Joining a gym vs. working out at home – pros and cons

Should you join a gym or work out at home? We give you the benefits of joining the gym vs. working out at home, complete with a list of pros and cons.

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joining a gym, working out at home
Joining a gym vs. Working out at home – the pros and cons, tips and honest advice.

You want to start exercising but you are not sure if you should be joining a gym or working out at home. There is no right or wrong answer as both options have advantages and disadvantages. What’s best for you depends on your goals, lifestyle and budget as joining the gym is not cheap. In this article, we list the pros and cons of each option to help you make an informed decision.

Pros and cons of joining a gym

It is a temple for many while others avoid it at all costs. There are different types of gyms and membership packages to suit every taste and budget. Here are the pros and cons of joining a gym.

The pros of joining a gym

  • Equipment

One of the biggest advantages of working out in a gym is the equipment they offer. Even the small gyms have a variety of machines for weight training and cardio as well as dumbbells, barbells, gym balls, medicine balls etc. to help you develop every muscle and part of your body. They also offer the space you need to execute your exercises in the proper form without risking an injury to yourself or your fellow gym members.

  • Facilities

Working out is quite demanding on your body especially when lifting heavy weights or doing your HIIT sessions. That’s why most gyms have saunas, steam rooms and swimming pools. The more fancy ones have spas offering massages and other treatments to help you recover from your workouts. 

  • Professional help and advice

Every gym has at least one personal trainer who is available to answer your questions or guide you in choosing the right workout plan for your goals. You can ask them to show you how to perform different exercises and book a personal training session to get you started. Gyms also offer regular reviews to help you monitor your progress.

The cons of joining a gym

  • Joining fees and monthly membership

The cost of joining a gym and paying for the privilege every month is an obvious drawback but you don’t have to break the bank to benefit from working out in a gym. If you are on a strict budget, look out for those which offer pay-as-you-go plans. If you only plan to workout once or twice a week, then consider a daily pass or ask a friend to take you as a guest. 

  • Getting there

Unless your gym is within a walking distance from your house or office, you need to factor in getting there and back. That can be off putting but most gyms have free car parking spaces or are within a walking distance from some sort of public transport. Again, if you are on a fixed budget, you need to factor in the cost of getting there. 

  • Feeling judged

It is quite a natural reaction to feel uneasy among a bunch of fit men and women but don’t let your imagination run wild. None of them are looking at you, judging the size of your biceps or monitoring how much you can bench press. Everyone is busy with their own workouts and the chances are, that nobody notices your presence. 

joining a gym, working out at home
The pros and cons of joining a gym.

My honest advice about joining a gym

You need to start by asking yourself why you want to join a gym. Find the real reason why and make your decision based on it but not forgetting to take into account the above pros and cons. If you are just starting out, I suggest that you do body weight exercises at home to build up your strength, endurance, confidence and the discipline for working out on a regular basis. 

If you are ready to take your training (yes, training) to the next level, then join a gym because there are limitations of what you can achieve at home. 


Free workout programs for beginners


Pros and cons of working out at home

Most body transformations start with a workout at home. It’s free and convenient but it could be limiting as you progress. We list the pros and cons to help you understand whether or not working out at home is for you.

The pros of working out at home

  • Convenience

The biggest and most obvious advantage of working out at home is its convenience. You don’t have to make an effort to get there or wait for someone else to finish before you can use a particular machine. You don’t even have to dress for the occasion. You can put your exercise mat on the floor, do your body weight exercises at any time you wish without having to worry about being judged.

  • Free

Regardless of your budget, working out at home is free – no joining fees or monthly payments. Your bank manager will be happy even if you decide to splurge on a pair of dumbbells or a pull-up bar. You can even use some of the savings to treat yourself to something nice as a reward to your hard work.

  • Ego-free workouts

There are a lot of insecure people who work out in the gym, lifting heavy weights to please their egos and make themselves look bigger, stronger and better than anyone else. You can’t miss them and if you pay too much attention to them, you can feel under pressure to lift as heavy as they do. Working out at home protects you from that and from the risk of injury as a result of it.   

The cons of working out at home

  • Limited equipment

Unless you have a fully equipped gym in your garage, you are likely to outgrow your equipment and limit your potential. That’s not a major problem at the beginning but as you progress, you may want to do exercises which require heavier weights, a bench or a pull-up bar capable of handling your weight and range of movement. 

  • Risk of injury

Working out at home is likely to be inspired and guided by online tutorials and videos and that’s great but: it can be at the cost of proper form. In other words, you can get into the habit of performing the exercises incorrectly. That limits your results but, more importantly, it puts you at the risk of injury. Make sure you learn how to perform each exercise correctly before you incorporate it into any of your routines. If it feels wrong and it hurts, you need to stop because that is likely to result in an injury.

  • Lack of motivation

Working out is a habit which requires quite a bit of discipline. Exercising at home makes it easier for you to miss a session and “promise” to make up for it tomorrow or next week. Missing sessions affects your performance and results and if you don’t make enough progress, you are likely to lose motivation and give up before you even start.

working out at home, pros of working out at home, cons of working out at home
The pros and cons of working out at home plus tips and advice.

My honest advice about working out at home

There is nothing wrong in exercising at home and I urge you to do so, particularly if you are just starting out. Get to know your body, its capabilities and limitations. Work out on developing your general fitness level, strength and endurance before moving on to a more targeted program.

Download an app or find a YouTube channel which is dedicated to home workouts. Be consistent and change your routine to a more demanding one as you progress. If you are serious about transforming your physique, it’s worth considering dumbbells and a pull up bar

The bottom line is that both options have advantages and disadvantages. Which one is right for you, depends on your fitness level, budget and lifestyle. There is no right or wrong choice but you need to be realistic about your expectations and consider them when joining a gym or deciding to start working out at home. 

If you are past the “workout at home” stage and you need heavier weights and more equipment to achieve your goals – join the gym. If you are just starting out – do body weight exercises at home to get used to working out and develop your strength.

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