Once you’ve made up your mind and commit yourself to a leaner and healthier lifestyle, you must now decide if a gym membership or a home gym is right for you. As with most things there are pros and cons, I’ll discuss the broad categories of things you should consider, but keep in mind that there are many contributing factors in each category.
Privacy – you can do what you want, wear what you want and make whatever noise you want while training without having to worry about what others may think (excluding family members).
Convenience – Your home gym is available 24/7, you don’t have to waste time driving anywhere and you don’t have to waste time waiting for machines to free up when you get there. This is one of the key reasons why people prefer home gym; you don’t waste the precious time you’ve set aside to workout doing things like driving and waiting for machines. Convenience is also one of the drivers of motivation, in our fast-pace lives, having a convenient place to work out can help maintain motivation over a longer period, increasing your chances to form life-long habits for a healthier lifestyle.
Hygiene – When you work out, you sweat. With your home gym equipment, it’s your own sweat. It is recommended that you wipe down your equipment even if it is your own sweat, but if you happen to miss a spot, it’s not a big deal. At a public gym, you have no idea who has been sweating on that bench you’re lying on. Also, the cleanliness of the bathroom, locker room and showers at the public gyms is questionable.
Atmosphere – This depends on the atmosphere that motivates you. At home you can play the type of music you like, hang motivational posters that fit your taste and focus on the things you like to do. You don’t worry about being distracted or be involved in a 15-minute conversation when you just want to do your thing and get out. Some people like the social aspect of going to the gym, but in most cases it detracts from more than add to your overall fitness goal.
Limited selection – A typical home gym will not have the wide variety of machines and equipment available for you to choose from.
Support – Most home gym will not include a professional trainer, a helpful option when getting started on this journey.
Equipment Maintenance – You are responsible for the repair and replacement of the equipment.
Wide selection – Access to a wide variety of equipment and services which may include indoor track, large swimming pool, sauna, basketball court, racquetball court, personal training and a variety of fitness classes.
Climate control – This could be an issue in areas with extreme weather if your option for a home gym is your garage. Most large public gyms will have good climate control and ventilation.
No maintenance required – You don’t need to worry about repairing or replacing broken equipment.
Social Interactions – Depending on your personality and schedule, this could be a pro or a con. Going to the same gym on a regular basis allow opportunity for community building among the regulars.
Time intensive – This is at the top of the list for gym goers. Even if you don’t really care how you look at the gym, most people adhere to a general dress code which takes time to get ready, versus gymming at home. Then there is the drive time, there AND back, and of course the time we all hate wasting waiting for a machine to free up. All this can quickly add up and cut into your workout time.
Unsanitary space – We’ve all heard stories about dirty and unsanitary locker rooms (male and female). The thought of picking up the weights or grabbing the handles on a machine after someone who didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom can make you cringe.
Hour of operation – Most gyms aren’t open 24/7 so you can’t workout on your schedule.
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