What’s the best time to visit the gym? You might be right in there with an answer, “6am to get my day started,” “11pm when no one else is there,” in which case, great! You might not need to keep reading. But if you haven’t found your perfect hour or worry that mixing and matching times throughout the week might be detrimental, keep going as we have some tips and advice to help you decide what the best time to visit the gym is.
As you might have suspected, there isn’t one answer for this. We wish it was that simple! But there are a range of things you can consider depending on how you like to train.
Best time to visit the gym to use equipment
Based on the workout habits of our members, the best time to visit the gym for equipment use would be in the morning before work (pre 8am). Although relatively busy, people that make it a part of their before work morning routine tend to stay members for longer and create/form better habits. They’re also more efficient in their use of equipment. Spending less time waiting, being more organised with their training programme and time conscious, after all they have to keep to a schedule in order to get to work on time.
Starting your day off with a gym visit means you’ll be more focused and have fewer distractions as you won’t have started on the day’s to-do list yet. Additionally, you’re probably training at a time when other people are sleeping or still getting ready so you’ll be less likely to have phone calls, messages and other interruptions you feel you can’t ignore.
If you like structure, starting your day with some movement, and can work this into your routine then an early morning gym visit might be the best one for you. A few extra things to remember are to make sure you’ve eaten a snack beforehand, have packed everything you need for the rest of the day the night before to keep yourself on schedule and make sure you leave enough time to get changed and grab some food after training.
Exercising for better sleep
Traditionally, we’ve heard that exercising at night will stop you from sleeping well, however, this isn’t totally true. The important part is to make sure you don’t exercise right before bed and leave enough time for your heart and body temperature to come back down to normal. Equally, while moving during the day is very important for healthy sleep it’s not always possible to tire yourself out from exercising alone if your mind is still racing so incorporate a hot shower, some stretching and maybe a meditation or other relaxing practise into your nightly routine to set yourself up for great post-exercise sleep.
Working out in the evening also gives you the chance to diminish any stress built up over the course of the day. You will also have had more time to eat so your workouts could be better fueled if early morning breakfasts are something you struggle with. Just pack a snack in your day bag and remember to eat it before you head into the gym so you can top up your energy levels.
You’ve probably heard that we all have an internal ‘clock’ of sorts, our bodies operate using regular cycles whether they be a few hours, a day or a month. Did you also know that these will vary from person to person? This means that each person will feel differently exercising at different times of the day. You may be too tired to exercise later in the day or feel rubbish if you push yourself too hard first thing. Try out a few different times of day and take note of how you feel. The better you feel during and after a training session the more likely you are to stick to the routine.
You can also work to adjust your body clock over time. So, if early mornings are the only chance you have to visit the gym but you’re not very good at waking up, fear not as you can work to slowly change this and soon enough you’ll wonder why you didn’t start your days with a training session earlier.
Quietest time to visit the gym
Our quietest times are weekdays between 09:30 and 11:30 and 14:00 to 16:00 as well as Sunday evenings post 5pm. These are great times to visit if you want free reign of the gym space and if you feel any trepidation about crowded gyms.
What about lunchtimes?
Lunchtime member attendance depends on the location of the gym. Our clubs in city centres and those within walking distance to office developments tend to be busier as travel time is minimal and it allows members to maximise their lunch hour. A lot of our London clubs will put on lunchtime classes to cater for this demand. So check out your local club’s class timetable if a lunchtime workout is something you’d like to try.
Convenience and consistency
It’s worth noting that the greatest barrier to exercise is convenience! Parking and access to equipment will always be fundamental. More experienced members may attend at lunchtimes if they’re within walking distance.
Ultimately, the best time to visit the gym will depend on how you feel and when you’re most likely to keep visiting. Consistency is key with any training routine so you should pick the time you’re most likely to stick to. Of course, there should also be room for flexibility so you can join a friend for a class or move around training for meetings or events. You might find the concept of intuitive training interesting if keeping a regular schedule is something that’s not realistic for you.