There are advantages and disadvantages to buying your own home gym versus paying for a gym membership and each person’s situation is different. So to help make up your mind I spent time trying to find every reason for and against.
First here 5 reasons to buy a gym membership and 10 reasons to buy your own gym.
Advantages of a Gym Membership
While power racks usually come with safety bars which prevent a barbell from dropping on you, you can still do yourself a lot of harm while working out. This is why it can be safer to have others around you should you face a life-threatening situation.
If you do buy your own gym, I highly recommend the most essential pieces of equipment – a power rack. Power racks come with pins or safety bars that when positioned at a set height, catch the barbell should you drop or lose control of the weight. This can prevent the weight from falling on your neck.
There’s usually a large variation of fixed dumbbells at professional gyms ranging anywhere from 5-120lbs or more in small increments.
The advantage of a dumbbell set is that you don’t have to spend time changing weights. Also small increment differences mean you can always find the weight that’s right for you. The disadvantage of a dumbbell set is that they can be quite expensive.
Since buying dumbbell sets can be expensive and set you back over a thousand dollars — a gym membership, at least over the short term can give you more options for a lower price.
Seeing others like yourself more ripped and lifting heavier weights can inspire you to become more like them and push yourself to the max. Also sometimes others at the gym are willing to offer you support and advice – pushing you to complete your set. This can provide needed positive motivation.
Some gyms give you much more than just an induction. They’ll provide one to one sessions with a personal trainer to help you reach your specific goals and give you expert coaching and encouragement along the way.
Having a personal trainer looking over you, making sure you work out correctly can be particularly useful when you’re starting out. It saves you from having to learn through trial and error and means you don’t have to worry that you’re lifting the weights incorrectly. It can provide a much needed advantage when starting out.
Gyms can sometimes come with amenities such as tanning beds, boxing rings, air conditioning, pools, sauna, steam rooms, Jacuzzi and snack bars. However this can also be a distraction when you need to focus on your daily workout.
Advantages of a Home Gym
Long term Cost
According to Stephen Dubner, the authors of Freakonomics, the average gym membership costs between $40 and $50 a month, but when you add the initiation fee, you’re looking at as much as $800 a year.
They also posit in the New York Times that people who buy annual gym memberships often overestimate how much they’ll actually use the facilities by.
So If you’re only using about 60% of the gyms facilities and paying hundreds of dollars a year for membership you should ask yourself whether buying your own equipment will be cheaper in the long run.
No Waiting in line
Gyms can sometimes get busy and overcrowded and you may have to wait in line to use a particular machine. This can be a pain if you have a set routine and need to work on a particular, muscle group. Your own home gym means no waiting and no overcrowding.
It can be demotivating having to drive to a gym, and it just makes it a bit harder to overcome the procrastination when there’s another hurdle to overcome. Having your own home gym means you can walk to your gym first thing in the morning and you don’t have to worry about how you look.
Being in any confined environment means you risk catching something, whether it’s a cold or something worse. With a home gym, there’s no such worries and you don’t have sit in another person’s sweat!
With your own gym, you can play any music you wish, watch any movie you wish, use any equipment the way you want, wear what you want (or don’t want) and not have to worry about what others think. Also you can take as long as you want when using a particular machine and not worry about holding other people up.
Although obvious it’s worth mentioning that there are no membership fees to worry about, which means you can invite whoever you want and not charge them a dime.
Your home gym is always open 24/7 which is great if you lead a busy life. You never have to worry about closing times, whether it be throughout the week, during holidays or for renovations. Having your workout routine broken can be demotivating and put you off track.
Are you weak, flabby and out of shape? It can be embarrassing attending a gym with people much bigger and stronger than yourself while you struggle to lift a 50lb barbell. You don’t want to enter an intimidating environment particularly when you’re starting out. This can make you want to quit before you’ve even got started.
If you’re already a powerlifter and lift heavy weights, it can be distracting having someone impressed by your strength wanting to know how you got so big. With your own gym there’s no such distractions and you won’t have some novice asking you for advice.
Train to Failure
Gyms have rules about how you treat their equipment. For example, not slamming those heavy weights to the floor after a hard set. However, to really build muscle you have to train to failure. It’s the last few reps that really count. If you train to failure, gently putting down those dumbbells may not be an option. Having your own gym means you can slam those weights to the floor and not have to worry about being kicked out.
Whether you choose your own gym or choose a gym membership there’s a number of questions you should ask yourself. Here are the top 7. These include:
- What is the cost of gym membership versus long term cost of a home gym?
- How accessibly is the gym equipment during the busiest times?
- How much time will I spend travelling to the gym?
- Time I plan to workout?
- What range of equipment do I have at my local gym versus my own?
- How much of the gym equipment do you actually use?
- How often will I work out?
If you do choose your own gym here is a list of the essential equipment you need and where to find it.