To Gym or Not To Gym (Part 2)

Yesterday, I discussed the advantages of joining a gym.  Continuing on with this article, here are the disadvantages to joining a gym, plus the pros and cons of working out at home.

The Gym – The Disadvantages:

Picture of GymThe obvious disadvantage is that you have to pay to join a gym.  Most gym memberships run from $25 to $50 per month for a single membership.  In my area, I’ve seen gyms offer a monthly fee as low as $10 a month.  That’s pretty darn cheap.  Just be careful to ask specifically what that $10 buys you.  Do you have to pay extra for towels, any kind of class, child care services, etc… ?  Read the fine print.  Then check out other gyms and see what they offer for the price.  However, if you are unemployed or can barely make ends meet, that $10 a month isn’t even a thought.  It’s a no.

Also, you have to drive to get to the gym.  That can take effort.  I specifically found a gym that was on my way home from work.  I had to pass it every day.  I got into the habit of always going to the gym before I went home because once I was home, I was home.  If you work from home some or all the days of the week, you have to make that effort to go there.

A gym can get really busy at certain times of the day.  These times are usually early in the morning before working hours, lunchtime and after work.  If you like to work out during one of these times, you may have to wait to use a certain piece of equipment.  The busier the gym at a certain time, the longer you may have to wait to use it.  Usually people aren’t on a machine long.  However, there are idiots who sit on a machine or bench or something you want to use and chat with a friend.  For a half an hour!  I’ve nicely asked people to leave when they do that, but you shouldn’t have to remind people that they’re hogging the equipment in the first place.

People at a gym can do a lot of things that really bug you.  My biggest pet peeve at the gym is when people leave the weights on equipment when they finish.  There are signs everywhere in my gym saying not to do that, but people still do it.  I hurt my back once pulling 45-pound weights off of a leg press machine.  Not fun.  I’ve also tried to work around a moron who thought the gym was his own personal playground.  At the height of the after-work busy time, he locked up 4 popular machines and kept shooing people off saying he was working on them.  (I told him to pick two because this was a public place, not his personal gym!)  Additionally, I’ve followed behind people who sweat a lot.  I know that’s not their fault, but it can be rather gross to have to wipe someone else’s sweat off of a bench or piece of equipment.  (The moral here – the gym is not your mom, so be a good gym citizen and clean up after yourself!)

Finally, there are people who simply feel uncomfortable in a gym.  A lot of people think that gyms are only for skinny, fit people.  Well, that is just not true.  I don’t know if my gym is the exception, but I see people (myself included) who go out of their way to encourage new people.  It takes guts to walk into a gym for the first time in your life, but everyone there walked into the gym for a first time.  Everyone!  I was scared to death that I’d look like an idiot because I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.  Truth is – no one cared.  If the thought of walking into a gym makes you want to have a panic attack, and you just can’t get past it, then that’s okay.  Home is where you should be.

Home – The Advantages

HouseYou’re home.  There’s no extra cost.  If a gym makes you uncomfortable or you cannot afford a gym membership right now, working out at home is a perfectly acceptable choice.  People in our military units do a lot of body weight exercises that don’t require a gym.  Have you ever seen an out of shape Marine?  Didn’t think so!

I love being outside, so there’s nothing better for me than working out in the elements.  You probably spend a good chunk of your day stuck inside a building or your house working, so getting outdoors is a treat.  Plus, you have a lot of room to move around.

Working out from home is also advantageous if your schedule is so tight that you can only find a half hour a day to exercise.  If you had to drive somewhere, that half hour would be gone with just the drive time.  The fanciest of gyms doesn’t do you any good if you can’t find the time to get there.

Home – The Disadvantages

You’re home.  And so is your significant other.  And children.  And pets.  And the telephone.  You don’t have all that lovely equipment that a gym has, so you’re limited to body weight exercises unless you buy or home-make some equipment.

It’s more difficult to make the time to exercise when you work out at home because of endless excuses you can find to prevent you from working out.  (See my banner for some of them!)  If you’re a disciplined and dedicated person, this won’t be an issue for you.

I don’t know about your abode, but my house is not that big, so it looks jammed packed with furniture.  I have to move tables and chairs to make some space to exercise.  I tried to do aerobics at my house a few times through a DVD program, but quit when I accidentally kicked the TV set.  If you have a big enough room in your home to exercise, then this isn’t an issue.

Bottom Line:

While I spent most of this article talking about the pros and cons of a gym, the fact of the matter is that either choice that gets you moving is a good choice.  I mostly work out at a gym, but I’ve done just fine from home when I have to or want to.  You have to make the best decision for yourself given your set of circumstances.  Whether you chose to work out at home or in a gym, one thing will be constant – I’m right here with you.  Encouraging you all the way!

Until next time… remember that there are no excuses when it comes to your health!

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