We’re well into the first month of the year, which means many people have signed up for gym memberships in a bid to get in shape and shed any excess Christmas weight. While this is all well and good, an influx of new joiners means that gyms are likely to be more crowded than usual, making it difficult to workout effectively.

Whether you’ve been going to the gym for a while or you’re a newcomer yourself, you will no doubt be affected by the crowdedness at your gym, which can put you off completing your exercise regime.

So to avoid letting crowded gyms get you down this season, follow these tips:

Book classes in advance

There’s no worse feeling than turning up ready for a gym class only to find that it’s already full. Most gym classes run on a first-come-first-served basis and with January being one of the busiest months, they are likely to get booked up fast.

Rather than wait until the day and run the risk of missing out on a class, check your gym’s timetable a few days before and book onto your chosen class in advance. This way, you know you’re guaranteed a place, regardless of how busy the gym is on that day.

Take it in turns

When the gym is crowded, it can be tricky to find a machine that’s not already in use. If you have a specific workout regime that you want to stick to, this can throw a spanner in the works and leave you feeling slightly off kilter.

Rather than wait around with nothing to do, politely ask the person using the machine if they would like to take it in turns to perform sets. This way, you can carry out your sets while they rest, and vice versa.

Avoid the gym during its busiest hours

If you go to the gym regularly, you’ll soon come to learn the times when it is busiest. It’s a good idea, therefore, to plan your gym schedule around these hours to avoid turning up when it is too crowded.

Many people tend to go to the gym in the evenings after work, so why not head there in the morning? This way, you can shower at the gym and get ready before heading off to work. What’s more, you’ll be able to spend your evening relaxing and take comfort in the fact that you have already exercised for the day.

Create a home gym

If you really can’t face going to the gym when it’s crowded, one alternative is to create a mini gym at home. If you have a spare bedroom or garden shed, transform it into an area to exercise. Equipment such as free weights, cross-trainers and treadmills can be purchased from fitness retailers, and while these will come at a cost, at least you will have a stress-free, clear workout.