Let's face it, the gym is just a hassle this time of year. Everyone who vowed to get healthier in 2017 is going to be at the gym come January 2, so the treadmill with the best view of the TV or the elliptical that doesn't squeak will all be occupied by newbies. Don't get us wrong: We're glad those people are there. Everyone deserves a chance to get healthy and in shape in the new year. It's just that we'd rather not elbow our way through the locker room or stand in line for the over-head press machine.
This month, say goodbye to driving to and from the gym and fighting the crowds. In fact, we say boycott the gym. With our No-Gym January Challenge, we created a 31-day workout plan that will get you on track to the best shape of your life while saving money, spending time with family and friends and never stepping foot in a gym.
January 1: Even though you might be recovering from a late night celebrating the New Year, you still have time to burn a few calories. Grab some friends or family members, and go on a long walk. There is no need to push yourself right away, especially with a lack of sleep (or worse, a hangover), but going on a brisk walk is great way to start the day and set the tone for a healthy new year.
January 2: It's Monday, but many of us are still in holiday mode, so let's start our workout routine strong. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise today. Pick your favorite online Youtube fitness channels, and choose options that target different muscle groups. You can cycle through these during the week. If you need extra motivation, buy a new yoga mat to use at home.
January 3: For most of us, this is the first day back to work since the New Year festivities. This is the time to stick to your routine. Decide from the beginning of the day if you want to work out before or after work. Try this HIIT workout to get a workout at home that burns even more calories than you would at the gym.
January 4: Recruit a few friends and sign up for a 5k or half marathon at the end of the month or in early February. Having a tangible goal to look forward to is a great way to stay motivated during the first month of fitness resolutions. Training begins now, so get outside and go for a run while using these fitness apps to track your progress.
January 5: Cool down and stretch day. It's really important to take time to properly stretch. Follow along with these yoga professionals as they walk you through poses and relaxation techniques. Try to do this at least once a week.
January 6: Rest day! Use the extra time you have today to meal plan. Our weekly Sunday Strategist column provides five nights of fast, fresh meals. If you want a plan that provides all your meals, snacks, and a shopping list, sign up for the Cooking Light Diet. After you've picked your meals, make your grocery list.
January 7: It's finally the weekend! Depending on the weather, find a hike in your neighborhood and get your workout in while spending time outdoors with friends. If you are in the snow, skiing and snowboarding are great ways to burn calories without feeling like you are working out at all.
January 8: Pick a new area of town, park, or trail and go running there instead of in your usual neighborhood. Because it's Sunday, take time to enjoy your run or walk. Remember you are training for a race at the end of the month.
January 9: Download the Nike+ Training Club app for free and spend your workout today with Allyson Felix, Gaby Douglas, Alex Morgan, or Serena Williams. These professional athletes will walk you through a workout you can do at home without any equipment.
January 10: Do some research in your neighborhood to find free workout classes that aren't at the gym. Individual studios usually have a free trial class, some breweries offer after-work yoga or Zumba, and you might even catch a ride with a biking group that rides through your city. Grab a friend and try out an activity for the first time with no strings attached.
January 11: If you're going to be spending more time at home for your workouts, it's time to add to your home gym. If you only have a yoga mat, that's fine. You can add dumbbells or kettle bells or even a jump rope. Check out our home gym recommendations that are affordable and practical. Once you find equipment you like, buy it, and head home. Then grab your phone and get a 30-minute workout in using your favorite YouTube channel.
January 12: Rest day! You've been back to work for two weeks, so you may be feeling really run down by now. Instead of heading to happy hour with your friends, head home. Slip into some comfy PJs, make a batch of soup you can eat for the weekend, and relax. Use the extra hours you'd normally spend at the gym asleep. That's right. Go to bed early. You need the rest.
January 13: Getting in better shape correlates to your diet, and you don't need an expensive personal trainer to tell you that. Today, use our guide to clean out your fridge, and follow along with Livestrong's YouTube channel for healthy habits and tips in the kitchen that compliment their workout routines.
January 14: Time to run! Get outside and try to push yourself to go a little farther than usual. Don't forget to use your tracking app to make sure to see your results and progress.
January 15: Invite friends over for a healthy dinner you can cook together. The catch? Pick your favorite group workout video to do together first. It can either be a high-energy cardio class or a cool-down yoga session to do after dinner. Either way, it will be more fun together. Plus, you'll be more motivated to cook and eat healthier if a workout is involved.
January 16: If you are observing Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and happen to have the day off, take advantage of it (beyond watching movies). If the weather permits, ride your bike outside, try rollerblading, or see if your neighborhood has a rock climbing wall. Our Winter Exercise Survival Guide cam help you dress appropriately if you do decide to head outside. Look for fun options like snow shoeing, hockey, or even just a game of snowball throwing.
January 17: Don't let your yoga mat and weights get dusty! Scroll through your phone with these apps and choose at least a 30-minute workout to get your heart rate up and calories burned.
January 18: Rest day! It's time to buy some new shoes. With your race coming up in a few weeks, you need shoes that are sturdy and supportive. You also need time to break them in before your race. Before you head for the store, read our tips for choosing the right running shoe for your foot.
January 19: Is your favorite show on or you're just in the mood for a movie? Grab your yoga mat, and sit on the floor. During the commercials, get your workout in. Switch between crunches, planks, low-ab curls, and wall sits. Incorporate your weights for a more challenging workout.
January 20: Time to get your run or walk in! Try to pay attention this time to your pace to see if you have improved or can hold a consistent time per mile.
January 21: Organize a flag football or softball game with friends and family. Not only is this activity a good time to burn calories while having fun, you can truly embrace time outdoors during the weekend. If the weather keeps you inside, look for a community gym where you can play basketball, racquetball, or even volleyball.
January 22: Ever wanted to try hip hop? Or attempt a workout that a Victoria's Secret model does everyday? Try this fitness channel in the comfort of your own home, and give it your all. Workout like no one is watching!
January 23: Try to wake up early and start your day with a yoga session. Not only will it improve your mood, your whole week will be off to a good start.
January 24: Rest day! You've already cleaned out your fridge, so let's tackle the pantry next. Take everything out, wipe down your shelves, and start fresh. Dump sugary cereals, cookies, and any foods that stand between you and your goals. (We're looking at you holiday candy!) Next, restock your shelves and organize so you can make weeknight meals easier. Head to the grocery store and stock up on healthy pantry essentials like brown rice, low-sodium cooking stocks, and canned beans. Keeping a well-stocked pantry helps you make fast, healthy meals a weeknight no-brainer.
January 25: Get out and run! If you need more motivation, grab a friend or plug-in your headphones to listen to the perfect workout playlist. You only have a few more days until the month is over, which means that race you signed up for weeks ago is approaching.
January 26: Ever wonder, "Am I doing a squat properly? Am I lifting this weight correctly?" Take some time to watch these videos. Proper technique can help you avoid injuries and see better results sooner. Thirty proper squats are better than 75 sloppy squats.
January 27: Grab your yoga mat, weights, and jump rope. Get at least 30 minutes of high-enegry cardio exercise in the morning or after work.
January 28: Heading to the grocery store? Make sure to grab items that will support your fitness goals. Check out our guide to clean eating. It will keep your diet just as strong as your no-gym challenge.
January 29: During your run today, try to incorporate intervals. Run at a fast pace or spring for about two minutes, then slowly jog or walk for three. Repeat for at least 20 minutes. Finish with a five-minute cool-down walk.
January 30: Rest day! Today, it's time to head to the mall. With that race coming up in a few weeks (or days!), you need new workout gear. Celebrate all the hard work you did this month withe the no-gym challenge by buying a new outfit. Remember to buy layering options so you can stay cool (or warm) during your upcoming run.
January 31: Let's finish where this all began—grab your mat and at-home equipment, and try a workout online or on your favorite app that is one step harder than your usual workout. You have come to far, and it's now time to make little changes like these that will make a huge difference long-term.
For February, head back to the gym if you wish, or keep going with all the new no-gym techniques you've learned. Thanks to your new home gym equipment, favorite YouTube channels, and trusty apps, you can get your workout on whether you're avoiding the gym's massive crowds or just seeking solace in a park. Cheers to a new year!