Gym vs Home Workouts: Which One Should You Do?
TwitterGetsFitter started because I wanted to share easy home workouts and routines with people who, like me, struggled with fitness. Early in the movement though, I started hearing the question “Gym vs home workouts — which one’s better?” More than a year on, and I’m still asked that question fairly often. Well, here’s my opinion…
Every workout has its own kind of benefits — Yoga helps flexibility and peace, running helps improve cardiopulmonary health, and so on. But does where you do it really matter?
While it may not be a make-or-break factor, it most definitely is a factor. I’ll explain why in further detail in this post.
Let’s talk about gym workouts first. You’re surrounded by (more often than not) very fit people, who are lifting heavy weights, running marathons on the treadmill, or box-jumping into outer space. There’s also plenty of equipment, dumbbells, barbells, benches and whatnot.
For a lot of people, the gym provides a plethora of options to work with. The equipment you find in a gym can help you target different muscle groups, and allows you to go pretty intense. Having trainers around can be very helpful too. They can show you new moves to try out, or help you perfect and improve the ones you’ve been doing.
Moreover, joining a gym can be a great place to meet new people with common interests. Take it from me, a lot of great friendships are forged in a Zumba class, or while alternating on the leg curl machine. (Hey, Manisha
Now for the negatives.
For some, all the above factors could be less than thrilling. Particularly for a fitness newbie, having to walk into a gym full of fit, toned bodies can be very intimidating. And I speak from personal experience, as well as anecdotes I hear from dozens of my clients.
“I go wearing the baggiest t-shirt I own, and loose, shapeless pants. I keep my head down and try not to make eye contact. I can feel them judging me.” – TwitterGetsFitter participant
This is a common sentiment that people share, particularly those just starting out on their fitness journeys. While most do manage to move past it as they focus on their own workouts and progress, there are several who prefer to opt for home workouts that allow them to exercise in private, or among friends.
There’s also the matter of travel time, prep, etc that can play a part in killing the enthusiasm to head to the gym. I mean, it takes some serious commitment to willingly brave 30-odd minutes of traffic snarls to then sweat it out at the gym… before dealing with another 30 minutes of traffic on the way home. Home workouts, on the plus side, require minimal preparation. What’s more, once you’re exhausted from a good workout, it’s a lot less effort to crawl back home!
Next, the equipment. For some, the plethora of equipment in a gym can be daunting. There’s stuff to pull, push, squat, jump on… Gah! There are plenty of people who are far more comfortable with just a mat (and maybe a resistance band or something).
On the other hand, there are some (like me) who really enjoy the equipment. I get quite a kick out of lifting weights and galloping along the treadmill or spinning the hell out of a stationary bike. It challenges me and adds an interesting dimension to my routine.
So what’s truly “better”?
That’s right, neither is “better”. While each has factors working for and against it, neither form of workout is, in and of itself, “better”.
It’s like nutrition. There’s no one-size-fits-all for diets, right? Someone needs more protein, someone else needs to go super low carb. That doesn’t make either diet “wrong” (though I imagine a diet comprising mainly donuts and pizza is probably pretty “wrong”).
Similarly, no workout is inherently good or bad. It’s important to recognise what suits your needs and your personality. The “right” workout for you is the one you can do correctly and consistently, and which makes you feel energised at the end of it. Whether that’s running, yoga, weight training, Pilates, or even just playing with your dog, you do what you gotta do. 🙂
The “better” workout is the one that works for you!