When it comes to fitness, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people like group fitness; others like to exercise on their own. Your neighbor may love hanging around a gym; you might prefer staying home. Even within individual disciplines there can be splits: treadmill runners versus road runners, lap pool swimmers versus open-water swimmers. The most important goal is to find a regimen that works for you, whether it’s at a big box gym, a group class studio, or at home. Before you invest in workout equipment for your house or sign up for a fitness club membership, here are five questions you should ask to determine if a home gym is right for you.
What is your fitness budget?
Assembling the equipment you need for a home gym requires some upfront investment, but it can save you money in the long term. According to USA Today, the average monthly gym membership in the United States costs $58 per month, or $696 annually. Depending on the type of equipment you purchase, a home gym could be more affordable.
Consider starting with a full-body workout tool like the TRX® Home2 System. For less than $200, you’ll get both a Suspension Trainer and a year of world-class trainer-designed workouts in the TRX App. If you want additional equipment, but still want to keep your total expenditures under the amount you would normally spend on your gym membership, supplement your Suspension Trainer with affordable functional training tools like medicine balls, resistance bands, or kettlebells. Looking for other ways to save money? Check your local classified ads for used workout equipment.
Do you have time to go to the gym?
Scheduling can interfere with even the best of workout intentions. When work and family obligations spin out of control, self-care is one of the easiest things clear off your plate. If scheduling your workout at a studio near your house or office is a recurring problem, it’s time to think about creating a home alternative. Consider what your needs are and how much space you have, and ask yourself if a home gym would give you more time for tasks you can’t skip.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Some people enjoy interacting with other fitness enthusiasts, and other prefer to work out alone. While joining a traditional fitness center doesn’t mean that you have to embrace group fitness, it can pose problems for those who struggle with social anxiety. Before you renew your gym membership, ask yourself if the thought of dealing with crowds causes you stress or panic. If you’re skipping workouts because you dread the crowds at your neighborhood gym, a home gym may help you commit to a fitness routine.
Is your home or office near a gym?
Many busy people have trouble finding time for fitness, but that burden only grows when you have to drive for miles or wait in traffic to commute to your gym. Fortunately, cost-benefit analysis of a home gym compared to a traditional gym is easy to calculate. The next time you go to a traditional studio, set a timer to track how long it takes you to drive to the gym, check in, store, your belongings in a locker, actually exercise, and commute back home. Next, subtract the amount of time you spent exercising from the total time. For example, if your door-to-door trip to the gym lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes, but you only spent 45 minutes exercising, decide whether you need to reclaim the 90 minutes you dedicated to commuting and logistics.
Are you self-motivated or do you need support from a community?
Part of the premium you’re paying for with a gym or boutique fitness studio membership is access to community. For many people, it’s a driving factor in exercise. Be honest with yourself: do you follow through on your workout plans when you’re alone, or do you need a buddy or crew to help you finish a workout? For self-motivated people, a home gym can offer the perks of a fitness club, anytime you need them.
If you’re leaning toward investing in home equipment, but you want the accountability that group fitness offers, you can also try interactive, app-based classes through a service like Gixo. Gixo offers live classes every 30 minutes led by trainers who will interact with you and motivate you while you exercise. App-based workouts, like the ones you’ll find on Gixo or the TRX App, can provide a group fitness environment in the comfort of your home.
There’s no right or wrong solution to establishing a fitness routine. Every person is different, and everyone has to find the right program for their lifestyle. But, for many people, a home gym saves time, money, and stress. So ask yourself: is a home gym right for you?