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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To Gym or Not To Gym

Part of any healthy lifestyle requires exercise.  There are two choices on that front, which is whether to hit the gym or to exercise at home.  There are advantages to each, as well as disadvantages to each.  Obviously, everyone will list their own which may vary a bit from mine but theirs are wrong.

Alright, not really.  Everyone's got their own opinions and their own values by which to gauge things by.

So, without further ado...

The Gym


  • Equipment - Gyms are generally very well stocked with equipment.  Barbells, dumbbells, squat racks, smith machines, Nautilus, the whole shebang
  • Experts - A lot of gyms have trainers on staff and offer at least some level of free or reduced rates for personal training. If you're no sure what you're doing, this is a heck of an option.
  • Fellowship - Gyms have a lot of people there.  You can meet people there, and that in turn can help keep you motivated to go.


  •  Cost - Gyms can be expensive.  Even a relatively inexpensive one can cost hundreds of dollars a year.  If you're strapped for cash, this might not be the best choice.  Admittedly, there are options like the YMCA, but that's not as cheap as it used to be either.
  • Comfort - Sometimes, gyms are intimidating.  Even in the best of environments, you see people who are ultra-fit and feel uncomfortable, like you don't belong there.  You do.  After all, you paid your fee just like they did, but you're still feeling uncomfortable.  This is especially true for the ladies who also have the added problem of being concerned with the guys who look for women to pick up at the gym
  • Hierarchical nature - This somewhat goes along with the point above.  Gyms can seem to have a hierarchy when you first enter them.  This may or may not be true, but if you're in an unfamiliar environment, reality is perception.  Big musclebound guys can intimidate the hell out of the overweight guy who majored in getting wedgies back in high school, even if the musclebound guy is the nicest guy in the world.

Not to Gym


  • Cheap - If you're working out at home or in the park, you're not paying for squat.  I mean, what's not to love?
  • Covenient - If home is your gym, then you're always at the gym.  No driving to the gym, heading into a locker room to change clothes, and then after wasting a half hour you finally get to work out.  
  • Great for those looking after kids - If you're a stay at home parent watching after small children, then home is a great alternative to the gym.  Some gyms have day care service, which would make this one null and void...except that it's still you watching your kids


  • Safety - So, imagine you're working out and something happens?  At a gym, there's a staff that can help out, or at least call EMS.  However, at home?  No such luck.
  • Lack of variety - Unless you're rolling in the cash, you probably don't have a set-up at all as nice as your local Gold's.  That means you're going to have less variety which can lead to boredom.
  • Distractions - Your house has all your stuff in it.  That means there are tons of things that you can spend your time doing rather than working out (like writing a blog post <sheepish look>).
There are always ways to work around the disadvantages, or you can just ignore them.  It's really your call.

As I alluded to above, I've opted for working out at home.  I'm a starving writer, so I need to save money anywhere I can.  However, I'm not anti-gym by any means.  In fact, if money permits, I'll be joining a gym just to have the opportunity for the variety it affords.

Of course, if you opt to not join a gym but work out in the park, or run or bike in your neighborhood, some of these disadvantages aren't going to really apply.

So what did you choose and why?

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