One of the most frequent debates in fitness has to do with where to train. Which environment returns the best results, home or the gym? In an ideal world, you would have 24/7/365 access to your private fitness club right next door. However, 99.5% of us do not live in a perfect world!
Home and gym workouts each have advantages and drawbacks. If you are an extrovert with a need for battery-charging social stimulation, the gym might be the best fit. If you are an introvert that values private time, home base may provide the right atmosphere for significant improvements.
Home Workouts vs The Gym
The price of a typical monthly gym membership is usually $25 or more. Add in the price of fuel to drive to the location, and you can figure out your total monthly and annual costs. A home program is free if you decide to use bodyweight-only exercises. Workout videos add a minimal cost, and you can always buy the home equipment that you deem necessary. Over a period of 10-plus years, working out at home could be the cheaper of the two options.
More fitness facilities than ever offer extended hours, with some open around the clock. However, workout efficiency is sometimes dicey because of unpredictable wait times for equipment, especially during peak hours. A home workout can take place any time of day or night, weekends, and holidays, and offers immediate access to every dumbbell and machine in your arsenal.
No dress codes at home mean you can wear what you want when you want. You control the temperature and the tunes, so you can crank up whatever inspires you, and turn your exercise space into a sauna or an icebox. It is your house/apartment/condo, so you have the final say regarding how often and how thoroughly everything gets disinfected.
It is great to be able to roll out of bed and start your workout in under five minutes; the same holds true when you get home from work. At home, you never have to worry about your gym’s hours of operation. How about those winter days when your town gets hit with 2 feet of snow? Who wants to drive to the gym through that? On the flip side, if your workout space is in your unheated garage or your frigid basement, those are exactly the days you want the warmth and comfort of the gym.
Variety and options
Whether you like group or individual exercise, gym, and home workouts both offer flexibility and infinite opportunities in the areas of variety. In both cases, the only limitations are the available time and funds. With home-based training, space for equipment can also be a limiting factor and will dictate your choice of exercises. Overall, gyms offer a greater number of exercise options, from group classes and personal training to a larger array of equipment.
Things you do not have to deal with at the gym: the kids, the computer, the list of to-dos’, dirty laundry, the pets, and the neighbors. Things you do not have to deal with at home: the guy loudly grunting as he squats 500 pounds, the big-boy bros, that cute girl or guy in the tight tank top that you cannot keep your eyes off, “the talker,” and people dropping weights. Most of the time you can block these out by turning on your iPod and putting in your earbuds. Seeing your results in the privacy of your bathroom is a big motivator, but so is getting a positive compliment at the gym about your progress from a member of the opposite sex.
Working out at home often forces people to learn more about exercise techniques and variations to maximize the space and equipment they have. Having a gym membership encourages the development of fitness knowledge by using a larger variety of free weights and machines, getting instruction and tips from fitness professionals, and learning from seasoned lifters.
When a machine breaks down at the gym, the facility owner(s) cover the cost of repair. If your home equipment breaks down, the dollars come out of your pocket.
In the end, the choice is yours. If your goal is building muscle mass, the gym offers the greatest selection of free weights to help get you there. If you are after a more lean and toned look, home-based training can provide what you need. Both the home and gym environments can produce the results you want, depending on what your goals are, to help take your fitness to the next level.
The key to succeeding with your fitness goals is finding an environment that fits you the best.