Darpan Fitness: Do I Need a Gym Membership?
By Paul Gill
I get asked this question on a regular basis, “Is it worth buying a gym membership or should I just exercise at home?” This may seem like a simple question but in reality, it can be very complex. I will let you know what I think but first we must discuss the benefits/setbacks of each option to see what’s right for you.
Pros for the gym:
• Typically a large shiny facility with thousands of square feet dedicated to health and fitness
• Talk and mingle with others in the same boat and share information
• Numerous pieces of equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars at your disposal
• Knowledgeable staff present to assist you in operating equipment properly and efficiently
• Classes available (Yoga, Crossfit, Body Pump) by certified instructors
Cons for the gym:
• Gym fees are due regardless if you go
• Minimum 30 days cancellation notice required with high probability they will continue to charge even after cancellation
• Gym hours may not work with your schedule
• Travel time required
• Potential crowding at peak times such as 5 to 8 pm
Pros for training at home:
• Train anytime – no restrictions or hours to deal with
• No travel required
• Don’t have to deal with gym rats
• Nobody checking you out while you’re doing your thing
• Pick your own music
Cons for training at home
• Too many distractions at home like phones, TV, laptops, books, etc.
• Good equipment is very, very expensive
• Limited space available for equipment
• No one watching you perform your exercises
• No one available to point out mistakes you may be making
All in all there is an argument for training at home as well as belonging to a gym but what’s right for one person may not be right for another. Only you can evaluate what is important/erroneous when it comes to training at home or at a gym.
What’s My Advice?
My advice to you is join a gym as soon as possible unless you are a seasoned veteran of exercising. If you are a beginner or novice, you need every advantage you can get your hands on to help steer you in the right direction. Being able to watch others perform exercises (provided they are doing it correctly) is invaluable and you can’t get that at home. For most individuals the group experience and the environment available at a gym helps push them in the right direction towards a healthier lifestyle and that is the ultimate goal of any gym.
Exercising at home is isolated and private, where your errors can mount since no outside observation is possible. In addition, the cost associated with advanced home gym equipment is astronomical. The difference between a real treadmill such as a professional series Life Fitness machine ($5,000) is very different then a lightweight machine you pick up at Sears for $999. To get superior results, it helps to have good equipment and a good support mechanism in place. In most cases you will more than likely find that at a professional gym. When it comes to signing up at a gym, follow Nike’s motto “Just Do It!”