Working Out at Home vs. Gym: Which is better?
Whatever your fitness goals are it's worth weighing up the advantages and disadvantages of belonging to a gym or working out at home. Here we look at the pros and cons of both to help you decide which is most suited to you.
In busy, modern lives, time is often at a premium and it can feel like there simply enough of it. If you are trying to be more time-efficient then the gym might well lose out to the home option. When you factor in the time it takes to travel to and from the gym as well as the actual workout time, you could shave a fair about of time off that by working out at home instead - you might even be able to train for longer.
Avoiding the crowds
Travelling to the gym can be hampered by busy traffic and this frustration can be added to when you reach the gym and find that it is crowded! Gyms have particularly busy seasons: January (when the New Year's resolutions to get fit start in earnest) and the spring to summer months (as people vow to tone up their bodies for beach holidays). Bear in mind that the typical business model of any gym is to sell more memberships than it really has capacity for. This means that in these busy 'seasons' and the peak times of early morning and early evening, an annoying wait to a free piece of equipment is more than likely.
It's sensible to check out how busy a gym is at the times you are most likely to be using it before you sign up for membership. Alternatively, you could just avoid the crowds altogether and workout at home.
One thing is for sure, you won't get any privacy in a gym. Some people are absolutely fine working out in front of complete strangers but many feel extremely self-conscious about it. Working out at home gives you privacy. You are in full control of everything and this turns the whole experience into a much more personal one.
This is more difficult to weigh up. Gym memberships don't come cheap and then you need to consider those hidden little extras that all add up over the course of the year, such as petrol costs. On the flip side, if you are thinking about working out at home then there's the financial outlay for equipment. You need to think carefully about whether you will get your money's worth out of a gym membership or whether it would be better to buy a piece of equipment to use at home, perhaps supplementing your training with classes at the gym.
Quality and maintenance
Commercial gym equipment is likely to be of a good quality but the high usage of machines in gyms will inevitably take its toll. And working out at home on your own equipment means will have yourself to blame for not wiping it down and maintaining it properly.
Of course, gyms have clear advantages when it comes to the variety and options offered. At the gym, it's easy to devise workouts that include sessions on several pieces of cardio equipment and to combine this with resistance and strength work in one single workout. This is obviously much more difficult to do at home. But if you want to train for a specific purpose or to complement other fitness work, investing in home equipment could make sense. Again, it's something you need to weigh up for yourself - how important variety is to you.