Your first decision may be whether you want to be working out at home vs. the gym. There are pros and cons to both, and you must figure out which best suits your needs. Know that you can become just as fit working out at home as you can at a gym. If you choose to work out at home, you may even decide to create your own home gym. In this post I am going to discuss the following to help you make your decision:
- Will the social aspects of a gym help or hinder you?
- Do you want to use body weight, free weights, or machines?
- Are you concerned about catching an illness at the gym?
- What time of day works best for you?
- Is money or transportation to a gym a factor?
The social aspect – Do you enjoy being around other people?
I am an introvert, but even I find going to the gym works really well for me. Probably the biggest reason is because I can get easily distracted at hom
e. I will find some household chore that just needs to be done. Even when my son was young, having him in the gym’s daycare for a bit was great. I loved having some “me” time with other adults for a little while. During the pandemic, my gym has been closed and my workout consistency has really suffered. I can’t say I am really social at the gym, but I am competitive, I learn from others, and like to have trainers around that can answer questions. I can motivate myself at the gym with little things like being on the list of folks that use the gym the most.
There are aspects of working out at home I do like. The convenience and the price can’t be beat. I have a fitbit, and every hour it vibrates to tell me to take 250 steps. There are spots in my house set up for me that I do an exercise every time I walk by. Okay let’s be honest, not every time. A fitbit can also help me to be social and competitive with others using its app. I do have free weights and some other equipment that I tend to use at night.
This is the fitbit I am currently using. I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on fitness trackers and if it helps to motivate them.
Body Weight, Free Weights, or Machines – What is your style?
All 3 of these have their pros and cons. The biggest factor here is that if you want to use machines, you either have to join a gym, have room in your house and the money to buy machines, or have a really nice friend that shares. 🙂
Let’s look at using your body weight first. As I said in the Benefits of Strength Training post, Teresa Tapp was in incredible shape and she did not use any weights. More proof is all the military personnel that get in great shape doing calisthenics. There is more we can cover about body weight training, but just know that you can get into great shape without using weights.
I happen to love free weights. One of the reasons is that I like thinking about what muscles I am working. While doing my reps, I find it calming to focus on those muscles and my breath. Another reason I like free weights is that the strong side of your body can’t compensate for your weaker side. Many people like machines because they don’t have to think as much about which muscles are being worked and how to prevent injuries. If you are interested in knowing the names of your muscles, I highly recommend the books by Delavier. A benefit of knowing muscle names is that you are better able to communicate with personal trainers and other strength training enthusiasts.
The books below by Delavier are specific to women.
Health Concerns – Following Pandemic Protocols
Sad to say but even though gyms are opening up in my area at the moment, they are closed in other parts of the US. Our way of life has changed and will probably remain changed until there is an effective vaccine for COVID-19. For many, catching something contagious at a gym has always been a concern and is a factor on whether to join a gym or not.
What Time of Day – Are you squeezing in a workout during lunch?
There was a time in my life when I squeezed in a workout at lunch. The very lucky have gyms at their place of work, which may make their decision of where to workout easier. At this point in my life, I have learned that working out first thing in the morning is the best way for me to get in consistent workouts. Many women find going to the gym on their way home from work suits their lifestyle the best. What time of day suits you? Does that affect whether you want to workout at home or at the gym?
Money and Transportation – What is your budget like?
Maybe this consideration should have been first. Many women make the home vs. gym decision based on their budget or how they will get to the gym. Not everyone has the money to join a gym, although places like Planet Fitness are making it pretty affordable. I personally have not found one of the real inexpensive gyms that meets my needs. I suggest you talk to people, read reviews online, walk through the gym, and do a free trial before signing a contract. Especially walk through on a hot day. I found that the two inexpensive gyms in town had no air conditioning which is unacceptable for me. I also have really bad seasonal allergies and didn’t want windows cranked open.
That leaves how will you get to the gym. Is there a gym local to you? Do you have transportation to get there easily and in a timely manner? Are you willing to spend the money either on gas or public transportation?
What is your decision? Home or Gym Membership?
There are many considerations in choosing whether to work out at home or at a gym. Asking yourself the questions presented here should help you make this first step toward your strength training journey. Don’t fret too much on this decision. What is right for now may change in the future. The big goal here is to get you started. You can do it!
Wishing you a fabulous fitness journey,
Founder of Strength Training For Women