I have had several gym memberships throughout the years, but I have also worked out at home even while I had the gym memberships. You would think that now that I am in my 50s, I would have this dilemma clear –I don’t. I am still wondering, is it better to invest in home gym equipment or join a gym?
We moved to Delaware from California a couple of years ago and initially lived in a rental house while building our forever home. We designated a room as a home gym, but it is still pretty empty, as you can see in the picture, but I do work out in this room and have not joined any gyms yet.
I have the time now, and I think it is the right moment to lay out each option’s pros and cons and make the wisest decision.
Let’s do this!
Pros of Investing in Home Gym Equipment
Before getting started, it helps to picture yourself in each scenario and get an idea of possible benefits and obstacles that you’re likely to face with each one.
As for home gyms, here’s what you can expect if you decide to invest in home gym equipment.
Having your own gym in the garage, basement, or spare room means you can control the type of gym equipment you want.
Assuming you have enough money, you can choose quality equipment, including virtual trainers, to boost your fitness level. With patience, you can design the type of exercises you need and want to do.
You may be into cardio, strength training, cross-training, boxing, or perhaps pilates.
By personalizing your gym, you will be more likely to be motivated to work out every day.
No Waiting for the Equipment
If you have ever belonged to a gym, you know the struggle. You go to the gym ready to bench press 100 lbs (I’m a beginner), but you didn’t plan it well, and five people are waiting for the machine.
Oh well! Maybe I’ll do pushups today.
On good days, more than half of the time goes on planning to avoid the long lines for the equipment. And worse, the most popular machines are never available.
If you have $300 a month or more to spare, maybe you can join a VIP gym where there is no waiting. I don’t have that much money.
With a home gym, all you have to do is get in, workout, and before you know it, you’re done with the training without mentally exhausting yourself.
It also means you can concentrate on your exercises instead of focusing on sweaty people.
Cheaper in the Long Run
Investing in home gyms may seem like a lot of money. If you add flooring, equipment, and perhaps mirrors, you may need to initially spend at least $2,000 to set up the entire home gym.
However, in most cases, you can cover this cost within 3 years, and your gym is likely to last for a lifetime.
For a gym membership, an average American pays $58 per month一making it about $700 a year. Bear in mind that this is just the initial. You also have to consider admission fees, personal trainers, and other hidden costs that can certainly drain your bank account before you know it.
Cons of Investing in Home Gym Equipment
Requires Enough Space
Before you invest in home gym equipment, you need to have sufficient space to accommodate the equipment and perform the exercises.
In general there are going to be compromises. If you want a home gym in the garage, you may have to park your car on the street. If you have an extra room, you may have to give up on your dream library.
It Takes Time to Set Up
Once you decide where you are going to set up your gym, you may have to clear the space you choose, garage, basement, or extra room.
You need to research the equipment, order, wait for it to arrive, and eventually setting everything up.
That said, this process is not taking any less than one month, and if you’ve already ditched the gym membership, this means you also don’t get to work out for more than a month.
Lack of Motivation
Probably the worst part about a home gym is that you don’t get motivation from the gym enthusiasts around you.
It can be relatively easy to come up with excuses and not dedicate a specific time for yourself.
Now, considering all the factors mentioned, invest in home gym equipment only when:
- The Gym is too far from your house
- Privacy is important to you when you are exercising
- You have enough savings to invest a large sum of money at once in the gym equipment
- Working out in front of people is not your cup of tea
- There is enough space to build a full-fledged gym somewhere in your home
Pros of Joining Gym
Now that you’re clear about the home gym pros and cons, it’s time to look at the other side of the coin.
The biggest reason why many people prefer to opt for a gym is because of the motivation factor. There’s something very inspiring in seeing people who are as enthusiastic as you push themselves off-limits to achieve their goals.
This also amplifies when you challenge yourself against the rest of the gym members. This gives a high burst of energy to stay active throughout the workout and helps you stay consistent with your fitness goals.
Engaging in the Fitness Community
If you join a gym, you get to be a part of a community of like-minded people that are also thriving to do the same. By seeing their struggles and achievements, you also gain a sense of confidence and assurance that you can again do the same.
This community can also go beyond gym sessions, and you can make group chats with all the fitness tips, healthy diet recipes and uplift each other to set up goals and tick them off as you all achieve them.
By having gym buddies, you reduce the risk of procrastination after a long day at work.
Fewer Distractions and Full Accountability
At home, you can always find excuses to sit back and indulge in your favorite Netflix series. Be it children, cooking, or perhaps office work; distractions can inevitably get in your way of reaching your monthly or yearly fitness goals.
Gym, on the other hand, is the time you devote to hustling and growing. This can also help you take time for yourself and only focus on yourself.
Not your kids, not your work一just you.
Cons of Joining Gym
We all have been there: sweaty bench presses, waiting for someone to get off the equipment which isn’t even exercising, and waiting in a long line for popular equipment.
All of these things can weekly add up a solid 30 minutes of gym time, which can be frustrating, especially if you’re in a hurry.
It is not surprising that with enhanced challenges and what you perceive as “judgmental eyes,” it can be quite mentally tiring and can make you self-conscious while working out. As a result, you don’t focus on your workout, which eventually reduces your performance quality.
Therefore, join the Gym when:
- You need expert help
- You prefer to go out there and connect with like-minded people
- Can’t afford to buy the gym equipment for now
- You get motivated with high energy and a no-distraction environment
- You find it hard to stay committed to your fitness goals when you are alone
All in all, considering everything we have gone over so far, investing in home gym equipment is surely a good choice if you’re keeping the cost factor in mind. However, if affordability is not your concern and you struggle to stay committed to the workout, then joining a gym has the potential to help you do that before you know it一the choice is yours.