Does your workout suffer during busy seasons and rush hours at your local health club? Most gyms fill up during certain times of the year like just after the new year, when new members are trying to fulfill their New Year’s resolutions. After work is also a very busy time when daily commuters that work 9-5 are squeezing in a session before making the commute home for the evening.
If you enjoy a busy gym, and the social aspect that goes along with that, it’s all good. On the other hand, if you’re tired of waiting in line for an exercise machine or a pair of dumbbells, try these strategies for avoiding the crowds or learn to workout in a busy gym.
How to Avoid a Crowded Gym
The beautiful outdoors. Exercising outside gives you a chance to enjoy the scenery and soak up some natural sunlight. You will improve your energy level and it can keep you motivated. Plus, there are activities to match every season, like ice skating in winter or hiking and swimming in the warmer months.
Hanging out at home. Getting your workout in the comfort of your own home can be the easiest of all solutions. Install a home a gym or pick up a few pieces of simple equipment like a jump rope, an exercise ball or kettle bells. Hire a personal trainer or watch exercise videos if you need instructions.
Hit it hard on weekend mornings. Most gyms are very slow on early Saturday and Sunday mornings. Get out of bed early and check exercising off your to-do list before you begin your day.
Staying up late can be a better option for you night owls. Browse online to see if there’s a 24-hour gym in your neighborhood. As long as the physical activity before bedtime doesn’t interfere with your sleep, you may prefer lifting weights later at night.
Use vacation time wisely. If you have vacation days built up, use them to plan some fun activities. Instead of laying around on the beach, go hiking or on a mountain climbing trip. You’ll return home with new skills and you will feel reinvigorated.
Try flex time at work. If your boss agrees, you may be able to hit the gym while everyone else is stuck behind their desk. Ask about a flex-time schedule that allows you to work earlier in the morning and take a couple of hours off midday, and then return to finish up your workday. See if you can take a longer lunch hour as long as you make up the hours, or perhaps work fewer days, but longer hours on the days that you are there.
How to Deal with a Crowded Gym
Take a group class. Reserve your spot by signing up for Spin, Yoga or CrossFit. The music and camaraderie may help you to burn more calories with less effort.
Share the equipment. Weightlifters have a tradition of asking to work in. Partner up with someone so one of you uses the barbells or the abs machine while the other one rests between sets.
Reduce rest periods. Then again, you may want to cut out the downtime altogether. Instead of trying to find a bench to sit on until you’re ready for your next shoulder press, try a circuit workout that will target different body parts so you complete your workout faster, and you will burn more calories.
Increase the intensity. Another way to spend less time dealing with crowds is to increase the speed or amount of resistance. You can be out the door in half the time.
Try something new. Observe your surroundings or ask the gym instructors about which equipment seems less popular. You may find that you love the rowing machine that most members have been ignoring.
Be more flexible. Navigating a crowded gym usually comes down to thinking creatively. Be open to experimenting instead of sticking to a rigid routine.
You can have a great workout even when the gym is overcrowded. Or simply adjust your timing to avoid the crowds or plan a routine that keeps you moving when there is a short wait for the strength training equipment.