Key Takeaways

  • The John Wooden Center and BFit have peak traffic at 5 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, on weekdays.

  • Wooden is less crowded early in the morning and later in the night, while BFit is less crowded during the day.

  • Wooden and BFit have the highest number of visitors at the beginning of the quarter but gradually decrease as the quarter progresses.

↓ Jump to visualization

Although UCLA offers a wide variety of recreational facilities and programs for students and affiliates, the John Wooden Center and Bruin Fitness Center have been impacted by overcrowding, according to managers at Wooden and BFit.

In the 2021-22 academic year, UCLA’s facilities totaled over 1 million visits. 59.58% of the total visits were at Wooden, 25.20% were at BFit and other facilities, including Kinross Recreation Center or KREC, and Sunset Canyon Recreation Center took up the remaining 14.82% of total visits.

Using the entrance record data across the span of one full academic year, The Stack visualizes usage patterns of UCLA’s most popular facilities, Wooden and BFit, to help guide members in choosing their ideal times to work out.

Traffic at each Wooden and BFit

The heat charts below show how busy each facility is on different days of the week. Wooden Center’s peak hour is at 5 p.m. on weekdays and BFit’s peak hour is at 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Each dot represents the average traffic at each hour across the 2021-22 academic year. The peak hour is the busiest hour of the entire week.


Choosing between Wooden and BFit

To help decide where to work out at different times of the day, The Stack compared traffic levels relative to each facility peak, accounting for Wooden’s larger capacity.

Wooden or BFit?

A few patterns stand out:

  • BFit is less crowded than Wooden during the day.
  • Wooden is less crowded than BFit early in the day.
  • Wooden has earlier opening hours throughout the week and closes later than BFit on Fridays and Saturdays.

Both Wooden and BFit have seen an increase in traffic after they reopened in 2021.

“Since we reopened in 2021, we’ve seen a pretty steady increase of usage quarter to quarter, and I think that’s picked up even more this year,” said Wooden Center manager Daniel Jauregui.

Morgan Monroe, the manager of BFit, said traffic there has increased to the point where BFit is busy throughout the day.

“We did see an increased use throughout the 2021-2022 school year, and I think that trend has continued, almost leveling out for it to be busy almost all day at BFit,” Monroe said.

UCLA students are experiencing the increased crowdedness firsthand.

Brian Chau, a Hill resident and second-year data theory student, said that crowdedness is a factor in choosing where to work out. “That’s why I usually take the walk to Wooden. I prefer the open space in Wooden over BFit,” Chau said.

Jane de Prima, a first-year human biology and society student, has also been influenced by the level of activity when deciding when to exercise.

“I prefer to go at night. I just feel like the vibe is a lot better and … I feel like it’s a lot less crowded,” Jane de Prima said. “Sometimes, when I go during the day, it’s hard to find a spot.”

Live traffic estimate

Based on past data, the current time of day and the day of the week, we can estimate the traffic levels at each facility.

Wooden is , and BFit is .

2021-22 facility usage

Member Usage by Facility

Note: Student Affiliates gain access to UCLA Facilities through UCLA Extension. Retiree & Emeriti refer to retired professors/faculty retaining an honorary title.

We also looked for usage patterns by member status in each gym. The majority of the visitors to both facilities are undergraduate students, who make up 97% of BFit visitors and 93% of Wooden visitors. BFit is located on the Hill, UCLA’s student housing, while Wooden is located in the center of campus.

Jane de Prima prefers to use BFit because of its proximity to the Hill, where she resides.

“So even though I’m just heading home, I can go really quick, or if I have nothing going on, it’s just a few steps from my dorm, which is way more convenient than going all the way to campus,” Jane de Prima said.

However, although Chau is a Hill resident, he said that he only uses BFit when outside conditions make it inconvenient to walk to Wooden, such as when it rains.

There is also a slight difference between the percentage of each gender at each facility, with 56% of BFit’s visitors identifying as female and 44% identifying as male. In comparison, 59% of Wooden’s visitors identify as female and 41% identify as male. People with other gender identities make up less than 0.001% of visitors to either facility.

Users per month (2021-2022)

The month of April had the highest number of visitors in both Wooden and BFit, followed by February and October. There are more visitors at the beginning of the fall and spring quarters, although the number decreases as the quarter progresses and members become busier with school, work and other activities. There is a sharp decline in the number of visitors when final examinations are conducted.

What alternatives are available at UCLA?

There are various opportunities and spaces for physical activity at UCLA besides working out at Wooden and BFit.

To avoid the increased traffic levels at the two most popular facilities, John Wooden Center’s manager Jauregui suggested using the Kinross Recreation Center, or KREC, for non-undergraduate students. “We also have programs for varied interests. So, whether you are looking to lift weights, get cardio in or learn a particular skill, we do offer a variety of classes. That will sort of give you priority in a space if you were to take one of those classes.”

BFit’s manager Monroe noted that both BFit and Wooden Center have time limits on cardio machines to accommodate for peak usage times and encourage people to work in with one another.

Furthermore, Jauregui also pointed out that, following the pandemic, track (Drake Stadium) usage has increased. UCLA Recreation is trying to use it as an additional facility, and there have been discussions about adding more equipment out in the field.

Alternatives also exist for students living off campus. LA Fitness and Equinox, both located on Wilshire Boulevard, are the largest gyms available in Westwood. LA Fitness membership plans cost $39.99-$49.99 per month, and Equinox membership plans cost $200-$330 per month.

With all the facilities available at and around UCLA, students have a variety of options for working out.

“I think it’s really great that UCLA has multiple gyms for us so that students can pick whichever one they prefer and whichever amenities they like more,” Jane de Prima said.

About the data

The data used in this article was provided by UCLA Recreation. The data set consisted of over one million total records of entries at different UCLA Recreation facilities spanning from September 2021 to September 2022. The dataset contains the time stamp, member type (Undergraduate, Graduate, School Employee, Recreation Employee, Conference Guests, Alumni), facility name (John Wooden Center, Bruin Fitness Center, KREC, Sunset Canyon Recreation Center, Student Activities Center), and gender of each person who entered.

  • Traffic at each facility was calculated under the assumption that each entrance equated to one hour of facility usage.
  • Traffic at each facility excluded UCLA Recreation employee entries.