My first home gym was a gift from my fiance that I placed in the room I rented when I was in college.
My home gym had a few items that included an adjustable inclined bench, a short bar barbell with about 150 pounds of weight, and a pair of old-style dumbbells.
Oh, let’s not forget the wrist and forearm roller. I gained 30 pounds of muscle mass with that home gym.
It worked for three reasons.
- A fantastic partner
- Consistent use
My fitness equipment helped, but they were not the reason for my success. Your success does not depend on the equipment; it is an expression of what is inside you.
When you are trying to choose between a home gym and a gym membership, think which one helps you with motivation, a partner, and consistent use.
The external factors we discuss below are secondary. Both home gyms and fitness centers have advantages and disadvantages.
Home Gym vs. Gym Membership A Head to Head Comparison
Limited vs. Comprehensive
A fitness center offers you a more comprehensive range of exercise equipment designed to help you with specific goals.
It is hard to match the variety and the extent of fitness equipment available at your local gym with a home gym.
Accessibility and Distance
I spent part of my life in construction work. I had set up my home gym in the garage.
Many days, I knew that if I passed the garage threshold to my laundry room, I would not return. I just took off my boots, wore my workout shoes, and began my workout.
Nothing could get me to go to the local fitness center only 3 miles away in those days.
After a full day of work, it is sometimes difficult to drive to the gym. Distance is a drawback to the fitness centers, even if the distance is a few miles.
Home gyms are right there in a room or, more likely, in your garage.
Fitness centers offer a social element even if you do not even glance or talk to anyone. Uplifting energy flows through it by so many people doing their best.
Your music, feelings, thoughts, and discipline are your only companions at your home gym.
When nothing seemed to have worked emotionally, accessibility was not the issue; uplifting energy was. On those days, I needed people, and my garage was pretty lonely and cold, even in the middle of the summer.
As I said at the beginning of this article, motivation trumps equipment, and fitness centers are pretty motivating.
It is more likely that you get distracted at home. Your wife, your husband, your children, your cat, your dog and who knows what may decide that it is urgent for you to be anywhere else other than your home gym.
None of these distractions exist in a fitness center.
Personal Space, Personal Equipment
Covid provided a different perspective on sharing equipment and sharing space. With millions of people not vaccinated and unlikely to get vaccinated, staying within your safe personal distance may be necessary.
Your home gym is yours and yours alone.
Many fitness centers offer perks such as personal training, group classes, pool, sauna, etc. Home gyms provide different perks.
My Bengal cat’s greeting during workout lifts my spirit in ways that not Zumba class could.
Initial Cost vs. Long Term Costs
Even the bare minimum home gyms these days are costly. And the price of high-quality home gym equipment is astonishing. Still, over time it is less expensive to own a home gym than it is to maintain a gym membership.
Despite what the manufacturers of space-saving home gyms tell you, it is impossible to fit all you need in a tiny space. Effective home gyms take space that you may not have.
There is no way to consider a treadmill that only works in the sagittal plane, without any upper body and pull action, an effective home gym.