While it’s important to move your body, it’s more important to have realistic long term fitness goals so you don’t end up burning out!
The problem is that many people don’t know how to set these sustainable goals. Our guest today is an expert at keeping things real for ultimate success!
Karina Inkster is your go-to, no-B.S. vegan fitness coach, author, and podcast host. Vegan since 2003 and vegetarian since 1998, she provides a friendly kick in the butt that inspires and motivates you to live your best, healthiest, most plant-strong life. Karina’s award-winning online programs offer vegan fitness and nutrition coaching to clients around the world.
She’s the author of four books with a fifth in the works, a writer for several magazines, and host of the No-B.S. Vegan podcast. She holds a Master’s degree in Gerontology, specializing in health and aging.
When she’s not working with her clients, writing, or weight lifting, you’ll find Karina playing accordion, piano, and Australian didgeridoo; hanging out with her two cats; or sneaking spinach into her husband’s smoothies.
Grab her free guide, Vegan food logging 101: Your guide to calculating calories and macros.
What Fitness Goals Mean
Everyone is human and has an innate need to feel great, look great and feel comfortable with themselves. While not everyone is there yet, ultimately this is what we want to achieve.
So there is no one size fits all approach to fitness however there are fitness goals that are more or less beneficial to us long term. For overall health, both mental health and physical health, we need to make sure we are making appropriate goals.
Anything really can be a fitness goal. You may want to run your first marathon, loose fat, do a pull up, etc. There is not only one type of fitness goal.
What is a Good Fitness Goal?
We are all different, have different bodies and different lifestyles so fitness goals will depend on each individual person.
Karina likes to focus on input versus output goals. Usually we have output goals like lose 10 pounds, deadlift twice my body weight, shrink our waist.
We don’t have direct control over these types of things. So instead we want to increase our input goals.
For example, if we want to lose 10 pounds what are the input goals? It can be things like drink enough water, do your steps, strength training, increase cardiovascular activity, eat the right foods, etc. These are things we can track and have direct control over.
An approach like this, is healthier psychologically than stepping on the scale and tracking the weight.
Reasons Why a Fitness Goal Fails
Most of the time when we fail at a goal, it’s because our expectations are not appropriate. So the first thing we need to do is check those expectations.
We don’t know how long a goal is going to take. So to set a time frame with a goal can be counterproductive.
So instead we can focus on habits. When we bring habits into our life instead of attaching a time frame to a goal, you are making things more realistic and fitting them into your actual life versus trying to race the clock to meet a certain time frame.
How to Set a Fitness Habit
When people see a trainer or any fitness support, they already have an idea of what they want to achieve. There is no one size fits all approach, the focus is a collaborative process between a trainer and client.
Fitness habits need to be client centered because if it doesn’t work with your lifestyle then it will be very hard to achieve. Having outside support is also great for accountability, which is important at the beginning until you are able to take it on yourself.
You can also set fitness habits on your own if you are someone that is great at your own accountability. You can even find friends to be workout buddies with, which helps keep you motivated.
Either way, it is important to start with a baseline of what you do already. You also want tp look to see if the expectations are appropriate. You can then go from there finding what you can work on to create small wins and habits that move you towards your end goal.
How to Sustain Your Fitness
Since fitness is not something that really has an end, keeping up with it is important.
If you’re seeing a coach full time, you can start to decrease the amount of support you get. Whether it’s less one of one or move towards a group support, or start working on your own.
Since there are so many goals you can have that working on your fitness you have many opportunities to keep working. You can move from one focus of fitness to another, or even just maintain your overall fitness by keeping active and including things like strength training, flexibility work and cardiovascular activity into your routine.
Ideally moving your body is most important so that you can help contribute to your overall health.
What to Eat
When it comes to food, there are so many problematic messages coming from the diet world. What it comes down to is making sure to eat what works for you, not what the diet world is telling you to eat.
When it comes to eating plant-based, getting a lot of whole foods is important. Fruits, vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates are all part of a well rounded diet.
If you are strength training, you need to make sure you are getting in the right amount of protein. Getting enough carbohydrates is important as well.
The main goal is not to obsess over food and avoiding the messages that diet culture sends. Working with a coach like Karina can be really helpful as you navigate it all!