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Paige Waehner

Should you join a gym or workout at home?

By November 14, 2012

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Making the decision to exercise is easy. It gets more complicated when you actually have to do it, the biggest question being: Where are you going to exercise? It's easy to join a gym, of course, but it's also easy to pay for that membership while never using it. It's also easy to set up a home gym and, of course, even easier to find a hundred other things more important than your workout - Laundry, Angry Birds, cleaning the lint from your belly button, etc.

There are some good reasons to join a gym, such as:

  • Variety and options - It's often more motivating when you have several options to choose from - Cardio machines, free weights, fitness classes, the pool, etc.
  • Motivation - Paying for a gym membership can be motivating, but there's also the energy you get from working out around other people. You can pick up on that friendly competitive vibe that you won't get working out alone.
  • Focus - There's not much to do at the gym but exercise (well, there is the hot tub, I guess), which can help you stay focused on your workouts. There are no chores staring you in the face, no kids interrupting you and nothing to tempt you away from your workouts.

Working out at home has its own benefits, such as:

  • It's Cheaper - There's no membership fee and you can outfit your home gym with a few resistance bands and an exercise ball and be set to go. You could even do body weight workouts that require no equipment at all.
  • Convenience - You don't have to pack a bag or drive anywhere. In fact, you could workout in your pajamas, if you wanted to...something they frown upon at the gym. You can also workout whenever you like, which is perfect if you need to split your workouts or want to workout at odd hours.

What it often comes down to is personal preference and your budget. If you're self-motivated and know you'll exercise no matter what, working out at home may be a good option. However, if you find way too many distractions (e.g., "I know I should workout, but I really need to trim my toenails"), getting out of the house may be a better choice.

What about you? Do you prefer the gym or do you workout at home? Or maybe you do both? Leave a comment and tell us what you think - gym or home?

November 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm
(1) Benjamin says:

No gym membership for me; no doubt about it. I joined a gym once, about 4 years ago. Automatic deduction from my checking account should have been a red flag; the deal was similar to automatic union fees deducted from your paycheck. Basically, I couldn’t get out when I tried to, because they deducted another month from my account, and said I had to pay an extra processing fee to get out (not deducted from my account, but paid by check, cash, or card). I gave them a check, which they sat on for several days; then they charged me for yet another month and claimed they had not received the payment on time. But, I knew otherwise. So, even though I was out-of-town at the time, I sent them yet another check by certified mail, because I knew that even if they received it on time, they would just sit on that one as well. No more gym memberships for me.

November 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm
(2) scout says:

I work out at home for yoga and strength training and outdoors for cardio. I am a lot more motivated than I ever was going to a gym. It has been a long time since I’ve been to a gym, but I imagine bad television programs, people on cell phones and everything else that turned me off in the first place.

November 15, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(3) JT says:

I used to work out at a gym, but now that I have kids it is too tough to leave for all that time so I work out at home. About four years ago I learned about P90X, other workouts that Beachbody offers like Insanity. The workouts are great, but I mix it up with cardio (elliptical, biking, running outside) and other types of workouts because they are pretty intense.

Another good thing that I am learning about working out at home is your kids see what you do and they want to emulate. One day my older daughter jumped in on an Insanity workout. Man was i psyched! I realized she is learning that excercise is fun and important and it’s a part of life. I hope that both of my kids will take that with them throughout their lives.

Now sometimes when the neighborhood kids come over to play, they all head down to the basement and work out. Keeping kids occupied and healthy = Bonus! Sure beats watching TV….

November 15, 2012 at 3:54 pm
(4) David says:

My experience with gyms is that they are far more interested in making your wallet thin than helping you get thin. I enjoy working out from home, and have no plans to go back to a gym ever.

November 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm
(5) igor says:

I agree with all the preceding opinions. My sympathy to Benjamin. In over fifty years of working out, I belonged to three gyms over about a three year period. All three were clean and much better equipped than my present and past home gyms. One of those gyms was owned by two chiropractors, husband and wife. At a certain point, taking advantage of year-long bargain membership rates, I bought year-long memberships for my wife and me, only to learn that over a week earlier, husband and wire chiropractors had filed bankruptcy on their gym, but not their chiropractic practice; goodby money! Today, my wife works out at the “Y” and I have a superb home gym.

November 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm
(6) DS says:

I like the convenience of working out at home. Being pressed for time with family and work, it’s nice to be able to head to the basement and throw some weights around, do 30 minutes of pilates or just head outside for a run.

November 26, 2012 at 6:29 pm
(7) Frank says:

Home convenience has much to recommend it. Being in complete control of when, how, and why to exercise seems to run through all the
previous reasons for being in control. Well, a gym membership may take some of that control out of your hands, but that is what gyms are for.
Having expert equipment supervised by expert trainers makes training and muscular development more excitiing and efficient and enjoyable.
Besides, straining and sweating in the companyof others proovides a wonderful set olf guidelines for personal progress. Now as for expense.
A YMCA membership can be based on your age or othert factors. It
is not expensive, even with an on-site trainer. Even 24 hour gyms have incredibly cheap rate. And they make a fitness schedule easy to keep,
especially when friendships develope and the competitive spirit makes
the gym experience something to look forward to. Give me a room full
of weight trainers, treadmiii runners, or bunch of wannabes shooting hoops at the Y on a cold morning anytime.

November 26, 2012 at 8:36 pm
(8) Jerry says:

I joined Planet Fitness it is very close to homethe staff is very friendly. It is open 24-7. I have been going for 2 years. The cost is $10.00 a month and I can stop my membershio any time without a penalty. I find it very helpful with other people around to motivate you and the trainners always help you and they don’t work on commission.

November 26, 2012 at 11:08 pm
(9) Sam says:

I love my gym…which is something I never thought I’d say. My gym is friendly, encouraging, interesting, and, most importantly, there are lots and lots of different kinds of people there- there is a mix of races, classes, ages and fitness levels that made me feel like if I wanted to get healthy, I belonged there. This was definitely not true at some gyms I joined. I used to feel intimidated by the gym, but when I started at this one, people made sure to let me know that they noticed that I was trying to do something hard, and their positive attitude really gave me a lift. When I finally showed results, total strangers who had seen me a the beginning encouraged me. It was incredibly gratifying, and now I think that my gym is a part of my day that I really hate to miss. It’s friendly and funny, and I think it’s a super nice community. That said, it ALWAYS sucks to start going to the gym when you’re out of shape. And exercising in front of other people when you’re out of shape takes WAY more bravery than it does to go to the gym when you’re in shape. But I’m really glad that I found a good gym and that I stuck with it past the embarrassing part…(Which was long, yes, but it got better every time I went…)

November 27, 2012 at 9:22 am
(10) Mike M. says:

I find the gym at my hospitals cardiac rehab the most motivating. I tried on my own at home and t tried a fitness club. The fitness club doesn’t work for me because you can’t always get the piece of equipment you want to use, and for a retired person it’s way too expensive. )n the other hand the cardiac rehab lab has only patients who are recovering from open heart surgery and people like me who are survivors of a cardiac incident. and in my case there is a plus; it provides me with an opportunity to encourage and motivate those people who are recovering from surgery due to a heart problem.

February 18, 2013 at 7:05 am
(11) Big Lou says:

If your retired, and alone. You may consider joining a gym. Your not only going to increrse your strength and stamina, but your going to get out of the house. Taking a drive to the gym is great, walking saying hi to your friends and if your single I guarantee you will meet someone!
So there is alot of benefits both physical and phychological for someone of middle age or anyone who is bored and lonely.

March 8, 2013 at 4:40 pm
(12) David says:

I would like to work out at home because I would save around trip, sometimes it cost up to 40 minutes. working out at home you could feel more sanitized than at gym. At home you can wear all most any kind of clothing without anyone looking at you. It is embarrassing if you have big belly working around fit people. and more and more……

March 19, 2013 at 9:07 am
(13) Corey Mitchell says:

My wife kept telling me I should do yoga. It will give you strength. It will give you flexibility. It will help you stand up straight. It will be so good for you. But I couldn’t get to a class. She and her best friend created http://www.dirtyyogaco.com for people like me. People who need Yoga but can’t get to it with such busy schedules.
I’ve been doing it at home now for nearly a year and I’ve never felt this good or stood so straight. I do it 5/6 times a week early in the morning and I still have my full day. Sometimes 35 min. Sometimes 80 min. I could never do this much exercise by going to studios or gyms. It just wouldn’t happen and I don’t have the time.

April 8, 2014 at 5:09 am
(14) Christie says:

Working out at home is good option if you are self motivated and by using elliptical machine is great.

May 15, 2014 at 10:04 am
(15) SpareTireAnnihilator says:

I am partial to working out at home. This is due to the time restraints of having a job, family, you know, the usual. I like the fact that I can struggle and look silly for the most part with no one watching.

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