Are Home Gyms Effective? What Should You Consider
There are many advantages to having a home gym. Are there any downsides? Let's explore how to maximize the efforts and benefits of a home gym.
I've had a home gym for as long as I can remember, and it's served me well. But does it make sense for everyone?
Some immediate things to consider:
- You will no longer have an excuse not to go to the gym.
- You can work out whenever you like, even if it's only for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Fitting in more workouts without having to factor in travel time is a godsend.
- You will have complete privacy and can play your own music as loud as you like or watch TV.
Since having a home gym, I have gotten more out of my workouts, and they don’t inconvenience my life.
I can get in a workout before getting on with my day. I have a massive speaker system that I play music from, and I move around in a space that is designed with my needs in mind.
On the other hand, I have friends who have home gyms, and they sit collecting dust. Maybe that's what you're worried about.
Or, they have a piece of home gym equipment that serves as nothing more than an expensive coat hanger!
I believe the key is ensuring that your home gym is optimal and making sure that it is somewhere that you want to spend time in.
Your Home Gym Space is Critical
Perhaps the most important factor in determining how much you will use your gym is whether it's a nice place to work out.
Many people make the mistake of putting a home gym in their garage -- or worse, somewhere with poor lighting and lots of clutter.
Often, no thought goes into the surroundings of the equipment.
Your home gym should be somewhere that you want to spend time in.
For example, perhaps you have a spare room you can utilize instead of a garage. Remove any clutter and dedicate the room to working out.
Consider how much light the room gets and whether you need to buy extra lighting. Studies show that exercising in well-lit places improves your mood. If you are happy in your exercise space, then you are more likely to keep coming back to it.
Your home gym should be a motivating space.
One crucial factor in this is the color. Yes, that's really a thing!
What color you choose should depend on what motivates you.
You may prefer a relaxing space with neutral colors, or you may prefer an energetic and bold color like green or orange.
I prefer to keep everything off-white, as I find that this maximizes light and makes me feel awake and energized. Additionally, you can add pictures on the wall or inspirational quotes.
Mirrors also help a ton. Gyms often have mirrors so that you can check in with yourself and make sure you have proper technique, or more realistically, for vanity's sake.
Having a home gym gives you the perfect opportunity to take your time and perfect your technique in privacy.
A fit-friendly gym flooring that will allow you to move about freely and work out is also a good option.
The great thing about a home gym is that all the sweat will be your own. So, having a floor that you can comfortably stretch out on will have enormous benefits. Plus, the obvious benefit is to protect your floor from dropping weights.
Which Home Gym Equipment is Best?
Now you have designed a space that you want to be in, and you need to decide what equipment you are going to invest in.
On the other hand, if you prefer strength training, then you can invest in a whole range of portable equipment, such as adjustable dumbbells and resistance bands, as well as free weight stations, including adjustable benches or power racks for barbells.
Whatever your routine at the gym, try to replicate it at home. That way, you will be confident using your home gym, and you are more likely to want to use it.
Home Gym Entertainment
For me, the very best thing about having a home gym is being able to control my entertainment.
I have a big TV mounted on the wall so that I can watch what I want to while I work out. For me, it is usually news.
I also have a high-quality speaker system, which allows me to play music loudly and jam out while I work out. Just make sure you're not irritating any of your neighbors!
Of course, there are endless options with home gym entertainment options. You can run a Sonos speaker system throughout your house and stream in your workout room. You can mirror your phone directly to your TV.
But entertainment might also mean not having any distractions at all for you. Use a diffuser to build a calm space for your home yoga workout.
It's your home gym -- the possibilities are endless.
Home Gym Advantages
There are countless reasons why a home gym is a great thing.
- No commute: Often, the journey to the gym can be the biggest demotivator. Especially when it is cold or wet outside, having a home gym will remove this burden and free up your time to spend longer in the gym or more time with friends and family.
- Open 24/7: You can go at any time, it could be 3 am on Christmas Day morning, and you can still work out if you want to, giving you ultimate freedom.
- No waiting: You will not need to wait for equipment or be distracted by other people. I would often try and avoid the busiest times of the gym, such as after work, which would mean that I would go home first, and then I wouldn’t want to go back out. Having your own space is everything.
- Your rules: Blast music, watch a horror film, and invite friends over -- it's your space!
- Make it yours: Have the equipment and space that is right for you.
- Fewer germs: You will no longer have to deal with other people’s sweat and germs. I often felt dirty when I returned from the gym, and not only because of my sweat. It is refreshing to have a space that is your own. How about locker room floors? Gross.
- Go wild: No one is around to judge you, so jump about, sing at the top of your lungs, spin in circles, and buy a pogo stick!
- Perfect your workout: You can buy all the right equipment and take your time perfecting your techniques. Grunt all you want.
Home Gym Disadvantages
Although I have found my home gym to be a wonderful thing, it's not for everyone.
Some people need the environment of a gym with other people working around them to keep them motivated. Here are some disadvantages which you may want to consider before investing in a home gym.
- Social interactions: You will miss out on the social aspect of the gym. Depending on your age, it could be a big deal to see your friends.
- Motivation: Having other people around you working out might make you strive to keep going. For me, I found that I am more motivated in my own space, but this may not be the case for everyone.
- Cost: The upfront cost can be high. However, you can start small and build it up slowly. You will save on gym membership costs, and if there is anything that you don’t use, you can always sell it.
- Changing habit: It can be hard to come home and work out if you are not used to it. When you walk through the door, your brain might be telling you to sit down and chill. It might take some time to rewire your brain and change your habits.
- The space: You will need to take up some space in your house that could be used for something else. It's completely worth it as long as you use it!
- No pool: Many gyms come with a pool and sauna, which you will be unlikely to recreate in your own gym. If this is something you use a lot and enjoy, then a home gym might not be for you.
Having a home gym isn’t for everyone. However, for some people like me, it is a fantastic way to take your workout routine to the next level. It could encourage you to work out more and to a higher quality.
Choosing to have your own home gym is a big commitment, and you may need to consider what motivates you and how you best like to work out, and whether you can recreate those things at home.
Additionally, it is essential to think about your space, and you need to make it somewhere that you want to be.
Shoving a treadmill in your garage that is surrounded by clutter is probably not a motivating space. Do your best with the space you have got, and make sure you have a clean and targeted space for your workouts.
Take advantage of having your own space by making it your own, have a source of entertainment, and tailor your work out to your needs.
Tony Lee, MS, RD
Tony Lee, RD, MS, is a highly qualified and accomplished Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Nutrition Sciences from Arizona State University. Tony brings over two decades of experience in dietetics, specializing in sports nutrition. Interests include studying all aspects of wellness, fitness, genetics, and peak health performance.