Which is better? Working Out in a Gym or at Home?
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Which is better? Working Out in a Gym or at Home?

I've often been asked whether it is more advantageous to work out in a gym or at home by readers and gym members alike. You would think this was a simple-to-answer question, but it's not. It's not because there are several factors involved with how well --  or not so well-- each one would work for an individual. 

For some people, working out at home would seem ideal. After all, it costs a lot less, it's convenient, and should be simple. However, some of my clients found it to be more of a hassle. Here are the cons to working out at home:

  • It takes space, like a basement or some out of the way place in the home. These are normally dark, dreary, and out of the way for a reason. These spaces are very un-motivating to most people.
  • There are too many distractions. The phone always rings when you are at peak cardio on your elliptical. The kids always want something while you are working out to your favorite exercise video. The issues are never short and sweet when you are working out.
  • Home is a place of refuge, to relax. After a long day at work, people have told me they have to come straight to the gym or they won't work out. Well, guess what. It's the same problem for working out at home. That easy chair is much more inviting than those weights staring back at you.
  • Exercise equipment is attractive to the kids and pets to play and as a coat rack. Face it, Fido thinks it's great to jump up on the treadmill to run with you. The kitty likes to lay on your exercise mat to take her bath and leave her fur. The kids think it's great to play on your multi-function weight machine. The dust bunnies love your stuff, too. An it's so tempting to hang coats and other things from the handles because, face it, it's really in the way.

If you are going to work out at home, the space needs to be set aside soley for exercise or your equipment needs to be able to be packed away when you are finished. That many mean moving the coffee table out of the way. Children do best if they are occupied with a nap or something they enjoy doing while you get your workout. You need to be available to them if they need you. Put your phone on vibrate and stake out your time. Set appointments around your workout. Exercise equipment is off-limits for play and needs treated with a healthy respect.

You would think this is the ideal spot, then, to exercise. But not for some individuals. Some people have dropped their memberships in favor of home for several reasons.
  • It's an added cost, even if work reimburses you for using your membership for X-number of times. Gym fees have dropped to more affordable dollars, but if your budget is tight, this might not be right for you. Work will pay you back for your membership, but you have to put that money out to get it back at the end of the year.
  • Classes may not be at convenient times when you can be there. If your work hours make day time the best time, this can present a challenge. The Dancing Grannies and Twinges in the Hinges classes may not have enough zip for you. If you want to get through the fitness center quickly, good old George may make that difficult by wanting to shoot the breeze with you, or resting on the last piece of equipment you need -- and you don't want to be rude.
  • Special needs individuals swarm the fitness center when you can be there. YMCAs and Recreation Centers receive grants for children, the elderly, and the handicapped, which means getting your work done may take a tremendous amount of patience. Yes, the MRDD Workshop group needs to be able to work out, too.Ten mentally challenged adults can easily wipe out the entire gym. If this is going to make your workouts difficult, then it may be better to get your membership at the 24 hour place that takes a swipe card to get in. 
  • People are territorial with stuff that's no more theirs than yours. While you are in your zone, you begin to see towels, sweatshirts, and water bottles adorn the weight stacks like a concert stadium with seats being unofficially reserved. Well, those spaces have been reserved by someone who will rip your head off if you move their stuff on THEIR equipment. To some people, membership means ownership for them.
  • Gyms are germ incubators, meat markets, and other unsavory things. Someone sneezes into their hand then puts that hand on the weight you wanted to use next. Hand sanitizer, anyone? How about that guy who keeps scoping you out and lead-following you around? Creeper! What is in the water of the pool or whirlpool? Do you really want to know? It would freak you out if you could observe what goes on in any given day at the health club.
  • If the gym is at work, your co-workers see more of you than what is reasonable. You see each other sweat, stretch, and change. Then you need to take each other seriously in the next board meeting. Need I say more?
The gym can be an ideal place to work out for some individuals. it is best to wear modest workout clothing, take hand sanitizer with you, and find the best time of the day for you. A heaping dose of tact, patience, and persistence goes a long way with differing personalities in the gym. You are there for the exercise, bottom line.

Personally, I do both. I find I get a better workout at the gym, not because of the equipment availability, but the environment. It is a place to exercise, not work.  I usually tell people if the gym is the space, keep something on hand at home that is portable. You can do this when you absolutely can't get to the gym. If home is your go-to space, find a gym who will let you pay as you go or has low rates during the times you can use them. There always needs to be a Plan B. Our gym membership is affordable, but the gym is half and hour away. I usually go there 2 days a week and work out at home or outside the rest of the week. I also have DVDs, or I make up my work out plan as I go (the benefits of being an exercise instructor!). My equipment is portable, except for an elliptical and Cycle-ops bike trainer.

There are pros and cons to any workout setting. The trick is to find out what will work best for you. Self-driven people can usually work out anywhere. Externally driven people needs a gym environment to motivate them. Extroverts needs classes because of the social atmosphere, Hopefully, this info helps you make your decision. You will find your main workout place, but have a back up plan in place.

Share your thoughts in the comments below or email me at totallyfit63@gmail.com.
We love to hear from you.

May God bless you!

#exercise #weightloss #fitness

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