Crowded Gym? How to Stick to Your Fitness Goals

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

New year, new resolutions! For many of us this means eating right and upping our exercise game, which often means crowded gyms and possibly frustration if you can’t work out how and when you want to. Whomp whomp. January is most definitely a busy time of year for health clubs, but instead of getting upset about the crowded gym, here are 11 ways to make your workouts happen!

crowded gym problems

Sign up for a few personal trainer sessions or small group classes

Ok, you might have to pay a little extra money, but this is a great way to invest in your health! You get one-on-one attention, new ideas for workouts, plenty of motivation, and your choice of equipment in a busy gym. Boom.

Pre-register for a class

Many gyms offer pre-registration for group exercise classes to prevent overcrowding or running out of equipment. If you want to secure your spot and avoid the crowds, be sure to take advantage of this service and register ahead of time. Plus, once you commit, you HAVE TO go! 🙂

Get to class early and do your own workout 

If the studio for your group exercise class is empty before it starts, take advantage of the space (and possibility equipment) to squeeze in a quickie workout away from the crowds.

If you’re not a class person…

Time your workouts around busy classes 

Some group classes are totally packed, but if you’re a fan of the treadmill and free-weights instead, plan your workout during class time when a number of gym members will be occupied.

Avoid peak hours

Ok, this is probably a duh tip, but can you switch around your schedule this month to accommodate exercising at a different time of day? For instance, if you always exercise after work, what about doing an early-morning or lunchtime workout when the gym isn’t as crowded? Even moving one or two workouts might make a difference with sticking to your routine!

Use high-intensity intervals

A lot of gyms have time limits on cardio equipment during peak hours, which usually isn’t a huge deal unless it’s January and it’s packed. Even if you’re limited to 20-30 minutes, you still can maximize your workout with some high-intensity intervals, which push you out of your comfort zone and torch some serious calories in a short amount of time. Need some ideas? Check out some of my Pinterest boards: CrossFit-Inspired Workouts, No-Equipment Required Workouts, Treadmill and Elliptical Workouts.

Try a new machine 

That SkiErg in the corner of the gym? Hey, give it a try! Instead of just waiting around, try something new! You’ll burn some calories and you might even find a new machine/exercise to incorporate into your exercise routine!

Pick full-body exercises 

With the gym being so crowded, you might not have the luxury of using multiple pieces of equipment at once, so pick full-body exercises that work several muscles at once. Some favorites: Burpees, kettlebell swings, and push-ups. The more muscles you can work at once, the more calories you’ll burn, too!

Work out on the weekends

Saturday and Sunday mornings are the perfect time to fit in a workout while the gym is quiet. A lot of people like to sleep in on the weekend, but you can jump-start your day (and get your favorite treadmill) before the gym gets too busy.

Always have a backup plan 

Before you head to the gym, make a Plan B for yourself. If you can’t run on the treadmill, what will you do instead? You can even Google/Pinterest a few workouts to have on-hand just in case you can’t do the one you had planned.

And when all else fails…

Work out at home

If there’s a will, there’s a way! Here are some of my favorite at-home workouts: Naptime Workouts and No-Equipment Required Workouts.

Happy sweating!

Question of the Day

How do you deal with crowded gyms? 



  1. I know some people who go to the gym consistently are annoyed by how busy the gym is in January, but we were all the “new people” once. These are some great tips. The intervals on cardio equipment is perfect when you can only use it for 30 minutes.

  2. I HATE working out around other people in a crowded gym. In an empty or moderately filled gym I feel much more comfortable. These are great tips! Especially the workout at home tip 😉 I’ll check out your other posts to get some ideas! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. i don’t belong to a gym! 😛 haha really i miss my gym membership, but make do at home. when i used to go and gyms were crowded, i made it work which meant altering what i planned on, but still getting my sweat on! 🙂

  4. I totally agree with your tip about always having a backup plan (especially in January)! If the free weight/open space area at my gym is taken, I have a playlist and interval workout on my phone to be used on the treadmill or elliptical (I use the Aaptiv App). Helps me avoid wasting 5 minutes wandering around and trying to figure out what to do at the gym!

  5. I recently joined a small gym, it’s not super affected by the winter crowds. Although I have to second what Megan said above since I’m in AZ too, it’s the summer you’ve got to worry about in AZ!

  6. Great ideas! Always good to have a plan B. I’ve had clients tell. E they’ve turned up for a class that was full and they’ve driven back home again!! Noooo!!
    Sarah x

  7. Great tips! January is definitely the busiest month of the year for the gyms. One thing i will add though, is to invest in a set of weights for the home. You just never know when your gonna need it as a back up. Don’t go out and spend thousands of dollars on it, there’s plenty of places where you can get a good quality set of bumpers and barbells for cheap.

  8. Really helpful tips for me at least !! I wanted to a nearby gym but due to a lot of crowd I just dropped the idea & start doing exercise at home (body weight). Your advice is really boosting my moral to get back at it with full of enthusiasm. Thanks you so much 🙂

  9. I can’t stand the gym and the “noise” that comes with it. Tried it, but didn’t work for me. I’d rather get the equipment I can afford at home, then hit the road for some good running.

  10. Working out on the weekends is definitely a time to go to the gym. Like you said, people sleep in. Great time to get the gym to yourself. By the way, sweet Reebok crossfit shoes in the pic above!

  11. Question on CrossFit.

    When you post something like back squats at 180, front squats at 90, etc.
    Is the weight your doing, an Olympic bar plus plates or is it the weight of the plates only?
    BC if 95 lbs of front squats means an Olympic bar plus 95 pounds, I’m really impressed.


  12. Thanks for these wonderful tips. It’s pretty easy to get distracted at the gym these days. Thankfully January is almost over, most new year fitness resolutions don’t last into February.

  13. Hello! I can totally relate to your post! I used to do boxing for two months and it indeed helped me become fit and lose a few kilos but I got really bored attending my usual gym hours due to a lot of people going to the same place at the same time. However, I managed to play around with my schedule and discovered that people working out on Wednesdays are lesser compared from other days of the week. Also, I structured my work out plan every time I visit the gym to avoid scrambling with other people on gym equipments. 🙂

  14. Sometimes it’s a good way to find a new favorite piece of equipment. I usually end up trying a piece I haven’t tried before only because it’s open. A lot of times there’s a reason no one is using that one machine…however at times it’s because it’s a tough one.

    I recently tried a sort of endless rope pull machine (Marpo VLT Rope Trainer). I have been able to stay on it without anyone being inconvenienced because no one else uses it. It looks intimidating but it turns out to be pretty simple to use. The more I started using it the more I figured out I could work pretty much my whole body with it. My other fave is the rowing machine, another underused machine.

    Love your site. I just stumbled onto it. You look great…fit but not over fit (if that makes any sense; I guess fit but not sinew and orange tan?).

  15. I get distracted easily and i think i need to work on myself. I’m enrolling in a gym soonest and my experience as a sport physiologist will help a lot. Thanks

  16. This is a well-written post. I have ignored workout for quite a while. And, I think that’s part of the reason why I have added some few pounds on. Your article is a motivation; I will bookmark this for reference. And, most importantly, create a workout routine.

  17. This is cool! but I really wish I could continue workout faithfully. I always have one excuse or the other not to hit the gym. For those that wish to be faithful, I think what could help is an accountability partner.

  18. Just recently finished my annual work leave and I feel I have added so much of fat everywhere. I’m thinking of the best way to survive the Gym, surely, these tips will help get the best out of the gym. Specifically, going to Gym in the morning. You know most people want to have their daily exercise later in the evening. This means morning is the best time. Thanks for the excellent post.

  19. Make yourself involved in healthy routine which is associated with ridding your body of excess fat. Workout or eating right can seem like a negative instead of a positive.

  20. nd, I think that’s part of the reason why I have added some few pounds on. Your article is a motivation; I will bookmark this for reference. And, most importantly, create a workout routine.

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