I distinctly remember telling the last gym I joined that the reason I was joining was because I needed to get out of the house. As a work-from-home, homeschooling mom, my life was very much confined to the space where my kids were. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I knew I would eventually go insane if I didn’t at least see another adult besides my husband at some point in the week, so, I joined the gym.
Fast forward through a few years and while I’m still a work-from-home, homeschooling mom, I’ve adapted to home workouts. In fact, in a lot of ways, I prefer working out at home. However, I know it’s not for everyone. If you’re trying to decide whether to go all in and buy that gym membership or invest in some home exercise equipment instead, take a look at the list of pros and cons I came up with to help you. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about where you feel most comfortable. Because if you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to get in a good workout (or possibly any workout!).
Working Out at Home: Pros
Even without any exercise equipment at all you can still get in a great body weight exercise routine. Planks, crunches, jumping jacks, squats, burpees – they all have your at home workout name written all over them.
The Ibuprofen is Close By
Ha! This isn’t really a reason, well, it kind of is, but it was the first thing that came to mind (and made me snort laugh to myself) after I typed squats and burpees, so there you go.
There’s No Dress Code
Want to workout in the nude? Who are we to judge! Want to do yoga in your pajamas before you brush your teeth? Go for it! Wear what you want, friends, because there’s no fashion police in your house. Thank goodness.
You Can Exercise As Soon As You Roll Out of Bed
Really, you can be in plank position in 5 seconds flat after you wake up. No need to budget in travel time to and from the gym before you have to begin the morning routine of getting ready for work or getting the kids going for the day. You can get a workout in, get showered and dressed, and still have time for a cup of coffee before anyone else wakes up. Unless you have an infant.
You Don’t Have to Worry About Looking Like a Hot Mess
I once had a friend tell me that she only did the recumbent bike and bicep curls at the gym, because everything else made her sweat too much and she didn’t want to look sweaty in front of other people. O.o Isn’t that why you workout? To sweat and work your body? At home, you can be dripping so much sweat that it looks like you just got out of the swimming pool and no one is going to care one iota…especially not you. Friends, you have to workout where you feel comfortable. And, contrary to some people’s beliefs, it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable at the gym.
You Can Learn the Routine Slowly
I’m not really an exercise class fan, because it takes me a couple of times of doing the same routine to really feel like I can do it without tripping over myself. When I workout at home, I can pause and rewind or just keep going and figure it out depending on how much time (and patience) I have. At home, the only people who know the routine better than you do are the ones on the DVD or streaming video (and they can’t see you!).
You Can Buy Your Own Equipment for Less Than a Gym Membership
The Only One You’re Competing With Is Yourself
And possibly the character on Wii Fit if you’re doing that…or those mad skilled dancers on Just Dance 2016. If you’re intrinsically motivated to exercise (which is ideal!), working out at home eliminates the distractions of other people working out. It’s just you and your routine.
Working Out at Home: Cons
You’re Home. Again.
Like I mentioned earlier, for me, the gym was a chance and a great excuse to get out of the house without the kids. It was my break time. And sometimes, you really, really need that.
There’s Limited Space
Although you can definitely work out in a small space (I work out mostly in my low-ceiling basement), it can be challenging if you don’t have a lot of room.
There’s No Fancy Schmancy Treadmills or Ellipticals
Sure, some people have gym-quality treadmills and ellipticals in their home gyms, but most of us don’t. We either don’t have that equipment at all, or it’s lower quality which may end up hurting our knees or legs.
What Weight Machines?
Again, most of us don’t have weight machines that isolate specific muscles for us to work. If you really prefer using resistance machines, working out at home might be a real letdown.
You May Have an Audience
I remember the first time I tried a new workout routine after not having exercised for awhile. I quite literally thought I was going to die. Thankfully (said totally tongue in cheek), I had a small audience staring at me while I was working out. I was waiting for my daughter (who was seven) and the two cats to break out the popcorn and enjoy the show for how intently they were watching me wheeze and stumble. “Mommy’s exercising,” I muttered, trying to get them to leave me to my own personal hell. “I know, but it’s funny to watch,” she replied innocently. I gave her the mommy stink-eye.
Look, the truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if you workout at home or at the gym. What matters is that you work out. I don’t care if you’re doing squats in the laundry room or at the copier at work. It doesn’t matter if you do jumping jacks at the bus stop (although your kids may die of embarrassment) or calf raises in line at the grocery store. Just move.
And if you’re now thinking that exercising at the gym is looking to be a better option, check out next week’s article about pros and cons for working out at the gym. Just be sure to dress in proper workout attire. 😉