Gym Membership vs At-Home Workouts: What You Should Know
Whether you're looking to get started with fitness or you're coming back after a few years, the biggest decision you're likely to make is: at-home workout or gym membership?
There are advantages to each approach, but also some drawbacks to keep in mind when you're making your choice. Here's what you need to know.
Home Sweet Home
It's never been easier to put together your own workout program at home, thanks to all the online streaming services, DVDs, books, and apps that are available.
Also, you save time because you don't need to travel to a gym, and you can make workouts any length you choose — unlike personal training appointments or group classes. There's also the advantage of privacy, which can be especially important if you're feeling self-conscious about getting started on a new fitness plan.
But even with tons of workout instruction available in digital and printed form, working out at home isn't always easy. You need to minimize distractions and stay motivated enough to keep challenging yourself. Being in a class with other people is often enough to for many people to push themselves. But when you're alone, knowing you can hit the "pause" button on the computer or DVD player can feel tempting unless you're committed.
Joining a gym works for many people because it combines the social element found in group classes along with the extra encouragement needed to get results faster. Gyms also offer a breadth of equipment that would be extremely expensive to collect at home, including multiple types of cardio machines, free weights, and functional equipment like TRX and kettlebells.
But just like home workouts, gyms do require a level of commitment and time that can be difficult for some people. You may be able to get a quick 30-minute workout at home before breakfast, but if it's the gym that motivates you, that same half hour might involve packing your gym bag, driving, changing your clothes, and then heading to work from there.
Because of that, gyms tend to work best for people who like to work out in medium-to-long time blocks, as opposed to shorter sessions or more infrequent workouts.
Factors in Common
Rather than choose a side in the gym vs. home decision, some people choose to do a mix of the two. For example, someone might run through the neighborhood every morning, or use a treadmill while watching TV, and then come to the gym for the social, motivational, and strength-training aspects that a class provides.
When making a choice on how to set your fitness mix, be sure to go with what will work for you long-term. The key to any workout plan is consistency, even through the plateaus. If you feel that you can work out more at home and would simply make excuses not to go to the gym, then it looks like that's the route you should take. But if hitting the gym allows you to stay focused and on track, then sign up for a membership.
Whether you're rocking out an at-home program, or you're ready to start at a gym instead, try a UFC Gym Free Pass to put an extra boost into your fitness track.