For about a month or two at the beginning of each year, everybody is a hardcore gym rat. I'm talking about the hundreds of New Year's resolutioners who invade your gym, determined to meet their newly set goals even if it means sidetracking you from yours. Not only are they a distraction-working out in polo shirts and doing curls in the squat rack-they're an outright danger, stealing the equipment you need and blocking your path to achieving the body you want.
Don’t let this happen to you! You can still get a killer workout in a crowded gym filled with New Year’s Resolutioners. We have designed the ultimate plan for avoiding gym crowds while still getting in the workouts you need to add slabs of muscle. You’re Welcome.
1. Prioritize, Then Substitute
Instead of trying to fit your normal routine in, try cutting it down to the best exercises. By doing this, you can spend extra time focusing on a certain body group rather than wasting time waiting for a machine to open up. If cutting out exercises is something your ego won’t let you do, or you enjoy keeping it the meticulous, try substituting for a similar exercise that recruits the same muscle group.
2. Get in the Zone
If a crowded gym is keeping you from working out, consider this an opportunity to zone out. There are many ways this can be done. Try implementing music into your workout. By putting in a pair of headphones you can almost completely block the distractions around you. Stay focused.
3. Take a Class
While the weight machines and cardio section might be packed, you can score a spot in a class taught by a trained fitness professional. This strategy lets you try something different, and you may even find a new favorite method of exercise.
4. Go Where People Aren’t
Typically the studio area in a gym is pretty quiet. Use this room to variations of your normal exercises. Don’t be afraid to grab a fixed-weight barbell; you'll be able to do all the moves you need to in order to get in a full-body workout session. Another area that rarely gets used the rowing machine. There’s a good reason for this: they’re brutal. Use this time to build up a love-hate relationship with some of the unpopular areas in the gym.
5. Build Your Day Differently
Schedule your workout to avoid the mid-morning and early evening, which tend to be the busiest times for most gyms. Since many people head to the gym before or after work, you’ll be more likely to find some free space if you pop by for a workout in the early morning, during the afternoon or in the late evening hours.
6. Use Your Body
Not only popular but effective, bodyweight training is a great way to skirt crowded gym stress by getting in some good ole fashioned push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups, dips and bodyweight lunges and squats. Especially working well as finishers, these moves can provide a little variation and fun into your program, especially when you have a crowded gym.
If you show up and your gym is packed, don't head for home. You can still enjoy a stellar workout, even if your gym is crowded. Using the right equipment and picking the right time of day can help you get the most out of your workout. Try a few or all of these on for size and reduce your level of frustration over the guy checking Facebook, while leaning against the squat rack where he will eventually do curls.