Gym weight plates from a barbell in green, yellow, and blue.

When it comes to choosing the best work-out location, there’s no clear-cut answer. Your age, personality, budget, and location all play a part in determining where you should exercise. Here are four factors to consider before purchasing your own treadmill or signing a new gym contract.

Tempting Foods

Have you ever heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen?” If you’re working out to lose weight, you’ll need to pay attention to what you’re eating. At some gyms, that’s easier said than done. The Motley Fool points out Planet Fitness is one of the most popular gyms in the country — partially because its members love the free pizza the chain gives out. If your gym is giving away bagels, pizza, or ice cream whenever you’re there, don’t count on losing too much weight. Working out at home lets you control what you eat after your workout. You can blend a protein smoothie or prepare your favorite low carb snacks. Those are both better choices than chowing down on a bagel.

Pumping Iron

Strength-based training programs, like lifting weights or performing bodyweight exercises, are some of the most beneficial workout options. According to NBC News, building muscle improves mental health, self-esteem, and cognitive abilities. Focusing on building strength can also help you lose weight, build a leaner figure and tackle daily activities like carrying groceries or climbing stairs with more ease. If you’re committed to lifting weights, should you choose a home gym or head to the nearest fitness center? Gyms offer a range of equipment, including squat cages, benches, and barbells. You can also find a spotter to help you lift or even hire a personal trainer to teach your proper form. However, some gyms frown on serious weight-lifting and ban key exercises like deadlifts or clean-and-jerks. Most serious lifters either join a lifting-focused gym or build up a barbell collection at home.

Scheduling

When do you plan to work out? Most commercial gyms have rush hours, where you’ll be forced to wait to use the treadmill or your favorite barbell. If you’re wanting to hit the gym right before or right after work, it’s going to be crowded. Plus, gyms get extra-crowded during January, when people scramble to keep up with their resolutions. With a home gym, you can avoid crowds and lines. You can also exercise any time the mood strikes you. However, if you live in an apartment or plan to pump iron in the garage, you’ll have to consider how your noise will affect others. Your downstairs neighbor doesn’t want to hear you jumping around at 3 in the morning.

Social Atmosphere

According to Scientific American, heading to the gym with a buddy makes you more likely to stick with your workout plan. Gyms offer lots of social benefits, including group classes, regular meetups with other exercisers and advice from staff and patrons on proper form. The atmosphere can turn negative, though, if you find a club where poor manners or poor form reign supreme. If you’re an introvert, you might prefer to exercise in the privacy of your own home, where you don’t have to interact with anyone.

It’s easier to cancel a gym membership than return a used weight-lifting bench. If you still can’t decide the best work-out location, why not try a gym for a few months? If you hate it, you can cancel your membership and create the ideal at-home gym. Whether you end up pumping iron at home or joining a running club at your local gym, remember: The most important thing you can do to ensure a successful work-out experience is to just keep going. Get a consistent routine, and you’ll meet your goals in no time.

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About The Author

Jade Pulman's picture

Jade is a full-time mother of three children she adores. She graduated with her bachelors degree in Family Studies and Nutrition and works hard to implement her learning into her family life. When not writing, you can find her in the outdoors or exploring museums and aquariums with her loving husband and children. 

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