Home Gym Vs Gym Membership – We Help You Choose!

For those looking to work out regularly, choosing between going to a commercial gym or creating your gym at home is tough. 

Getting a gym membership has always been the traditional choice, but working out at home is becoming increasingly popular. 

Read our guide which will help you decide between home gym vs gym membership.

A gym membership grants you access to one specific gym or chain of gyms. The price, length of the contract, and benefits change from gym to gym.

However, the most common services include access to facilities, trainers, fitness classes, and a wide range of equipment and machines. Some also include a swimming pool and sauna.

You also get some specialist gyms, the most popular being a CrossFit gym. These let you gym altogether with people who have similar goals to you. 

Benefits Of Gym Memberships

  • Community
    Whether you go to a class or are a regular at a gym, you can easily make long-time friends at a commercial gym and make plans to workout altogether, re-enforcing the habit. 
  • Wide Range Of Equipment
    To see results, changing up your workout routine every few months can help prevent a plateau in your progress. Gyms have a wide range of machines to give you a total body workout, including some bulky items like a squat rack. There's also classes to choose from, meaning that you can always find new ways to approach weight lifting and working out. 
  • Specialized Help And Training
    No matter your health concerns, it is possible to find a personal trainer who can work with your needs in mind and help you reach your fitness goals and desired look.(1) These are sometimes included in your gym membership costs, but you usually pay for them separately. 
  • Focus/Mindset
    Gyms are filled with people focused on reaching their goals and are dedicated to continuing their fitness journey. This creates an inspiring atmosphere that can help you stay committed to your own goals. 

Negatives Of Gym Membership

  • Commute
    Unlike with home gyms, getting to membership gyms requires some planning and forethought as well as a commute. The cost of nice-looking workout gear and fuel, as well as your monthly membership, can quickly increase your spending. 
  • Waiting For Equipment
    If you are someone who often goes to gyms during peak times, you may find yourself spending half the time waiting for equipment (especially if your gym only has a few squat racks). This can increase the time you spend at the gym, leaving you with less personal time than you planned. 
  • Opening and Busy Times
    While some gyms are open 24/7, many gyms have set days and times when they are available. This means that you have to fit the gym around your own and the building’s schedule, which can be difficult.
man working out on floor in local gym

Home Gym Overview

A home gym is a space in your home where you use home gym equipment or weights of your choice.

These are often small and found in spare rooms or garages, depending on your home’s layout and needs.  

Home Gym Benefits 

  • Workout Anytime
    As the gym is in your own home, you do not have to wait for it to open or organize your schedule to start lifting weights or working out – you fit the gym into your own schedule. 
  • No Commute
    You only need to walk down some stairs or across the hall to reach your home gym. If you forget to bring your protein shake or towel, you can simply get it rather than having to do without or buy something new like at commercial gyms. 
  • No Wait For Equipment  
    Unless you bring a workout buddy into your garage gym, you can get on and off equipment at your own pace whenever you are ready. There's no awkward small talk and no waiting around.
  • More Sanitary
    As this is your own gym, you are in charge of cleaning and maintaining it. You will always know for sure if the equipment is clean and kept instead of relying on others or hoping it is. 
  • Tailored To You
    Gyms contain a wide range of equipment to suit various people; you curate a garage gym set up for you. This means that you can be more flexible and as experimental as you want to be, and used specialized equipment that works for you. 

Home Gym Drawbacks

  • No Social Interaction
    Unless you have family members into fitness, home gyms are a place where you work out alone with no opportunity to make new friends. With it only being just you in the space it can be hard to motivate or challenge yourself without the motivated gym atmosphere and others to inspire you. 
  • Less Equipment
    Unless you have a large boutique studio then you're likely to have less equipment to use. You may have to rely on bodyweight exercises or smaller items, like a stationary bike and resistance bands, unless you can afford high end equipment and heavy weights.  
  • High Upfront Cost
    A home gym is more affordable in the long run, but you have to buy all the equipment needed upfront. It can be a big outlay to buy the right equipment, and you'll have to be prepared to spend to get a gym that's worth using. 
  • Get Into The Habit
    Because getting to a membership gym takes more effort, you fit it into your schedule and easily make a routine. A home is filled with distractions, making it easier to lose motivation and avoid going until another day and delaying the habit.
Woman doing workout with dumbbells in Home Gym

Home Gyms and Gym Memberships Compared

Convenience/Time Efficiency  

The home gym is by far the more convenient and time-efficient choice.

Home and garage gyms cut out the commute, the wait for equipment, and the potential interruption by strangers, making it a faster experience. 

This makes home gyms great for people with busy work schedules or those without a commercial gym in their area.  

On the other hand, some avid gym-goers think that the preparation and commute to the gym help them get into the zone and focus on working out.

It fits nicely into their routine and allows them to separate their play, work, and workout spaces for better mental health.(2) 

Winner: Home Gym 

Preparation Required 

With a home gym, you do not need to worry too much about preparing or forgetting things; you only need to walk down the hall to get them.

With a commercial gym, you need to pack a gym bag, ensure you have everything you need, drive over there, get changed in the locker room, and start your routine. 

Once done, you need to reverse this process before being completely done.  

This is a much more involved preparation routine than working out at home, which requires you to dress, get some water or a protein shake, load a class or tutorial, and get going. 

Winner: Home Gym  

Cleanliness 

If you have a home gym, you do not need to rely on anyone else to clean the equipment. 

You have complete control over cleaning and maintenance and know precisely when your gym was last cleaned; this is a double-edged sword in terms of peace of mind vs. effort. 

At a commercial gym, you are responsible for properly wiping and cleaning the gym equipment and machines after use but do not necessarily know if others are doing their own wipe-down duties. 

However, cleaning crews and staff on hand manage most of the commercial gym cleaning, taking most of the effort from you. 

Winner: Depends – Though Sides With Gym Membership 

Social & Networking

As we mentioned above, working out at home can be a lonely experience.

However, there are online communities and options to stream live classes with live trainers, which can make it feel like you are with others without compromising your privacy. 

It is easier to work out in a space where strangers will not judge you – plus, you get machines for as long as you want. 

At gyms, it can be intimidating for various reasons to work out in front of other people.

Plus, curious gym-goers or those wanting your machine may interrupt your session. 

However, gyms are a great place to socialize and get fit with high-tech strength and cardio equipment at the same time. 

Winner: Gym Membership 

Workout Variety & PT Access

While curating your home or garage gym, you can be as flexible and experimental as your budget, home, product availability, and fitness goals allow. 

Due to space, you may have to find hybrid machines or second-hand home gym equipment, and you might not be able to fit larger items, like a squat rack, into your home gym setup. 

However, it is possible to use online classes and find workout equipment to bring variety into your routine. It is much easier to incorporate variety into your workout routine at commercial gyms, but there is often waiting. 

Whether you need to wait to book yourself into a class or wait for your desired equipment to be open, you can get variety with patience.

However, you can also get fitness tips from a certified personal trainer and find other people with the same interests as you. 

Winner: Varies Based On Interests 

Results (Strength Training)

If you're having a home gym vs gym membership debate the most important consideration is results. 

You can get a great gym workout from home, but you're likely going to have less equipment. You may struggle to fit a power rack and even some larger cardio machines can be difficult to fit in the space. 

All you really need for home workouts is free weights and maybe a pull up bar, but by paying membership fees to your local gym you have access to more equipment and weight machines in one location. This can certainly makes strength training easier, especially for beginners. 

The key to a great workout is motivation and drive, and you can achieve this at home or the gym. However, if your goal is to bulk up and build serious strength then a commercial gym has more exercise equipment and weight machines to support you. 

Winner: Depends – Though Sides With Gym Membership

Also See - Where To Get The Best Workout Results

Cost Breakdown

When considering building your own home gym vs. a monthly gym membership setup, there are more upfront costs with a home gym.

It is possible to find all you need on a budget and save money. Home gyms also mean that you can build your gym over time and only buy the essential equipment to begin with. 

The main area where costs increase would be delivery and replacing parts, but if you buy good quality equipment you can save money in the long run.  

Commercial gyms have the membership cost to consider. This changes depending on the gym’s pricing packages, but the average gym membership cost in the US is $50 a month. 

You also may need new workout gear or to pick up extras when you go to commercial gyms. Travel costs bring the monthly membership costs of commercial gyms up, as well. 

Winner: Home Gym

Related Article - Budget Ideas For Garage Gyms

Home Gym Vs Gym Membership

Common Gym Membership Questions

Is it easy to build a home garage gym? 

That depends on your needs and what equipment you want, but it is an easy process most of the time. The hardest part is assembling the equipment, but it is possible to hire someone to build it for you.

Can you get in shape without a gym membership? 

It is absolutely possible to get fit without a gym membership or any fancy equipment. There are plenty of cardio workout routines and weightlifting plans to choose from, many of which only require your effort rather than equipment. Discipline, consistency, and good sleep and diet are all key in this department.

How much does a gym membership cost? 

A gym membership typically costs between $40 - $80 a month, although that changes depending on the gym’s price packages. This, along with fuel and new workout clothes, increase the costs over time.


So, Which To Go For?

When choosing whether to go for a gym membership vs. a home workout routine, we recommend considering your situation and budget carefully before deciding. 

While it is easy to compare yourself to others, all that matters is that you do what is best for you and try your best.

Also See - Are Garage Gyms Worth It?

References:

  1. https://food.ndtv.com/health/11-important-tips-to-achieve-your-fitness-goals-1450214
  2. https://www.purewow.com/wellness/best-workouts-for-mental-health

Last Updated on November 4, 2022