Committing to exercise and physical fitness is a key element for anyone who wants to lose weight. Without exercise, any weight loss that occurs is only partially a result of fat loss — the rest comes from the loss of muscle and bone density. As a general rule of thumb, weight loss is about 75 percent nutrition and 25 percent exercise.
Physical activity is also essential for heart health. The American Heart Association recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week for a healthy heart. Anyone who is overweight is already at an increased risk for heart problems, making exercise all the more important.
While what you do for exercise is perhaps the most important consideration, where you workout can play a big role in your motivation and accountability. More than 55 million people in America are members of one of the tens of thousands of health clubs and gyms in the United States, but many others prefer to exercise at home. Which is right for you? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the home gym.
There are three key benefits of a home gym:
You have access to your home gym whenever you want. No driving to the gym to work out during business hours or waiting around to use certain equipment. When you have a home gym, you have 24/7 access to all of your equipment and can work out at any time, day or night.
Another obvious perk of a home gym is that it will save you money over time. You’ll could spend $500 to $1000 (or more) to get your home gym set up, but because you aren’t paying for a gym membership (about $600 annually), you’ll make back your investment in just a few years.
In your home gym, you make the rules. You are free to train the way you want without people watching over your shoulder, critiquing you or giving you suggestions. (Of course, it can be beneficial to work with a trainer at first, just to ensure you are using proper form and technique.) Not only do you have more freedom to work out when you want and how you want, you can also be free from the fear of judgement over what you are wearing or how you look.
In addition to these benefits of a home gym, there are some downsides as well. Here are three cons of a home gym.
If you are an extrovert or find yourself most motivated by others, then a home gym may not be worth the investment. Some people are simply better to get out and go to the gym where they can work out in the presence of others. If you aren’t self-motivated to be consistent with your workout routine, investing in a gym membership may be the better use of your money.
Over time, you will surely recoup the expenses you put into your home gym from the money you’re saving on a gym membership, but you’ll still need the funds upfront to foot the bill for your gym setup and equipment. If your home is limited on space, a home gym simply may not be feasible.
When you work out at the gym, there are others around to help spot you while lifting heavy weights and trainers to help you practice your form. When you work out at home, you may be on your own (unless you have a spouse or friend join you). Lifting heavy weights at home without a spotter can be dangerous. If you opt for a home gym, consider investing in weight machines rather than free weights.
If you are trying to decide between a home gym or a gym membership, take some time to consider your personality. What gives you energy? What motivates you? If you prefer to be around people, the home gym probably isn’t the right choice for you.
Next, consider your goals. If you want to build muscle, most home gyms aren’t equipped with the weights necessary to build muscle mass. If you’re looking to lose some weight and just feel better overall, those goals can be accomplished in a home gym.
No matter what you choose, the most important factor is that you commit to regular exercise. Without exercise, it may take you much longer to achieve your weight loss goals.