It’s that dreaded time of year where your January fitness enthusiasm is slowing dwindling into a February cloud of burnout and exhaustion. The excitement of your shiny new gym membership has dulled, and the couch doesn’t look half bad. In fact, it looks heavenly.
Well, you're not alone: Gold’s Gym dug through four years of check-in data and determined the day when gym attendance begins to decline and members lose sight of their goals. It's February 18th and Gold's dubbed it the “Fitness Cliff.” There are more parking spots available and more dark circles under the eyes of the people who actually make it there. It’s a harsh reality, but don’t worry! You can avoid the Fitness Cliff, even if it feels like you’re hanging on by a thread. Check out these 5 strategies for keeping your fitness resolutions going strong.
1. Use the entire gym
It’s easy to fall off the bandwagon due to boredom. Sure, that Zumba class was fun in January, but come February 1st, even your favorite booty shaking moves can feel pretty stale. February is the time to mix things up. Challenge yourself to try a different machine, class, or exercise every day for an entire week. Venture into that mysterious corner of the gym with that weird cardio machine you’ve yet to brave (and ask an employee for pointers if you're unsure of how to use it). Check out the pool. If you’re feeling really lost, invest in a single training session and let someone else do the legwork. A trainer can help you develop a new routine that incorporates all the equipment your gym has to offer.
2. Revamp your playlist
There’s nothing worse than reaching into your gym bag and realizing your left your iPod at home. Well, except for listening to the same tired playlist over and over and over. Awful, right? Switch up your playlist to revive your drive and inspiration (even hitting shuffle can make a difference!) and make sure to include fast-paced songs, which can help you work out harder. If you need some music inspiration, try the radio feature in Pandora, Spotify, or iTunes—you might just discover your new favorite artist.
3. Set a new goal
Your New Year’s resolution got you back to the gym in January, but resolutions tend to be vague. Get healthy and work out more are great places to start, but they don’t do much to keep you driven as time chugs along. February is a good time to make a new, more specific fitness goal that aligns with your resolution. Train for a 5K. Plan to lose 5 pounds this month. Do a pushup challenge. Find something that you can work toward in the short term that will keep your momentum going for the long term.
4. Buy motivation
Whoever said money can’t buy happiness never owned a bright new pair of running shoes. Give yourself a little pick-me-up in the form of some new workout gear. Splurge on a heart-rate monitor watch (I love my Polar!) or a cute sports bra. Even something small can put a spring in your step. Try a nice pair of socks with foot support or a new set of neon laces for your shoes!
5. Skip the gym!
If you’re tired of your gym routine, try taking your routine out of the gym. For one week, ditch the gym and do your workouts elsewhere. Whether you’re exercising in your living room, a local park, or going for a run around your neighborhood, give yourself a break from the gym without losing ground on your fitness goals. Chances are you’ll be ready to get back to that trusty gym after your quick breather. You might even miss the variety of equipment—and the towels you don’t have to wash yourself.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, best-selling author, and entrepreneur. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CW’s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants’ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBC’s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.