Once you have made the decision to take charge of your physical fitness, the next question is whether to go it alone at home or to join a gym and workout in the company of others. There are pros and cons to both approaches and finding the one that suits you best may simply be a matter of personal preference.
Working out at home
Working out at home on your own takes huge amount of self-discipline. Although there are online and DVD classes available, along with a number of motivational apps for your smartphone or tablet, it’s all too easy to decide that you simply don’t feel like working out on any given day. Everyone struggling to maintain an optimum level of fitness already knows how easily life can get in the way of reaching your goals. Even if you have scheduled time for exercise, the pressure of deadlines, unexpected phone calls or family emergencies can and often do disrupt your plans.
Staying home to workout means you save the cost of gym membership, along with the cost of traveling to and from the gym on a regular basis. It is possible to get by with minimal equipment – usually for less than the cost of gym membership – but it’s more likely that you will get bored or reach a plateau as you will be restricted to the same sets of exercises.
The best way to counter such problems is by constantly adding new routines and moves to your workout sessions so your body never gets too used to the demands you’re placing on it. However, this means doing lots of research which in itself can be time-consuming. Also, not having the benefit of an instructor to ensure you are performing exercises correctly means you are agreater risk of injuring yourself.
Working out at the gym
For many people, seeing a membership payment deducted from their bank account each month is all the motivation they need to make them attend the gym on a regular basis. You may also find that the sight of other people working hard and getting sweaty around you inspires you to push yourself to your limits and beyond.
Once you arrive at the gym, all your other distractions can be left behind. The ability to focus entirely on your workout means you can achieve more in less time and reach a greater level of intensity.
This social side of working out, especially in classes, is another key difference. Knowing you are going to be meeting up with the same people week after week, developing friendships and inspiring one another to reach your goals is a powerful motivator. Whether you are one ofdozens on a line of elliptical trainers or taking part in an intense, all-body workout at your local Pilates studio, exercising among like-minded individuals can greatly enhance the experience and your results.
The range of equipment you get at a gym is always going to be far more extensive and sophisticated than anything you could have at home. This is especially true if you are interested in lifting heavy weights or using larger resistance machines. Although home versions are available, they tend to take up a great deal of space and tend to have a reduced range of weight settings, so it’s likely that you’ll make bigger, faster gains at the gym.