It is a brand new day, and productivity is on the mind. What better way to start a morning than with some yoga or a “hot girl walk” on the treadmill? After dressing in a cute matching set and slipping on some running shoes, it seems as though nothing can ruin this perfect morning. That is until finally entering the gym, only to be face-to-face with a sea of heavy metal and an excess of testosterone.
According to Forbes Health, 39% of the population surveyed wanted to improve their fitness for 2023. It is no surprise that with the start of a new semester and the beginning of a new year that Ping Recreation Center is packed to the brim both with returning gym rats and New Year’s resolutioners. As February approaches, there are no signs of them slowing down. However, the gym does not have to be a mass symphony of grunts mixed with the stench of sweat. It can be a great place for students to let out steam, help manage stress or just feel good about themselves overall. Despite this, it is safe to say a crowded gym is not a five-star experience.
Although Ping has become noticeably more crowded to some regulars, they are still encouraging and welcoming newcomers.
Emily Keiser, a sophomore studying nursing, is a frequent gym-goer, exercising at Ping about six times a week.
“Actually it has been a lot more crowded, and I do think it’s a lot of resolutioners,” she said. “Everyone probably was just like, ‘you know what it’s a new year let’s work on myself.’”
Keiser continued and said she is making it a goal this year to work on herself and her health and has been encouraging friends to come with her.
Having friends at the gym is always a plus and could help make the environment less intimidating. However, large groups can sometimes be frowned upon, which is why sticking with one or two gym buddies may be more acceptable. It can additionally contribute by keeping wait times for machines and large crowds at a minimum.
With the gym being so crowded at certain times, it may be difficult to stay motivated to go or start going in the first place. It can also make waiting for certain types of equipment to open up seem like an eternity. The crowds may also give the scary illusion that everyone knows what they are doing in the gym, when in reality, that may not be the case. Bottom line, the gym can be a scary place, especially with the added crowds and finding that perfect time to go can start to feel like a lot of work.
Logan Cravatas, a freshman undecided in his major, enjoys going to Ping to work out about every other day.
“I mean, honestly, the more people here the better it is for everybody,” he said. “If you can work around when it’s busy and stuff, I think it’s a good thing.”
Cravatas prefers going to Ping later in the evening and said the crowd will normally die down, making it a little easier to navigate.
“It could just be everybody’s kind of trying to find their groove,” he said.
According to both Cravatas and Keiser, the best times for someone to go to Ping to beat the crowds would be early in the morning and late at night, which may also work best with many students’ schedules.
There are certainly times to avoid if the crowds are not exactly ideal. Meredith Bise, a freshman studying early childhood education, enjoys regularly going to Ping to work out; however, she makes it clear the time she goes is when the gym is at its most crowded.
“I usually go around four o’clock after classes,” she said, “It’s insanely busy at four o’clock.”
Despite the crowds, Bise still regularly goes to Ping and emphasizes the importance of consistency and keeping her schedule manageable.
New gym rats should feel ready to take on the gym, no matter how crowded and plan a consistent time to go during the week to stay on track. Whether Ping is packed to the brim on a Monday or completely empty bright and early on the weekend, going to the gym is a clear favorite activity on campus for many students.
“Just stay consistent,” said Bise. “It does matter how frequent you go, but just try to stay consistent and be positive towards yourself because it takes improvement, and you’ll get there.”