At Home Workout Vs The Gym

Being an online, on-demand, at-home fitness platform, you’d think we would avoid this question. But actually, there’s pros and cons to both choices, and we’re more than happy to talk diplomatically about them!

Granted, trying to replicate the atmosphere of a gym while working out in your living room is difficult. There’s no distant sound of heavy weights clanging about or treadmills speeding up. No fellow sweaty gym-goers passing by or moody lighting to make you look all cool and trendy in the mirrors (unless you own a disco ball perhaps!?). BUT, pop on some of your own epic tunes, move a bit of furniture aside, put your favourite workout on to follow and voila – you have your very own home gym albeit a more tame version.

To do a decent and effective workout, you don’t need a gyms-worth of space. Plus there’s so much you can purchase now in terms of small, versatile equipment. It means that creating a full-body workout, minus the big machines, has never been easier. But can working out at home be just as good as going to a gym? Let’s have a look into both options.

It’s cheaper to work out at home

Saving on a fancy gym membership is economical for our bank account and our carbon footprint – unless you can walk to the gym of course. Depending on which gym you sign up to, what kind of membership you go for and how far away you live in relation, there’s a lot of savings to be had. Gyms are definitely more expensive than running/walking outdoors (unless you live on a toll road?) and on a whole, they tend to be more expensive than online memberships – but then again, that may depend on which online company you go with (wink wink, nudge nudge).

More gym – more germs!

Let’s be honest, you can not guarantee that every single person using the free weights or pressing the buttons on the cross-trainer, for example, has clean hands. You just can’t. And unfortunately, germs can live on metal surfaces for up to 5 days, on plastic for up to 3 days and on fabric for a number of hours. Even though most gyms provide sprays and paper towels to wipe down the machinery and equipment, many people simply do not do it or honestly forget to.

The gym can be social and motivating

There’s something to be said for the high energy hustle and bustle of a gym. Seeing your fellow gym-goers working hard can be very motivating and thus an encouraging environment to exercise in. Health and fitness should be an enjoyable aspect of life so if the vibe at the gym is friendly and positive, it could make it easier to commit. Linking exercise to social behaviours has also been shown to boost peoples self-confidence. Another good example of this would be joining a running or walking group.


What about the other gym-goers?

Alternatively, being around others during a workout can feel intimidating. We’ve all been there. We walk into the gym feeling pretty confident, ready to go and full of energy. Then suddenly we get all self-conscious. Am I using this machine right? Does this outfit look silly? Is that person looking at me weird? We try not to let it bother us but sometimes it’s difficult to shake that feeling. Little do we know that probably 90% of people who use a gym feel the exact same way! Exercising at home pretty much eliminates this issue, allowing the freedom to just focus on the workout and nothing more.

There’s no waiting around to use the machines that are always busy

“I’ll just do a quick 45-minute session”…… 2 hours later and you’re still at the gym waiting for that one last machine to use so that you can finish. What’s even worse is it’s during peak times so the traffic home will be a nightmare too! This is not a problem if you’re working out at home. You don’t have to share your space, your device or your equipment, and you’re already where you need to be once you’ve finished! The only challenge may be ensuring that the rest of the household is OK with that!

Gyms have on-site staff to help you and personal training

With the exception of very late night/ early morning shifts (if it’s a 24-hour establishment) most gyms will have staff on-site to assist you. This can be incredibly helpful when it comes to using machinery and equipment correctly, or if you have a question about form and technique. But unless you’re willing to book it in and pay the going PT rates (which on average tend to fall anywhere between £30-£60 per hour), on-site gym staff can’t really act as your personal trainers during a gym session. If it’s affordable, however, having a PT can be brilliant. The guidance can be very valuable as well as helping to improve accountability of your fitness goals.

Are there fewer distractions at the gym?

There are plenty of distractions to take us away from exercising. There’s the phone, the family, the housemates, the TV, the doorbell, other people in the house, other people at the gym. The list is pretty long, but it would appear that exercising at the gym eliminates a fair few of these distractions. Even so, mobile phones are undeniably the biggest distraction of all. It’s perhaps one of the more difficult aspects of working out – wherever you choose to do it – especially if you have a tough time tearing yourself away from the screen! For most, the phone goes everywhere these days, and so perhaps this is something to consider for both options!

Communal showers vs your own bathroom

Effortlessly gliding straight into your own shower post-exercise has to be one of the best perks of already being at home, no? Apart from using the gyms shower gel and shampoo, the whole hygiene, privacy and comfort of using your own facilities must rank highly when choosing to exercise at home. Not to mention the fact that you don’t have to pack a towel, facewash, hair comb and all other appropriate accoutrement needed for a post sweaty workout wash!

In Summery

It’s fair to say that using both a gym and doing a home workout offers time to focus on yourself (despite the distractions!). That is the main objective when working out, and it’s somewhat of a sacred time for many. So as long as you’re content with the choice, you enjoy the time, and you’re able to get the most out of it, that’s all that matters!

Using a gym allows you to interact more with others. There are staff, other gym-goers and normally a lot of written instruction on the walls on how to use the equipment. It just depends on whether or not being around others during exercise is your cup of tea. And if you don’t use a Personal Trainer, you’re happy to go it alone and create a workout for yourself.

Access to instructor-lead home-workouts has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, specifically as the internet has grown so much and people are able to share content, tips and tricks so easily via several different platforms. The key is to make sure that whatever and whoever you sign up to is valid and taught professionally, so you can get the best advice and instruction. That’s why at InstructorLive we’re always happy to learn about your needs, so we can plan for future programmes and be as inclusive as possible with the choices we offer. If you ever need personalised support or advice jump on our Ask Austin feature or email