Ax the gym from your New Year’s resolution list

It’s that time of year again

This New Year’s, people will make promises to eat less and exercise more. They’ll get fitness trackers and gym memberships as gifts, and January 1st will be the busiest day that most gyms see. Odds are, if you’re going to the gym for the first time this January to start a cardio regimen, you’ll find yourself hating some parts of the experience because opicture of the fitbit force fitness bandf the crowds. Just like any other business, there’s a natural limit to the number of people a gym can accommodate. Most fitness centers aren’t set up to deal with the rapid influx of enthusiasts at the beginning of the year, and they really don’t have to. Most of those flocking to gyms this New Year’s will last a few weeks and kick the healthy habit before it even gets started.

In-fact, gyms thrive on the revenue they receive from people purchasing memberships, bailing on their commitment, and not canceling because they think they’ll be back. Many won’t return.

Here’s a different idea for kick-starting your fitness resolution in 2015

Take the gym out of your list of New Year’s resolutions and use local area recreation centers (look for city, college, and public rec centers) instead. They’re typically much less expensive, and you’ll probably have way more fun walking on a track or trail than staring at a wall or TV screen on a treadmill.

My recipe for being ‘independently healthy’ in 2015

Step 1: Purchase and activate a Fitbit fitness tracker.

Is Fitbit the best? I think so… but if you’re not convinced, take a look at PC Mag’s, “The best activity trackers for fitness” post and decide for yourself.

Step 2: Search Yelp for recreation centers in your city (ex. Minneapolis, MN)

Who said you need a gym membership to get some cardio activity in? While weight training is important, if you’re going from sedentary to active, simply increasing your activity will do wonders for your overall health, weight, and well-being. No need to pay for the entire gym when all you use is the treadmill (and many indoor and outdoor rec centers have weights and resistance rigs too too).

Step 3: Measure your activity baseline

Many activity trackers will encourage you to create a goal before you actually understand your current level of activity. While you might think you know how active you are on a daily basis, chances are a machine can do a better job of measuring your current activity than you can. Set your activity band to the default goal, and stick it in your pocket for a week. Don’t think about the fact that you have it, and don’t spend any time opening the app to check stats.

Step 4: Set a fitness goal

Once you’ve completed a week of activity without looking at your stats, open the app, and take a look at your activity level. It’s pretty reasonable to increase steps by around 500 a day each week. Look at your current average steps per day, and add 1,500 additional steps to find your goal for the month. Now, lock and load the goal, and get ready to shatter it.

Step 5: Use recreation centers to walk, jog, or run to achieve your goal

Remember those crowded, overpriced, anti social gyms? Forget about them, grab a friend, and hit the track, trails, or just walk around town for an hour each day. And, when that friend with the gym membership starts complaining because the gym is always full or boring, you can save them from their agony by asking them to cruise with you as you achieve step stardom.

As for me, I’ve resolved to set and shatter a 500K step goal in January. What’s your New Year’s health resolution? Make it real in the comments below. 🙂

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