Cost: Gym memberships can be costly, and this would be an ongoing expense as all gyms have monthly membership fees. Decide if you can afford the joining fee as well as the monthly fee. Find out if that monthly fee is locked in for the life of your membership or if it is subject to increase in the future. Take this into consideration when determining your budgetary constraints. If you decide to go for the gym membership do some price comparisons before you commit to a membership. If you like the gym and want to join but the price is out of reach, its ok to ask for a discount, and if the answer is no, ask when their next big promotion will be and buy then. If its still out of reach financially, don’t hesitate to walk away. There are other gyms out there, and likely they’ll offer some sort of incentive to get you to buy their membership rather than having you go elsewhere.
Home equipment can also be costly and possibly an even bigger investment right at the beginning. However, once you’re fully equipped with the items you need to work out in the most effective way for you, this cost comes to a complete halt (barring minor repairs or replacements when equipment wears out or breaks). Therefore, this can be a much more cost-effective way to better health and fitness than a commercial gym. Definitely do some shopping around for the equipment you desire. The prices can vary widely, especially for larger equipment like treadmills. Be careful though: the quality of fitness equipment can also vary widely. It’s true what they say, “You get what you pay for”.
Functionality: Commercial gyms usually have a lot going for them in this area. They’re usually well supplied with all weights and bar sizes in the free-weights area, many benches, including supine and incline and in the majority of commercial gyms you’ll find a lot of many different brands of weight machines and kinds of cardio machines. You won’t be lacking for ways to add variety to your workouts with all the equipment you’ll have available to you.
At home workouts, on the other hand, can also be well equipped, but that is entirely up to you and what you purchase for your home gym. If you don’t purchase many pieces of equipment for your workout space or don’t have room for a lot of equipment in your space you might find yourself quite limited for variety. Be careful of being able to change your routines often even with your limited equipment, the rules of fitness dictate that you be able to change up your routine from time to time to prevent plateaus and stagnation.
To workout in a commercial gym, keep in mind that you have to make time to drive to the gym and home again. You also might find yourself in lines waiting to use your favorite piece of equipment if you are working out at peak times. Not so convenient for some.
At your own home gym you don’t have the commute, nor will you have any waiting for equipment, it’s all yours!! Pretty convenient in most people’s minds!
Privacy & Camaraderie:
Here’s a big one. Some people prefer to work out amongst many other people also working out. They find they can feed off the energy of the other people and be inspired or motivated by those around them merely by being in the same space.
However, some people really prefer to work out in privacy. They may feel they’re ‘not in good enough shape’ to be seen in fitness clothing and would rather get on with it without anyone else’s eyes on them. For these people, the home gym scenario works much better. Oh, and by the way, to those of you who think that please note that everyone is at the gym for the same reason: to work out… and almost no one is looking at you. They’ve all got their own workouts to concentrate on.
Many people choose the commercial gym for their workouts strictly for the assistance they can get by working out amongst others. Spotters, trainers, or just watching others’ techniques are all ways to get assistance at a commercial gym. For those lifting very heavy weights, a spotter is a must. Doing a bench press under a barbell without a spotter can cause serious injury if the lifter gets trapped under the bar or happens to drop it on themselves.
In the home gym set-up, you have to be very careful with your weights. I’d recommend not using a barbell at all for moves like bench presses (use dumbbells instead, then if your muscles hit failure at least you can drop them to the side without getting trapped under the bar). There are also no trainers available nor are there other people to watch for technique tips when working out alone at home. However, there’s always the Internet! You can watch videos on YouTube for that kind of technique tips or find yourself an online coach to replace a gym trainer. Still, you can’t get a spotter from the Internet, you still need a real person with you for that.
Hopefully, these comparisons will help you figure out whether a home gym set up or a commercial gym membership is the right direction for you.
Good for you for taking the step towards better fitness. You can do it!
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