If you’ve decided to get fit, the next part is choosing where to get active. Should you take out a gym membership or would it be easier to exercise at home? There’s no right or wrong answer to this popular dilemma, but there are a few factors to consider that might help with your decision-making.
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If you find it hard to motivate yourself, getting to the gym might prove a sticking point, particularly if you’re tired or the weather is bad outside. In which case, you might find it easier to exercise at home.
Having said that, you might find that once you get to the gym, you feel more motivated to achieve your goals, especially if you work out with others, than if you were exercising solo at home. Either way, if you set yourself written targets and a solid game plan, you’re more likely to smash your fitness aims, wherever you decide to exercise.
Distractions can undermine your exercise progress, so choose a workout environment where you aren’t going to be frequently disturbed. If you’re likely to be interrupted by distractions at home, such as other family members, the phone ringing or the temptation to watch TV, you might be better off heading for the gym. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that gyms are distraction-free zones, especially if other gym goers like to stop you for a chat.
How easy is it for you to get to your nearest gym compared to the convenience of exercising at home? If you’re already short on spare time, it might not be worth taking out a membership for a gym that’s far away. The time getting to and from the gym could be spent burning calories at home.
Think about when you can exercise and how this fits into finding a suitable gym or around family life at home. Many gyms are now open 24/7, so if you’re a shift worker, night-time gym visits might be preferable to waking family members at home with the sound of whirring exercise equipment.
Think about any family commitments, too. If you have young children, exercising from home might prove more convenient and cost-effective if going to a gym means having to hire childminders.
The advantage of visiting a gym is that you have access to a whole host of top quality exercise equipment, as well as other possible extras such as a swimming pool, fitness classes, a sauna and a steam room. Few people will have the space at home or the cash to create a comparable and varied gym experience.
However, think about what you want to achieve from your fitness goals and how you want to go about this. You might not necessarily use all of the facilities or equipment at a gym, anyway, and may end up sticking to one or two trusted items only, such as the treadmill or exercise bike. In which case, it may prove more cost-effective in the long run to invest in these items for the home. The beauty of this is that you can use the equipment when you want, without waiting in any queues. Weigh up the price of equipment versus how long you might use a gym for, and see which options work out better for your wallet.
If the thought of going to a gym for the first time feels frightening, you might feel more confident and less self-conscious exercising at home. However, bear in mind that many gyms aren’t as intimidating as you think. In fact, many gyms are very welcoming and friendly towards nervous newcomers, so you’re unlikely to feel alone. Another thing to consider is that if you exercise at a gym as opposed to home, trainers or spotters can help you learn the correct technique of using the equipment, while maximising your fitness potential.