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Expert Tips on Hitting Your Fitness Goals

When embarking on a new fitness goal or lifestyle change, it’s easy to want to just hit the ground running and sprint towards those goals. But before you make major changes, take a moment to evaluate what you really need for your body and lifestyle. Ask yourself how you can realistically achieve what you want -- and if you really even want what you THINK you want (think finishing an Ironman vs. playing with your kids without getting winded).

We’ve pulled together some expert advice to help you stay on track with your fitness goals. Keep these things in mind and you’ll be setting yourself up for success -- not disappointment.

Tips for Hitting Your Fitness Goals

Start small. Before you can hit the goals, you have to make some. When starting a fitness routine, lofty goals like “get fit,” “be stronger,” and “lose weight” are great -- but their vague. Start with small, actionable, measurable goals and you will be more likely to continue on the journey. Each milestone will help motivate you towards the next.

Plan long term. While small, easy to achieve goals are important, you want to find habits and routines that you’ll stick with long term. Changing your mindset from “I want to be ripped right now” to “I want to live a long and healthy life for myself and my family” can help you stay motivated long term. So, small actionable goals will help you stick to fitness while those long term goals will help you change your lifestyle.
Support with nutrition. Exercising is the most obvious way to reach fitness goals, but you’ll see faster and better results if you support your exercise routine with proper nutrition. Too much fuel can lead to weight gain, while too little can leave you exhausted and less able to advance in training. Your personal nutritional needs will need to be custom to you -- but in general lean proteins and lots of veggies are the way to go.

Set a schedule. Establishing a healthy routine is mostly about habits. If everyday you get up at 5 am to exercise, it will eventually become an automatic function of your routine. If you promise to exercise fives times a week -- with no schedule or timeline in mind -- the likelihood that you’ll actually get in those workouts is slim. Just like you would a doctor’s appointment or business meeting, schedule in your workouts. Put it in your planner or set up reminders in you Google calendar.

Find the fun. More important that what you do or how often you do it is this -- you must do it! Whatever gets you motivated to move, do that. Try out different exercises or sports and discover what you actually enjoy doing. Hate running? Maybe a cardio step class would be more fun. Intimidated by the weight room? Maybe body weight exercises at home are more your speed. The more you enjoy what you’re doing, the more likely you are to stick to your routine and achieve your goals.

Get a buddy. Human are social creatures and often are most motivating factor for doing anything is having another person holding us accountable. Is there someone in your life that wants to get fit too? Pair up with them and keep each other on track. It’s not only a great way to stay accountable, but it also increases the fun quotient. You could even use the activity as quality time with a friend, family member, or significant other. Can’t find anyone to be your workout buddy? Pay someone. A personal trainer will offer that personable accountability -- and you might even make a new friend.

Build a playlist. Music has a profound effect on our minds. It has been shown to help exercises push through the challenge and discomfort of tough workouts. Build a playlist of music that really motivates you -- and you’ll find yourself looking forward to your workouts more. If you’re really into music and dancing, there are plenty of fitness classes centered around music and could be a good option for you.

Give yourself plenty of time. If you’re trying to become a fitness model or Mister Universe within a month and you’ve spent the last five years couch surfing -- you’re going to be disappointed. When planning your fitness goals, give yourself enough time to achieve them. Going too hard too fast is a recipe for early burnout -- and could lead to an injury that lands you back on the couch. Instead, be realistic and kind to yourself. As long as you’re moving forward towards your goals, it doesn’t matter if they happen overnight.

Don’t get discouraged. Get busy and skip a week? Slip up and derail your diet plan? Forgive yourself! Allowing yourself to fall back into bad habits indefinitely is the worst thing you can do. Acknowledge that your are human and life isn’t perfect -- and then get started again. A small setback doesn’t have to derail you completely from your short and long term fitness goals.

Talk to professionals. When embarking on new fitness routine or major lifestyle change, professionals can be your best friend. Your physician can help monitor your vitals and ensure everything you’re doing is safe. A personal trainer can offer guidance and tips for maximizing your workouts. A nutritionist can help you pull together a meal plan that’s suited to your needs and lifestyle. Take advantage that these professionals exist.

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