It’s easier now more than ever to sign up for a gym membership and make a promise to oneself to be fit. However, it’s just as easy to ignore the fees that come with the membership and lie in comfort at home instead. Training at home would be much more convenient, but would also be prone to delay thanks to distractions.

Both the home and the gym have pros and cons you might want to consider before investing in your own exercise equipment or putting a down payment on a new membership. However, you’ll first have to figure out what kind of bodybuilder you are.

Are you an experienced bodybuilder whose exercises depend mostly on heavy weights? Or did you just start following a fitness YouTuber and hope to make exercise a habit, even for just a few minutes each day? Here are the benefits and drawbacks of training at home and at a gym, so that you can decide which option suits you best.

Why you should train at a gym

Gyms have endless facilities. They have a machine for every muscle and a weight for every type of bodybuilder. If you’re into cardio, you’ll likely be able to use your gym’s treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bike, or stairclimber. If you want to build muscle, you can pick up any of their free weights or bands. Some gyms even offer products like protein shakes and amenities like saunas. Since buying expensive dumbbells just isn’t an option for many, a gym membership is the most cost-effective way to achieve overall fitness.

Gyms have trainers. If you’re not sure exactly what you should be doing or are too tired to push yourself to finish a routine, you can join a class with a trainer to lead you and others just like you. If you want a more personal fitness journey, avail of a personal trainer who can teach you how to exercise and keep you on track. Of course, the internet is overflowing with workout resources you could use on your own, but it’s still a whole different experience compared to having someone show you the ropes, step by step.

Gyms are filled with people who will motivate you. While membership fees should be enough to encourage you to make the most of your gym, the people you see exercising alongside you might just give you the boost you need to keep going. They might even help you if you need a hand with a barbell. If none of them seem friendly, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of competition as motivation.

Gyms will keep you focused. There’s only one reason you’d be at a gym: to exercise. At the gym, there are no interruptions or distractions. Your concentration would be at its maximum, with nothing keeping your eye away from the prize.

Why you might not want to

Gyms can be expensive. There are high-end gyms and smaller gyms. Whichever you choose, you’ll still have to pay a fee every month, and usually for a contract period of a year. Sometimes, it just isn’t affordable.

Going to the gym can be a hassle. Going to the gym means having to pack for the gym, get clothed for the gym, travel to the gym, and work out then shower at the gym, before having to travel back home. It’s a longer process than one might think, and can definitely be a demotivator.

Gyms might not be all that clean. According to the Washington Post, some bacteria thrive in areas that are warm, moist, and nutrient-plenty. Since these bacteria can also withstand “high saline environments” or places with perspiration, gyms are the perfect place for germs to spread.

Why you should train at home

It’s less expensive. Purchase an exercise ball and a yoga mat and you’re all set to exercise! If you intend to do only body weight exercises, you won’t need any equipment at all. Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School states that the human body offers “the cheapest equipment available” for exercising.

It’s convenient. There are no rules to follow, which means your gym is open whenever you want it to be, whether that’s early in the morning in your undies or late at night with your dog to keep you company.

It’s yours. Your training routine is beholden to whatever you feel like doing that specific day. You could work out at home, choose to take a run around your village, watch an old exercise videotape, or lift some weights while watching a movie. Best of all, you could do all of this without the fear of anyone judging you.

Why you might not want to

Home offers distractions. There’s always extra work to finish, clothes to fold, or dishes to washthe list would probably never end. On top of that, your bed will likely just be in the next room, only adding to the list of things tempting you away from finishing your daily workout.

You might lack equipment. Not everyone can afford a home gym, complete with a treadmill and full dumbbell set. If you aren’t creative with your exercises, you might find that your workout programs will be severely limited.

You might lose motivation. Unless you have a relative or friend exercising with you at home, the lack of a workout companion might leave you feeling lonely. Not only will you not have anyone to compare progress with, but you won’t have anyone to act as a spotter when you’re lifting something heavy.

So, which is better?

It all depends on which kind of environment you prefer. If you don’t have much of a budget and have the determination to see your fitness goals through, training at home may just be the right choice. If you’re after the experience of training at a gym, and would prefer guidance and better equipment, a gym membership would be a wise investment. Still, others set aside time to train both at home and at the gym, enjoying a balance between the two.

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