TOPIC: Which Is More Beneficial: Training At Home Or Training In The Gym?

The Question: Many people enjoy the privacy of training in their own home gym. There is no wait to use a machine and they can play whatever music they want- and it's open 24/7. But some enjoy the social atmosphere and variety at a gym.

What is better, working out at the gym or at home?

What are some of the favorable and unfavorable reasons to workout at the gym?

What are some of the favorable and unfavorable reasons to workout at home?

Where do you get better results? At the local gym or at your house?

BONUS QUESTION: If you were to create your own home gym, what would it consist of and why?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

1. hepennypacker52 View Profile

2. bigcalves View Profile

3. ravadongon View Profile

3. bluehazard (tie) View Profile

3. TheMind (tie) View Profile Prizes:

To use your credit, e-mail Will @ will@bodybuilding.com for more info.

1st Place - hepennypacker52

Gym, or Home Gym : That is the Question?

Foreword:

Before we start things off, keep in mind that an advantage for a gym would equate to a disadvantage for a home gym, and vice versa. I didn't type anything twice, because it would be a waste of space. So when you see an advantage for a home gym is privacy, know that a disadvantage of a commercial gym is no privacy.

One of the problems that puts many new or experienced bodybuilders into a bind, is the decision on whether they want to purchase a membership to a gym, or invest in equipment to create their own home gym. Each choice offers its advantages, and each has it's own disadvantages.

One thing that you have to consider first, is what kind of bodybuilder you are dealing with. The decision of a novice bodybuilder would be different than the decision of a experienced and dedicated bodybuilder, maybe. While something would seem more practical, different people prefer different things. For the following genres of bodybuilders, we're going to take a look at the practical advantages and disadvantages of choosing to workout at a gym or at home.

First, we are going to take a look at the general advantages/disadvantages of working out at a gym, or at home. These pros and cons apply for any type of lifter, with any experience.

General Advantages Of Working Out At A Gym

  • Atmosphere. You are in the lifting atmosphere, and this motivates you to lift. You see others around you, and you give it your all on every set so when people watch you, they say, "wow, this guy's an animal."

  • Equipment. You're not going to want to spend $100,000 on expensive gym equipment; gyms have it all for you. Whether you want a plethora of cables, or a hip abductor machine, the gym is going to have it. This greatly expands the list of exercise options you have when designing a workout program.

  • Spotters. There's always people at the gym, and if you ever need a spot, there will always be someone to ask. This is crucial for maintaining proper safety while lifting. A 300lb bar crashing on your neck is no good.

  • Dumbbells. This could go under equipment, but I look at it as a different category, because it's huge. It is much too expensive to buy your own set of dumbbells ranging from 5-150lbs.

    This is another huge advantage for working out at a gym. Dumbbells give greater range of motion, and are more flexible to your body mechanics.

  • Price. In the beginning, it is much cheaper to get a membership to a gym for a year than it is to buy enough equipment to have your own reasonable home gym.

  • Conveniences. Gyms offer things like protein shakes, towels, day care, tanning, massaging, and steam rooms. These aren't all necessary things, but they do make the lifting experience more comfortable for some bodybuilders.

General Disadvantages Of Working Out At A Gym

  • Distractions. You go to the gym to workout, not to chat with other members. Gyms can be too distracting for many people, whether it be their workout pals or fitness chicks, socialization in the gym takes away from your workout.

  • Lack Of Freedom. You can't just do whatever you want in a gym, things that you would do at home that would embarrass you, like screaming or grunting. You also can't sprawl across the middle of the gym floor after a set of squats.

  • Waiting In Line. A lot of gyms get extremely crowded during certain days and times, and those days and times may be the only day and time that you can get to the gym. If you're doing a fatigue related workout with short rest periods, this becomes impossible when there's a line to use the squat rack.

  • Location. Sometimes, the closest gym to you, won't be that close. It becomes very inconvenient to drive 30 minutes away to get to the gym. This might even stop some bodybuilders from doing their workouts because they don't feel like driving 30 minutes to workout.

  • Hygiene. For the most part, gyms are pretty clean. But I'm sure that you wouldn't like to walk over to the bench to find a nice little puddle of sweat where your head is supposed to go, thanks to the 300lb man trying to get in shape.

    Now that we got the general advantages/disadvantages of a gym, let's take a look at the general advantages/disadvantages of a home gym.

General Advantages Of Working Out At A Home Gym

  • Your Own Personal Sanctuary. There is nothing like having your own gym, where there's no lines, no socialization, and nothing to hide. This is your domain. You can play your own music, curse as loud as you want, and even cry if needed so.
  • No Membership Fees. Your home gym is your home gym, there's no monthy membership fee. You can even charge your friends a small fee to come over and workout in a line-free gym.
  • Less Confusion. Bodybuilders working out at a gym will sometimes get too wrapped up in all of the different weird machines and cables that they will forget about what adds slabs of muscle the best, free weights. When you workout at home, your gym is compromised mainly of free weights, so you are almost forced to use them. Which is a good thing.
  • Gym Hours Are 24/7/365. Your gym is open every single day of the year, and that means you can workout on whatever day you have time. Gym closings for holidays and renovations can be inconvenient, and can throw you off schedule. Being able to workout whenever you want opens up your schedule, and this is especially helpful to those with busy lives.

General Disadvantages Of Working Out At A Home Gym

  • Equipment Costs. This is the most obvious disadvantage to starting a home gym. It can be very expensive to set up a nice home gym, but the investment may be worth it.

  • Lack Of A Spotter. This is a disadvantage only until you take advantage of it. Having no spotter can be very dangerous; being trapped under a heavy bar is deadly, literally. All you need to fix this problem is to find a training partner or spotter (friend or family), or invest in a power rack. Power racks have pins in them set at proper heights so that if you drop or lose control of the weight, it falls on the pins, not your neck.

  • Motivation. It can be very de-motivating to have lonely workouts all of the time. There's nobody there to push you to get that extra rep, and nobody to tell you to screw the 5lb increase, make it 15. This problem can be simply solved by finding a dedicated training partner.

A Look Back

For a commercial gym, we have 6 advantages, but 5 disadvantages. A home gym only has 3 disadvantages, and they can all be fixed. It is clear here, that choosing a home gym is generally the better option, and is worth the investment. There are just too many disadvantages to working out at a gym.

Now that that's covered, it's time to get more specific. Like I said earlier, the advantages/disadvantages of a novice bodybuilder and an experienced bodybuilder are going to be different.

We're going to take a look at these different advantages/disadvantages, and pull out what choice is better suited for that type of lifter. Whatever advantages and disadvantages on these lists will already be in addition to the general advantages/disadvantages, they will just be more specific.

The Novice Bodybuilder

The novice bodybuilder is the lifter who has maybe heard good things from his friends, or has picked up an issue of Muscle & Fitness out of curiosity. They like what they've heard and read, so they are going to give weight lifting a try.

The thing they don't know, is if they're going to like it or not. They could enjoy it for the first 3 weeks, and then lose total interest and stop. They could love it, and never stop. There are different cases for each novice, but the general advantages and disadvantages remain the same. Let's take a look at them:

Gym Advantages

  • No Attachment. After your initial 3 or so months of your membership is up, you can either stop going to the gym, or re-new your membership. This is a huge advantage for the novice. If they decide that bodybuilding isn't for them, they can just stop.
  • Personal Training. The novice is going to have no idea what to do, and a personal trainer would be perfect in this situation. Granted the novice could read some book and teach himself, having a personal trainer can be much easier and safer.
  • Atmosphere. The novice lifter may love the whole gym atmosphere, everybody there working to get a better body. This could motivate the novice to want to lift harder and become more dedicated.

Gym Disadvantages

  • Bad Influences. When you go to the gym, there's always people there demonstrating terrible form, and using their ego to lift. This can be a bad influence to the novice, because they don't know what's right and what's wrong yet. They could try and emulate this people and end up hurting themselves.
  • Intimidation. If a novice lifter is weak and out of shape, it can be very intimidation for them to enter an environment where most of the people are much bigger and stronger than them. This can make the novice want to quit, because he doesn't want to make himself look like a fool lifting such light weights.

Home Gym Advantages

  • None. Besides no bad influences and no feelings of intimidation, there are no big advantages for a novice to spend a lot of money on a home gym that they may not even use for longer than 2 months.

Home Gym Disadvantages

  • Cost. It will be bad for the novice if they spend a few hundred dollars buying a home gym that they will end up only using for 2 months.
  • Confusion. When you're at your home gym, it's just you and the weights. No personal trainer is there to tell you what to do and how to do it, you have to learn things for yourself. This can sometimes be a struggle for beginners, and can discourage them and make them want to quit.

The Fate Of The Novice

Once they become more dedicated and know they are going to stick with it, then they have the option of investing in a home gym.

The Advanced Bodybuilder

The advanced bodybuilder is one who has been lifting for about a year or longer, and knows that there is no stopping soon. He knows what he is doing, and his diet and training are spot on. Let's take a look at the advantages and disadvantages for this type of lifter.

Gym Advantages

  • Use Of Equipment. This goes a bit further than in the general advantages. The advanced lifter will need plenty of different exercises to make sure he doesn't hit a plateau fast, and the wide variety ensures that the lifter will have multiple exercises to choose from.
  • Motivation. Seeing a hardcore lifter that is a little stronger than you can motivate you to push it even more during your workouts so that you can catch up to them and be the top dog of the gym.

Gym Disadvantages

  • Cost. This is the biggest disadvantage, and is a killer. You're probably going to have to spend a few hundred dollars a year on gym membership fees, and it adds up.
  • More Distractions. When people see you lifting that heavy weight, you're going to always get a bunch of beginners coming up to you during your set asking you how you got that strong. The last thing you need to focus on during a set is what some punk beginner is saying, you need to concentrate on the set.

Home Gym Advantages

  • Cost. This was mentioned as a gym disadvantage, but can further be emphasized. In the long run, it is going to be more cost-effective to purchase the equipment for a home gym.

Home Gym Disadvantages

  • None. There are no major disadvantages for the advanced lifter owning a home gym.

The Fate Of The Advanced Bodybuilder

So You Wanna Go To A Gym?

Now that we've gone over the main advantages and disadvantages of commercial vs. home gyms, you have decided that you want to obtain a membership from a gym. This could be because you are a beginner, or it could just simply be preference, and that you love the atmosphere.

So now you've decided that you are going to go to a gym, now you have to know what gym to choose. I will briefly name the types of gyms out there, and why you should or shouldn't look into them more.

Fitness Center/Health Club

Fitness Centers may have pools, tanning beds, snack bars, boxing rings, air conditioning, towels, or TVs. This is because most of the people at these centers are overweight or old, and mostly do cardio.

You will also find a lot of "fitness chicks" here, which can at first sound attractive, but can also be a big distraction. There is a lot of socialization going on, mainly with the "fitness chicks", and you must not fall into this trap!

The biggest benefit to a fitness center is that there usually won't be long lines to equipment, especially free weights. You also have all the benefits of the little conveniences that Fitness Centers offer. But if you know that the girls will distract you, you have to be strong and know that you can't go there.

Gyms

There's not as many little bonuses, but there is still usually air conditioning. Lines for equipment can be long on busy days, and this is the biggest downfall of a standard gym.

On a busy day, the wait time will make it impossible for you to do everything without having a 3 hour workout. If you avoid the busiest hours or go early in the morning, you should be able to avoid all of the midday traffic.

Hardcore Gyms

There isn't much socializing going on there, aside from the screaming and grunting. The gym is compromised of a lot of free weights, which is great, because free weights are the biggest mass builders.

The biggest disadvantage to one of these gyms is the intimidation factor. The pros are huge and strong, and can make you feel very small and weak.

Which One Should I Choose?

If you can handle the intimidation factor, a Hardcore Gym would be the best choice, because of the equipment, and training with the pros can be motivating, not intimidating.

Location also plays a role. If there is a Hardcore Gym an hour away, and a Fitness Center 15 minutes away, you are probably going to choose the Fitness Center.

These kinds of choices are very individualized; I just wanted to give you an overview of what each type of gym is like, so you can get a general idea.

The End Is Here

So, to answer the actual question, when the advantages and disadvantages of a gym/home gym are looked at, it can been seen that training at home would be more beneficial.

There are advantages to working out in a gym, but there are bigger advantages to working out at home. Training at a gym can also have many disadvantages, enough to make a home gym the better choice.

It must be remembered though, these choices are very personalized. If you make the choice to train at a gym, you now have an idea of what sorts of gyms are out there, and what gym would be the best choice for you.

Bonus

If you were to create your own home gym, what would it consist of and why?

  • 300lb Olympic Weight Set
  • Bench with Incline/Decline, Leg Curl/Extension Attachment, and Preacher Curl Attachment
  • bench presses
  • military presses
  • leg curls
  • leg extensions
  • preacher curls
  • decline crunches
  • Power Rack

The same goes with other exercises like bench press (you will pull the bench into the rack). You can also do great exercises like rack pulls, pin presses, static holds, and most power racks even have a pullup bar on the top.

Adjustable Dumbbells

You can do things like leg press, pull downs, press downs, cable rows, cable curls, machine crunches, and many other exercises.

  • EZ Curl Bar
  • Rope/V-Bar For Cables
  • different bars
  • swr
  • Weight Tree
  • Lifting Chalk
  • Lifting Straps
  • neo pad
  • Lifting straps: This makes it easier on your hands. Be careful though, if you totally drop the weight, the bar can pull your wrists out of position, and that is a serious problems.
  • Knee/Wrist Wraps
  • Knee
  • wrist wraps
  • Dip Belt
  • dip belt
  • CD Player/Radio/Portable Device
  • Pen & Paper
  • bluemat
  • Yoga Mat
  • pad
  • 2x4 Blocks
  • Box
  • Box squats
  • Mirrors

I have also added a picture of my home gym in my basement, I have almost everything on the list above, I just need some mirrors.

2nd Place - bigcalves

Which Is More Beneficial Training At Home, Or Training In The Gym?

As people want to look better, more and more gyms pop out. Some gyms are full with fancy machines and shiny dumbbells, while some gyms are covered with rust and are unappealing to the general public. Gyms are a convenient way of paying for a lot of machines and equipment that you can't have anywhere else.

Gyms are full of people which can be a good or bad thing and most gyms have people that are well experienced and willing to help out beginners. Shiny machines and mirrors make gyms an attractive place to train, get out of your regular lifestyle and meet different people.

Most gyms are open through out the week and there is no problem finding time to workout. Now depending on where you live, some transportation may be needed to get to your training place. To some this might seem great, while to others it's an obstacle in the journey to getting bigger and stronger.

Working out at home can be an entirely different thing. Since you are alone, and at home, it takes you less than a minute to go there, and you can workout virtually anytime you want to. At home you can set up equipment that you only use and have minimal traveling distances (those that have been to Gold's in Venice know what i'm talking about) from station to station. Working out at home means there is no one looking at you.

If you are overweight or self-conscious about yourself you can feel good and workout at your fullest. No people can mean no motivation or 'competing' and that can be a draw back. When you are done you don't have to drive home. Having a gym at home is good for beginners as they tend to be shy, but at home you can learn all the exercises, get your poundage's up a little, and stay focused.

Working out at home is kind of pricy too, because getting everything you need will cost money that you need to prepare all at once to set you your own weightroom. Plus there is accessories that you can buy and it can get pricy, but at the end it's worth it.

The Gym: Positives

The gym is a place of competition. There is a monthly fee that you need to pay, and a possible starting/charging fee when you sign up. Going to the gym is fun and most people enjoy the atmosphere. There is a sense of competition between lifters and you are pushed to your limit. If you lack motivation the gym is the best place to go to.

You can compete with people, their lifts and what they do. Now don't go out and be a jerk and show off to people, and make people feel uncomfortable. In the gyms there are more machines that you can use. Usually too much. There is a machine for every muscle and then some. There are a lot of free weights and cardio equipment.

Most gyms offer stretching area with big rubber balls and stretching mats. Also most gyms have a locker room and a lounge/restaurant where you can get comfortable and sip on you PWO shake. Some gyms have sauna, steam rooms, Jacuzzi and a pool. They can add to the pleasure you get in the gym. An average person could spend 1-5 hours in the gym, working out, eating, going to the sauna and relaxing in the pool.

Getting a gym membership can be very efficient too, when you don't have a lot of space or money for home gym equipment you can benefit from the convenience of your local gym. Going to the gym can also be a safety issue since most people are willing to spot and no one will help you when you are home alone stuck under the bench with 315lbs on top of you.

People will be willing to spot and help you push yourself to the max without getting hurt. Some lifters at the gym are very experienced and are more than willing to help you on achieving your body and setting up a routine. Remember not to annoy anyone and talk to them all the time, and people will accept you and help/correct you in a positive way.

Overview

  • Friendly atmosphere
  • Competition between lifters
  • Extra motivation
  • Lots of equipment
  • People willing to help out/ Spotters
  • Room for stretching, lifting etc..
  • Random equipment such as belts, chalk and chains
  • Sauna and pool to relax in
  • Juice bar that offers variety of protein rich foods
  • Personal trainers and special help
  • People to socialize with

The Gym: Negatives

The gym can be a negative place too. Depending on where you go you can go in a gym that is unmotivated and lazy. People talk and don't do any work and get in your way. Other gyms can be filled with jerks that are trying to intimidate you with their looks because of their own self-problems and insecurities.

There's people that will get in your way in the gym on purpose and try to disrupt your workouts. If that ever happens you should talk to the gym manager. Sometimes the gym can be crowded and if you are trying to use the bench, and there's 6-8 teenage boys working on their ego's forget about having a chest workout.

On weekends and rush hour, the gym and cardio equipment can be filled with people and all the benches and stations could have 1+ person on them and that can be un-motivating and uncomfortable. Depends on where you live, some gyms can be pretty far away from you, and it's time to invest in a home gym if the nearest gym to your house is 50+ minutes away.

Although rare, it can happen and if going there and back takes 2 hours you won't be so committed after a few weeks. Also some gyms can get pretty expensive, if your gym has a lot of features and luxuries your fee can go up to 70-100+ dollars a month and that's a lot for most of us.

Most gyms play crappy music but you can always bring your own MP3 player and put an end to all the oldies and terrible songs playing. Not all the people at the gym are motivated, have goals and know what they are doing. Some will chat on their cell phone for a long time, or some will sit and talk to people.

Overview

  • Annoying people
  • Lack of motivation
  • Jerks in the gym
  • Crowded gym
  • Too far away
  • High expenses
  • People with no goals
  • Not enough free weights

Home Gym: Positives

Working out at home can be a wonderful experience. Your gym is open 24/7 and you can go in there all the time and workout as much as you want to. Your food and showering is just as close and there is no problem what so ever with anyone. No waiting in line for people to finish benching or being stared off as you bench by jerks in the gym. There is no terrible music playing, since it's your gym you can control if there is music.

If you like music, you can set your favorite song, as loud as you want with no problems or people complaining. Also privacy is a big issue. Since you are at home no one will know what you do. So if you are self-conscious or just don't like people looking at you when you are all sweaty and pumped, the home gym is the answer for you.

You can workout in the privacy of your own home, without unwanted faces staring at you. If your not so good at balancing your checking book, late gym fees can be a hassle. Being overcharged is something everyone hates, especially if it's your gym costing you extra money. At home, everything is free and you don't have to answer to anyone. Some gyms ban chalk, yelling and dropping dumbbells.

If you are the aggressive type and like using a lot of chalk on your deadlifts, and screaming each rep as the heavy poundage repped out and finally dropping it down declaring that you are king, then the home gym is perfect. You can do virtually anything you want, without any consequences.

Overview

  • Open 24/7

  • Privacy

  • Choice of personal music

  • Choice of training style

  • No jerks from the gym

  • No gym fee

Working out at home can have it's negatives. Since you are all alone motivation can be a problem. Personally I like 'competing' with guys in the gym. Doesn't have to be about weight, but form, commitment and intensity. I like working out and pushing myself to the fullest.

At home you are alone. You are at a familiar setting, and that can have a negative-I'll do it tomorrow-gotta watch tv, attitude that will get you nowhere. Also since there are no other people, you can bet that no one will be able to spot you as you rep out that 315 bench and get stuck.

I'll Do It Tomorrow.

If you have clips on, it can be quite a hassle getting rid of the plates crushing your chest. In that case remember to leave the bar clip free, so in emergency you can slip the plates off and walk off safely. No spotter means you can't push yourself to the fullest and that can be a problem to many people. Working out at home means you can't afford all the equipment at the gym. Since you can't do that not all your workout needs will be met.

Unless you have 5,000-10,000 saved up for gym equipment to make your home gym the envy of the neighborhood, then you cannot get sufficient workout equipment. Also not a lot of people have a big basement to put all the stuff in so limited space is also a big problem.

Overview

 Where You Make Better Results? At The Local Gym Or At Your House.

It doesn't matter where you train. Building hard, lean muscle means that you have to tear your muscle fibers, feed them with proper nutrition and rest. So if you have those down you shouldn't worry since you are doing everything right. Training can get mental. Imagine you are training in a pink room, with posters of Hello Kitty.

Motivate Yourself To A Long & Healthy Life!  We often let ourselves gain too much fat because of a lack of discipline. Sometimes there is a compulsion too strong to resist which makes us gorge ourselves with junk. Other times there is a lack of desire... 

You have every machine and free weight imaginable, and the music of your choice. Now, do you think you could get a good workout? My guess is 'no'. Motivation comes from within, and what you see, your body processes it and makes you act in a certain way in a certain situation. So if you don't like the gym you workout in, and it's too 'girlie man' for you, my advice is that you would make better gains at home.

If you have a decent gym near you, and your basement is the size of a phone booth then I would advise you to go to the gym. Just workout at both places and see which one you like better.

If you like the gym then for all means go there and have intense workout. If working out at home motivates you and pushes you to your limit then workout at home. Just do whatever feels right for you body and you will meet your goals in no time.

Just remember that home gyms can be more costly, but at the end if it works for you, you only buy the equipment once so why not invest in yourself and transform into the beast you've dreamed of becoming.

 Bonus Question: If you were to create your own home gym, what would it consist of and why?

As I was writing this article, I was looking forward to getting into this section. Currently I workout at a local gym and I'm very happy with it. I've always dreamed of the perfect home gym. Since it takes a good amount of money and space I couldn't afford for a state of the art home gym. For me that kills it.

If I workout at home, I want the best thing that money can buy. Having a home gym can be bad for some people that need motivation from watching others workout, but if you are like me and have motivation and desire from within it shouldn't be a problem. Just focus and make goals and all the motivation will come, unless your training in the Hello Kitty gym I described. Just make sure that you wait and save up, and then spend it on wise product that will make you forget the gym and workout at home with no trouble or lack of equipment.

Secondly, look for space. All my life I've wanted a home gym but space at home has been limited. I could never set up my 'dream gym' because of issues with money and space. If I could have unlimited amount of money, and space things would get crazy. Anyways, here is what I would include if I were to create my own gym at home.

  • A Set Of Dumbells

  • Barbell With Weight Plates

  • Bench Press

  • DeclineFlatIncline

  • Power Rack

  • Simple Bench

  • Stereo

  • Mirrors

  • Air Conditioning/Fan

3rd Place - Ravadongon

 Which Is More Beneficial Training At Home, Or Training In The Gym?

Many people enjoy the privacy of training in their own home gym. There is no wait to use a machine and they can play whatever music they want- and it's open 24/7. But some enjoy social atmosphere and variety at a gym.

Which is more beneficial, training at home, or training at a commercial gym? That is the question. Where can you make better results? If you choose to build a home gym, what should you get? All these questions and more will be answered in this article.

What is it?

A place where different pieces of strength training equipment are available, for members of the gym to use. Membership fees exist and the member must pay them monthly or annually. The member may only use the equipment during the opening hours of the gym (with the exception of 24hr gyms). Commercial gyms generally have greater quantity and variety of equipment than home gyms.

Screw Everything Else: Are You Truly Motivated?  The unmotivated. The weak. The ones that always have an excuse for why they have not yet reached their goals. Are you one of these people or do you go after your goals? 

Learn More ]

Not only does the surrounding of people with common goals motivate you, but also the fact that you've just paid for a gym membership with your own money!

You wouldn't want to waste that money by skipping workouts, would you? So if you're that person who isn't the most self motivated, get to your local gym and get a gym membership!

 Make New Friends!

These people have the same interest as you, keeping fit, and could well be people you could learn something from whether it be lifting related or not. Sure don't go out of your way to befriend and help everyone in the whole gym, but be polite and respect other people, and you'll get that in return.

If you're an introverted person that needs to break out of that shell, then go to a commercial gym, keep fit and make some friends while you're at it.

 Safety

If you're ever concerned about this, don't be concerned any more, get a membership at a local gym, and always ask someone to spot you when you feel at risk.

 No Sacrifice Of Space

Going Against It

 Intimidating

Whatever you do don't throw yourself in the deep end straight away and go to a hardcore gym, where everyone's a beast and no one's total is less than 1500lbs!

Go to a more welcoming fitness center, where there's sure to be lot's of people in your position, just starting out... You'll feel much more comfortable.

Don't back away if you find it intimidating, conquer your fear. If you can conquer it, you'll find you'll be a whole lot more confident as a person.

 Waiting Queue

Most of the time however you should be able to get around this by doing an alternative exercise, e.g. switching from dumbbells to barbells, however if this continually is happening, let the owner of the gym know, and he'll do something about it, hopefully.

 Privacy

It's not exactly ideal for the majority of us. You can always get an MP3 player but that does cost a fair bit of money, which could be used in better ways.

 Fees

If you're not a big earner you'll often find that you'll need to make some sacrifices to pay the membership every month/year, not something that you want to be doing for too long.

Conclusion - Who Is It For?

Extroverted people can benefit from a commercial gym, but if they are easily distracted then it would be best if they workout at home. So if you're one of these people then you're best bet is to buy yourself a gym membership, and start making some progress.

 Home Gym

What is it?

Going For It

The Ultimate Home Gym!  Home training is big news. It's so much easier in today's hectic and busy world. If you're older, with a job and family obligations, going to a gym just isn't always possible. 

 Convenient

The same thing happens again tomorrow and you find yourself in a position where you're wasting money on this gym membership because you never have time to go there, and when you do have time, it's always closed.

If you're this person don't let this happen to you. Buy some equipment to keep at home for when this happens to you, it doesn't have to be fancy, just a simple rack, barbell, weights and bench. That way you can always have time for your workouts no matter what the time!

 Privacy

If you can't then get yourself some equipment and make a home gym, so you can workout in privacy and be able to focus at nailing those heavy lifts. As an added bonus you can put on your own music full blast, to further maximize your concentration.

 Cheaper (Long Term)

Think of the cost of a power rack, barbell, weights, bench and other accessories such as adjustable dumbbells. When you add it up, purchasing your own gym equipment is much cheaper, so don't wait if you're considering purchasing your own equipment and you have the money, get in quickly get the equipment and save the money for your other needs and wants.

 No Queues!

Well one of the great things about having a home gym is you don't have to do this. This gives you the opportunity to get through your workouts a lot quicker, saving you time and increasing the intensity of the workout.

Going Against It

Distractions

Working out at home makes way for numerous distractions and if you're that kind of person that is easily distracted, then training at home probably isn't best suited for you.

 Lack Of Motivation?

This is another problem with home gyms. There's not a huge incentive to workout even though you've paid money for it, it's always going to be there and you can always do it the next day.

This is not what you want to be doing, if you truly want to keep fit, but you lack motivation. If you're that person then again, the home gym probably isn't the best option.

 Unsafe

I'm sure everyone you trains heavy and works out at home, has had this though cross their mind. Good news is you can avoid it from happening. You can do this by getting a power rack.

Power racks are designed with safety bars so if you miss a rep the weight will drop on the bar, not on you, and when you're squatting you can always drop the weight back if you can't make a rep and no damage will occur to the equipment.

If you wish not to purchase a power rack for some reason or other, then training with a friend or two would be a good idea, when lifting heavy.

 Range Of Equipment (Money & Space)

With a home gym this is very difficult, not only because of the money available, but also because of the space available.

So if you're that person who enjoys using a wide variety of equipment then consider training in a commercial gym not a home gym.

Conclusion - Who Is It For?

The home gym is an excellent choice for people who like to use the minimal amount of equipment. They are also great for people who cannot concentrate in the environment of commercial gyms due to their surroundings and busy people who find it hard to find time to workout. So if you're one of these people then you're best bet is to purchase some of your own gym equipment and start up your own home gym!

 Bonus Question: If you were to create your own home gym, what would it consist of and why?

Firstly I would choose a room free of and away from any distraction, and with plenty of space for equipment with room still to be able to move around. The equipment I'd choose to purchase would be:

Power rack (with chinup and dip attachment)

 Adjustable Bench - allows you to perform lying exercises at flat, incline and decline points.

 Standard Olympic Bar (Elieko) - Allows you to perform all barbell exercises with a standardized bar.

 Adjustable Dumbbells - Allows you to perform all dumbbell exercises

 Bumper Plates - allows you to drop a loaded barbell without the plates shattering. Good for Olympic lifting.

 Bands, Chains and weight releasers - powerlifting gear for developing max strength.

 Reverse Hyperextension machine - great for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings and lower back, so you can up your deadlift and squat numbers.

 Mirrors - so you can always maintain good form and avoid any nasty injuries.

 Stereo - There's nothing like working out to music that psyches you up for those big lifts.

Find These Products & More In The Store...

This is only my choice though, however if I had to tell you the bare necessities for a decent home gym it would be, a barbell, weight plates, an adjustable bench, power rack (preferably with a chin up and dip attachment). This takes care of all the basic free-weight exercises, as well as their variations. So if you are going to invest in a home gym, remember those four.

3rd Place - bluehazard (Tie)

 Basement Training

 Introduction

I would never ever train at a commercial gym on purpose if there was another option available. I would rather run down a small tree with my bashed up Sunfire and use it for bench presses in my driveway than go to a commercial gym.

Nearly any other style of training would be preferable to wading through the army of 110 lbs self-styled Tuffguyz in their black knit caps and wife beaters training their "triceps" and "biceps" to the pounding beat of today's trendiest music.

In fact, I could go the rest of my life without stepping foot in another "health spa" or "family fitness center."

 Commercial Gyms

What About The Variety Of Training Equipment?

Granted I'm a free weights kind of guy myself, but I will admit that having a few machines around would be nice. In fact, if I had them I would probably use them frequently. It would be great to have a military press machine, bench press machine, pretty much the whole line up of basic Hammer Strength Equipment. What I do NOT need is a line of twenty-five machines to train biceps. That isn't variety, that's just flat out ridiculous.

As for the amount of equipment found in most commercial gyms, yes there truthfully is a lot of it. They have pre-loaded barbells and dumbbells which could potentially save you a lot of time. Unfortunately, it doesn't really work out that way because people just kind of take the things and leave them all over the place.

Social Atmosphere?

Old guys walking around the locker room naked, the tough guy crew and a bunch of lazy schlubs leaving their nasty smelly body odor all over every piece of equipment I want to use is not "social atmosphere." Ok, ok... I know, that doesn't classify the rest of the people in the gym. I agree, there are tons of people in there. Trust me, I know. I work with the general public, and I absolutely do not want to hang out with them in my spare time.

What it comes down to is that less than 5% of the people there are actually training hard, and guess what, they don't want to hang out with you because they're working out. Oh, and in case you weren't sure, nobody there wants to see you making out with your girlfriend, and I will "accidentally" drop a 45 lb plate on your toes if you come near me in your cool-guy sandals.

Sandals are definitely not to be worn in the gym; you don't need your $500 sunglasses or $1600 training outfit either. Some gyms understand this and have a "Line of Demarcation", aka a room in the back that has nothing but power racks where you're allowed to use chalk.

 Back In The Day, & WTF Happened

Back in the day does not exist anymore at most of these gyms. Anyone who has seen Pumping Iron is in for a big surprise if they step into one of today's urban sprawl training centers. The majority of people in today's gyms have absolutely no desire to go and workout.

Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons.

Against Their Will

Gyms love members like this, it increases their revenue, they don't make a mess, and they are not at risk for injury. The fact that they've been sitting in military press station that you need to use for the past 25 minutes is your problem.

A 10cc shot of adrenalin to their heart wouldn't get these losers moving, they're too engrossed in their latest 99 cent romance novel from Wal-Mart.

Mass Marketing

These people would never have walked into one of the dungeons of the old days. The concrete walls, flickering lights (all two of them), chalk dust and the twisted faces of people in total agony forcing out that last rep would signal nature's "flight response" and that would be the end of that.

For this reason alone, many gyms don't want you to train. I bet at least 1/5 of you reading this have been asked to take off some plates or flat out leave because you were warming up with 225 lbs in the squat, and that is just "too heavy" to use.

They make enough money off of the New Years and Post-Thanksgiving crowd, and have no interest in risking you getting hurt. That's a liability. Besides, they probably even sell the ultra-cool $500 sunglasses and designer workout apparel that will "Get you all the girlz yo, fo sho."

In conclusion, they want you to spend all day:

 Where Do You Think You'll Make the Best Gains?

Some people are convinced that they would make the best gains around other people. Competition motivates the majority of us. Even being around other people makes us try harder. Well, we've just gone over the people at the commercial gym. Will being in the presence of those chumps make you train harder? Only out of fear. I am totally terrified of turning into the fat guy on the treadmill walking slower than a sloth reading about new and innovative ways to bath his cat.

In fact, if you ever even think of training hard, you're done. Think you're going to bench 315 there? Nope. First of all, you will be "kicked-out" of that great social circle for the simple reason that it has become accepted that nobody can bench 315 lbs without using steroids. Hell, even the big guys (aka, FAT guys) only bench 185.

Plus, that puts the gym at a liability (you're gone). Oh, and don't even think of military pressing anything near 135. That is also impossible. Worse yet, you yourself may come to believe things like this and never be able to train.

 Enter The Home Gym.

I like training in the basement. I live in Buffalo, NY and the winters can get quite chilly here. If I was in my garage, I'd probably freeze to death. (I'm sure a few of you train in such frigid if not worse conditions, for you I have great respect, you are a polar bear with fifteen pound balls of steel.) Plus, the basement has concrete walls and floors, and it can somewhat be a climate controlled environment.

You can play whatever you want in your basement. You can pound Pantera to your hearts content and never have to "turn it down" or off because you've offended some old hag that is sitting on an exercycle. Yes, sitting.

You can train in absolute silence as well. Even better, nobody talks to you. Not once will you be in the middle of a heavy set when some "Master of the Iron" (aka, 6'3", 118 lbs) walks up to inform you that your form is totally incorrect and that you should train like him.

As for people occupying the equipment you want to use? No way, this is your house. Who the hell are these people? Beat them to a bloody pulp and leave them duct taped in the attic.

At home you compare yourself to yourself. Too many people plant themselves into groups at the gym. They see themselves as about that strong, or big, or lean or whatever, and cannot get out of that group. Humans are social herd animals and can dupe themselves into being far less than what they could have been.

At home it's you versus you, using the weights you should be using. You don't get talked out of lifting heavy by "management", nor do you have to put yourself under what truly are dangerous weights just to fit in with the crowd.

des As for the pre and post workout shakes and meals? Damn, $30 could last you a month or so in protein shakes (Designer Protein Rules!), as opposed to 2 days.

You don't need a trainer or slick salesman to push you into buying substandard or worthless supplements either, you have access to Bodybuilding.com, where you can get anything you want, and tons of advice and feedback from weight lifters around the globe.

So What The Hell Do You Do?

Decide where the gym needs to be. See all that useless junk that has been collecting over the years? Start picking things up one by one, the family gets five seconds to decide if they want it or not.

If they don't want it or five seconds elapses, into the garbage bag it goes. If they do want it, put it directly into their hands it is now their responsibility. If they put it back down instead of rushing up to their bedroom with their treasure, right in the garbage bag it goes.

Take no crap. What are they going to do with their collection of smashed matchbox cars? Nothing, trash it.

This will save a bit of wear on your joints when doing squats, deadlifts or any standing exercises. It will also help protect the floor from dropped weights and other mishaps.

Go purchase a power rack before you get any other equipment. You can do just about any exercise you can think of in a power rack. Get whatever weight set is on sale. When I say weight set, I mean weight set. Weights are made out of metal, not plastic filled with sand. You should be able to pickup a 300 lbs set for around $100.

Even better, look in the paper, somebody is probably selling theirs (totally unused) for $20 because they're going to go hang out next to the old lady on the exercycle at the "Health Spa." You may be able to pickup an adjustable bench and preacher curl setup off the same schlub. Maybe these lazy folks aren't so bad afterall.

This should get you started. Next steps would be adjustable dumbbells and more plates. After that, it's really up to you and what your goals are. You may grab a treadmill, some grippers, thick bars and barbells, who knows. You may even have some cash to buy some machines. Home gyms can get quite expensive, but you should be able to get your basic setup for less than Mr. Pretty spent on his new set of ultra-hip sunglasses.

 Conclusion

It's your body and your life. You could spend hundreds of dollars a year (or thousands if you want to be Cool Guy) to hang out with a bunch of people you don't like that cause you anger and frustration on a daily basis, or you can get a training partner or two and lift in your basement. It's really your choice.

Now, if you're lucky and live somewhere that actually has a great gym with hard working people at a reasonable price, than maybe you'd want to consider it. Me, I'm happier in my home gym, and unless I have to move somewhere I can't use it, in the basement I will stay.

3rd Place - TheMind (Tie)

 Truth or Dare?

 Dare?

I Dare you to find even a single person who's ever attempted bodybuilding, even a half-assed attempt, who could honestly look me straight in the eyes and say that the sport is not at least 95% mental. Do that and you'll either have found a pathological liar or someone not fluent enough in English to know the meaning behind their words.

If you wish to succeed, the single most important factor is your desire. Your commitment. The size of your marbles. Can you jump into the dark abyss, daring to reach the other side? Come on Neo, can you make the first jump? No one ever makes it their first time.

Sound off topic yet?

What is success in bodybuilding? Is success being the biggest? Is success being shredded like Donald Trump's bank statements? Success is damn hard to measure, it just depends on what you're looking for: comparison between results and goals. Success in bodybuilding is a measure of personal satisfaction with how you look and feel, plain and simple.

 What Do You Need?

So where in the hell are we going to get our best results? Rockin' out in the basement of our own home pushing plates, or showing the iron at the local gym the paternity test results. That's right, who's your daddy? I'm your daddy. Grrrrr.

Let's face it, if you have the right attitude you'll succeed in either scenario. Your results will be a direct product of the effort you put into your ventures. Your muscles don't care where you are; they care about how hard you push them, and in what direction.

But this choice is not a decision by your muscles, they're so apathetic in the matter that it actually goes right past not being funny and becomes laughable again. It's about where you, as a conscious being, feel most comfortable and able to produce your results. Sure, money talks pretty loud too, but we're ignoring that. So Ha.

Ok, so we can't ignore it completely: Money talks. Loud. Like, screaming. Megaphone maybe? Let's face it, we're not all Bill Gates. I couldn't buy a good home setup if I tried my hardest, which really limits the options in the "home or gym" consideration.

Most veteran bodybuilders would agree that a solid home gym should consist of at least a set of dumbbells (or adjustable dumbbells), a fully adjustable bench, and hopefully a bar with a set of bar weights.

Ideally you'd have a power rack, weighted belt, lifting hooks, and at least one poster of a gorgeous woman on the beach.

What? No BowFlex?!?

My aunt/uncle bought a Bowflex about November of last year. It is the ugliest, most expensive, and least comfortable chair in their living room. That is its sole use, and my cousin whom lives in that same house is a fitness fanatic who would rather do bodyweight exercises than use that machine. Wanna buy one that bad? Please, buy theirs.

How Much Are You Willing To Spend?

It depends both on how much money you're willing to spend, and how seriously you plan on sticking with your program. If you've been lifting for a few years, and plan to continue for a lifetime it may actually be cheaper to buy your own equipment than to pay dues, but often times this is not the case.

However, there are many other factors that may determine for you if it's worth the extra money to purchase your own equipment as opposed to going to a professional gym.

 "Confucius Say 'To Move Heavy Iron, You Need Heavy Metal.'"

I can't imagine a person who truly feels they are more focused and stronger without powerful music to back them. Few things have such an immediate emotional effect on the human soul as music does. You want to lift at your most intense? Find your Kill Music and play it loud.

Everyone has some music that just grabs you by the guts and whips you around the room in a murderous rage, ready to attack relentlessly and without fore-thought. Most agree Heavy Metal is the ideal lifting music, but personal tastes may differ, or at least that's what they tell me.

The Power Of Music!  No doubt about it, music is a powerful tool and one that should be taken advantage of. At the same time, music should be used judiciously for optimal performance.

You're the King of your Castle, right? Feel free to nod, no one's looking, promise. No one tells the King what he can and cannot do, if you want to shake the house with the pure power of your Kill Music while lifting in your Castle go right ahead. Blast it how you want it, no exceptions. This is your world... get in the zone. You've the freedom to play what you want, when you want, at the volume you want (unless your neighbors are jerks). The flexibility in this department is nearly unparalleled.

But what about in the gym? Can't we torch the place to the blazing chaos of our Kill Music? Well, sometimes... but don't count on it. Chances are your gym environment will have a single radio/CD player that is shared by all those in the gym. Whether they're benching 350lbs for 5 reps or sitting on that silly foot-pedal thing watching TV and reading a magazine, chances are they're listening to the same music source.

For some odd reason, most casual gym-goers are offended by real Kill Music. They think it's obnoxious and harsh, pfft. The best they'll likely accept is some AC|DC. Sure, you want Machine Head, but they're playing Lenny Kravitz. However, there is a godsend for we gym patrons who know the real power of music in the gym.

Portable MP3 Players Anyone?

The only "oops I did it again" that belongs in the gym is the afterthought that briefly crosses your mind after you bite Mr. Incredible(aka the 6'2", 114lb toothpick who won't leave YOUR power rack)'s head clean off to the power of "The Blood, The Sweat, The Tears" by Machine Head.

"Oops" is right, maybe you should have stayed out of my gym and bought yourself a BowFlex, Hulk. Now, time for squats!

It's been proven true that MP3 players are the magic gym accessory. Not only do they overpower the depressing sounds of a tired radio, it acts as an obvious sign that you're not here to play games.

We're here to lift, not to talk about taking Whiskers to the vet. Don't get me wrong, we love Whiskers, but when we enter that room, that sanctuary, we're here for the pain.

I don't care how your day is going, thanks. I'm here to lift, and go have a life. I am in my own world, piss off. No, I don't want to spot you. Because inevitably in the public gym there will be people whose primary goal seems to be to disrupt everyone else's workout.

Distractions

Too bad the man didn't tell him he actually needs to do something constructive, but now that's your problem. You may be surprised how many people in the gym have absolutely no clue what they're doing, but long to tell everyone about how much they hate their property taxes.

They're interesting, really. No joke, very interesting. This is where we put on our headphones.

Distractions and delays are bound to be everywhere in the public gym, and are almost all unavoidable. Someone's on the leg press that I need, I can't find another 35lb plate that's not in use, that girl over there is FINE, Ugh there's Robert from the office... He's going to want to talk.

The best you can do is to try and avoid busy hours, which may not always be possible depending on your own schedule, and is an inconvenience at best.

Consider The Alternative, However.

You drop your db's and quickly rush to the nearest phone, "Hello?" After some nearly incomprehensible dialogue you reply "No, Mr. EnglishIsClearlyNotMyFirstAndLikelyNotMySecondLanguage, I do not want to switch long distance providers. Goodbye." Before staring back at the bench calling your name. It's time to get serious, and you pump out another set of 8 as the sweat slides down your face.

You're into your third set when the door cracks open. "Honey, can you come carry in groceries?" That pretend question haunting you as you struggle to put up the weights. You know it's not a real question; real questions have more than one answer. "Yes" you are forced to reply as you are again dragged away from what was supposed to be an intense workout.

The point is that either situation can have multiple degrees of distraction, which can be minimized at either location but rarely avoided altogether. Usually, however, the home is a more distraction-free environment. If you are single, or have an understanding family, you will often not have to worry about being bothered.

Working Out With Children  Getting back in shape after having a baby requires excellent time management! The more you can work child's play into your workout, the more time there is for everything else that needs to be taken care of during the day. 

In the home there are other great advantages. Travel time and expenses to and from the gym are undoubtedly lesser. Hard to deny that. If you want to wake up early and work out before taking a shower and going to work you can easily do so without having to pack a bag, dealing with wrinkles, and having to get up an extra half hour early to get to the gym.

Post workout meal? You're already two rooms away from your kitchen. Sitting in a bean bag chair, naked, eating Cheetos prior to your scheduled workout time? Clothes are for the weak. No blood, no foul. But that one's much harder to pull off at the public gym.

 Conclusion

Regardless of which you choose, it is important to have the mental control to leave your problems at the door. When you step into that gym, whether it be your local YMCA or your basement, it is important that everything else stop and that your workout becomes your primary focus. Concentration on every rep, on perfect form. That's where you'll get your results.

It doesn't matter where you're working out, you owe it to yourself to put forth that effort. If you can put forth the same mental effort, both scenarios will prove to have the same results for you. It's just a matter of finding where you're most comfortable and are able to concentrate the best. Is the woman on the hip abductor with the short shorts and sports bra a distraction or a motivating image?

Is it too easy to end your workout early or skip a workout altogether when you're already at home? How much am I willing to spend on my health? How hard am I going to work at this? Will the Yankees win the Series? These are all important questions you must ask yourself before you decide which is better for you.

So what's better? Personally I'm a fan of the home gym, but you should decide for yourself. After all, I'm a poor 19 year old college student, not your mother.

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