When should you go to the gym?

    The gym can be a finicky place. You can love it, hate it or even spend five hours in it – hey, we don’t judge. One thing is for sure, though: As the weather finally gets warmer and we begin to cautiously emerge from our hovels, there are going to be a lot more people in it. And that means noise, messy equipment and torrid sweat levels that might give you flashbacks to the Dance Marathon tent. Seeing other friendly Northwestern faces can be nice, but when you can barely do a push-up after having only used your arms to access Netflix, working out with as few people watching as possible would be ideal.

    As a result, we’ve visualized each gym’s busiest times of the day for you, as measured by how many times each student has checked in and entered the gym per hour. The lighter the color, the less busy; the darker the color, the more you’d want to avoid going. Check it out below:

    Production by Matthew Zhang and Hayley Hu / North by Northwestern
    Data from Northwestern University Recreation

    Across all gyms, there are several common trends you can spot here. The most glaring one is that the afternoon is unequivocally more popular than morning. This is most likely due to the fact that most students’ classes are finished by the afternoon, as well as the fact that no reasonable college student would want to willingly wake up before noon. To those 50 or so people who are not only awake, but also already at the gym at 6 a.m.: Yes, we see you, and we are very much afraid of you.

    There are also a few unique trends that stand out for each particular gym:

    1. Of all the gyms, Henry Crown has the most consistent number of students visiting in each hour. During the weekdays, the peak morning time is always 11 a.m., when approximately 70 to 100 students are entering the building; the peak afternoon time is always 5 p.m., when you have the lovely opportunity to be packed in with over 200 sweaty bodies. Aside from the mornings, the best times to avoid the rush would be between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m., when less than 70 people are in the building, on average.
    2. Blomquist's peak hours have a larger range than Henry Crown, ranging between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on the weekdays. Though this may seem like more hours to avoid, it also means that visitors are more dispersed across these hours, leading to less of a critical mass of noise and humidity. You might want to avoid going between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Fridays though, as those are Blomquist's busiest hours. There also tends to be more students working out in the morning during the weekends than the weekdays, which isn't very surprising.
    3. Patten Gymnasium, the austere and often neglected gym on campus, is, well, often neglected. Aside from the general morning versus afternoon trend, the comparatively few data points means that the trends are a lot noisier and more difficult to discern. However, the fact that there are going to be at most 20 people in Patten at any given hour means that you can pretty much visit at any time without hassle.


    blog comments powered by Disqus
    Please read our Comment Policy.