Starting a fitness journey is a great step toward your health. But we often overestimate our will to work out in a moment of inspired motivation.
We pay for annual gym memberships or buy fancy home gym machines, never to use them. Yes, I am guilty of this too!
Your choice of workout space – home or gym, is a critical part of the solution. For example, if you are someone who does not have the time to drive to a gym and wait in lines, then a home gym would be better. It gives you a better chance of sticking to your fitness routine.
On the other hand, if you are a beginner who needs help with exercises or a user with advanced powerlifting goals, a gym would be better.
There are several pros and cons associated with working out at home VS the gym. If you are looking for the ultimate option between the two, it comes down to your unique fitness goals and preferences. Read on to know more.
Overview: Home Gym Workouts
Home gym workouts can include bodyweight exercises, free weights, multi-functional home gym machines, or a setup complete with a power rack, isolation, and cardio machines.
Your home gym setup depends on your fitness goals, space, and budget. A 100 to 500 sq. ft. space is enough for a functional home gym.
Pros of Home Gym Workouts
Here are reasons you should consider home workouts.
It is 4 in the morning or evening; it is raining or snowing outside; regardless of the situation, you have the convenience of working out whenever you want.
You do not have to spend time commuting. You do not have to wait in lines to use machines. You do not have to deal with other people.
Annually gym memberships, on average, can cost $600 to $1000. There could be additional costs like personal trainers and gas.
With $1000, you can buy multiple pieces of gym equipment or invest in a quality home gym machine that will last you for years.
Commercial gyms can be crowded. Not all users would be comfortable sharing a stuffy and sweaty workout space with others. For people with social anxiety, a group class would be the last thing they need.
These stressors can make working out a dreadful experience, and you may give up on your routine altogether.
One can overcome these challenges with home workouts.
Are you in the mood for pilates, yoga, or a dance class? Do you want to bike around the neighborhood? Or just take a hike with your friends? Go ahead.
With home workouts, you have the option of mixing up your workout routine as you, please. You are not bound to a dedicated space as you would have been with a gym.
Cons of Home Gym Workouts
Here are the reasons a home gym may not be an ideal solution.
With home workouts, you pretty much have to be a self-starter. It can be easy to get distracted with work or home chores.
You may lose focus, or family members could interrupt your routine.
The convenience of working out anytime could also mean you put off your exercise session for something else on your to-do list.
If you have a spare room, garage, or basement you could work out from, that is good enough. But for people living in apartments, this is not a possibility.
If you are too cramped for space, you risk accidents and injuries.
With home gyms, you are responsible for maintaining your equipment and workout space. You must keep the workout area well-ventilated and clean, or it could start stinking up.
Smaller pieces of equipment like yoga mats and dumbbells also need to be cleaned. With home gym machines, you must check for loose nuts, bolts, and signs of wear and tear.
Overview: Gym Workouts
A commercial gym is where members of the general public can enroll to workout. These gyms are typically set up in large spaces with multiple pieces of equipment.
There could be personal trainers helping people out. There could be many more amenities, like showers, swimming pools, and saunas.
Pros of Gym Workouts
Here are some perks of gym workouts.
Most commercial gyms have multiple cardio and isolation machines. They will have a free weights set up suitable for beginners to advanced fitness users.
You get to work with several commercial-grade machines with a single membership. Some gyms also offer services like spa facilities, group classes, and events.
At commercial gyms, you can seek help and advice from professional trainers. They can guide you on what machines to use, the proper form and technique of performing exercises, and diet.
Professional trainers can help beginners and advanced users meet their fitness goals alike.
If you tend to get easily distracted, a public gym may help you deal with the problem. There are no chores to tend to or family members to interrupt.
Everyone around you is working out, which ultimately influences you to focus on your workout routine.
Advanced Fitness Goals
It is possible for you to outgrow bodyweight exercises and home gym machines. After a point, you will need to increase resistance to improve.
Having spotters around would be ideal if you are a bodybuilder or powerlifter working with heavy weights.
A commercial gym would be better than a home gym in such cases.
Some users prefer working in the company of other people. Everyone around is working out and giving their best. This can motivate you to work harder.
The whole community gym experience can be encouraging. For example, your gym buddies could introduce you to new exercises and help you stay consistent.
Cons of Gym Workouts
Here are the reasons a public gym may not be ideal for you.
I typically have to schedule my day around my workout session on gym days. I need to set aside time for a pre-workout snack, travel, workout, shower, again travel, and a post-workout meal.
I may work out for 45 minutes, but I easily spend over 90 to 100 minutes on other tasks. So going to the gym can be time-consuming.
As mentioned above, annual gym memberships can cost about $600 to $1000. Some of the fancier gyms can cost well above $2000.
If you opt for personal trainers, nutritionists, or extra classes, they could be charged separately. So commercial gyms can get expensive compared to home gyms.
Working Out at Home vs. Gym: Which Is Better?
As you have seen above, home and gym workouts have their benefits and drawbacks. The answer to which is the better option depends on what you want and what you can manage and afford.
Do not believe the myth that working out at a gym is the only way to get in shape. Home workouts can be as effective if you aim to improve overall fitness. Strength training is also a possible goal you can achieve at home.
On the other hand, if you need various equipment and like the dedicated focus and community experience, a gym would be a better choice.
As long as you are self-motivated and dedicated to staying consistent, you can achieve your fitness goals from your home or the gym.
Yes. You can practice bodyweight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, step-ups, and lunges. You can use free weights for bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest presses, and weighted squats. You can also buy home gym machines that support a maximum user weight of 300 lbs and above.
The average cost of home gym equipment can range from $200 to $1500 or more. It depends on the equipment type. For example, if you are buying free weights, you can easily build a good set for under $200. Beginner-friendly home gym machines are available for around $300 to $600.
According to the CDC, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. And two days of the week should be for muscle-strengthening activities.
A home gym provides benefits like the convenience of working out anytime you like; you save time traveling and waiting in lines. It can be a cost-effective option. You can also work out with family and friends without paying anything extra.
A commercial gym offers benefits like access to high-quality equipment, amenities like a spa and sauna, professional trainers, and a community experience.
Working out at home vs. the gym is not right or wrong. It is more about your personal preference. A home gym will work best if you have a busy schedule and privacy and convenience are priorities.
But a commercial gym would be ideal if you easily get distracted or have space constraints. So do what works best for you.