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The new year is here, and literally everyone wants to get in shape. From losing weight to mastering multiple pull ups, we guarantee that 99% of the population has a gym inspired resolution on their list. Don’t believe us—just head into your local gym this month. It will be packed.
Since we spend the bulk of our lives thinking about healthier ways to live, we started debating the merits of professional gyms and having one in your own home. There’s definitely no right or wrong answer, but we thought we’d talk about some of the advantages and disadvantages of both here. No matter what you decide to do this year, make sure you get off the couch and do it. No matter where you get your heart rate up and use your muscles, it doesn’t really matter.
Ok let’s dig in.
THE HOME GYM
So you’ve decided to work out at home. Congratulations.
Let’s be clear here. There’s a spectrum of capabilities at play when we talk about a home gym. You might just have a pull up bar and ab mat, which is totally cool. Or you could have an entire garage gym complete with a squat rack, rowing machine, and ice bath that’s the envy of your entire neighborhood.
The advantages of having a home gym are many. First off, you don’t have to get into the car and drive anywhere when you want to work out. This is huge. And for many people who want to get into the whole gym thing, having to commute is a deal breaker—especially in the winter.
If you’re a regular gym rat, you know how frustrating it is to wait for equipment. There’s nothing worse than getting your heart rate up, landing on that perfect Skrillex track, and then having to sit there while someone finishes up a set of curls. When you opt for a home gym, you needn’t worry about any of the above.
When your home is your gym, you can let it all hang out. Want to work out in your underwear? No problem. Go ahead and scream at the top of your lungs or dance like nobody’s watching. Your dog will not judge you, we promise.
Your home gym is also open 24/7, which is amazing if you like to work out at weird hours or during the times of day when your local gym is most likely packed (early mornings or just after rush hour).
But alas, working out at home does come with some disadvantages.
First off, unless you’re planning on spending a small fortune, your equipment is going to be on the limited side. You don’t need a whole lot of equipment to work out, in our humble opinion. But there are those who prefer choice and variety. And if that’s your thing, a professional gym is going to give you a lot more options.
Space is also going to factor in here. Sometimes home gyms might confine you to your living room. If you’re working out in the garage, you’re going to have to park your car elsewhere.
But the biggest hurdles to setting up a home gym are probably motivation and distraction. One big advantage of choosing a professional gym is that you can separate yourself from kids, spouse, pets, and workout for an hour and focus on yourself. Home gyms don’t come with that luxury. They also don’t come with a community of like-minded people who can push you and challenge you during your workouts.
THE PROFESSIONAL GYM
So you’ve decided to pony up for a gym membership. Congratulations.
The biggest advantage you’ll probably experience with a home gym is all the ample equipment and amenities. Want to shower before work? Sure. Need 500 stationary bikes? No problem. Professional gyms have trainers, towels, and even smoothie bars. You’ll never lack for variety or space here.
Another big advantage of a professional gym is childcare. Let’s be honest, working out at home with kids is a less-than-optimal experience unless you’re involved in a new age workout where having 24-pound miniature human beings crawl all over you during lunges or push-ups is recommended.
Professional gyms come with the variety of workout equipment and space you’ll need to vary your workouts. They are amazing for High Intensity Interval Training and other programs that keep your heart rate and muscles going through a variety of different exercises.
And when we talk about professional gyms, we’re not just referring to your local mega gym. From Crossfit to Barre Method, professional gyms can be highly specialized depending on the type of exercise you’re looking for. These gyms come with a massive advantage: a support community and coaches who constantly motivate and challenge you. This could make a world of difference to people who want to get in shape while lacking the motivation to push themselves on a daily basis (i.e. the majority of the world).
But if you’re thinking about going the professional gym route, be aware that there are some drawbacks.
Depending on the gym, this option might cost a pretty penny. The better the gym, the more money it will cost. We recommend starting out with a cheaper, more convenient option. Get in the routine first. If you find yourself wanting more out of your gym, go ahead and upgrade.
Professional gyms can also get crowded. There will be times when you have to wait for equipment, stand in line for a shower, or even a parking space. You’ll also have to actually get in the car and drive to the gym, which is a huge barrier for a lot of people.
SO WHICH SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
Great question. This will ultimately depend from person to person. Instead of making a decision blindly, make a list of the most important things for you. Are you independently motivated? Is there even a professional gym close to you? Do you like working out around other people or are you an introvert by nature.
Ultimately, determining what will drive your daily workouts is the key. Instead of basing a decision solely on money, pick an option that you know you will use. After all, your health depends on it.