Daniel Boone

Boycott the gym this month! There, we said it. Follow this no-gym challenge, and you'll save time, money, and still be on track to get in shape, all while having fun and spending time outdoors. 

Katherine Flynn
January 05, 2018

Let's face it, the gym is just a hassle this time of year. Everyone else who vowed to get healthier in 2018 is going to be crowding through the doors, waiting in line for the treadmill or taking the last elliptical.

New Year. New Food. Healthy eating starts here, with the Cooking Light Diet.

This month, say good bye to driving to and from the gym or fighting the crowds. In fact, we say boycott the gym. With our #NoGymJanuary challenge, we created 15 different workout ideas that are easy ways to get on track with your health goals while still saving money, spending time with family and friends, and never stepping foot in a gym.

Stretch it out: Grab some friends or family members, and go on a long walk! Going on a brisk walk is great way to start the day and set the tone for a healthy new year. 

Get out and run! If you need motivation, grab a friend or plug-in your headphones to listen to the perfect workout playlist.

Give yourself 30: One of the best goals you can set early on is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise, 3-5 days a week. Decide ahead of time if you want to work out before or after work, then pick your favorite online Youtube fitness channel, and choose options that target different muscle groups. You can cycle through these during the week to break things up, and to work out some muscles while letting others rest. If you need extra motivation, buy a new yoga mat to use at home.

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Get HIIT to get fit: If you're already pretty active, and trying to step it up a notch, go for a High-Intensity Interval Training (or HIIT) workout. They're short, very intense, and burn a ton of calories. You can do this HIIT workout at home.

Turn your jog into a sprint: During your run, try to incorporate intervals. Run at a fast pace or sprint for about two minutes, then slowly jog or walk for three. Repeat four times for a  least 20 minutes. Finish with a five-minute cool-down walk.

Breath in, breathe out: It's good to set aside a day now and then to cool down. It's really important to take time to properly stretch—and a great way to do that is with yoga. Follow along with these yoga professionals as they walk you through poses and relaxation techniques. Try to do this at least once a week.

Meal prep rest day: Remember: Getting healthy isn't just about working out. 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.

Ready, set, race: Recruit a few friends and sign up for a race! Try a 5K if you're just starting out, or up it to a 10K or even a half-marathon if you're looking for a challenge. 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.

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Plug in some motivation: Download your favorite fitness app and get some professional guidance on your workout. The Nike+ Training Club gives you motivation from top athletes. Strava's social network let's you cheer on (and compete with) friends, and Fitocracy turns getting fit into a game. 

Scope out your neighborhood: Do some research in your area 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.

Build out your home gym: 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.

Clean out the fridge: Getting in better shape correlates to your diet, and you don't need an expensive personal trainer to tell you that. 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.

Sweat the breaks: Is your favorite show on, or you're just in the mood for some Netflix? No need to chill. Grab your yoga mat, and sit on the floor. During the commercials (which may not be so good to watch anyway), get your workout in. Switch between crunches, planks, low-ab curls, and wall sits. Incorporate your weights for a more challenging workout.

Get out and play: 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 weekends. If the weather keeps you inside, look for a community gym where you can play basketball, racquetball, or even volleyball.

Work on your form: 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.

For February, head back to the gym if you wish (it may be a lot less crowded), 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!