How to be efficient in a crowded gym (Q&A)

A group of athletes at a Crossfit gym.

When are gyms in Beirut the most crowded?

In Beirut, peak times for training are weekdays from 8-11AM and from 5-8 PM. This is the universal rush hour period for gyms and Beirut is no exception.

Equipment tends to be hard to access at this time (yes, cardio equipment and mats also included).

When is the gym the least crowded?

Ideally, commercial gyms are the least crowded and best to go to from noon until 4 PM or on weekends.

If, however, you are a college student in Beirut and have access to your university gym, then you will find early mornings until noon to be the best time to workout out with full access to equipment (and breathing room).

What to do if you can only workout during rush hour?

If you can only workout during rush hour, I would instinctively go with trying to work my way with people during sets and try to give it my all despite the rush.

However, if you find yourself using more energy trying to get in on the equipment and less on actually working out, or if you find that your form/intensity is compromised due to how much equipment is being used, then try one of these methods out.

  1. Go light or moderate with the weights and save your heavy lifting for Saturday and Sunday.
  2. Focus on isolation exercises and save compound lifts for the weekends.
  3. Grind out your best on compound lifts and perform your isolation lifts on the weekend with cardio.
  4. Only perform cardio and save heavy lifting for weekend and/or a noon- 4 PM lifting session. (3 quality lifting days guaranteed and cardio would be completed for the week)

Employ these only if you really are finding mid-way/throughout your workout that:

a) access to the equipment that you need is difficult

b) focussing on form is difficult due to being rushed by another person to finish with equipment

c) your head-state is therefore compromised by these, ‘grinding it out’ is compromising your standards and you have been pushed into the ‘should I just leave’ state. Instead of leaving, try one of the strategies.

To sum up: Weekends and weekdays from noon until 4 PM are hours where the gym is more relaxed so if you are a serious gym-goer, then they are more ideal environments for hitting PR’s and grinding out to your full potential.

Of course, gyms in Beirut are not always going to be chaotic and unbearable, if they are though, give these a try.

Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

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