The answer is no, there really is no good reason to join a gym. For the vast majority of my clients, working out at home makes a lot more sense. Here are some of the biggest reasons why:
1) Working out at home saves you time. Driving to the gym, parking your car, changing your clothes in the locker room and then doing the reverse after your workout can take up a lot of time. I, personally, can get half of my workout done by the time it would take me to get on the gym floor. When you are really busy, that extra 20 minutes can be the difference between getting your workout in and having to skip it.
2) Working out at home saves you money. Gyms are not cheap, especially the nice ones. You can take one year’s worth of gym fees and set yourself up with equipment that will last you a decade or longer.
3) Working out at home will make you more consistent. It is virtually impossible to get to the gym every day. Having equipment at home will allow you to work out more regularly, or at least get half a workout in when time is tight. In 15 years as a trainer, I have had exactly one client who was able to get all of her cardio done at a gym with consistency. I can’t even count the number who hit their cardio goals while exercising at home.
4) Working out at home will make you more efficient. Combining your cardio with something you already do is a great idea. Watching the news or other taped shows, returning phone calls, and checking your email are all things you can do while working out. It is not easy to multitask at a gym.
So what will you need? Not much, really. A set of dumbbells, an exercise mat, and a piece of cardio equipment will do the job amazingly well. I am a big fan of elliptical trainers for cardio, they are efficient calorie burners and create minimal joint stress. If you want to go the more thrifty route, a Gazelle Edge ($113 on Amazon.com) is all you’ll need. If you want to spend a bit more money on the bells and whistles, a Life Fitness elliptical is a great choice.