Whether you’re an experienced lifter or just starting, you can reap the many benefits of a home gym.
In this article, I’ll reveal 13 reasons why owning a home gym is better than training at a commercial gym.
I’ve trained in both home gym and commercial settings for several years each. Training in a commercial gym can be awesome. But I prefer the home gym lifestyle because, instead of just being a member, I’m also the owner and manager.
And that comes with some BIG advantages. Read on to discover all of the benefits of a home gym.
1. Save Time
Switching from a commercial gym to a home gym is one of the easiest ways to free up time from your daily schedule.
Here’s how having a home gym can cut so many different time-wasting tasks. Some big, some small, but they all add up:
- No commute: You don’t have to waste time driving to the gym when it’s literally in your house.
- No time spent parking: I used to train at a gym where I had to find parking on the street. At very busy times, this could take 10+ minutes! Maybe your commercial gym has a big parking lot, but if it’s full, you may have to park in the back and walk a ways to the entrance.
- No wait time: Gone are the days of waiting for equipment to become available. When there’s a membership of one in your home gym, there’s never a line.
- No pointless conversations: In commercial gyms, you’re bound to run into acquaintances who want to chat more than you do. These interactions make your rest periods too long and extend your time in the gym.
- No time spent packing your gym bag: Packing your gym bag with clothes and gym accessories is something you have to do every time before you go to a commercial gym. And have you ever realized you forgot something in your bag and had to turn around? I know I have. With a home gym, you don’t need a gym bag. Everything is already there.
- No time in the locker room: Locker rooms can add extra time when it comes to fussing with your gym bag, changing and showering (if you do that). Not to mention, it’s another place where you can get sucked into a long conversation you don’t want to be in. It’s much more efficient to change and shower in your own bedroom and bathroom.
Most commercial gyms have specific hours of operation. But when you’re a home gym owner, you can use it whenever you want. It’s open 24/7.
Not only that, but everything you need is right at your fingertips. Or, at least a short stroll to the garage, basement or spare room where you have your gym.
Of all of the benefits of a home gym, I probably value convenience most. Of course, this also ties into the time savings and flexibility benefits.
When you’re a home gym owner, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the flexibility of your training schedule.
As long as you’re at home, you can start (and stop) working out at the drop of a hat.
This level of flexibility is great for people who have unpredictable schedules.
If you miss your usual workout time because something comes up, you can do it later in the day.
Likewise, if something urgent comes up during your workout, you can stop and pick up where you left off later.
If you’re having a great workout and want to keep it going, you can do so — no problem. Whereas, if this were to happen at a commercial gym, you might have to cut things short if you need to be home by a certain time or if the gym is closing soon…
…This would happen to me frequently when I used to train at night at a gym that closed at 11pm. Needless to say, it was frustrating and the staff probably didn’t appreciate me being the last one out.
4. Save Money
The upfront cost of a home gym may be higher than a commercial gym membership. But over time, it’s a more affordable option.
Remember, you have to keep paying for a membership every single month. But you only have to buy your home gym equipment once.
Consider that the average gym membership costs $58 according to this 2018 study. That’s $696 per year just on membership fees. You can build a basic, but very solid home gym for $1000. So in this scenario, the gym would pay for itself in under a year and a half.
Beyond the obvious gym membership savings, there are plenty of other less obvious ways you save money by switching to a home gym:
- Commuting expenses: Every time you drive to the gym, you’re paying for gas. Plus, the extra miles you put on your car lead to more maintenance costs later on. If you take public transit, that’s not free either.
- Gym clothes: No need to buy a bunch of fancy gym clothing to look good in public. You can slum it with some cheap basics when you’re training from home.
- Gym bag: When I was going to a commercial gym, I probably bought a new gym bag every 2-3 years. There’s no need for a gym bag in a home gym so that’s one less expense.
- Food & drink: When you’re at the gym, you’re more likely to buy food, shakes or drinks from the front desk. Those heavily marked-up items will add up fast.
- Childcare: If you have young children, you may have to pay for childcare while you’re at a commercial gym. But if your kids are old enough, they can stay home by themselves or hang out in the garage while you work out.
Now, I should make the caveat that you won’t save money if you become a home gym hobbyist. That is, someone who is always buying new and cool equipment for fun. But at that point, you don’t care about savings. You’re getting something else out of the experience of building and evolving your gym.
5. No Rules
All commercial gyms have rules. If you go to a bigger chain gym, you’re likely to run into some pretty arbitrary and restrictive rules that impact the quality of your training.
Then, of course, there’s the unspoken gym rules and social norms you gotta abide by.
One of the benefits of a home gym is that you don’t have to worry about any of that stuff. There are no rules or norms… Do whatever you want:
- Wear whatever you want. No shirt? No problem!
- Grunt like a caveman if you want. You’re not in a library.
- Feel free to drop the weights. Hell, you can even slam them!
- Grunt or scream as loudly as you want.
- Use as much chalk as you want.
- Leave your nasty sweat all over the bench.
- Burp and fart to your heart’s content.
There’s no one to tell you “no”… except maybe your wife.
You’re in your own space. You can train however you want without worrying about what other people are doing or thinking.
You’ll never feel rushed by other gym-goers hovering in the background, waiting for you to finish your sets. You can take as much time as you need. You’ll never have to share your equipment with someone asking to “work in” with you either.
Lastly, you avoid any potentially uncomfortable locker room scenarios. You can change and shower alone, in the comfort of your own home.
7. Tailor Your Gym to Your Needs
You have complete control over your training environment. More accurately, it’s you who creates the environment from the get-go.
You can buy exactly the equipment you want. You can design your home gym to meet your specific training needs and goals.
While there’s plenty of great equipment at your average commercial gym, most people only use a tiny fraction of it. Often, the equipment you do like is being used. There are probably some missing pieces of equipment that you wish they had.
You can rectify all of that with a home gym. Make a plan. Figure out the important equipment you need for your specific training style and goals. Forget the rest.
When done right, this allows for a much more personalized training environment than you would get at a regular gym.
Just know that it may take you a while to build up this custom outfitted gym depending on your budget and whether you plan on outfitting your gym all at once or piece by piece over time.
Having a home gym gives you the privacy that you simply can’t get at a commercial gym. This is great for many reasons:
- No one can see or judge you: You have the freedom to experiment with new exercises and equipment without feeling self-conscious. This is a big one for people who are uncomfortable with their bodies or level of skill and experience.
- No distractions: You avoid getting caught up in all the distractions of a public gym. This is anything from people-watching, to chatting with others, to people getting in your way while you exercise (has anyone else ever had someone try to take weights off your power rack during your squat PR?). A home gym makes it easier to focus on your training, though it still takes discipline.
- You can wear whatever you want: You don’t have to worry about what you look like when you’re working out. Just wear whatever is comfortable and functional. Forget about style.
9. Train with Family & Friends
You can train with family and friends. It doesn’t have to always be just you in the gym.
Having a training partner make things more fun while boosting your motivation and training intensity.
It will also strengthen your bonds with your training partner(s), whether a friend, spouse or other family members.
This is a great way to stay connected and have fun while working out.
10. Built-in Daycare if You Need it
If you have kids and don’t have a family member or friend to watch them, no problem!
One of the benefits of a home gym is that you can easily set up a kid-safe zone in your gym to keep watch over your little one(s) while you get your pump on.
Plus, it’s cheaper than using the daycare services at a commercial gym. Not to mention, who else will teach your kids proper lifting technique while they’re young?
11. No missed workouts
If you have a home gym, you’ll never have to worry about missing a workout because you don’t have time to drive to the gym.
Similarly, your home gym never closes for holidays, snow days or other weather events — except maybe tornadoes, but I guess that’s where a basement gym would come in handy! ;-P
12. Control the Entertainment
Commercial gyms usually play top 40 songs throughout the gym. Chances are, they’re not playing what you want to hear. So you’re forced to wear headphones to listen to your own music, podcasts or audiobooks. And you have to crank it up to drown out the gym’s speakers, which isn’t good for your ears.
With a home gym, headphones are optional. You can set up a speaker system and listen to whatever you want at any volume you choose (as long as no one else in your house minds, of course).
Likewise, many commercial gyms have TVs. But they’re usually not on the channel you want and there’s nothing you can do about it. With a home gym, you can mount a TV so you can watch whatever you want. Cable, streaming, YouTube, whatever. You control the remote!
13. Protected Against Shutdowns from Pandemics
If there’s another pandemic or emergency that leads to forced gym closure, you don’t have to worry about staying in shape if you have a home gym.
You can still train and stay healthy while the rest of the world goes crazy. That’s pretty valuable in itself!
So there you have it! Those are the 13 biggest benefits of a home gym! I hope these points will help sway you to build (or upgrade) your home gym today.
If you’re looking for where to start, I recommend checking out these popular guides first:
You can see the rest of my home gym equipment reviews here.