How Do You Avoid the Crowds at the Gym?

There’s nothing more inconsistent than the crowds at the gym. You walk in at 8 AM on a Monday and every machine is taken. You try again Friday at 11 AM and you look around to make sure the place is even open.

Gyms are least crowded between 11 AM and 1 PM on weekdays. You can avoid the lunchtime rush by going between 2 PM and 4/5 PM during the week. Gyms are least crowded at the end of the week, on the weekends, early in the morning, and in the late afternoon.

The good news is: There are certain times of the day and certain days of the week that are much less crowded at the gym. So, let’s go over the benefits of working out at certain times of the day. Then, we’ll review when the gyms are least crowded and the busiest gym times.

Why Timing Actually Matters

As long as you’re getting to the gym or even working out at home at least a few days per week, you’re already making progress toward your health and fitness goals.

But, did you know that you might experience even greater health and fitness benefits depending on when you actually squeeze your workout in?

Let’s talk about these unique benefits.

Early Morning Workouts

If you’re like us, there’s no worse feeling than the obnoxious sound of your phone’s alarm clock at 6 AM.

There’s nothing like starting your day by dragging yourself out of bed and forcing yourself awake with a cup of coffee or an energy drink.

The last thing that’s probably on your mind this early in the morning is getting your workout in. But, there are plenty of benefits of working out early in the morning

Here are just a few of these.

  • It can lower your appetite, which can help to boost weight loss.
  • It can yield a greater energy boost that’ll last throughout the day.
  • You can burn more calories, especially if you’re exercising on an empty stomach.

Afternoon Workouts

After a particularly stressful day or morning at work, you probably just want to drive home and relax on the couch.

As much as that might seem relaxing right now, this is the time of the day where you have the most energy pent up.

Even though you just want to call it a day and get home, now’s the perfect time to stop for a quick workout on your way home. And, there are tons of benefits of working out in the afternoon.

Here’s a look at some of these benefits.

  • Since you’ve eaten more during the day, you have more glucose to use as energy.
  • It can help to boost your focus and attention for the remainder of the day.
  • You can burn any energy you have leftover from school or work.

Late Night Workouts

If you’re like most people, you’re staying up late at night streaming TV shows on Netflix, playing around on your phone, or just rolling around in bed unable to fall asleep.

Or, you might just be more of a night owl and like to be more productive when the sun goes down. 

Either way, why not make some good use of the time you’re spending awake at night?

Here are some of the benefits of working out late at night.

  • There’s some evidence that your muscles perform better at night.
  • Feel free to use up every last drop of energy in you, as it’s almost time to go to bed anyway.
  • You’ll sleep much better at night.

The Best Times to Beat the Crowds

Right now, it doesn’t make all that much sense to you: Why is the gym packed at one time and then completely empty an hour later?

Well, you have to think about it more logically.

Consider the average person’s daily schedule and what it might mean for peak times at the gym.

The gym is going to be packed early in the morning because there’s a small subset of people that actually like to squeeze in their workout right before work. So, don’t plan to get to the gym any time between 7 AM and 9 AM.

By around 11 AM, the crowds will start to dwindle. If you’re up for a mid-morning or early-afternoon workout, try to get to the gym between 11 AM and 1 PM.

When 1 PM rolls around, you’re going to be seeing the lunch crowd trickling in. Yes, some people actually go to the gym when they’re given an hour-long lunch break at work! This usually lasts until about 2 PM, so try to avoid this hour time slot if you can.

Between 2 PM and 4/5 PM is the ideal time to get to the gym in the afternoon before the people that hit the gym after work start to show up. From 5 PM and onward, don’t expect any machines to be open without having to share them.

The Best Times? Between 11 AM and 1 PM, and then from 2 PM to 4/5 PM.

The Best Days to Beat the Crowds

Believe it or not, the actual day of the week plays a huge role in determining how crowded the gym is going to be throughout the day.

As you might expect, Mondays are the ideal time for the “I’ll start my diet on Monday” crowd to start their gym schedule over for the fifth time this year.

As the week goes on, you’ll notice that the crowds begin to get a little smaller.

By the end of the workweek on Friday, the gym is practically empty at all times of the day. So, your best bet is to schedule your workouts for later in the week, particularly the weekend if you can. 

The best days? Later in the week, so Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Every Gym’s Different!

These are just some general guidelines, but they obviously vary from gym to gym.

One of the best ways to find out how crowded your gym is during the day and on each day of the week is by using Google!

When you don’t adjust your location settings on your smartphone, Google uses your data to track your location. So, Google can tell how crowded a place gets at certain times of the day and how long people spend once they’re there by tracking user locations.

If you do a quick Google search for your gym, open up the Google business page for it. Scroll down and you’ll see a bar graph of sorts that breaks the day down by the hour and the crowd.

You can also change the day of the week and sometimes even see how many people are currently at the gym now (via a bar on the graph, not an actual number).

So, you might be able to tell if the gym is more crowded than it usually is right now.

It’s kind of like a gym crowd tracker!

Final Thoughts

As former beginners, we know how much you already might be dreading going to the gym. And, it doesn’t make you feel any better to feel like all eyes are on you or that you’ll be silently judged for not doing an exercise correctly.

Gym crowd anxiety is definitely real!

That’s why you should try to get to the gym when there are smaller crowds.

Between 11 AM and 1 PM and between 2 PM and 4 or 5 PM would be your best bet when it comes to avoiding the crowds. Also, later in the week seems to be when the gyms are mostly empty.