Home gyms are finally receiving the attention they deserve as people discover the benefits they provide in comparison to large, crowded commercial gyms.
Thanks largely to improved designs and affordability, the home gym is a game changer for people of all fitness levels.
Let’s look at why it’s time to make the switch from costly, stale, corporate fitness pens to a customised, user-friendly home gym.
1. Do one workout, not two!
Every commercial gym is plagued by a pandemic called “Sudden Onset Of Laziness” or SOOL for short.
The symptoms of this mysterious condition include walking away from a fully loaded barbell without putting away the weights, leaving super-heavy dumbbells on the floor in the middle of the gym, and spreading medicine balls and other random equipment all over the place.
By the time you have unloaded someone else’s barbell and removed all the trip hazard dumbbells, you’ve already done a mini-workout thanks to other people’s selfishness. No amount of large, angry font signs like the one below will ever fix this common problem at your local gym.
2. Hygiene hijinks
Let’s be honest, everyone has a different definition of what “clean” is.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I have eagerly swaggered over to use an incline bench at my local gym, only to recoil in horror at the amount of sweat that the previous gym rat has left behind.
Inconsiderate gym members do not use a towel (because serious lifters apparently don’t worry about that kind of thing) and are not altruistic enough to use the anti-bacterial spray and paper towel provided by the gym when finished with a piece of equipment. Instead, they leave you a puddle of bodily fluid to deal with before starting your own workout.
Home gyms are easy to keep clean and hygienic, and hence a much smarter choice in terms of your personal health.
3. Mobile muscle factory
One of the most innovative advantages that home gym equipment has over commercial gyms is the portability factor.
Feel like getting out into nature on a beautiful sunny day AND doing a workout? With equipment like kettlebells, resistance bands and medicine balls at your disposal – you are free to head to a park or to the beach and have a cracking workout while getting a good dose of vitamin D from the sun (which is essential for strong bones and healthy teeth).
Generally, commercial gyms frown upon you trying to drag their bench press outside to get your pump on and get a tan at the same time. There’s some pesky legal thingy called theft inhibiting such practices.
4. Ambience vs Annoyance
This is where the home gym really comes into its own.
Any shift workers or gym users who work non-conventional hours will have experienced the “mum music hour” at their local gym.
Generally, cheesy pop music is painfully pumped out of the commercial gym’s sound system getting you about as amped up for a workout as ironing does. Sure, you could pop in your headphones, but given the volume of these sorry excuses for workout tunes, the lyrics will burrow into your head and start to derail your intended workout in no time.
When using your home gym, you can blast whatever tunes get you in the mood to smash your personal bests and crank out set after set!
5. Time to train
One of the most common excuses people use for not training regularly is that they are time poor.
This is exactly why a home gym is the perfect addition to your household – the convenience. You can literally walk to your gym in seconds and smash out an effective workout in as little as 15-20 minutes.
Having your home gym all to yourself also allows for the very effective and efficient training method of super-setting. At a commercial gym you will be fighting off the masses when running between equipment and it is impossible to secure several stations at once and keep your training momentum going.
With a home gym, you make the rules and you are the boss!
6. Chalk it up
Some of you twitching balls of muscle like to really push your limits and challenge your body to reach new heights in the gym.
Here’s a little secret though: most gyms don’t want you to do that as it adds to the wear and tear on their equipment. Ever noticed how most commercial gyms are full of shiny, cosmetic barbells that glisten in the fluorescent lights? This is because most gyms hate people using lifting chalk, which is essential for those big deadlifts and rack pulls.
They say it’s too messy. But it can be dangerous lifting big weights without chalk, as it’s common to drop a heavy weight due to loss of grip.
Use wrist straps you say?
Sure, if you don’t want to develop that all-important grip strength that is vital for so many other exercises! Using a home gym and your very own barbells, you are free to let the chalk fly and crush those big weights.
7. I thought working out was supposed to be fun!
The freedom your home gym allows you is yet another massive advantage it has over a commercial gym.
Do you ever feel like grabbing a pre-workout or BCAA shake during a workout?
Well with your home gym, you can do just that without having to rush around while doing it. Your weights will be waiting for you when you return, instead of being in the hands of some sneaky gym user who thought “You were done with them”.
We all lead busy lives these days, and god forbid you get an important phone call while working out. The home gym allows you take that call without losing your spot on the bench!
And for those of you with a penchant for social media, you can Facebook, Insta and Tweet your progress till your heart’s content without any dirty looks from people trying to hurry you up.
8. You’re doing it wrong
I still recall the day I walked into my local gym wanting to bench press only to find some newbie lying the wrong way on the bench, using very light dumbbells to do fly extensions.
As I stood there, perplexed as to why he wasn’t using one of the many adjustable benches that were vacant, I realised it was time to buy my own gym equipment.
No one wants to embarrass novice gym users or shame them out of the gym, as we are all there for the same thing – health, fitness and a ripped body. This is a major drawback to joining a commercial gym, the human traffic. Every gym user I know has experienced the disappointment of planning a specific training day i.e. legs/squats, only to rock up to the gym and see that people have harvested the squat bars and the racks for everything from core exercises to bent over rows.
It is truly deflating and forces you to train a different body part which throws out your training program.
Home gyms are ALWAYS ready for the workout YOU want to do!
9. Pocket pain
There is only ever a one-off cost with a home gym as opposed to never-ending periodical payments with a commercial gym membership.
As with anything you buy, you get what you pay for. By doing your research and asking those in the know, it is easy to pick up some quality home gym equipment these days at very reasonable prices.
Given that only you and your buddies will be using it, the wear and tear factor will be minimal. Plus, since you paid for it, you will no doubt treat it with the utmost care ensuring it will last for many years to come.
10. What are you looking at?
Some of us have been brave enough to finally tackle our bulging waistlines and improve our overall health by embarking on a fitness regime.
Sadly, there are some judgemental people out there who look down upon at the gym who don’t yet have that beach body. This type of behaviour can have damaging effects on a person’s confidence and motivation levels, and on occasion results in people cancelling their gym membership before seeing any real results from their hard work.
A home gym allows people to train at their own pace, without being judged by shallow, childish observers. A home gym also allows for you to add mirrors to check your technique, form and gauge your results in private.
11. It’s staring you in the face
Motivation is a fickle mistress and she deserts us on a regular basis for a number of reasons.
There is one major advantage to having a home gym versus a commercial gym membership which you can simply cancel over the phone. Every time you walk past your home gym you will remember why you bought it, what your goals are and that you made an investment in your health and wellbeing.
Guilt is a wonderful motivator and can sometimes be the catalyst we need to get back into training. Once we feel the endorphin rush at the end of a workout, it’s amazing how quickly the hunger for exercising comes flooding back.
12. Get creative
Your muscles wise up to regular training and even casual gym users will inevitably hit a training plateau.
The great thing about a home gym is that you are free to utilise your equipment in a variety of ways to shake things up and set new challenges for your body and mind.
For example, a single barbell and a few plates can be used for so many different exercises, as can a cable machine. A barbell allows for deadlifts, Olympic lifts, bent over rows, shoulder/military press, lat heaves, squats, bench press, core work and so much more.
In kind, a cable machine can be used in the same position for anything from lat pull downs to bicep crunches. You really are only limited by your imagination with a home gym and unlike a commercial gym, you won’t have people lining up impatiently behind you while you experiment with new exercises.
For new ideas, YouTube is your friend to freshen up your training regime.
13. Be selfish
I have certain exercises that I absolutely love and others that really don’t interest me (as is the case for most people).
For example, I love chin ups and dips. The problem I found with a lot of commercial gyms is that they buy power racks that combine a lot of different pieces of equipment into one multi-rack. This is problematic as other gym goers use these racks primarily for squatting or deadlifting.
With loaded bars in the way, it is very difficult for someone else to use any other pieces of the rack such as the chin up bar while the other person is resting between sets.
When you compare the yearly cost of a commercial gym membership to a one-off investment in your very own home gym, it’s clear that you can be very picky and deck out your gym with the specific equipment you want to use that suits your training program. And, unlike at a gym, if you decide to change your set-up you simply do it when and how YOU want to.
Home gym equipment is more affordable than ever so there’s no excuse to put off your health and fitness goals any longer. A home gym allows you to tailor your equipment set-up to meet your exact training needs.
14. A weight off your shoulders
A recent survey of gym users showed that many people hit the gym or undertake some form of exercise to reduce stress or “clear their head”.
The same gym users also reported that sometimes going to their crowded corporate gyms often had the opposite effect, due to the issues raised in the previous points. Physical exertion causes the brain to release “happy hormones” such as adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.
However, when human beings become agitated or stressed, the brain releases cortisol into the blood stream which is essentially a stress hormone. The home gym can become a hybrid exercise/relaxation space where you can achieve a solid workout AND calm the mind.
Think of it as a health Zen den!
It’s amazing the clarity one can achieve from a solo workout in the right environment. A workout “time-out” is regularly suggested by health professionals to combat ever-increasing levels of modern-day frustrations, depression and anxiety.
15. Share the love
One major benefit derived from owning a home gym is the ability to motivate your partner, friends or family to begin a training program if they don’t want to sign up for a costly, long-term gym membership.
A home gym is the best way to introduce others to the world of health and fitness.
This relaxed, friendly environment for novice exercise enthusiasts may be the perfect way to inspire people you care about to undertake regular exercise and promote a healthy lifestyle. A home gym also enables you to implement a training buddy arrangement to motivate each other on those days when you feel a little flat and not wanting to train.
We should all encourage each other to get fitter and healthier as regular exercise is scientifically proven to improve physical health, cognitive processes in the brain and have a positive impact on our moods.