As you may expect, a home gym has its pros and cons.
First, I’ll go ahead and list them all out for you. If you’re the type that likes a little more explanation, I explain each point below.
- No membership fees
- No waiting
- No need for headphones
- Open 24/7
- Less interruptions
- Can train others
- Allows for more creativity
- Lack of equipment/money
Truthfully, this list can vary depending on the wants and needs of the person training. For example, what may be considered a con to an introverted person, could easily be considered a pro to the extroverted person.
If you’re a newbie, it may be better for you to go to a gym and learn from those who have been lifting for a few years or so. If money isn’t an issue, I would even suggest hiring a personal trainer for a month or so. At least until you’re knowledgeable and comfortable with your training techniques.
For me, learning from people who were much more knowledgeable than I was at the time, was extremely helpful. They helped me with my technique, but just as important, they helped boost my confidence. They helped me realize that there was nothing to be afraid of when it came to lifting. (I plan to post about gym fear and how to overcome it soon. After working at a school gym, I talked to many people who were afraid of working out at a gym. Especially the free weight area.)
When you’re just starting out, having social support is important and perhaps even crucial to successfully sticking to a training regimen.
However, for a seasoned lifter, a home gym may be more appealing and more practical. Ideally, seasoned lifters have a better idea of what is needed and wanted. They know what type of equipment will get the job done.
Anyhow, lets go ahead and dive into the explanations, shall we?
This is a big one for me. If I am training, I don’t like feeling like I’m being watched or judged. Although it doesn’t occur often, it happens often enough that it can be a nuisance. As someone who has lifted and worked in the gym environment for years, I can tell you that female gym-goers are often put in uncomfortable situations by their fellow male gym-goers.
To explain this a little better. I don’t go to the gym to get a date or get hit on. When I go to the gym, I go to lift. Simple as that.
I don’t like being interrupted when I lift. I think that applies to most people who actually go to the gym to train.
With your home gym, you have the option to do whatever you want and no one is going to question you about it. You can do whatever exercise you want to do without feeling self-conscious about it. Freedom to make that ugly face without the possibility of scaring your fellow gym goers.
If you’re the self-conscious type, you’l find that it very liberating to have this freedom. However, for those of you who don’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks of you at the gym, this won’t be a huge motivating factor for you to build a home gym.
Eventually your gym will pay for itself. Instead of paying to use a commercial gym, you will have your *own* equipment that will (hopefully) last for years to come.
Not to mention, if you start training other people in your gym, it will pay for itself even faster.
No Membership Fees
Similar to the point mentioned above, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate. Usually your equipment is a “one-time buy.” There are no more monthly fees to worry about. Therefore, you money is now free to save. . . Or to spend on something else for your gym. Because, let’s be honest, there’ll always be something else we need/want.
Honestly, this was a huge motivating factor for me to build my gym. I can’t stand waiting to train. It first starts off by waiting in traffic, then for the squat rack, then for specific machines, then waiting for guys to finish their circuits, waiting for people to stop talking, and then waiting in traffic again.
I don’t know about you, but waiting is the worst for me. I like to get in, get out, and go home. I don’t have the time or patience to wait. I like getting things done.
I also noticed that I would use waiting as an excuse not to do an exercise or not to train at all. Now that excuse is gone. (Of course I could always find another one)
Pretty self-explanatory. You can listen to whatever music you want. Again, with no judgments. How awesome is that?
Can’t make it to the gym? Not really an option is that gym is where you live. Another excuse gone.
By not paying monthly fees, you’ll be saving that money. If you’re going to be training for the for years to come, this is definitely the best way to save your money in the long run.
Can Train Your Friends
Unless you’re employed by the gym, most gyms highly discourage professionally training clients (or friends) at their facility. That’s not an issue if you’re training people in your own place. You can even ask your friends to pay a small fee to use your gym.
For me, membership can be paid in coffee.
This is probably the biggest con of a home gym. The lack of a having a spotter can be a big downside if you’re lifting heavy. Even if the weight you’re lifting isn’t “heavy,” having an extra buddy to help you out in case of an emergency is always preferable than training alone.
If you are training alone, then I recommend buying a power rack as well as anything else that assists with safety.
You may find that you’re the type to be motivated by being around others. Perhaps your the competitive type. Or maybe you just prefer to have that moral/social support from your peers. If you get motivated by being around others, you may not get as much from having a home gym. (Of course you could just invite them over)
The initial cost of starting up a personal gym can be pretty hefty. Purchasing all the necessary weights is probably the most costly if you lift heavy.
When starting out, you’ll probably have to get creative with what you can afford for the time being. I honestly find this part to be the most fun. It’s what I’ve liked about having minimal equipment. You find new ways to get that workout in.
Its hard to build a home gym if you lack space. If you live in an apartment, a home gym may not be a possibility for you right now.
For those of you who do have the space, most of the time its already being used as a storage area and needs some heavy cleaning/organizing. Basements and garages are naturally the first places to get filled with items we don’t need. So go ahead and make that space usable for something good.
The biggest distraction you’ll find is probably just your family. Whether they want you to help out with a task or not.
I don’t have any kids yet, but I can’t imagine they’d consistently leave you alone while you try to get your training in for the day.
Let’s face it. If you’re working out in your garage, you’re much more subject to heat and cold. It’s not comfortable but its something you’ll have to bear with. I find that my fans and heater are pretty good at keeping me cool/warm when I need it.
Lack of Equipment/Money
This one speaks for itself. In order to have a gym, you need the funding. It takes time and money to build a good home gym. Start small and keep adding to it over time. It might make you appreciate your gym even more once you do get all the necessary equipment.