I was completely clueless. About another hour in, after slightly steeper climbing, I figured we had set the pace and was looking forward to my endurance being tested, and my muscles feeling nice and sore the next day. The trail, however, got thinner, and steeper. It’s funny, really, how fears and anxieties rarely settle in until we’ve taken a step back, paused, and re-assesed the current situation. One moment you are trudging along, content in the monotony of labor, and after a small rest, doubts flood our thoughts. Taking a sip of my frozen slush-water, a chill ran down my spine, my muscles clenched, and I couldn’t catch my breath. My body felt as if it had to lean forward onto the mountain. So crouched on all fours, I refused to turn my head around to look at the view with the others, all I could picture were rocks outlining the almost vertical drop down towards the basin of Tuckerman’s Ravine. I could barely even think about the trail, let alone my footing. My thoughts were clouded with a mess of anxieties, one stringing into the next. I grew quiet, and concentrated, and couldn’t separate myself from my thoughts to enjoy any aspect of the experience. Still, I didn’t feel like I was at the point of crying, just very numb and cold like my surroundings. Tom grabbed his phone to take a picture, “C’mon, fake a smile for the camera,” he said.

Smiling for the camera through the pain and fear
Smiling for the camera through the pain and fear

Cheese. Behind his phone I could see the same concern in Tom’s eyes that I’m sure I had during out stretch. What was for? I’m fine. That can’t be for me. Oh god, it’s for me. The idea of being the weak-link of the group didn’t settle well with me. But rather than snap me back into Mia-mode, it just sank in until it became a visceral feeling. I took inventory of the feeling in my toes, calves, and quads. Everything seemed to be alright, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was not in a safe place, and even the slightest misstep would sling me down the mountain to my death. I shuffled along the trail on all fours, feeling more grounded to the mountain.  Each shuffled scraped my knees and my right shoulder throbbed with pain from pulling up most of my body weight with each hack of my ice pick. My breath grew shallower, and my eyes wide, focusing on nothing but the next foot or so of trail. I started to notice more and more rocks on the path. “Soon, we’ll approach the treeline at 4,500 feet in elevation,” Shawn yelled up the trail, “you’ll see the trees get smaller and smaller until a tree up to your knee is actually hundreds of years old.” “With less and less trees,” he continued,” the wind drifts are higher and there is no protection for the snow, so we’ll be doing some bouldering and rock climbing work.” The next thing I saw when I looked up was the bottleneck, a small section of trail in which only one person can climb either up or down at a time. There was a rope set up, strung through the tree roots and anchored at the top of the section. We didn’t even get to see Tom climb, he was already up, waiting for me with a smile. He was coaching me along, but his words were washed out by the fear ringing in my head. My toe felt like it was slipping, but the next foot hole was up on the other side of my right knee—on the opposite side of any hope for a handhold. I grabbed onto the rope, but the glove muted any sense of security. I climbed slowly and solidly with a determination fueled by Tom’s even keel voice coaching my every move. I collapsed as soon as I reached the top. My muscles felt like they couldn’t take it anymore, and the lump in my throat threatened to spill out into a messy fit of tears. I fought to choke it down so hard I almost forgot about and lactic acid pooling in my legs. “You alright babe?” He asked with a little laugh at the end. “No.” I whispered, refusing to look up at him. I lost track of how many times I said “No, I’m not fine,” but I kept on with a steely determination. The hike blurred at this points into memories of pain and fear paralleled with Tom’s calming voice and incredible confidence. Soon I began to focus less on my own pain, and more on the funny miniature trees and the incredible strength that Tom was able to transfer into me.

Tom and I
Tom and I

As cheesy as it sounds, I fell in love with him all over again that day. But on a different level than I had ever experienced before. And not to say that it was any more passionate or deep, but moreover that it was different, that I was able to connect with a new part of him that I had never experienced before. Another piece in the puzzle. It was going to be another 45 or so minutes to Lion’s Head when we stopped for a quick break to look over the edge of Tuckerman’s Ravine. My anxieties began to melt away as the trees faded into the distance below us, and the sight of the 90 degree drop into pure unadulterated snow parked a bubble of elation from somewhere deep inside of me. Warmth began to flow through my veins, and I couldn’t help but smile as a gust of seventy mile per hour winds came up and slapped us all in the faces. Mother Goddess of the Storm warning us that she could take us down any minute if she wanted to. The feeling, however, was not contagious. As soon as we stepped away from the edge to prepare ourselves for the summit, the smiles faded. Andrew had aggravated an old injury. Emily’s boots were jamming into her shins no matter how many times she adjusted them, and Tom had to take his off and bare the elements in order to change a bandage for the second time in the day. Only, he was able to do it with a smile.

If you look closely, my eyelashes had turned to snowflakes
If you look closely, my eyelashes had turned to snowflakes

We shared a few sips of power aid slush and some Eskimo kisses as the winds whipped around us. A beautiful reprieve that promised the end was near and we would make it through this trip. The peak of our trip was not what you would expect. No one waved flags, jumped into each others’ arms.  It was beautiful, it was moving, and it was beyond spectacular, but it was also cold, painful, and over quickly. We jumped at the opportunity to turn around and head back to camp. “Well, this part should only really take two, two and a half hours,” Shawn said. Those were some of the best words any of us had ever heard. The rock climbing sections would be tough again, but gravity was working in our favor and we would get down that mountain. Walking downhill in crampons felt a lot less secure than I’d originally imagined. On one hand you have huge spikes gripping you into the snow, on the other hand, if you didn’t lean back onto your heels, your center of gravity would pull you headfirst into a downhill roll. My solution was to walk sidestep the entire way down. Right foot first until my right quad became exhausted, and then left foot first. Emily and Andrew didn’t have much of a choice, no matter which way they tried they were in pain. They trudged down almost zombie-like. Tom, after accidentally stepping off trail into waist-high powdery snow a few times, sat himself right down and used his butt as a sled all the way down the face of Mt. Washington, completely fearless and thrilled. I had never seen elation on him like I did that day. The bottleneck was rough, the fear came back, and I pictured myself rolling down to my doom a few more times, but the promise of a good meal kept us trudging down the mountain just like that minute 20 or mile 13.1. There was no runners high, no crazy endorphins, or out of body experiences at the bottom of the mountain. It wasn’t pretty at all. We were cold, we were in pain, and we were exhausted. The discovery of my blue toe and swollen foot didn’t even faze us at the time. We ate fast and fell asleep quickly without so much as a “brr” or “ouch”. It might sound anti-climactic, even dull. But the range of emotions and the level of exertion was like nothing else. Those 7.3 miles, 8.5 hours, and 6,000 feet in elevation made up one of the most impactful days of my life so far.

Andrew, Emily, Tom, and I feeling very accomplished after climbing Mt. Washington
Andrew, Emily, Tom, and I feeling very accomplished after climbing Mt. Washington

About this blog

train like a beast to look like a beauty

train like a beast to look like a beauty

Holy Fit! bridges the gap between my love for writing and my passion for fitness and nutrition. This blog is written and designed for the fit-hungry woman who wants more out of training and nutrition. HF is coaching and advice in a service-oriented manner on training, nutrition, health, beauty, and more. The HF girl sees her health and fitness as a way of life, she is driven to get stronger, faster, and leaner, and always looking to achieve more.