Two people exercising at a gym and at home exercise equipment

Which is better, exercising at home, or exercising at a gym?

Where will you get the most out of your workout?

In the home-exercise versus gym-workout battle, there is no clear winner. Both gym-based and at-home exercise have their own pros and cons, but in the end, it’s a very individual preference. And this preference makes all the difference in how effective your workout actually is.

If you’ve struggled with getting into a workout routine or setting up another exercise habit, it may be that you’re pushing yourself in the wrong direction. Making your movement fit into your lifestyle and figuring out what you enjoy can make any exercise routine WAY easier. These pros and cons will give you a hand in figuring out where your workouts will be most effective:

Gym-Based Workouts – The Pros

You’ll have a large variety of equipment available. Gym equipment is expensive, so if you like having choices, you may save money, space, and effort with a gym membership versus setting up a home gym.

You might not pay much. There are pricey gyms out there, no doubt, but there are a lot of great gyms with reasonable membership rates. Pro tip – if you are looking to sign up for a gym membership but aren’t in a huge rush, wait until the end of the month. Most gyms have a monthly membership sales quota and you may be able to get a discounted or waived “sign up” fee if they are low on numbers. Don’t be afraid to negotiate!

You could have some fun! Classes and group fitness, if included in your membership, can be a huge bonus (especially considering that a single group fitness session can cost $15 -$20). Classes can be fun and motivational as well, especially if you have a competitive streak.

Gym-Based Workouts – The Cons

You have to share the gym. Other people will also be there. Waiting for weights or equipment can be a big turn off, especially if you are on a tight schedule.

You might get some bad advice. There are plenty of people (both trainers and other gym members) that have no problem offering unsolicited advice based on outdated knowledge. At best, this is annoying and it can be hard to know what you might need to listen to. At worst, you could follow some bad advice and end up doing yourself harm. (Key to avoiding this: only listen to people who are well trained and listen to what you have to say!)

You might not get there. My biggest issue with a gym membership is actually taking an additional half-hour out of my day to get there and get home. It’s a well-known fact in the gym industry that if you get a client who has to go out of their way to get to the gym, you won’t see them for long. It’s got to be super convenient, and even being close to work or home sometimes isn’t enough. If you don’t belong to a 24-hour gym, you might find that you’re even less likely to get there.

At-Home Workouts – The Pros

You can do it whenever you want. Working out at home means working out when it suits you. I do mostly home-based workouts now because I can squeeze in a session when I have a spare 20-30 minutes, rather than having to plan it into my day. This works best if you don’t need a plan to stick with in order to get things done.

It’s a zero-judgement zone. It’s just you – no one else to check out what you’re doing or offer unsolicited advice.

You don’t have to wait for anything. Even if you’re sharing your home gym equipment with family members, you can tell them to hurry the heck up with it! But generally, you’ll be able to move through your workout at exactly the pace you need it.

At-Home Workouts – The Cons

You may have limited equipment choices. You don’t have to have a home gym at all in order to get a good workout at home. Most movements can be done using just body-weight resistance, but you might have to get creative with your “pull” exercises – anything that targets your back. And you definitely don’t want to exclude these!

You may spend a little more money up front. Home based exercise equipment can cost a bit of money at the outset. Fortunately, by making wise choices, you can get all the equipment you need with just a few pieces of equipment – easily setting your home gym for the same cost as a few months of gym membership.

It’s easy to not do it. I went through a phase not too long ago of being too busy to get to the gym, and continually telling myself that I’d do a quick workout when I got home. Instead, I got home and sat on the couch – for the rest of the night. If working out at home isn’t part of your routine, you’ll probably need to put a little extra effort in to get this habit kickstarted. For what it’s worth, I’ve given up on evening exercise – it’s morning or nothing for me!

Of course, this is not a complete list! Everyone will have their own preferences and perks to working out at a gym or at home. The best workout is the one you enjoy doing!

HealthFit Coaching offers exercise and physical activity programs and training. If you’re in Brisbane and keen on getting a comprehensive, individual exercise program set up for your needs – whether for in-home training or gym based – contact us to start now!

Make Your Own Weights for At-Home Exercise

Easy to make, easy to use, the DIY Milk Jug Weight is a great option for budget exercise equipment.

The biggest hurdle that most of us have when it comes to working out at home is that we don’t have the equipment or space that we think we need. But it doesn’t actually take much space to work out, and with a little creativity, we can make a lot of exercise equipment using things we have just lying around.

One of my favorite pieces of DIY exercise equipment is the milk jug weight. Because they are see-through, the empty jugs are perfect for creating different weights. By adding or removing water as needed, you can adjust the weight to make it heavier or lighter (just don’t forget to mark “fill lines” or you’ll be measuring all the time!). The handles make it easy for these weights to be used in place of dumbbells, and if you wanted to create your own barbell, you can slip a jug onto each end of a broomstick or PVC pipe. Want to make your own? Follow along with the pictures and presto, you’ll have your own weights!

Step 1: Gather your equipment. I grabbed the bathroom scale, my empty milk jug, and a big permanent marker to mark a “fill line” so I know how much water I need for a given weight.

Grab your empty jug, get a scale, and marker to create your fill lines.

Grab your empty jug, get a scale, and marker to create your fill lines.

Step 2: Partially fill your jug and then weigh it. Decide ahead of time how heavy you want your jug to be. I wanted a five pound jug, with the option to fill it all the way for an eight pound weight. This is most time consuming part of the process, since there is a little trial and error here to get the right weight.

Fill your jug with water and then weigh it. It might take a few tries to get the weight that you want.

Fill your jug with water and then weigh it. It might take a few tries to get the weight that you want.

Side Note Here: The most accurate way to weigh anything is to put the scale on a hard surface, like a tile or cement floor (if it is on carpet or anything that the scale will sink into or that will “give” under the weight on the scale, the number of the scale will be inaccurate). Some scales also have a minimum weight requirement. If your scale won’t register the weight of the jug, try stepping on the scale yourself and record your weight (first measurement) . Then step on the scale again holding the jug (second measurement). Subtract the first measurement from the second and you’ll get the weight of the jug.

Once you get the right amount of water in the jug, let it settle, then mark your fill line and label it.

Step 3: Repeat as needed for different weights. I filled the jug to the top, which weighs about eight pounds. I didn’t weigh or label this, but you totally can!

My milk jug weight at five pounds and eight pounds (full).

My milk jug weight at five pounds and eight pounds (full).

Step 4: Enjoy your at-home gym! No point in creating your own exercise equipment if it is just going to sit around.  As I mentioned before, I prefer using these weights primarily in place of dumbbells. They are great for different upper back exercises like a bent-over row, or can be used to add a little extra “uumph” to lower body exercises likes lunges or squats. Get creative with it and you’ll find all sorts of uses. What’s your favorite?