Home Gym vs Gym Membership?

What is your best option? Build a home gym vs gym membership? Every January, we tell ourselves this is the year we get back in shape. We start eating right and exercising so we can kickstart our weight-loss journeys.

Though most of us stop trying to get healthy within a month, there are a few people that stick with the plan. They want to get healthy, and they won’t stop until they’re happy with their results. Whether it’s for looks or health, the fight for a better body always starts in the wintertime.

One of the biggest debates in exercise is where to do your exercise. The great home gym vs gym membership debate. Some people want to buy a gym membership and be in an environment where they’re encouraged to work out to the best of their abilities.

Others don’t want to spend the money on a gym and insist they can work out better when they’re at home. Maybe they’re too shy to go to the gym with other people.

Gym membership vs home gym comparison

What’s better a home gym or going to the gym?

For the home gym vs gym membership debate, which one would work for you? We’ll go through the pros and cons of each one and you can decide for yourself who wins in Home Gym vs Gym membership.

I should say at the outset that my personal preference after years of both home and gym membership workouts is to workout at home. As you will read below I find it economical and a time saver. So I’m just sort of disclosing my own bias in this discussion.

The Home Gym or Gym Membership Discussion

Gym memberships and home memberships are as good as the people make them out to be. Both involve dedication and prioritizing time to get healthy. They’re not perfect, but they’re two different ways to get exercise. The better choice depends on the person making the decision.

This point is so true no one can tell you that it is a better choice for you to take one path or another. However, I will lay out the pros and cons of each so you can make an informed decision.

busy cardio machines

Gym Membership

If gym memberships win the Home Gym vs. Gym membership; For some people, they prefer going to the gym instead of staying at home. Some people like being around others as they work out, or they could enjoy the various classes the gym has to offer. It depends on the person. Here’s why gym memberships win home gym vs gym membership.

Gym Membership Pros

  • Variety. Not all gyms are the same. Some have the basic weight lifting, while others have special classes a new member can take. However, there are some people don’t enjoy weight lifting as a form of exercise and would rather do a dance class instead.
  • Meet new people. In a gym, you have to share the equipment, meaning there could be a time you need to talk to the people in the gym. If you strike up a conversation with some of these people, you could end up making a new friend or two.
  • You can get professional assistance. One of the leading causes of exercise injury is the wrong kind of form for the workouts. There are expert trainers in every gym who are eager to help you figure out how to work a machine. You can hire some of these same people as professional trainers so you can keep coming back to a workout.
  • Showers. Sometimes, the power goes out in your house. Sometimes, the water could go out. With a gym membership, you have a place to go to get a hot shower should that happen to you.
  • Improved Outcomes according to some studies. One particular study from the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found doing a workout in a group improves outcomes. (Remember you can still find and get accountability with a home gym).
overhead view of a very crowded gym

Gym Membership Cons

  • Cost. Not all gyms cost the same. The most basic gym memberships can cost about $100 for the year. The more expensive ones can triple that cost. Not many people can afford a costly 24-hour gym.
  • Cleanliness. You can’t guarantee everyone you see wandering the gym is going to help keep the equipment clean. There are wet wipes and sprays provided for you to clean the equipment after you use it. However, not everyone cleans properly. You could find yourself sick with a nasty cold from people not cleaning at the gym.
  • Not always convenient. On some nights, if there’s heavy rain or snow, you might not want to go out and work at the gym. If you make an excuse one time, you could find yourself making a habit of skipping the gym, undoing your workout plan.
A simple gym with rower and bike in lovely home

Home Gym

If Home gym wins the Home gym vs Gym membership debate; Some people prefer to work out from home. The more introverted, busy people have an easier time trying to make a workout from home. Here’s why home gym wins home gym vs gym membership.

Home Gym Pros

  • Convenient. You don’t need to get in your car in bad weather to get to the gym. Further, you could work out before work or after work and not have to spend gas money. Using machines at home or find a good YouTube video to work out from.
  • Cost. Unlike going to the gym, this option is free. I should add, not everyone has the kind of expendable income where they can go to the gym whenever they feel like. Paying 300 dollars for a gym membership they only use twice could feel like a waste of money.
Organized picture of a squat rack and rower

Home Gym Cons

  • Easy to slide into bad habits. Because you’re already home, it’s harder to change your home routine. One missed workout means your workout could never happen again. But this point is really about your willpower.
  • Accountability Takes Effort. You must make a more sustained effort to find accountability when working out with a home gym. For example, you might join a forum or board, tell friends, post to a personal blog about your progress, or hire an online coach.

The Takeaway

Your decision to build a home gym or get a gym membership each has good and bad points to them. Depending on your time, income, and social habits, one could be the better choice than the other.

Who wins the home gym vs gym membership debate? I personally find building a home gym satisfying, distraction-free, and it puts money back in my pocket long term. I like saving money, do you?

People Also Ask

Is it better to workout at home or at the gym?

A home gym. It saves you money, hundreds of dollars in some cases, it saves you time such as commuting to the gym and back, it decreases distractions at the gym. Finally, you never have to wait on a machine at the gym again. Home workouts have proven to be the most effective in my experience.

Is a home gym a good investment?

Great question. The quick answer is a resounding yes. First of all, you save money by building a home gym. The cost of the equipment for a home gym is dwarfed when compared to the cost of a continuing and ongoing gym membership. If you pay 30 dollars a month or $360 dollars a year and extrapolate that out of 3 years you have spent a grand total of $1080. This amount can easily purchase the essential gym equipment needed to start a home gym.

How much does a home gym cost?

There are a lot of variables in the question of how much a home gym will cost. However, an all in one home gym with a cardio machine and basic dumbbell set will run you around $1000 give or take. A home gym that is equipped with a squat rack and free weights will usually run in the $1500 to $2500 range. However, each of these will last years if properly maintained.

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