April 12, 2021 8 min read

Picture this. You just purchased a gym membership and are excited to get started on your weight loss journey. The next day, you wake up, make a fresh pot of coffee, and head to the gym.

You listen to your music a little too loud on the way there to pump yourself up. You pull into the parking lot and you see the lot is full to the max! You can’t help but sigh because you know all the machines are going to be taken or will have a long line. 

Fortunately, the gyms are not busy all day, meaning if you can make it to the gym around their peak times you can avoid all the people. So, when are gyms the least crowded? When are the gym’s busiest times? Let’s find out!

fitness gym and wooden table space in morning light

Is Morning The Best Time To Go To The Gym?

There is a lot of fitness professionals and research supporting that the morning is the best time of the day to get in a good workout and build a healthy immune system.

Additionally, waking up early to hit the gym before work may be the only time of the day they can make it to the gym due to their busy schedules.

With that being said, that means most days of the week the gym will be busiest between 5:30 am and 11 am. On the flip side, if the gym you go to is on a college campus the morning is usually the best time to go.

College students are known to stay up late and sleep all day. Since they are not waking up until 11 am most days, the gym will be quiet and crowd-free. The rest of the students will start rolling in for their workout in the afternoon before getting ready to go out for the night. 

Should You Go To The Gym During Lunch?

Some gyms will start to pick up a little bit around lunchtime as some hard-working professionals roll in to break up their workday. If you are one of the lucky ones that have a flexible lunch break, heading to the gym during your lunch won’t be as bad as going in the morning.

There will still be people there, but you shouldn’t have to wait to use a machine. Consequently, going to the gym between 11 am and 1 pm is usually a decent time to get in a good sweat.

What If You Wait Until The Evening To Hit The Gym?

Seeing as how waking up early in the morning is not something the majority want to do on a regular basis, anyone who doesn’t go before or during work will be at the gym after they are done with work for the day.

Many gym-goers say working out after work is a great way to unwind after a rough day implying that gyms will get busy again around 4 pm to 8 pm.

Wait, What About The Weekend?

Seeing as how the weekend is when most business professionals have free time many would assume that the gym will be busy all weekend long. However, this is not always the case. Nobody wants to spend their entire weekend at the gym; therefore, most people try to get to the gym early so they have the remainder of the day to whatever they choose.

If you are trying to avoid a crowded gym on a Saturday, you will want to go after 10 am. If it is Sunday, you can practically go any time of the day and the gym will be fairly slow as the majority of people use Sunday as a day of rest.

Additionally, church-goers will be attending church in the morning, meaning even if they are going to work out on a Sunday, the crowd shouldn’t roll in until after 12 in the afternoon or later. 

Time Of Day Recap

To sum it up, when it comes to the time of day you will find gyms the least busy is typically mid-afternoon (11 am - 3 pm) or late evening (any time after 7 pm). However, if your gym is located on a college campus, you will want to get to the gym before 11 am to beat the crowd. 

Lastly, regardless of where your gym is located, if you are planning on going to the gym on the weekend, mid to late afternoon (2 pm - 5 pm) is typically the best time to get in a shred session.

A man in a gym holding a dumbbell.

What Is The Best Weekday To Go?

For the majority, we mentally tell ourselves Monday is the first day of the week. A day we can use as restart the week on the right foot; therefore, if you live a healthy lifestyle, you will most likely want to hit the gym. You may even need to get in a good sweat to make up some bad eating or drinking decisions you may have made over the weekend (No need to feel guilty, the weekends were made for indulging).

Additionally, most people stick to a weekly routine of working out every other day. Since we know they start their week on Mondays, it is safe to assume that Wednesdays and Fridays will be busier than going to the gym on Tuesday or Thursday. 

On the contrary, when it comes to the weekend, you can really go either day expecting the gym to not be super busy. Just keep in mind that Saturday mornings can be a busy time for commercial gyms. If you are only going to work out one day of the weekend, make Sunday the day you go because this tends to be one of the slowest days of the week.

Best Day Of The Week Recap

We just learned that Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays tend to be the busiest weekdays while Saturday mornings to early afternoon are the busier are the times for gyms on the weekend. Therefore, if you are trying to avoid the crowds, you should consider starting your week on Sunday so the days you go to the gym will be the opposite of the majority. 

A man in a gym holding a barbell.

Are Gym’s Busier During Certain Parts of the year?

I have three words for you…“New Year’s Resolutions.” When it comes to setting new year’s resolutions one of the most popular choices is to get in better shape which is why gyms typically see a dramatic increase in attendance for the first 6-8 weeks of the year. During this time, it is hard to find a good time to go to the gym.

The best advice we can give is to tell you to be friendly and courteous to the newbies. They are trying to improve their lives. Plus, they are humans so the majority will stop going to the gym frequently by end of February anyways.

If you have the option to workout from home more during these times, we suggest taking advantage of it and returning to the gym on a regular basis in March.

What To Do If The Gym Is Busy

Even though we have estimated the best days and times to go to the gym, there is no way to prevent any day of the week from being a busy day at the gym. Additionally, the times people attend the gym can vary greatly depending on location.

For that reason, here are some tips to help you deal with the crowds if the gym is busy:

  • Have a backup plan: A lot of the time, we will go to the gym with a workout plan in mind. However, if the gym is busy, you may not be able to access the correct machines or equipment you need to complete everything you originally planned for. Keeping a flexible mindset will decrease frustrations with the crowd and allow you to feel like you still got a great workout. 
  • Mix up your routine: Every gym has a station or two that you never use because it seems too difficult or you don’t understand how it works. When the gym is busy it is likely these same stations will be available because let’s be honest, you aren’t the only one who avoids them. When your typical stations are busy, take the opportunity to explore the machines or equipment you usually wouldn’t consider using. You may even find something you really enjoy!
  • Find a personal trainer: If your wallet allows for it, hire a personal trainer. Trainers are granted priority at the gym they work at meaning you will have access to any of the equipment you need. Plus, having a trainer will hold you accountable and ensure you arrive for those dreaded early morning sessions. If you need help finding a trainer, check out these tips for how to find a great personal trainer.
  • Go outside: Assuming the weather allows for it, take your workout outside and enjoy the fresh air. You can meet your cardio goals by going for a jog or bike ride. If you are focusing on strength building, you can grab your dumbbells and do a few reps out on the patio. 
  • Try a new location: A perk of commercial gyms is they often have multiple locations. If you go to your usual gym and find that it is busy, check to see if there is another location that you can checkout. Just because one location is busy does not mean all gyms are busy. 
  • Switch to a 24-hour gym: For those who work non-traditional work schedules or prefer to workout at odd hours of the night, a 24-hour gym may be just what you need. Being open 24-hours allows the clientele to workout whenever they want, leaving the gym less crowded throughout the day as well. 
  • Ask to “work in”: The term “work in” means you do one set. Then while you rest, they do their set and you repeat this process until the discussed number of sets is complete. If someone has forgotten their sharing skills and is hogging a station, put on your brave pants and politely ask if you can work in so that both of you can utilize the machine. Most people will be extremely understanding and more than willing to alternate.
  • Join a group class: Most gyms offer group classes you can sign up for in advance allowing you to schedule your workout and know you will have access to everything you need. This could be a spin, yoga, aerobics class. Additionally, most group classes are limited to the number of attendees allowed meaning even if the gym is busy, you can rest easy knowing your class will not be. 
  • Talk to the staff or a manager: Nobody wants to be a “Karen” but sometimes it is the only choice. The gym staff are the ones who can make things happen. If there is a class you want to attend but is not available at a time that works for you, let the staff know and they may be able to make that happen if a lot of other gym members are making the same request. At the end of the day, they want to keep your business. Working together to come up with a solution will make for a better experience for everyone.

Is There Really A Good Time To Go To The Gym?

Based on everything discussed above, there is no guaranteed day that the gym will be empty. However, there are some days and times that are better than others. Typically, the slower days and times are Sunday all-day, Tuesday and Thursday mid-afternoon or late in the evening, and Saturday any time after 2 pm.

Remember, if the gym is busy there are ways to work around it without being overwhelmed by the crowd such as taking your workout outside, signing up for a group class, or hiring a personal trainer.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you find the days and times that work best for you! Living a healthy and fit lifestyle can be hard but keeping a regular workout routine, eating healthy, and taking your daily vitamins and supplements.


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