Finding the perfect workout routine can be hard if you're just starting out. There's advice for home workouts and advice for gym workouts but sometimes you don't know where you're better suited. To help you find your fitness space, I've put together a comprehensive guide on what to consider before committing to a home gym or a year-long membership.
For beginners and well-worn fitness champs alike, knowing which location better suits them can be difficult. Sometimes I still struggle with whether to hit up my local gym or if I should pull up a hard-hitting video. It all depends on what you want and what you prefer.
For some, the gym is a place of judgement and fear. If you're uncomfortable with how you look then tight workout clothes in a crowded social environment isn't the most relaxing place to be. There's none of that at home. You can wear what you want and do what you need to do, including grunt or lie face-first on the ground after a hard workout.
Tip: No one really cares what you look like at the gym. Everyone is there to focus on their own workout and won't be paying you any attention at all unless you're disruptive. Something to keep in mind!
Gym memberships may seem pricey but you need to compare what you're paying for versus what you're paying to workout at home. And working out at home isn't free.
If you join a gym, you get access to all their equipment, locker rooms, trainers and any extra facilities they offer like spa and steam rooms, pools or running tracks. These are great resources for you to use. Deciding if its worth the money is deciding how and what you'll take advantage of.
Working out at home comes at a cost as well. First, you need to buy your own equipment
. While some may seem inexpensive like yoga mats
or stepping blocks, weights can get pricey very fast, especially as you grow into heavier sets. You also have to decide what machines you want which can put you past a yearly membership fee very quickly.
Instructional videos or subscription class videos are also a budget factor though they can range from a few dollars a month to $100 set of DVDs. You can find free instructional videos online but you'll need to judge the quality yourself.
Your experience level
can impact your decision about where to workout. If you want to build muscle, starting with the gym weights is a good idea until you invest in your own set at home. The gym is also full of people able to spot you, a potential risk when you lift at home.
The everyday house doesn't have access to gym workers and personal trainers either. Every gym is different but learning how to use each machine, lift correctly or stretch effectively is a valuable resource for anyone just beginning their fitness goals. Taped classes can't offer instant, personal feedback about form or motivation like a real gym class can.
Keep these common myths
in mind when you plan your workout. Lifting weights or cardio might not have the effect on your body you've been lead to believe.
Time, Space and Access
Each location, be it the professional gym or your home, has it's own limitations. If you know what those are and what you need, you can cut down the list to easy comparisons.
While a few gyms may be open all the time, many hours of operations limit your workout time. There's also holidays or weather concerns (like snowstorms) that may keep the building closed. Your home doesn't have any of these limitations. You'll need to decide if working out at 3 am is crucial option. Hey, it's less crowded at the gym at that time.
Space, however, could be an issue for home workouts. Whether you have a full room dedicated to your equipment or are converting another area of the house, it can be hard to fit a full track inside a common residential area. Not everyone is able to run outside, especially during cold weather.
Also, some workout routines require a large space for lunges, walking and other active movements that could get dicey if you're in your family room. Many gyms use specialty rooms for classes and personal stretching and are able to give you all the space you need. Again, this means knowing what kind of workout you want and finding the right space for you.
Distraction, Focus and Motivation
These will be different for each person at each space so let's dive in.
Some people benefit from the social side of the gym. Seeing everyone working out motivates them to do their own workout
, to push harder and get better. Just being at the gym can be inspiring and allows you to focus on everything you do.
However, you could also get distracted by all the people, all the equipment, the music and, if it's crowded, you may grow frustrated waiting to get your workout in.
At home, it's a similar situation for the opposite reasons. You can pick your own videos or workout routine without people interfering and you get to play whatever music that gets you the most pumped up to start. Being alone allows you to focus on yourself and not what everyone else is doing.
There are a lot of distractions at home too. If you don't live alone, others can impede on your workout time, especially if it takes up shared space. Finding the right workout video can lead you down an internet wormhole that's hard to escape. And being motivated can be hard day after day when it's so easy to stop and visit the kitchen instead of finishing a set.
You need to be honest with yourself. Visualize yourself in each setting and see how you feel. Here are some questions to ask:
What kind of workout do I want? What am I trying to accomplish?How do I feel about others seeing me work out?What would keep me from working out?What am I motivated by?What am I distracted by?What do I need to workout?
These will help you recognize what points to focus on when choosing the right location to better suit your needs. If you need a quick recap, I've made a handy table to outline it:
Home Vs Gym Workouts
|Must buy equipment||Membership fee|
|Free or cheaper workout videos and your own music||Amenities like running track, steam rooms and pools|
|No spotters or trainers on hand||Limited hours of operation|
|Personalized space and equipment||More space, equipment and instruction|
So, are you a gym person or do you prefer working out at home? Tell us on our Facebook
pages and let us know if I missed anything. We have a huge selection of equipment
to help you build up your home gym with or great workout apparel
to keep you looking great and performing well at the gym. Check back soon for more health tips on how to stay and live healthy.