As a personal trainer, I’ve worked with clients both in bustling gyms and in the comfort of their own homes. Each environment offers its own unique set of advantages as well as challenges.
So which is better for you when it comes to a gym vs home workout? Well, it depends.
On one hand, gym workouts can provide access to a wide range of equipment, motivating classes, and a supportive community of fitness enthusiasts.
On the other hand, home workouts give you the flexibility to train on your terms, in a comfortable environment, and with minimal equipment saving you time and money.
It’s not a question of one being superior to the other – both gym and home workouts can lead you on the path towards your fitness goals.
The key is recognizing the pros and cons of each to determine which fits best with your lifestyle, personality, and fitness objectives.
So let’s dive into the specific pros and cons of both gym and home workouts as well as how to choose which is best for you and your fitness goals.
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Pros and Cons of Gym Workouts
|Pros of Gym Workouts||Cons of Gym Workouts|
|Access to a wide range of equipment||Time consuming and requires travel|
|Variety of motivating classes taught by certified instructors||Crowded, difficult to get desired equipment or attention|
|Opportunity to connect with a supportive community||Costly, requires ongoing membership|
|Access to professional trainers for personalized guidance||Difficulty in working out while traveling|
|Amenities like pool, sauna, steam room, hot tub, etc.||Lack of scenic variety, limited to gym environment|
|Better focus due to fewer distractions||Inconvenient and hassle during a busy schedule|
|Helps avoid cabin fever by getting you out of the house||Invasion of personal space by others|
|Germs from other gym-goers can be a concern|
Pros of gym workouts:
- Access to a wide range of equipment, such as free weights, weight machines, and cardio equipment.
- Variety of motivating classes taught by certified instructors.
- Opportunity to connect with a supportive community of fitness enthusiasts.
- Access to professional trainers who can provide personalized guidance and support.
- Amenities such as a pool, sauna, steam room, hot tub, etc.
- Better focus as there are fewer distractions.
- Helps to avoid cabin fever by getting you out of the house.
Cons of gym workouts:
- Time consuming and requires travel to and from a gym.
- Can be crowded, making it difficult to get the desired equipment or attention you need.
- Costly, as it requires an ongoing membership.
- Makes working out while traveling a little harder.
- Lack of scenic variety as you can’t take the equipment outside or see a different view outside of the gym.
- Can be inconvenient and a hassle to get to and from the gym during your busy schedule.
- Other people may enter your personal bubble.
- Germs present from the other people who have worked out in the gym recently.
Pros and Cons of Home Workouts
|Pros of Home Workouts||Cons of Home Workouts|
|Convenient and flexible||Limited equipment available|
|Cost-effective||Larger upfront fee for desired equipment|
|Portable for frequent travelers||Less motivating without gym atmosphere|
|Time-saving||Need for self-guidance in form and equipment choice|
|Avoids social anxiety in crowded areas||Space constraints|
|No need to dress up or deal with weather||Less incentive without monthly membership|
|Environment control (temperature, décor, etc.)||Potential for excuses and lack of stimulation|
|Fits around tight schedules||Distractions from family, kids, etc.|
|Encourages regular exercise due to easy access|
|Access to healthy food post-workout|
Pros of Home Workouts
- Convenient and flexible as you can work out in the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule.
- Cost effective as you don’t need to pay for a gym membership or buy expensive equipment, but instead get to get your own budget for the equipment you want.
- Easy to take with you if you travel frequently as there are many minimal and portable equipment options available.
- Saves you time by not having to travel to and from the gym.
- Avoid social anxiety if you don’t like being in a crowded area.
- Avoid needing to dress up to go out in public (or weather preventing you from just getting in your car to begin with).
- Control over your environment including temperature, décor, music, germs, scent, cleaning products, space, location, etc.
- Ability to work around your (and your family’s) tight schedule resulting in less stress in making your fitness routine work for you.
- Creativity for you to choose your program and desired equipment.
- Because it’s at your home and excuses are lowered, it’s easier to workout more regularly (as you get multiple daily reminders as you walk by the area) which means you’re more likely to feel better more often.
- You’re closer to your kitchen so you can easily grab healthy food off your meal plan after your workout and not be tempted to stop and grab junk on the way home.
Cons of Home Workouts
- Limited equipment available, depending on your budget and room size, so you may not have access to the variety of machines and weights found in a gym.
- Depending on the desired equipment chosen, there may be a larger upfront fee.
- For some, it can be less motivating without the gym atmosphere.
- Have minimal guidance so you’ll need to rely on research or professional advice to ensure you’re using proper form while exercising and that your chosen equipment is best for you and your goals.
- Space constraints as you’re limited to the space you can find in and around your home.
- May have less incentive to workout as there’s no monthly membership to push you.
- Excuses may arise as you need to make sure the area and your chosen equipment is stimulating enough to keep you interested and moving towards your goals.
- Distractions may come up more easily from family, kids, to-do lists, etc.
Getting Started: your gym vs home workout plan
In order to decide if the gym or home workout is right for you, the first thing you need to do is answer a few questions. These questions are meant to help you reflect on what type of environment you’ll be most successful in and how much time and money you’re able to commit.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- What’s your budget?
- How much time do you have to dedicate to working out?
- Do you prefer a structured, class environment or the flexibility of training on your own terms?
- Are there amenities that are important for you when it comes to working out (i.e. saunas, steam room, pool, etc.)?
- What type of equipment do you need to reach your fitness goals?
- What equipment do you want to use in your home or at the gym?
- What type of training do you enjoy?
- What type of training do you know well?
- How often do you like or want to work out?
- Are you someone who thrives in the gym environment or do you prefer to exercise in private?
- What type of space do you have at home? Can you make space for a gym? Garages, extra rooms or guest rooms, a portion of your living room, outdoor patios are all common areas.
- What workout plan do you have and want to follow?
Once you have identified your budget, schedule, and preferences and you know which method is best for you – a home workout vs gym workout – it’s time to start planning your workouts!
Gym Workout Examples
If you decide to head to the gym for your workout, there are several options available.
Machines such as treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and rowing machines are all good options for those who prefer to get their cardio at the gym.
For strength training, you can use a combination of free weights, squat rack, or weight machines depending on your preferences and fitness goals.
Group classes also offer an exciting way to stay motivated and challenge your body. Group classes give you the opportunity to train with certified instructors and like-minded fitness enthusiasts, while also receiving support from a community of workout buddies.
Sample Gym Strength Training Workout Using Machines
Here’s a sample gym strength training workout you can do using the machines available at most fitness centers:
- Leg Press Machine – Warm up with a lighter weight for 12-15 reps, then perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a challenging weight.
- Chest Press Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a weight that allows you to perform the movements with proper form.
- Lat Pulldown Machine – Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a challenging weight, focusing on engaging your back muscles.
- Seated Row Machine – Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Ensure you’re pulling with your back muscles, not just your arms.
- Shoulder Press Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a weight that allows for controlled movements.
- Leg Curl Machine – Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps, focusing on squeezing your hamstrings at the top of the movement.
- Leg Extension Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps, engaging your quadriceps throughout the movement.
- Seated Calf Raise Machine – Finish your workout with 3 sets of 15 reps, focusing on slow, controlled movements to target your calf muscles.
Remember to adjust the machines for your size and comfort. Rest for 60-90 seconds between sets and remember to stay hydrated. Be sure to complete a warm up and cool down around your workout as well to lower the risk of injury.
Sample Gym Cardio Workout Using A Rowing Machine
Here’s a sample gym cardio workout you can do on a rowing machine:
- Warm-Up – Row at a moderate pace for 5 minutes to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for the workout ahead.
- Interval Rowing – Increase your rowing speed to a high-intensity level for 1 minute. This should feel challenging, but not impossible.
- Active Recovery – Slow down your rowing speed to a low-intensity level for 2 minutes. This is your recovery period, but you should still be moving.
- Repeat Intervals – Repeat the interval rowing and active recovery stages for a total of 20 minutes. You should complete 10 high-intensity intervals and 10 low-intensity recovery periods.
- Cool Down – Slowly decrease your rowing speed over a period of 5 minutes to bring your heart rate back down to a normal level.
- Stretch – After your workout, take a few minutes to stretch your muscles. Focus on your back, arms, and legs as these are the primary muscles used during rowing.
Remember to maintain a good posture throughout your workout – straight back, core engaged, and push with your legs before pulling with your arms. Monitor your pace and energy levels, and adjust the workout intensity as needed.
With this rowing machine workout, you can effectively build cardiovascular fitness while also working on total body strength!
Home Workout Examples
If you decide exercising at home works better for you, there are plenty of home workout options available.
For strength training, investing in one or two pieces of equipment (i.e. kettlebells, an Empack, resistance bands, suspension trainer, stability ball) can provide a full body workout without the need for a full gym setup. You can also grab a yoga mat for additional support.
For cardio, you can gather a few pieces of equipment such as a jump rope, plyo box, or a cardio machine (rower, treadmill, stationary bike, etc.). The beauty of working out at home vs gym is that you can bring much of your equipment with you when traveling, so you never have to miss a workout.
Sample Home Strength Training Workout Using Kettlebells
For an effective full-body home workout using only kettlebells, you need to include exercises that target various muscle groups. Here’s an example:
- Kettlebell Swing – Stand with feet working hip-width apart, grip the kettlebell handle with both hands, and swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Propel your hips forward, straighten your legs, and swing the kettlebell up to chest height. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Goblet Squat – Hold the kettlebell by its horns close to your chest. Lower your body down, keeping your heels on the ground, and push yourself back up to a standing position. Repeat for 10-15 reps.
- Kettlebell Push Press – Hold a kettlebell in each hand at shoulder level, then bend your knees slightly and explosively straighten them while pressing the kettlebells overhead. Lower the kettlebells back to shoulder level and repeat for 10-12 reps.
- Kettlebell Deadlift – With the kettlebell between your feet, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower your body and grasp the kettlebell. Stand back up, keeping your back straight and the kettlebell close to your body. Repeat for 10-12 reps.
- Russian Twist – Sit on the floor with your legs bent, pull your abs to your spine, and lean back a few inches while keeping your back straight. Hold the kettlebell with both hands at your chest, and then lean back and twist your torso to the right, then to the left to complete one rep.
Perform these exercises in sequence with little to no rest in between. After completing one round, rest for a minute or two, then repeat for another 2-3 rounds. Remember, proper form along with a warm up and cool down are essential to ensure effectiveness and prevent injury.
Sample Home Cardio Workout Using A Jump Rope
Jump ropes are a versatile and travel-friendly piece of equipment that can deliver a high-intensity cardio workout. Here’s an example of a jump rope workout you can easily do at home:
- Basic Jump – Start with the jump rope behind you, then swing it over your head and jump over it, landing softly on the balls of your feet. Keep your jump low to the ground and your knees slightly bent. Do this for 60 seconds.
- Rest – Take a 30-second break to catch your breath.
- Jump Rope Running – Same as the Basic Jump, but this time, alternate your feet as if you are running in place. This adds a bit more intensity to the workout. Do this for 60 seconds.
- Rest – Take another 30-second break.
- Jump Rope High Knees – As you jump over the rope, bring your knees up towards your chest as high as you can. This really gets your heart rate up and challenges your lower body. Do this for 60 seconds.
- Rest – Take another 30-second break.
- Jump Rope Side to Side Jump – Instead of jumping up and down, jump from side to side while swinging the rope. This way, you’re targeting different muscles and improving your agility. Do this for 60 seconds.
- Rest – Final 30-second break.
Repeat this circuit for 3-5 rounds depending on your available time and fitness level. Remember to warm up before the workout and cool down after. This simple yet effective workout will get your heart pumping and calories burning in no time!
Conclusion: working out at home vs the gym
Whether you choose to workout at the gym or workout at home (or both!), there are many benefits and the choice is yours. With the right approach and determination, you’ll be able to reach your goals and stay healthy!
And no matter which type of training you choose, it’s important to stay focused and motivated in order for the results to show. Set goals and keep track of your progress so that you can see your improvement over time.
Whether you’re aiming for muscle growth, weight loss, cardiovascular health, or something else, with the right attitude and dedication, you CAN reach your fitness goals!
Remember, living a healthy life is about feeling great and having the energy to do whatever you love. So find what works best for you and stick with it – whether that’s at home or in the gym.
Consistency is key – make a plan, keep track of your progress, and don’t forget to have fun! You got this 😉
Read More on All-Things Fitness Anywhere Tips:
- How to Workout on Vacation and Stay Active While Traveling
- I Love to Workout and Here Are 15 Reasons Why I’m Not Alone
- Gym vs Home Workout: Which is Best for Your Fitness Goals
- Does a Home Workout Work for Health and Fitness Goals?
- Can You Do Bodyweight Exercises Everyday? Truth and Benefits
- Where Do You Workout? Top 15 Places to Make Your Personal Gym
- Freebie: 5 Day Sexy ‘n Strong Wellness Challenge