Tuesday, January 20, 2015

8 Ways to Optimize Your Fitness Routine & Introducing Silk's Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative #SpoonfulOfSilk

I've been aware that fitness should ideally be a part of everyone's daily life since I was a little kid and mommy made us kids go out and play, however I didn't really realize how important until I became really involved in fitness back in 2013.

Of course with shows like The Biggest Loser, Extreme Weight Loss, and Excess Baggage, commercials and informercials for weight loss supplements, gym equipment, and kitchen appliances, as well as shows revolving around healthy eating, society continues to highlight fitness and healthy living to the point of shoving it in your face these days.

Fitness and living a healthy lifestyle don't have to be an all-or-nothing kind of deal, though. Slow and steady wins the race, especially when it comes to exercise and eating. You can seriously hurt yourself if you go all out when starting to exercise or get pretty sick if you quit eating junk food that your body is use to consuming cold turkey (learned both of those the hard way).

Here are 8 simple and easy ways to optimize your fitness goals, all of which make sure you start out slow so you can accomplish those goals of yours in no time:

1. Know your goals and stick to them. Do you want to lose weight? Tone up? Build muscle? Focus on one part of your body at a time? Know exactly what you want to do first and foremost, that way you can come up with a reasonably-timed plan to implement those goals otherwise you'll be all over the map; too many focuses at once leads to nothing getting accomplished!

2. Find something(s) you enjoy doing. If you dread going to the gym to workout everyday, don't do it! If you hate dragging yourself out of bed in the mornings to go on that 3 mile run, stay in bed! Find an area of exercise you truly and thoroughly enjoy doing and stick with that. For me, it was pole fitness. Going three times a week didn't feel like a chore I had to do, it felt like I was doing something I was truly passionate about, therefore I actually looked forward to going!

3. High protein snacks or foods before and after workouts. If you want to do things right you need the right kind of fuel to fuel your workouts. Everyone's body is different so we all require different things but high in protein foods and snacks offer us the ability to aid in muscle growth as well as help burn more calories and keep us energized. Grab a hard boiled egg if you're on the go, make yourself a protein smoothie, or grab yourself one of Silk's newest Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternatives and add some granola and chia seeds for a protein-rich snack. 

4. Find yourself a workout or accountability partner. Working out alone can feel more like a chore for some of us and let's be honest, we're more likely to skip a workout if it's just us. Having a friend who enjoys the same type of exercise you do can not only be fun, it can help both (or all if it's a group) of you be accountable towards your fitness goals! Plus having people to chat with helps the time go by much faster.

5. Know your body. The beauty about being a human being is that we're all different. While one person might enjoy running, another person might despise it and prefer yoga. One person in your yoga class might not be too flexible while the person in the back of the room is making a pretzel out of their body. You might prefer eating carbs before working out while I stick with protein. Know your body! Not only will knowing your body help you towards reaching your goals in a shorter amount of time, it'll also help you from overworking or hurting yourself.

6. Take advantage of local events/free trials/etc. Anytime Fitness offers a free two-week trial to potential members to check out your local gym. Your local branch of the YMCA offers things from swimming pools, to fully stocked gyms, to running tracks and more. Self's Workout in the Park event is held every year in several different locations and offers a full day of different classes you can participate in while entering contests and snagging a bunch of freebies for only $20. If you look hard enough, you'll find events in and around your area, free or costing a little money, that will get you out of the house and up and moving!

7. Eat right. Kind of going along with two of the earlier suggestions, know what your body needs in order to work at it's best! Whether it be protein, carbs, or something else, be aware of what you're putting into your body. Read labels, buy wholesome, organic, and/or more natural ingredients from reputable companies, make your own food at home so you know exactly what goes into it...Remember, you are what you eat so do you really want to be cheap, fast, and easy? 

8. Implement the 80/20 rule. When it comes to eating, my doctor advocates the 80/20 rule: be good to yourself 80% of the time by eating the right healthy foods, cooking for yourself, and use that extra 20% to splurge every once in awhile. Don't deprive yourself from the goodies in your life, just limit them; quantity over quality. In other words, don't opt for a candy bar or your favorite fast food joint every single day but maybe treat yourself once a week. Same rules apply to any guilty pleasure.

Speaking of healthy eating, with Silk and their new Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative, you can indulge that sweet tooth while opting for a healthier snack, especially if you follow a dairy free or vegan lifestyle! 
This delectable plant-based soy yogurt not only has 6 grams of protein in every serving, it also sports a smooth and creamy texture, is made from real fruit, and is free of dairy, cholesterol, and artificial colors or flavors. Not to mention it's gluten-free, carrageenan free, vegetarian, and low in saturated fat! 

It comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry, blueberry, black cherry, vanilla, tropical pineapple, and peach and mango, of which I got to sample the tropical pineapple and black cherry flavors.
I had to wait quite a little while to try the two flavors I was sent due to some procrastination on my part, a lot of health issues, and a wee bit of creative block, so in order to preserve my coveted dairy free yogurt alternatives from Silk I had to take some drastic measures...
The sticky notes WERE broken out.
With 3 other people in the house if I don't claim things as my own (or hide them really, really good) they often disappear without a trace! 

In accordance with tip #3 above, I was craving something with protein the other day so I was finally able to grab my first cup of the dairy free yogurt and throw together a little much needed protein-packed snack for myself.


-1 container Silk Dairy-Free Yogurt Alternative (6 grams of protein)
-3/4 cup Vanilla Almond Granola* (6 grams of protein)
-1 TSP raw Chia Seeds (5 grams of protein)
*Note: any protein-packed granola will do.
That delicious looking quick and easy snack has a total of 17 grams of protein per serving and took me less than 5 minutes to make. Let me also tell you 3 out of the 4 people in the household got to try some of the tropical pineapple flavored dairy free yogurt and the consensus was unanimous: downright delicious and a most definite buy again! 

The flavor was sweet but not overpoweringly so, the consistency was smooth and full bodied, and I was actually somewhat sad when I ate my last spoonful. The only thing I wasn't the biggest fan of is the sugar content in each container

Good thing I still have my black cherry flavor left to try!
Make sure to follow the Silk Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with their happenings and also subscribe to the Silk eNewsletter-they have some very exciting things going on and I'd hate for you to miss out! 

To find more awesome posts revolving around Silk's yummy dairy free yogurt alternative you can also follow the Silk Yogurt Pinterest Board.
Have any tips to add to the one's above? 
Which flavor would YOU try first?
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.