When should I be going to the gym?

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time of day to gymWhen should you try and get to the gym? Would you rather work out alone in the quiet of dawn or join in among the busy atmosphere of post-work commuters doing a workout on their way home? Is a 24-hour access, self-serve gym the way to go for you?

If you want staff members to be around when you visit the gym, you’ll need to show up during their usual opening hours. According to the Fitness Industry 2014 survey and previous Fitness Industry surveys, more than half the respondents (58.3%) believed staff interaction during every visit was important in making them decide to stay with their current gym.

Gyms Ratings - 2014
Gyms customer satisfaction survey results

The golden hours

Amazing but true – Sunday afternoons may give you the perfect quiet-time workout you’ve been looking for. Most people who visit the gym on their weekend get it over and done with as soon as they can, between 8am – 11am on a Saturday or Sunday. And according to the fitness tracker Jawbone, far fewer people go to the gym on the weekends than on weekdays. So if you want an empty gym, try going there instead of taking a Sunday arvo nap.

Best time of day for your bodily function

According to Body Building, you should do your weight training according to the body’s natural circadian rhythm:

  • Morning

Most potential for building muscle because testosterone is at its daily peak. Morning people will also have greater mental focus so they can work out at maximum efficiency. Working out in the morning will boost your metabolism so you can burn calories throughout the day, which is vital for losing weight and building muscle.

  • Afternoon

Most potential for breaking through the pain barrier and setting a new personal best, as pain threshold is highest in the afternoon. The body has very low energy around noon but adrenaline picks up again in the late afternoon.

  • Evening

Most potential for the strongest performance. The body is in peak condition for working out because everything from coordination and stamina to lung performance, flexibility and strength are all at their best. Mental focus is at its weakest. After 9pm, the body produces extra melatonin to slow the mind and relax the muscles for sleep.

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Best time of day for different types of gym

Inner city gyms

Inner city workers usually visit the gym before work from 6:30am – 8am, or in the lunchbreak slot from 11am – 1pm, or after work from 5 till 7pm. Statistics from Fitness First show more people come in during the lunch slot than at other times, with 40% working out on their lunchbreak.

Suburban gyms

Gyms in the ‘burbs are filled before 8am with workers trying to get a workout in before work, from 9:30am – 11am with soccer mums who’ve dropped the kids off at school or kindy for the day, and after 5:30pm for the post-work, pre-dinner crowd.

24-hour gyms

If you’re a night owl or an early bird, this may be the perfect solution for you. According to the Fitness Industry 2014 survey, nearly 1 in 3 Kiwis gym members attend a 24-hour gym. But Fitness First statistics show only 7% of those gym members work out after 10pm or before 6am.

In 2014, 15% of Kiwi gym members we surveyed at Canstar Blue said they switched from a traditional gym to a 24-hour self-serve gym to avoid “the gym scene”. A further 25% said they switched because they enjoy the flexibility of going to the gym whenever they feel like it.

In Canstar Blue’s 2014 survey, Kiwis gave the highest rating of 5 stars to Snap Fitness gyms for their ease of access and opening hours. You can find your nearest Snap Fitness gym online.

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