Are you getting the most out of your gym membership or would you be better off financially by switching to a home set up?
Many people pay their gym membership fee but do not use the facilities regularly enough for it to be worth the costs involved. Often, the physical act of getting to the gym can be a hurdle and more difficult than the workout itself. In this article, I will discuss the benefits of a home gym set up and workout routine, and specifically how it can save you money. I will discuss the other benefits too, such as extra time and convenience. And how a home set up could be the best option for your health and fitness, as well as your pocket.
Are home workouts as effective as going to the gym?
Gym memberships can be expensive, and with the array of home fitness equipment available, it might make more financial sense to workout at home. If you have space and desire to make it work, a home gym can bring a lot of benefits. The costs of a gym membership vary depending on the facilities and will usually be paid on a monthly basis. A home set up on the other has no monthly costs, and it is easy to find affordable equipment online. In fact, you don’t really need to have that much equipment to get started, and a few basic items will be OK. But is it as effective as going to the gym? That’s really up to you.
What equipment do you need?
This will vary depending on your fitness level and goals. With the right know-how, you can do an effective cardiovascular and strength training workout at home, using only your own body weight and minimal equipment. I will discuss some of the basic pieces of kit you will need for an overall workout at home, and compare the cost to a gym membership. For the cost of a few months of a gym membership, you can get all you need.
Alongside the financial benefits of a home gym set up, there are factors of convenience and the flexibility to train whenever suits you.
The option to work out when you want to, in the comfort and privacy of your own home is a huge benefit. No more packing your gym kit, and then forgetting to bring a towel or some other essential item. No more sweaty machines, and waiting for a piece of equipment to be free. Also, If you prefer morning exercise, then you can get straight to it first thing before your day starts. And likewise in the evening, if that’s your preference, you’ll be able to start your workout as soon as you get home, saving you time and energy.
Choose the right kit for your goals.
For your cardiovascular exercise, the most economical piece of equipment would either be a rowing machine, or an exercise bike. Both take up less floor space than a portable treadmill and cost less to buy. But if you’re happy to run or cycle outdoors, or your space is limited this could be one bit of kit you can leave out, and focus on strength and conditioning, or just do burpees! One other simple piece of cardiovascular equipment worth mentioning is a skipping rope.
A Men’s Health article discusses a German university study which said skipping is one of the most effective exercises you can do, and surely one the cheapest. The only possible issue is if you live in an apartment. Your neighbours below may not be too pleased if your 6 am workout consists of 20 minutes of skipping followed by 20 minutes of burpees! Another great piece of versatile kit is the mini stepper. You can read more about the best mini steppers at OGLF’s round-up.
Resistance bands are another excellent addition to your set up. They’re very cheap and easy to use and are an alternative to weights. Although if you are used to weights, they may not be so effective for you. And a small dumbbell set with a barbell would be a better option. A simple bench, for chest presses and dumbbell rows, as well some ab exercises may be something to consider, again these are relatively affordable to purchase.
For core exercises, you’ll want an exercise mat and an ab roller. An ab roller is one of the best pieces of gear you can buy to work your abdominals. They work by forcing your core muscles to stabilize and stretch simultaneously, they’re challenging to use, but they work.
TRX. AKA Total resistance training is known as suspension training. Using your body weight as the resistance, it improves core stability, balance and flexibility. TRX can be used both indoors and out, wherever you can find somewhere to fix it. If you are using it indoors, it can be fitted over a door frame provided they are strong enough.
It’s worth mentioning that great quality equipment can be purchased second hand from sites like eBay or in your local area. Quite often, exercise equipment is bought with good intentions and then rarely used, so you could find a bargain piece of kit in great condition if you have a look around.
Do you still feel the gym is good value for money?
The financial benefits of working out from home are pretty clear. In just a few months of paying for a gym membership, you could kit out your home with all you need. Most equipment, if looked after, will last a long time so the savings will compound. You may even find you work out more, and if not, with all those savings, you could hire a personal trainer to get you motivated and to give you a solid plan to follow. This could be the kickstart you need to take your fitness to the next level. At the same time, you were giving your bank account a welcome boost at the same time.