Tips for avoiding crowded gyms

New, free app helps you avoid the ‘gym rush hour’

July 17th, 2013

(Photo courtesy of Gym Flow)

By Brittany Anas

Imagine a gym where you never wait in line for the treadmill. One where you don’t have to pace back and forth while a wanna-be Rambo hogs the free-weight machines. At this gym, you’ll never head bump a fellow swimmer because of overcrowded lap lanes.

Sounds luxurious, yes? Thankfully, a new, free app — “Gym Flow” — will reveal the best times to hit the gym. You can check real-time data to see how crowded your gym is at any given time or plan your workouts based on when the gym is least busy.

The makers of the app say that gym traffic changes as much as 25 percent in a period of 15 minutes. As all of us gym-goers know, certain times of the day are the equivalent of gym rush hours — you know, the typical after-work overcrowding or when a thunderstorm on Saturday afternoon deters fitness freaks from their outdoor plans and sends them scuttling into the gym.

Gym Flow was founded last year by a team of students from the University of Southern California and quickly gained interest from gyms in Los Angeles. The app crunches your gym’s historical check-in data with a proprietary prediction algorithm to predict just how busy the gym will be at any given time. You can also use it to find fitness class schedules.

The founders give this pitch to gym owners to convice them to be a part of the app: Gym Flow can even out traffic, allowing gyms to keep their clients happy and sign up more members. It looks like partnerships with Planet Fitness, 24 Hour Fitnes and other big gyms are on the horizon.

For days that you’re really crunched for time, consider setting up a “mini” satellite gym in your basement or garage. You can find awesome deals on home work-out equipment at Wal-Mart, coupled with cash-back savings from

Here’s three deals from Wal-Mart, all under $10:

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Brittany Anas is a newspaper reporter, which she says is basically like going on a professional scavenger hunt every day. She became hooked on fashion in the early 1990s when her mom sewed her a pair of MC Hammer pants and matching headband. Brittany lives in Denver, Colorado and loves spending time with her southern gentleman of a boyfriend and their pot-belly pig-gremlin mix that the rescue organization described as a “Boston Terrier.” She fancies polka dots, Detroit Pistons basketball and brunch. Brittany blogs at and Twitters from @BrittanyAnas. Find her on Pinterest or ping her on Google+.