When is the gym least crowded? When is it most crowded? What time of day? Which day of the week? Which month? That’s a lot of questions, and we have answers based on the latest research.
WHEN IS THE GYM LEAST BUSY?
A survey revealed that 24-hour commercial gyms are least busy (no surprise) in the very early morning: 12 AM to 5 AM.
But if we eliminate those hours from the equation, as with non-24-hour gyms, that survey combined with The Barbell’s own survey using Google Maps “Popular Times” data reveal that the early afternoon: 12 PM to 3 PM and late evening: after 8 PM are the least crowded for most commercial gyms.
This comes with the caveat that gyms at or near colleges as well as private gyms or unique facilities (such as those focused only on personal training or those with a lot of group classes) will have their own peak hours. Also, depending on location, some gyms will see a lunch-hour rush (for example, those near a large employer). Check “Popular Times” for each individual gym.
WHEN IS THE GYM MOST BUSY?
On weekdays, commercial gyms are most busy in the late afternoon to early evening: 4 PM to 7 PM. This is when people are getting off work or otherwise finishing up their day, and they get a workout in before dinner.
Second most busy is morning: 8 AM to 11 AM. A lot of people want to get up and get to the gym before getting on with the rest of their day. (These hours will be later for gyms near colleges.)
WHICH DAYS OF THE WEEK IS THE GYM MOST BUSY?
Mondays are the busiest days for gyms, with the peak hours stretching to 4-8 PM. This makes sense as people want to start the work week out strong with a training session. Also, many people follow training splits that make Sunday an off-day. If so, they’ll be sure to make Monday an on-day.
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are all about equally busy during the 4-7 PM peak hours.
WHICH DAYS OF THE WEEK IS THE GYM LEAST BUSY?
Sundays are the least busy overall.
Saturdays are the second least busy, though you may want to avoid late Saturday mornings when traffic is heaviest.
Fridays are the least busy weekday. The peak hours are shortened to 4-6 PM, as fewer people want to spend their Friday nights under a squat bar.
WHICH MONTHS OF THE YEAR IS THE GYM MOST BUSY?
You’ve probably heard about the January rush when many people try to keep their New Year’s resolution to get in shape by joining gyms. It’s true. According to research by the gym industry group, the IHRSA, more than 12% of gym members join in January, compared to an average of 8.3% per month for the full year. However, the January bump carries over to February (just over 9%) and March (just under 9%). And there is anecdotal evidence that March edges out January as the busiest gym attendance month of the year. This may be because of a combination of new members and warmer weather with, in many locations, the promise of less clothes in the summer. IHRSA also reports that only 20% of January gym-joiners will still be attending in July, so by the time temperatures really heat up gym traffic should be slower.
For when you should workout to maximize strength and growth, see: Best Time to Workout