The start of the New Year brings new opportunities, new experiences, and, most importantly, new resolutions. With everyone hoping to kick the season off on the right foot, becoming healthier often jumps to the top of the priority list.
In fact, the Statista Global Consumer Survey showed that vowing to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight were the Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions in the U.S. this year.
As such, gyms across the country always experience a spike in attendance, often to the disappointment of regulars who can no longer move through their workouts as quickly. What’s more, the crowds can even bring anxiety to new gym goers, who suddenly have to fit in with everyone else.
However, there are many solutions to beating the New Years’ gym craze while still achieving your goals, from starting off early to take the exercise outside, to even doing some fun at-home workouts for the first couple of weeks in January.
1. Getting Up and Getting at It
No one likes the first week back at work after the end of the Christmas season, especially when it means being woken up by an obnoxious alarm. Yet, working out in the mornings can actually allow you to get a leg up on the day as a whole, not just the gym-going crowd.
Research shows that the most popular hours of gym attendance are between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. This means that many people head to the gym directly after work, resulting in long lines at every machine and general chaos. If you typically work around this time–or you’re like me and you don’t like having to mix up the order of your exercises–going in the morning might just be perfect for you.
Working out clears the mind and improves mental focus for a long period afterward. According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, working out for even 10 or 15 minutes every morning can significantly increase productivity.
Not only this but if you engage in High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), working out earlier will maximize the amount of time the calorie-burning effect will work. Plus, the endorphins released through exercise cause a boost in good feelings that’ll carry over into the work day where you might need it the most.
2. Exploring New Terrain
Sometimes, the best place to work out is all around us. Not only do the outdoors provide plenty of space, but they avoid that pesky membership fee that pops up in our bank accounts every month. Of course, this is a little more dependent upon climate, but getting out is a perfect solution if you’re in a place experiencing warm weather.
Parks are perfect for a brisk walk, run, or even a bike ride. Also, many walking trails have stairs where you can get a solid sprint in to work on stability and leg strength. Even a game of frisbee or soccer can rapidly turn into a fun workout that isn’t constrained by capacity limits.
Also, as more people stay inside and the gyms get more crowded, taking exercise outdoors can also help you avoid the illnesses that come with the winter season. The greater the number of people in one location, the more likely you are to come into contact with someone who’s sick. So getting outside can not only save your mental health by keeping your workouts consistent, but it can keep your physical health in top shape.
3. Bringing the Gym to You
Sometimes the best way to avoid the January crowds is to take a break from the gym altogether. Never fear, though. This doesn’t mean you need to postpone your goals until February, especially when there are dozens of fun at-home workouts that can help you avoid the crowds and stay comfortable in your own space.
Especially for new gym goers, the thought of walking into a gym with so many other people is particularly daunting. However, there are lots of ways to stay active at home with varying levels of intensity.
For the casual gym goer or beginner, basic yoga and other short exercise videos are perfect. Particularly, the “Lazy Girl” workouts popularized by fitness influencer Vicky Justiz show how to get a fun workout in without too much strain.
Kicking it up a notch, HIIT workouts and other more intense cardio training plans are readily available by trainers such as Oliver Sjostrom for those looking to hit the gym hard while still avoiding the crowds.
Finally, games have been created to keep workouts interesting while still working up a sweat. For most of them, all you need is enough room to jump and lie down, making it perfect for the average home or apartment. What’s more, depending on your goals, you can increase the difficulty at will with the variety of exercises offered by the trainers.
All in all, the rush of new gym goers makes for a challenging and beautiful change to usual fitness schedules. Through trying new workouts, picking different times, and getting creative, you can still work towards achieving your own New Year’s resolution, without having to put fitness on the back burner until the crowds die down.