Gym vs. burger? Foursquare data reveals when people will give up their New Year’s resolutions

Mark your calendars: New Year’s resolutions are about to fall

Samantha Gades Unsplash

New Year, new us, right? Apparently not. According to Forbes, 40% of Americans make self-resolutions at the beginning of each year, however only 8% actually accomplish them. That’s why each year, we here at Foursquare use our understanding of how people move through the world to predict when people will give up on their New Year’s fitness resolutions and return to their old habits.

We call this phenomenon “Fall Off The Wagon Day,” and, whether we like it or not, we’re predicting it will happen this year on Saturday, February 9. 😬

Our data from 2018 shows that the second Saturday in February is the day most people give up on their fitness resolutions in favor of a fast food fix. Between January 1st and this day (compared to the annual average), visits to fast food restaurants are down 4.6 percent, while visits to gyms and fitness centers are up 6 percent. However, February 9th, 2018, was the day that we saw these new behaviors start to slip and move back toward normal levels.

Here are some other fun fitness facts we observed:

  • In 2018, the number of gym visits jumped on January 2nd , then increased even more on January 8th. We know that Mondays and Tuesdays are the most popular days for gym visits, so this spike may be due to the fact that this was the first Monday of the new year when most people were officially back at work.
  • The busiest day for gym visits in 2018 might surprise you. According to our data, Monday, January 29th, was the busiest date for gym-going in 2018. One possible explanation for this could be that “resolutioners” may have spent the first few weeks of the new year busy arranging their new gym memberships, and by January 29th they were finally ready to start getting down to business.
  • While February 9th is when we see these healthy behaviors start trending back to average levels, there is a second, much larger drop in gym visits that occurs around the second week of April. This second drop impacted most types of full-service gyms, from luxury venues like Equinox to discount spots like Planet Fitness. However, boutique fitness studios like Barry’s Bootcamp and SoulCycle were the only outliers that didn’t experience a second drop-off.

How Foursquare crunched the numbers:

Foursquare analyzes foot traffic patterns from more than 10 million Americans that make up our always-on, first-party panel. All data is either anonymized, pseudonymized or aggregated, and is normalized against U.S. Census data to remove age, gender and geographical bias.

Visit or email to learn more about how to reach gym goers and fast food diners, to measure the impact of digital advertising on both online and offline behavior and to uncover rich consumer insights and thoughtful marketing strategies informed by location technology.

And if you made a fitness resolution this year, you might want to trade that burger for a barbell. We believe in you!

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