Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Working Out At Home vs. The Gym

Working out on a daily, or almost daily, basis is important for health, fitness, energy, weight control, etc. Exercising is not the favorite activity of a lot of people. So, we all want to know that whatever it is we do will get us the results we want. No one wants to waste their time.

There are a million different programs, workouts, diets and gadgets. It's hard to know where to put your energy. One of the biggest choices is whether to join a gym or workout at home. There are pros and cons to each.

What about joining a gym? When you join a gym you pay a monthly membership fee for the privilege of using the gym. This can be a great advantage for many people. The gym has all kinds of weight training and cardio equipment. Often there are a wide range of classes offered at the gym that are included in your membership fee.

One of the challenges of joining a gym is figuring out what to do. When you set out on the fitness floor, what do you do first? What exercises should you do? How long should you be on the treadmill? How many times a week should you show up and for how long? It is definitely worth it to hire a personal trainer to help you if you're not sure of what to do. Just keep in mind that you will pay an extra fee for sessions with a trainer. Gyms can be crowded at certain times of day and classes may not fit your schedule.

What about working out at home? There's no membership fee, no commute, no crowds. There's also no fitness equipment unless you buy it. You are at a somewhat greater disadvantage in terms of figuring out what to do because you are starting from scratch. However, there are personal trainers who do house calls. You can have them come in and help you figure out what to include in your home gym and what to do. There are exercise videos for just about every style and level of exercise you can think of allowing you to build a custom library of exercise classes.

Possibly the biggest challenges of working out at home are finding space in your home and avoiding distractions. I would say that even if you have to move a coffee table or find a way to store your equipment out of the way between workouts there is almost always a way to find space. It might be a little cramped but, if you want to workout at home you can carve out the space for yourself. Avoiding distractions is difficult when you live with other people. However, if you can sit down your roommates or your family and agree to some ground rules about workout time, the distraction factor can be greatly reduced. If they decide to workout with you, your biggest distraction might turn into your biggest ally.

There are differences in the logistics and costs between working out at home vs. working out at the gym but, the real question remains: which will get you a better workout and better results? The truth is that you can get equally fit no matter where you workout. The key is to be consistent, and continue to educate yourself about exercise and fitness. Find an activity you like. Better yet, find a variety of activities you like. Make sure to include some form of weight training, cardio conditioning and flexibility work in your program. Make sure to challenge yourself during your workouts. Pushing yourself, not coasting, is what will get your results.

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