When’s the Best Time to Workout at the Rec?

No one enjoys working out in an overly crowded gym. Your machine is always in use. The benches have a 15 minute wait, and the line at the drinking fountain can seem like a ride at Cedar Point. It’s so much easier to focus on your workout when there aren’t as many people to crowd your gym.

The Rec has its highs and lows regarding attendance in the Fitness Center. Throughout the day, hundreds of people enter and exit on a daily basis to workout. Working in the Fitness Center, I have inside information on what times are slow and busy. Each day, the Fitness Attendants are required to count how many patrons are in the Fitness Center at the 30 minute mark of each hour.

I crunched some numbers to get an average attendance for the hours we’re open Monday through Friday. Here’s what I found out about when it’s best to come to the Fitness Center…

BRIGHT AND EARLY

The best time of day to workout in an empty gym, is 5:30am to 9:30am. With an average of 12 people in the gym (most of them after 6:30am), you have your pick of the litter for machines and weights. The only noise is the clanging of the weights and the classic rock of the Rec’s radio. No clusters of people talking by the drinking fountain. No large groups hogging a power rack for 45 minutes. Empty treadmills as far as the eye can see. And so much room, you could drive a zamboni through the free weight area.

If you’re not a morning person, this might be a brutal time frame for you. But if you’re an early riser and can get motivated in the morning, then you have the gym to yourself. So wake up and go take advantage!

MID-DAY MAYHEM

If you’re an afternoon lifter, then you’re probably crowded too. Although not as high as the evening numbers, 12:30pm to 4:30pm sees an average of 29 patrons at a time. The slightly lower number may not seem like much, but trust me when I say that it seems like a lot less when you experience both time frames yourself. The wait for machines is barely existent, and with a few less people at the dumbbell rack, you can actually spread out and do your thing.

Some days are busier than others at this time, due to classes letting out and the post-lunch crowd, but it still provides a better environment for the serious gym rats.

RUSH HOUR

The busiest time of day is between 5:30pm and 9:30pm. Classes and work are over, and people finally have time to workout in the evening. In this time frame, there’s an average 34 people in the Fitness Center at once. This might make it difficult to move around the free weight area, or mean you have to wait to use your favorite machine. The drinking fountain is overrun at times. Paper towel and spray bottles often run empty, causing attendants to be on their toes to replace them.

If it’s the only time of day you can make it in to the gym, then, by all means, do what you have to do. But don’t be surprised if you’re waiting a few extra minutes to get in some sets at the bench press.

The Rec opens at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and is open until 11 p.m., so there’s plenty of time to get your workout in. Whether it’s early morning, or late at night, the Rec is here to help improve your fitness!

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