There are a lot of advantages and disadvantages of working out at home. Here are a few we thought of here at Fitness 101:
Advantages of working out at home
No gym membership fees
This has to be a big bonus. Depending on where you train gym memberships can be around £20 – £60+ per month which is a lot of money. On top of that you have “joining fees” and 12 month memberships which can hit your wallet pretty hard. Working out from home you can save the money, or invest it in more equipment.
Not having to travel to the gym can save a lot of time. Additionally, you can train anytime you want without having to worry about the opening hours on a Sunday. One of the things I love about working out from home is that as soon as I finish I can have a protein drink and start making dinner. You don’t need to plan your day as much i.e. you can train “in the evening” as opposed to on the way home from work at 6pm, which makes more flexible and easy to work around.
No waiting for equipment
If your gym is small or equipment is limited, you often have to wait for some of the popular pieces. For example, I would regularly have to wait over 20 minutes or so for one of the 2 squat racks to become available if I went during peak times. It’s also nice to know that when the equipment becomes available it’s not going to be all sweaty!
No changing rooms
I’ve not really got a problem with changing rooms, although it’s much better being able to get showered and changed at home. There is also always one person that just struts around in just their flip flops that I could really do without having to see every time I go for a workout. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might be this person…
Good for self conscious people
If you’re new to working out or you feel self conscious, then working out from home is great. You can work at your own level without worrying about everyone else is doing or thinking, and there won’t be any huge intimidating cavemen.
You can choose your own music
If you’re not a fan of the dance music they pump out in most gyms, then being able to choose your own music is a bonus. Of course, there are iPods for this type of thing now but I hate wearing them while working out.
You don’t need to look good
You don’t need to worry about keeping up appearances, wearing makeup, having neatly combed hair or having the latest fashion trends! I wear tatty old trainers and I have worn a t-shirt with a hole in. I also don’t worry about looking like a sweaty raspberry when I’m finished!
Disadvantages of working out at home
Not as much equipment
A big disadvantage is that a home gym is likely to be lacking some equipment. Even if you have a dedicated room or garage for your home gym, the equipment takes up a lot of space. Having the basics such as a set of barbells, dumbbells, a bench and a squat rack with a few 100lbs of plates can set you back quite a lot of money, so there is a high initial investment if you don’t already own some. Ebay can be a good option if you buy second hand plates via local pickup; there are bargains to be had! However once you start getting into more complex or fancy movements that require cables etc you can become a little limited (although I enjoy working out ingenious ways of doing alternative movements). Also, as you get stronger you end up needing a lot of weight. For example, squats can require in excess of 200kg which is a lot of weight.
Space needed in the house
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a designated space for working out, such as a garage or basement. Without a space for equipment, you are going to be limited in what you can do.
No spotter available if training by yourself
I almost always train by myself, and it’s always good to know that you can ask a friendly face or one of the members of staff to spot you on a set if you’re lifting a heavy weight to failure.
Easier to skip sets
When no one is watching it can be easier to skip sets, to cheat, or to just have a really mediocre workout knowing that no one is judging you. You are also more likely to get distracted by family, phone calls and your kids if they want to get hold of you. Escaping to the gym and leaving your phone in the locker is a great way of making sure you can’t be interrupted until you’re finished.
Other supporting facilities
Unless you’re uber rich or posh, chances are that you don’t have facilities such as steam room, sauna, and swimming pool in your home. After a hard weights workout I used to enjoy a quick 15 minute swim and a bit of time in the sauna.
Classes and social aspect
Assuming that you’re not just a guy that wants to go weight training all the time, most gyms have a whole host of free classes included in your membership including aerobics classes, martial arts classes, circuit training, dance, Yoga and much more. As well as being fun and great for health and fitness, there can be a really nice social aspect to these classes too which you won’t get at home.
Keeping it tidy
Although I try to keep my home gym relatively tidy, every time I go in there is always something new in the place I cleared! Normally this is in the form of washing left out to dry, or my son’s bike, or something like a load of boxes that needs taking to the tip! Although not a big issue, it can be a pain.
So there we have it, the Fitness 101 advantages and disadvantages of a home workout. Have we missed anything?