Gym vs Home Workout: Which is Best for Your Fitness Goals

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.

people working out with machines at a gym

Pros and Cons of Gym Workouts

Pros of Gym WorkoutsCons of Gym Workouts
Access to a wide range of equipmentTime consuming and requires travel
Variety of motivating classes taught by certified instructorsCrowded, difficult to get desired equipment or attention
Opportunity to connect with a supportive communityCostly, requires ongoing membership
Access to professional trainers for personalized guidanceDifficulty 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 distractionsInconvenient and hassle during a busy schedule
Helps avoid cabin fever by getting you out of the houseInvasion 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.
woman doing an ab workout in her living room

Pros and Cons of Home Workouts

Pros of Home WorkoutsCons of Home Workouts
Convenient and flexibleLimited equipment available
Cost-effectiveLarger upfront fee for desired equipment
Portable for frequent travelersLess motivating without gym atmosphere
Time-savingNeed for self-guidance in form and equipment choice
Avoids social anxiety in crowded areasSpace constraints
No need to dress up or deal with weatherLess incentive without monthly membership
Environment control (temperature, décor, etc.)Potential for excuses and lack of stimulation
Fits around tight schedulesDistractions 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.
creating your gym vs home workout plan

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.

woman performing a leg press on machine

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Chest Press Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a weight that allows you to perform the movements with proper form.
  3. Lat Pulldown Machine – Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a challenging weight, focusing on engaging your back muscles.
  4. Seated Row Machine – Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Ensure you’re pulling with your back muscles, not just your arms.
  5. Shoulder Press Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with a weight that allows for controlled movements.
  6. Leg Curl Machine – Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps, focusing on squeezing your hamstrings at the top of the movement.
  7. Leg Extension Machine – Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps, engaging your quadriceps throughout the movement.
  8. 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:

  1. Warm-Up – Row at a moderate pace for 5 minutes to increase your heart rate and prepare your body for the workout ahead.
  2. Interval Rowing – Increase your rowing speed to a high-intensity level for 1 minute. This should feel challenging, but not impossible.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Cool Down – Slowly decrease your rowing speed over a period of 5 minutes to bring your heart rate back down to a normal level.
  6. 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!

Joanna performing bentover row with her Empack

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Rest – Take a 30-second break to catch your breath.
  3. 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.
  4. Rest – Take another 30-second break.
  5. 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.
  6. Rest – Take another 30-second break.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!

woman in a mint color jacket stretching her leg off a pier along the ocean

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 😉


Is it better to build a home gym or gym membership?

The choice between building a home gym vs gym membership really comes down to individual preference. It depends on your personal fitness goals, lifestyle, and the environment in which you find yourself most motivated and comfortable to exercise. Ultimately, the best option is the one that will motivate you to maintain a consistent workout routine.

Is it harder to workout at home?

Working out at home can be challenging due to potential distractions and the lack of a motivating environment like a gym. However, with the right mindset, discipline, and a structured workout plan, it is entirely possible to have effective workouts at home and because it’s convenient, it can be easier to stick to a consistent routine.

Should I join a gym or workout at home?

Deciding whether to join a gym or workout at home depends on your personal preferences, fitness goals, and lifestyle. If you thrive on community or need access to specialized equipment, a gym membership could be beneficial. On the other hand, if you value convenience, privacy, and flexibility, working out at home could be a better choice for you.

What are some tips for working out at home?

Some key tips for working out at home include setting a regular schedule, creating a dedicated workout space, investing in basic fitness equipment, and using online resources or fitness apps for guidance. It’s also important to keep your workouts varied to stay motivated and committed to your fitness routine.

Is it better to run or go to the gym?

Choosing between running and going to the gym largely depends on your personal fitness goals. If your aim is to improve cardiovascular health or endurance, running can be an effective choice. However, if you’re looking to build muscle, lose weight, or improve overall physical strength, a varied gym workout could offer better results.

Can home workout replace gym?

Yes, home workouts can indeed replace the gym. With the right equipment and a well-structured exercise plan tailored to your individual needs and goals, you can achieve similar results at home as you would at a traditional gym. It’s all about consistency and making sure that the exercises you do are challenging enough to produce results.

Are commercial gyms better than home workout facilities for beginners?

Whether commercial gyms or home workout facilities are better for beginners greatly depends on the individual. One beginner might find the structure and environment of a commercial gym beneficial, whereas others may prefer the comfort and convenience of working out at home. It’s all about determining what environment motivates you the most to consistently engage in physical activity.

Is working out 4 to 5 times a week too much and will my body get enough rest?

Working out 4 to 5 times a week is generally considered a healthy frequency, provided you are incorporating rest days and not over-exerting yourself throughout each workout. It’s essential to listen to your body and ensure you’re getting adequate rest to allow for recovery and muscle growth.

Is a 40 minute workout enough to build muscle?

Yes, a 40-minute workout is enough to build muscle. It’s not about how long you exercise, but rather the quality of your workout and your consistency. High-intensity strength exercises, focusing on different muscle groups and maintaining a regular workout routine can help you accomplish muscle growth effectively. Consistency, proper nutrition, and adequate rest are also crucial components to muscle development.

Can a home workout without equipment make a huge difference?

Yes, a home workout without equipment can make a significant difference. Bodyweight exercises, which utilize your own body weight as resistance, can be incredibly effective for building strength and endurance, not to mention they can be done anywhere, anytime, without any special equipment. With the right approach, consistency, and dedication, you can achieve great results from home workouts.

Why will home fitness never replace gyms?

Home fitness may never completely replace gyms due to the social interaction, access to a variety of equipment, and professional guidance that gyms provide. While home workouts offer convenience along with many other perks, the ambience and community at a gym can serve as a motivation boost, making it an irreplaceable part of many people’s fitness journey.

Can home workouts help you gain muscle and lose fat?

Yes, home workouts can certainly help you gain muscle and lose fat. A well-structured and consistent exercise regimen that combines both strength training and cardiovascular exercises can effectively facilitate muscle growth and fat loss, even when done at home.

Read More on All-Things Fitness Anywhere Tips:

My Wellness Anywhere Toolkit

  • Rocky Mountain Oils – essential oils for energy, stress-relief, immunity, first aid, natural cleaning, better sleep, pain relief, & more!
  • Femme Royale – the most comfortable fitness outfits & my all-time favorite backpack-turns-weightlifting bag, the Empack, perfect at home & anywhere!
  • Trulean – the best travel packets of clean protein powder & wellness-boosting drink mixes.
  • Suspension Trainer – a fun & portable piece of workout equipment that enables you to workout in your hotel room or outside in nature!
  • Loop Bands & Tube Bands – super lightweight strength-training bands that can be brought anywhere without taking up much space or weight.
  • Pure Wave percussion massager – best percussion massager for releasing trigger points & relaxing muscles, including all the hard-to-reach areas!
  • IntelliRoll foam rollers – favorite foam rollers for daily use that hits all the right spots with their one-of-a-kind design.
  • Thrive Market – amazing online grocer for stocking up on all your healthy & travelable snacks at a discount!
  • Prep Dish – nutritious meal-planning service that saves you stress, time, & energy and guides you on prepping your entire week in just a couple hours.
  • Cook Once, Eat All Week – all-time favorite cookbook that provides 26 weeks of healthy meal plans that can be prepped & cooked in bulk each week.
  • Just Thrive – the best spore probiotic for keeping your gut health in-check no matter where you are in the world.
  • Empower yourself and become your own wellness advocate by joining the next ​​Nutritional Therapy or Health Coach class​​ and use code TWANUTRITION to receive a special bonus gift!
  • Expedia – great place to book your wellness travels & accommodations.
  • Viator – best place for booking experiences that compliment your travels.

Want to learn more simple & sustainable wellness tips? Check out My Resources page where you can grab all my best guides & trainings created just for you!

Pin this for later!

Gym vs Home Workout Pinnable Image