There’s nothing worse than, after finding the motivation to drag yourself out into the cold and into the gym, you walk in to find it at maximum capacity with exercisers packed in like sardines. This time of year, with lose-weight resolutions in full swing and more brand new gym members than any other month, a trip to the health club can be frustrating to say the least. It may be tempting to just wait until spring to start sweating again, but we have a better idea. Follow these tips to separate yourself from the crowd.
- Go at weird times. If you think you can show up at 7 a.m. or 6 p.m. and have the space to yourself, you’re sorely mistaken. But 8:30 p.m. might be a lot more manageable. If you have flexibility, try to plan your day so you aren’t working out when everybody else is.
- Sign up for classes with cut-offs. You might need to do it a week in advance to ensure you actually get a spot, but you’ll get the benefit of knowing that when you show up you’ll have a non-crowded workout. There’s a good chance the spinning classes have advanced sign-up, but other varieties do as well.
- Go to a boutique gym. Unlike the big chains, smaller gyms that focus on one thing, like Pilates or the barre method, may have less of an attendance bump. People who are new to working out often like to go to the larger gyms because they get more variety, so think about spending the next few months at a workout-specific studio.
- Don’t be shy. Many gyms have signs posted with maximum times people are allowed to be on cardio machines. If the time limit is 30 minutes and you see someone is nearing 45, tap them on the shoulder and ask if you can jump on. It’s only fair!
- Be open to changing it up. If you normally do a 20-minute treadmill routine followed by ab work and find that those two areas are the busiest, take a look around. Maybe you give free weights a shot or try a strength machine you’ve never used before. You’ll work parts of your body that have been ignored and might just fall in love with a new move.
Photo credit: Tulane Public Relations