Exercise is the key to achieving your lifestyle and fitness goals.
Traditionally, people paid gym membership fees and used that gym for all their training, but in the last few years home gyms have become increasingly popular.
In this article we'll both options and help you decide which is best for you.
Home Workouts Vs Going To The Gym: Which Is Best?
There are benefits and drawbacks to commercial gym workouts and working out from home.
Which is better for you ultimately comes down to things like your budget, personal interests, and how you motivate yourself.
So is it best to join a gym, or to build your own - and are home gyms actually worth it? Here are the key considerations to help you decide:
1. Cost (Short And Long Term)
Cost tends to be the determining factor for both people, and both options have short and long term cost considerations.
If you join a gym you'll have to pay a monthly or annual fee to use it. The average cost for a US gym membership is $50 a month, but it does vary massively.
On top of the subscription cost you have additional cost for classes and travel to and from the gym.
When you work out at home you don't pay a monthly fee, but you have to pay for all the equipment you're going to use (except for a few additional accessories like a yoga mat, water bottle etc.).
A basic home gym can cost you $500- $3000, and a lot more if you want premium equipment. Although this is expensive, it's all one-time purchases and you won't have to pay travel costs on top.
You'll have to pay for things like dumbbells, a treadmill, a yoga mat, a weight bench, and anything else needed for your workouts.
A home gym costs a lot more upfront, but the long term costs of gym memberships are usually higher.
Check out our guide for home gym ideas if you're on a tight budget!
2. Equipment Options
When you work out in a commercial gym all the equipment is there for you. You don't have to bring anything or worry about upkeep.
Every gym is slightly different, but you'll generally have access to kettlebells, cable machines, treadmills, free weights, cardio equipment, and sometimes even a pool and sauna.
If your goal is centred around building muscle, then having access to heavy duty weights is important for a great workout and commercial gyms make it easier.
If you work out at home you have to purchase all your own equipment and maintain it yourself.
Depending on your space and budget you may not have room for larger pieces of equipment and therefore your home workouts are likely to be more limited - or reliant on body weight exercises.
If your workouts use a lot of equipment then joining a gym is best. If you're happy with body weight circuits and cardio then a home gym is a better choice.
Check out our home gym essentials if you decide to go that route!
3. Comfort Levels
For many people, though, at least initially, it can be very intimidating and nerve-racking working out in a gym in front of other people.
There's a certain level of comfort that comes with working out in the comfort of your own home, on your own machines, with your own equipment, with no one else watching you or waiting for the machine you're working with.
If you're a beginner then you may be more comfortable with home workouts. More advanced lifters are likely to be more comfortable in a commercial gym.
4. Accountability & Motivation
Everyone has different sources of motivation and it's not one size fits all.
In a commercial gym it's often easier to push yourself because you're surrounded by people working out. Plus, you've travelled all the way so it may seem like a waste of time if you don't make the most of it.
It's easier to avoid the home gym or just give it a half hearted workout. Workout apps, fitness tracking apps, and online personal training resources can help you, but you're still reliant on being self motivated.
There are different trains of thought and some people find it easier to train harder at home, but if you are more motivated with other people around you then joining a gym is best.
5. Confidence Or Embarrassment
Many people don't like trying new things in front of strangers, no matter the situation. Trying a new fitness routine can be very intimidating, even if you're doing it alone.
Messing up on a lift or not being able to keep up on the treadmill in front of others can be very embarrassing, and it could make you want to quit working out altogether.
However, some people feel more comfortable around other people and can learn correct form by watching fitness instructors or other lifters in the gym. This can actually give you more confidence in the long run.
However, If you're the type that gets nervous in crowds, working out at home is definitely for you.
6. Results (Weight Loss Or Muscle Building)
Some people that have gone to gyms their whole life will swear up and down that you can't get the same great workout at home that you can get in a gym.
They argue that having a dedicated space outside their home makes them work harder, and they can separate relaxation time at home from training in the gym.
However, it all comes down to personal preference. Are home workouts as effective as workouts in the gym? Yes, they most definitely are and even the backyard gym built on a shoe string budget can be just as good as a large commercial gym.
You can get an effective workout in just thirty minutes with absolutely no equipment as long as you give 100% effort.
You can also video or livestream classes to get the same experience at home.
Your results ultimately come down to the effort you put into your training, no matter where you decide to do it.
However, those working out at home are less likely to have access to all the weight lifting equipment found in many gyms, and a home workout is likely to involve more body weight exercises.
These are great to give more flexibility, toning and weight loss, but if your goal is to build muscle and increase strength then you may be better joining a commercial gym.
Pros and Cons of Working Out at Home
When deciding whether you should work out in a gym vs at home, you have to weigh the pros and cons of both choices.
To get started, we'll go over the pros and cons of working out at home.
Pros And Cons Of Working Out At The Gym
Like working out at home, there will be pros and cons to working out at a gym.
3 Tips On How To Have An Effective Workout At Home
Whether you pay gym membership fees or you workout from home, it's all about you. The effort and drive you put into your workout will influence your results, and there's a few ways to get the most from your at home workouts:
1. Warm Up
It can be tempting to dive straight into your home workouts, but you need to warm up first.
Light stretching or gentle cardio (like jumping jacks) will help to warm up your body, prevent injury, and get the proper form while you workout.
If you're using a fitness app it's worth looking at the latest health news or any injury prevention tips they have as safety should always be the number one priority.
2. Track Your Progress
Pushing yourself more week on week and month on month is the key to reaching your goals. Progressive overload on weights is what stimulate muscle growth, and that will improve your overall strength.
Use an app (or go old school with a pen and paper) to track your progress and note down any new workouts you're doing. This will help you see how far you've come over the course of a few months and hopefully keep you motivated.
3. Use Fitness Apps And Online Resources
You don't need specific personal training to reach your goals, but you can use a wide range of resources out there to plan your workouts.
On YouTube and other streaming platforms you can find workouts designed by a personal trainer which are completely free to follow. Plus, there are a wide variety of fitness apps out there to give you lots of motivation and inspiration for your workouts.
Common Gym & Home Workout Questions
You don't need a gym or even equipment to get in shape. If you have a tiny bit of space in your house, there are plenty of bodyweight workouts you can do that can help you lose weight and get strong.
Even if you enjoy going to the gym, there are a few extra
There's a big misconception out there that you need big heavy weights to bulk up. While weights may be necessary once you hit a certain fitness level, it is possible to add bulk by doing bodyweight exercises and eating the right foods.
The cost of a home gym will vary from person to person. You may need more or less equipment than the next guy, which can raise or lower the cost of your garage gym. Your basic home gym can cost between $1,000-$2,000, but again, it can be much less or much more depending on your needs.
The best gym for you will be a matter of preference and what you're looking to accomplish. But, no matter what type of gym you're trying to join, you should research things like their location, hours, cost, equipment, and amenities offered to decide what gym you should join.
Conclusion - Which Is Better For Working Out?
Working out in a gym or at home can both achieve outstanding results, and what's best for you ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget.
If you can motivate yourself and you don't need an accountability buddy, you can save money by working out at home.
But if you're easily distracted, need an extra bit of motivation, and don't mind the commute, gyms are right up your alley.