Gyms have been closed throughout the UK’s lockdown but we’re looking ahead to when they open back up again.
Many of us are working and socialising from home, and we’re all exercising from home, too. Many will be wondering what to do once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. For some, it might be cancelling or renewing gym memberships, and for others, it could be setting up a gym at home.
What about those who are unsure of what to do? They may be asking should I join a gym or workout at home because they’ve never had a gym membership or an at-home practice before.
We wanted to look at the pros and cons of both.
What are the Benefits of Working Out at the Gym?
Gyms can be social places with real camaraderie between members.
You get help on using equipment correctly and safely.
You may have access to additional classes or facilities included in your membership.
Gyms give you a choice of equipment to exercise on, so you won’t get bored.
Exercising away from the home can help force you into an ‘exercise’ mode because the change of scenery can be a great motivator.
There are fewer distractions at the gym and it’s harder to procrastinate.
There’s a high progression ceiling at the gym. The fitter or stronger you get the more opportunity there is to build on that.
There will be people around if you become injured or unwell.
Your landlord might not want you dropping heavy weights on his or her floors or you might not have the space to pursue the training routine you want at home.
You can try-before-you-buy with most gyms. If you don’t like it, then you haven’t lost anything. Returning exercise equipment, however, can be a nightmare.
Benefits of working out at home?
There are no monthly fees to pay at home
You don’t have to drive or catch a bus to workout in your own house.
You can start small and build your way up to a bigger gym.
You don’t have to deal with other people or wait for equipment to become clear.
You can make sure the equipment is cleaned and wiped down correctly.
You can access thousands of hours of workouts online to mix-up your routine without paying a penny.
Is Working Out at Home as Effective as Working Out in the Gym?
Absolutely, but it will depend on what your goals are and how you plan on doing it.
If you’re exercising just for general wellbeing, then you can be a little less structured. If you’re training for an event or working towards a specific goal, then you’ll need to be more structured in your approach by using a plan or strategy.
You can get fit without a gym but you should establish your goals or aims before you get started to ensure you’re on the track to success.
Is Joining a Gym Worth It?
Yes, but only if you use your membership. There’s no point in maintaining your contract if you never go or don’t enjoy going.
We all have grand ideas: if I join the gym, then I’ll be a healthier, happier person but it doesn’t always work like that.
Joining the gym is the easy part but it’s the turning up week-in week-out for a workout that makes it a worthwhile investment of your money and time.
Take a look at the gym in January and then again in March. It’ll tell you a lot about people’s notions of commitment.
We’d always advise trying the gym before you get locked into a big contract. Take advantage of free trials or buy a day pass or a weekly pass to try it out before committing.
Try multiple gyms out to see which one you like best.
You could also start at a gym on a rolling contract to see how you go. If you’re still going three months later, then look for a gym with more facilities and an annual contract. The point is by then you’ll have made exercise a habit and you’ll know yourself that you’ll use your membership.
Remember, too, that there’s a tonne of stuff you can do to get fit that doesn’t involve joining a gym. You could go walking, for example. Moneywise recommends joining a local walking group or rambler’s association. Getting out in the fresh air, exploring new areas and wildlife spotting could be something more enjoyable than sweating it out on a treadmill.
They also recommend running, cycling, bodyweight exercise, swimming and yoga.
Try park runs or going swimming for a couple of weeks to see if they stick. Test yourself and your resolve before throwing money at something you may end up not using.
Is an At-Home Gym Worth It?
Yes, but you have to use it.
The initial investment of a home-gym will be higher than a gym membership but using it regularly will off-set the purchase price. In the long run, it will be cheaper than paying a monthly fee.
You could also take into consideration the petrol costs you’ll save by not driving to and from the gym.
Should I Join a Gym or Workout at Home?
No one can answer that question for you.
It’s not about the signing up but the commitment afterwards. You have to be realistic and honest with yourself. It’s okay to say that no, you don’t want to join a gym. There are hundreds of activities, exercises, sports, hobbies and ways of keeping fit that happen outside the gym or home.
Use lockdown as an opportunity to try out home workouts.
Get outside and go jogging or running. Take up skipping or hula hooping if you want to. Buy a cheap pair of dumbbells to see how you get on. The gyms won’t be open for some time so use this period to test your commitment and your resolve to exercise. See how beneficial (or not) the at-home environment is to you. If it works, then maybe you don’t need to use a gym. If it doesn’t, then you can benefit from getting into the habit of exercising which will put you in good stead for any future gym membership choices you make.
Looking to start building your home gym? GymHugz can deliver a range of at-home equipment including free-weight barbell sets, dumbbells and more.