Home gyms and actual gyms: Which gives the better experience these days?

May 17, 2021 — by Benjamin Li

Graphic courtesy ofThe Strategist

With the arrival of vaccines, home gym owners have to decide between continuing to work out at home or returning to actual gyms.

Since the beginning of quarantine, many people have set up home gyms as a method of maintaining consistent exercise routines during the pandemic. However, now that vaccines are being distributed and gyms are reopening, the question remains: Is the convenience of a home gym better than the intense atmosphere that an actual one can provide?

According to eBay sales data, dumbbell sales saw an almost 2,000 percent increase since the start of the pandemic. As a member of this wave of enthusiastic quarantine home gym seekers, I bought a set of adjustable dumbbells. Right away, I began working out more often as the presence of the dumbbells in my living room became a daily motivation. This led to more progress in the muscle groups I had been training, which was a helpful mental boost in the draining period of social distancing.

Another aspect of the home gym that makes it superior to an actual one is the accessibility. Not only does a home gym make social distancing easy, but it also eliminates travel time between the gym and home. Without having to account for transportation time, I was able to work out much more frequently with more flexible hours. 

All of this isn’t to say that an actual gym can provide motivation to work out either. Still, one of the biggest drawbacks of gyms closing was not being able to interact with other people during workouts and gain motivation for the vibe. 

A workout buddy is especially useful in keeping a consistent exercise routine. When I went to an in-person gym, working out with a friend not only encouraged me to go more consistently, but also made the workout itself more enjoyable.

In addition, an actual gym provides you with a multitude of machines that a simple home gym doesn’t have room for. Everytime I went to a subscription gym, I would try out a new machine to target various muscle groups, such as the cable machines for triceps which helped develop muscle mass. 

While home gyms offer heightened accessibility and a sense of privacy, actual gyms also come with many tempting benefits including a better atmosphere for focus and greater access to impressive machines. 

Both approaches have their benefits and drawbacks, but the type of gym you should seek out depends on your workout style and personality. A home gym is better suited to those with a flexible schedule as well as those content to work out alone.

An actual gym is a better fit for those who want to push their limits using the technology offered only at that location and do so with a friend or as part of a motivated group. However, no matter which route you choose, your own effort is the only way you’ll ever see progress toward your goals.

For myself, I have chosen to mainly remain working out at home. In doing so, I’ve discovered different exercises with what I have that substitute for gym equipment and am constantly helping friends that want to begin their own workout routines. My home gym is small but satisfactory.

Even with my home gym, I still make time to go to sometimes go to Elite Spartans in San Jose with a friend. Together, we can push each other and reach new limits, enjoying each other’s company as we do so.


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