If you have even the tiniest inkling that you might want to get in shape in the new year—or anytime really — don’t wait until January. The best time to start a gym habit is right now, when you’ll have the place to yourself.
Technically “right now” is always the best time to start, but December is special. If you wait until January, gyms will be packed. The first two weeks of the year, everybody thinks they’re at the start of an amazing new fitness habit... and then by February, most of them have forgotten all about it. Don’t make life harder for yourself by starting during the big rush. Classes will fill up, you’ll have to fight people for the squat rack, and it will be hard to have any real fun. So start now.
The rest of November and December, which encompass a morass of religious ceremonies, rampant consumerism, and insane eating, often feel like a wash. New Year’s Eve is a shining beacon, the time when we’ll reset all our filthy habits — so, why bother now? Because setting a pre-resolution-resolution can still turn some aspect of your life around.
In December, fair-weather gymgoers will be off shopping for gifts after work and attending holiday parties on the weekends. They won’t feel like getting out of their warm beds in the morning, either. When you arrive, the squat rack will be free. You’ll have your choice of treadmills. The gym will be your oyster.
You’ll have one month, give or take, before the rush. And that month is a perfect little timeframe to set a small goal and keep it. Vow to hit the gym three times a week, and you’ll have at least 12 workouts in before the new year. Start a couch-to-5k running plan, and you’ll be halfway done before January.
Yes, December can be busy and stressful, but remember that working out tends to help our brains manage stress. Mark workouts on your calendar, and keep those appointments with yourself.
Don’t worry about missing out on deals: any gym or studio that offers a January special will be running sales all December too. If they don’t offer, just ask.