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Beat the Crowds at the Gym

9 Ways to Wait Less and Work Out More


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My fitness center is at work and most people work out at lunch time. It is really crowded then compared to other times. Report
Great article. Thanks Report
I don't agree with the times. for us the morning 5am - 6:30am are the busy and then 5pm - 7pm are the busy time. Report
The easiest way to avoid the franchise gym rush is to just not go to the gym at all. This is exactly what I do. But I make sure I workout with intensity at home. Forget the stress of the gym, your garage can be your best kept secret. I recently wrote an article on this topic.
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Oh and the worst time to go to my gym is lunch hour pretty much any day of the week. I did that exactly once. Yuck! Report
When I joined my gym, I was given a piece of paper that estimates how many people on average are at the gym each hour they are opened. While I have never seen my gym entirely full, I am very much aware of the peak times and try to avoid them best I can. Tuesdays are the worst nights ever for the gym! My fav gym day is Sunday, which is remarkable bc I normally hate going anywhere on Sundays! :D Report
Great Advice. I agree with your times pretty much although for my gym 5:30 - 7 is really very busy. And I know I would have cancelled my membership last December if I had not known that the a 'remote' Univ swimmers group was not going to be there every morning for the next month. Their 'coach' was rude and told me they had the lanes I like reserved for the month but after speaking with the staff I found it was only for the remainder of the next week in January and they had no right to ask me to move for my last 15 minutes at 7:45am since their 'time' started at 8am..... The staff people are a GREAT resource.
so i just got there a bit earlier and 'shared' a lane for a little while and was out before 8. Report
I go to the gym at 9 pm when I want free reign - it's amazing! Usually there's only 2 -3 people in each area (free weights, cardio, circuits, machines, abs) so you rarely have to work around anything. I like going right after work at 5 and getting it over with, but it's so busy I usually have to modify my routine.

However, this article and the comments just gave me the idea of doing cardio for 10 minutes at a time. I HATE cardio, I get so bored, even intervals don't do it for me. So if I did abs, 10 minutes on the elliptical, shoulders, 10 minutes on the stairs, and then legs, 10 minutes on the treadmill, I bet I wouldn't be as annoyed! Report
Ah, if your gym is on a military installation, these times do not apply! The "quiet" time is 8 am - 11 am, BUSY from 11:30 - 1 am, the quiet again until 3:45. PACKED until around 6 pm. Weekends the best time is 10 AM. Report
I used to get to my gym by 6 a.m. in the morning. I get my choice of machines, locker, and shower. By the time I leave - close to 8 - a lot of people would start coming in. Report
So glad to have new articles to read. Thanks. Report
I've found (granted i've only belonged for the past 3 weeks, guess I'm a January gym goer until I make it to Feb huh) that the only busy time that I've been to my local Y was on Sunday. Funny I had been told by a coworker that they love going at that time because NO ONE is there. I usually go around 2 or 3 in the afternoon (late lunch) a couple of days a week and then on Friday evenings so the kids can have fun with family fun night, wasn't crowded AT ALL last Friday...I was shocked! I've also gone on a Saturday afternoon around 1pm and it's been pretty bare. I guess I've gotten lucky, I figured the 11 to 1 timeframe during the day would be packed as well as 5 to 7pm in the evenings. Report
I am guilty of not being flexible with my routine. I used this excuse to quit my gym membership because I was frustrated at gym policies changing to accomodate peak times of business (i.e. I was up to 45 minutes on the elliptical, but limited to 10 minutes during those busy hours). Looking back, I should've done what the article says and mixed up my exercises. So I could've used the machine in 10 minute increments and then worked on other exercises in-between. Although, sometimes I felt like groups of us were racing to get to the machine that opened up--and some weren't so nice about it! Report
Interesting that you've found 8-11 am to be a busy time. I've worked out at many gyms and at many different times, and I've found 6:30-8:30 am to be the busy time in the morning - I used to regularly workout at 10 because of an odd work schedule, and it was always dead. In the evening, the busy period at gyms I've worked out at extends to about 8:30. The gyms I've worked out at are primarily white collar workers, so I would wager that accounts for a good bit of the difference. Report
good advice but the reason it's so busy during those times is that they are the best to work out. If I don't go on the way home from work - I wont go so I have to go then. If I don't go first thing in the morning, I wont go. I dont know anyone who can go home from work and then go to the gym 3 hours later in the snow.

January gym goers are so frustrating for those of us who do it all year round. All of a sudden our workout routines are messed up, you can't find parking, all the classes are full and by mid february all of these people are gone and it's back to normal. Report

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