About six years ago, I decided to start working out again after five years of doing almost nothing at all.
I was 28 years old, and I felt plump and weak which annoyed me. But, I had a hard full-time job, my son was coming, and I was in the middle of building my house. I had no time for going to the gym at all.
But, that poor physical state disturbed me so much that I decided to work out again no matter what.
Should I join a gym or workout at home? I asked myself.
When I was young, I worked out only in the gym, so I was skeptical. Does working out at home really work for me? You know, there are so many machines and guys in the gym who motivate me. It has a unique atmosphere.
In the end, I decided to work out at home due to the independence from time. I can work out without wasting my time with traveling and waiting, and I exercise whenever I want.
I started with bodyweight exercises like push up, squats, etc. to get familiar with the moves again. After a few months, I decided to step forward, and I bought a weight bench, a barbell with plates, and a pair of adjustable dumbbells. And at last, a power rack. Hence, finally, I had everything to have a complete strength training at home.
My home gym became my sanctuary. The place where I can refresh and develop myself both mentally and physically.
Depending on how much time I have, I sometimes train in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon or late evening. Even if it is just a 20-minute session. I just put on my training clothes, and ready to go.
To sum up, working at home works well for me. I do not regret that I chose home training instead of the gym membership.
But what works for me, not for others.
One of my friends followed me, but after a few months, he went back to the local gym. He said, “I need that environment.”
We are different.
Here I want to talk about the pros and cons of working out at home to help you to decide if it is suitable for you.
Related: What are the home gym essentials
Pros and cons of home gym
Benefits of working out at home
- Workout whenever you want. No matter if it is late at night, or early in the morning, or midday, you can train. Your home gym is open 24/7 all days of the year.
- No traveling. You do not have to waste your time with traveling. Just walk a few meters, and you are there.
- Nobody cares what you wear and do. Listen to your favorite music that everybody hates but motivates you. Wear dirty and smelly clothes. Shout or sing. You can do anything you want that may disturb others in the fitness center.
- Everything is dirty only from you. You know, what I hated when I was a gym goer? When I have to lay on a bench that I knew was covered with the sweat of hundreds of others. Same was true for the barbell and dumbbells. (Who knows what they have touched before?) Your equipment, your dirt.
- You are a mirror to your family members. My little son has seen hundreds of times his father pumping iron and doing bodyweight exercises. Now, at the age of 6, he imitates me and asks a lot of questions about working out. (You know, mainly the whys). He can do 5-6 push-ups, many squats and even a chin up. That makes me very happy. I hope the love of working out will be fixed in him.
- Do not have to listen to people yelling, talking about nothing and smart asses. You are alone. Nobody disturbs you so that you can focus on your training. (I’m lying. In the beginning, my wife interrupted me with tiny dribble problems, but with dedication I taught her that my home gym is a place where I should not be disturbed.)
- You do not have to wait for others. In small clubs, where there is not so much equipment, it is not rare that you have to wait for a machine. That is annoying when you want to have an intensive workout. But, for me, that was even more annoying, when I did my exercises, and a guy or more were standing next to me waiting for the equipment asking me “When will you be ready” At home, this does not happen.
- Save money. In the long run considering the gym membership and the fuel, you can save money. Quality home gym equipment is very durable and lasts forever.
Disadvantages of exercising at home
- Maybe you need more types of equipment. Some trainees like using more types of machines and equipment for their workout. At a commercial gym, you can choose from vast variety machines. So, you can make your workouts more versatile if you want. However, in my opinion, the essential free weight training equipment such as a barbell, bench, adjustable dumbbells, etc. are far enough for home strength training. Working out at home without equipment is also possible if you do only bodyweight exercises.
- The cost to build a gym. You can create a gym at home for a few hundred dollars, but if you want a good one you should spend over $2000 on exercise equipment. That is much for most of us. However, there is no need to buy everything at once.
- Lack of space. Even if commercial gyms are packed with a lot of machines, you have space. At home, if you are lucky you can build your home gym in the garage or a room, you do not use, but the area you have is limited. If you have just a small space, buy only the essential equipment that is really important for you.
- No spotter. If you are at the gym, you can always find someone who helps you if you want to challenge yourself or you are in trouble. At home, you must be careful when you lift heavy weights. That is why it is essential to have a squat rack or a power cage at home which provides secure training.
- You have to take care of your home gym. You need to keep clean and tidy your gym. Plus, you have to repair the things if something breaks.
- You may not be able to switch to the right mindset. I’m not among them, but some people need to be in the gym to switch to the “just do it” mode. They need the smell and sounds of the place and people working out around them.
Joining a gym vs working out at home – Which is more optimal for you?
A home gym is a better option for people whose in life every minute counts, but getting fit and healthy is vital for them. They have the opportunity to have a workout if they have some free time, even if it is just a short session. Plus, they are so dedicated that they do not need the “motivation” of commercial gyms. I think working out at home is an excellent choice for fathers and wives.
A local gym might be better for beginners who have to learn the basics. They can see people working out around them and ask the help of a trainer. Also, they see people at better fitness level, so they get motivated. And finally, they do not have such a strict schedule.