So, you're at a crossroads... One of the most popular debates among those that want to live a healthier life is whether the should invest in a home gym or a gym membership. The home gym has the distinct advantage of convenience, the gym membership provides added motivation and an immense resource of equipment that you wouldn't normally be able to afford.
It's certainly a tough decision as both options are great. Well, let's start by getting the obvious stuff out of the way. The bottom line is that neither decision is wrong, it's just about which will work best for your goals and personality type. Both the home gym and the commercial gym thrive because they both work.
Investment - The home gym requires the larger upfront investment since you've got to get started with at least a few tools. But when compared to a monthly investment in a commercial gym membership, that initial budget for outfitting your home can quickly get overrun by recurring monthly dues. One additional point here is that in order to keep gains and interest at home, you'll either have to keep things mixed up with current equipment or add pieces from time to time. The more you invest, the more variety you'll have but you may find yourself spending enough for more than a few years of gym membership.
Convenience - According to IRHSA's [International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association] data ranging from 2005-2012, there are around 30,000 gyms around the US. With those kind of numbers, you've probably got two or more fitness facilities at a 10 minute drive from your home. Walking down the stairs to your basement or garage gym will always trump getting in the car no matter how close the commercial gym is, especially in foul weather. Convenience can be a stumbling block though for those without proper motivation as it's easy to put off training until later since it's just a few steps away.
Programming - One of the most important aspects of your fitness training is knowing what to do to reach your goals. Without proper guidance here, all the hours you devote to your fitness could lead you to over training, injury or lack of progress. The commercial gym has trained coaches and personal trainers that have worked with hundreds of clients and have the know how to keep you on the right track to pursuing your goals. That's not to be set aside lightly. Working at home without a plan will drain you of success and motivation. You'll need a guide and one that's well trained and goads motivating you the right way. At home fitness has seen a tremendous rise in popularity and results through many at-home training DVDs [such as P90X] that deliver fantastic results with minimal tools. And there are more than a few programs out there for different goals and levels of fitness.
Motivation - Critical to success is the motivation to be consistent in training and to push beyond your current limits. For some, the commercial gym class-type setting provides the extra push to keep them working hard and to keep showing up. Other members and coaches are great motivators that can give your goals a distinct advantage. Some, in the absence of a personal trainer use a gym timer to keep them motivated to push on. Repeating workouts on a rotation while recording previous times and weights used can be a great motivator to improve your next attempt. And when you see the results of a faster time or higher weight used, it spurs you on.
We believe that any gym, be it a commercial facility or a home gym, can be a great place to train provided that it has all the above. When properly motivated with the correct programming and high quality fitness equipment, you'll see the results you are after.