June 18, 2021 5 min read
Whether you’re new to fitness or a veteran at working out, the world of exercise is vast and varied, making it difficult to decide whether home workouts or gym memberships are best for you. Questions like whether paying for a membership or investing in equipment would make for a better investment can be difficult to answer without some helpful input. Allow us to show you the differences so you can compare and contrast the pros and cons of each option.
A common reason many people give up on their exercise routine or never start in general is that they simply don’t believe they have the time. After their work and responsibilities is complete, it’s often too late to head out to the gym before they close—and the pandemic hasn’t exactly made it easier. With a home gym, you will always have time to work out because you no longer have to mold your schedule around the gym, but instead mold your workout around your own busy schedule.
When considering creating your own home gym, one of the greatest benefits is that you can tailor the equipment to your goals and preferences. While public gyms have plenty of equipment to choose from, not all of it is conducive to getting the results you desire. A home gym will narrow the equipment down to only what you need and. Perhaps the best part is that don’t have to share it with all the other gymgoers, thus eliminating the need to wait for machines to become available and reducing the amount of wear and tear the equipment must endure. If space is a concern, then you can focus on equipment with greater versatility. For example, if you want to lose weight and build muscle, you can buy rowing machines online that allow for effective calorie burning and muscle building within the same machine.
While the initial investment may seem very large, it will actually pay off in the long run when comparing it to the investment of continuously renewing a gym membership. By keeping your equipment well maintained, the lifespan of such tools and machines can last for years without major incidents. Continuously paying for a gym membership will eventually pile up and the money you’ve paid will not be worth the equipment that has become worn and ineffective after intense use from many different gymgoers.
Nothing’s ever perfect, however, so there may be a few negatives that come with a home gym compared to that of a public gym. If you work out in your own home, it’s easy to become distracted by your everyday life and responsibilities. Kids and work responsibilities obviously take priority, and temptations like the snacks in your refrigerator or the comfort of your couch constantly looms. Prevent this be endeavoring to keep your home gym somewhere separate from other areas of your house. “Out of sight, out of mind” is an easy way to avoid such temptations and stay focused on the task at hand.
Home gyms also require more self-discipline because of how easy it is to just give up for the day and go do something more enjoyable. Public gyms can provide motivation when you see others working out around you, and it’s more likely you’ll feel like you wasted your time if you just turn around and go back home. To keep yourself focused and motivated, take advantage of music. A playlist of your favorite songs or ones that are upbeat and energetic will help release dopamine in the brain and make exercise feel more enjoyable while tuning out distractions.
Depending on the gyms available to you, there’s a chance they may have machines and equipment that would be too expensive or large for you to feasibly have within your home gym. The greater variety of gym equipment will also give you a chance to experience different pieces of equipment and allow you to discover what you enjoy the most.
Furthermore, if you’re a beginner, gyms will often have trainers present that can help guide you towards the right routines and exercises that will benefit you the most. Figuring out how to work out and formulate a routine can be very difficult to do alone if you’ve never done any before, and you may fall into habits of bad form or mistakes that you don’t even realize are mistakes unless you have someone who can point it out for you. Similarly, if you need both direction and some motivational help, some gyms will offer classes that provide both guidance and encouragement to challenge your limits when you have peers around you who are sharing in the same experience—perhaps even breeding some friendly competition.
The negatives of gym memberships are something we’ve touched on already to highlight the positives of home gyms. To elaborate, however, negatives like commuting add to the time commitment of working out that makes it difficult for many with busy lives to find the time to get over to the gym and have a meaningful routine. Unpredictable weather will further throw a wrench into your plans, sometimes keeping you from getting to the gym whether you have the time or not.
Gym contracts can also be far more hassle than they’re worth and often make it difficult to leave the gym without having to pay extra fees for breaking the contract. Exercise shouldn’t have such a tumultuous barrier to entry or a legal landmine of binding agreements and fees. If you don’t want to worry about such a hostile relationship, then definitely look elsewhere than public gyms trying to get you into a contract.
There are a few other considerations we would like to mention before deciding whether home gyms or gym memberships are best for you. If you know that motivation and keeping a commitment to fitness will be troublesome for you, a home gym might actually be better for you because the personal investment of making a home gym will make you feel like you need to see this commitment through in order to get your worth out of the machinery you purchased. Furthermore, some people decide not to choose between the two at all and acquire both to allow themselves greater variety in where and how they exercise, which is great for preventing monotony and boredom. Consider your personal circumstances when making your choice, as there’s no one “right” choice—there’s only the choice that personally works best for you.
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