The Pros And Cons of Working Out At Home

I would like to discuss the pros and cons of working out at home vs. working out in a gym or group class.

There are many factors that affect the decision, like time and cost, but today I want to discuss something else.

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One of the most important reasons I exercise at home today is that it’s easier to set your own pace and listen to your body, if you’re not in a group class. At home, you can also change your fitness program to your heart’s content.

Although it’s unlikely any class instructor would actually throw you out of the class if you took a rest when you need it, some kind of social comparison process seems to kick in when people are working out in a group setting. How many times have you found out after class that you pushed yourself harder than you should’ve and pay for it later?

Then there is the good pupil phenomenon. When you’re exercising in a group class, you usually do what you expect will please your instructor. I recall that when I was still doing Ashtanga yoga, I often went uncomfortably deep into some asana, if the teacher was walking near me.

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The other side of the coin is that if you’re working out at home, you may not be doing your best either. It’s been actually shown that successful spinning instructors were able to motivate their students to exceed their VO2max measure during a spinning class.

If you don’t have a trainer or a gym buddy to inspire you, it may well be that fitness wise, you aren’t getting anywhere.

Of course it’s quite possible you’re not getting anywhere in a gym setting either: lots of folks come to gym and do the same routine every time.

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I have a hypothesis that there are  two kinds of people when it comes to exercising at home or in a gym/group setting. The first kind is able to exercise on its own, the other kind needs some external pressure – be it class schedule, appointment with a gym buddy or a friend – to exercise regularly.

I believe that the first group of people are introverts and the second extroverts.

I count myself lucky because I’m in the first group. 🙂

My best friend, however, belongs to the second group. She says she has a hard time exercising regularly if she can’t do it with someone else. A few years ago we used to go swimming or Nordic walking with her. (Though I do recall that once or twice we actually skipped the exercise part and went straight to socializing. )

The social part of exercising with your friend or in a group class is something I often miss.

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What’s your take on this? Is it better to join a gym vs exercise at home?

Best Wishes,

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Comments

  1. Hi Satu!

    Personally, I think a combination of both at home and ‘social’ workouts are great. I used to do a lot more group classes, like Zumba, and found them very motivating and great for someone like me who works at home most of the time. However, when I’m in a time crunch (all the time lately) I work out at home. I have all the equipment I need at home and can break up my workout during the day or squeeze it in at anytime, depending on my schedule. I’ve been doing the Fat Loss Quickie videos the past few months, which have been a change from my usual cardio. So far, so good – but sometimes I miss the socializing and fun of Zumba. For introverts like me, sometimes you need a little push to get out of the house and exercise!

    Keep up the ‘de-plumping’!

    Sharyn

    • Satu says:

      Thanks for a great comment, Sharyn! I agree that the combination of both workouts is ideal.

      And thanks for “de-plumping”, it’s a great addition to my vocabulary. *filing for late use* 🙂

  2. Hi Satu! Well, I’ve never taken a class at my gym, so I really don’t know if I’d like them or not. I did not like my outdoor yoga class as well as exercising by myself. I exercise by myself, planning my own workout, but I love the energy of others around me exercising.

    Although I am very serious about getting my workout done, it is a social place and a learning place for me. I have many friends at the gym who really love fitness, when I often don’t relate the same way with my family members. I’ve learned a lot from other gym members. Someone taught me how to bench press. Another person taught me about exercise form. Other gym members recommended yoga, and then when I didn’t know what I was doing, they gave me pointers. Still other gym members shared fitness principles. Others shared eating strategies. Some kind members patiently helped me when I was doing something wrong or was hopelessly confused. Some gym buddies gave me hugs when I was disappointed in myself, or for happy reasons. I got a get-well card from my gym friends when I had abdominal surgery. I get birthday cards and presents, and was taken out to eat for my birthday. I enjoy teaching others how to do weightlifting. I enjoy the laughs.

    The equipment at the gym is extensive and I don’t have it at home, though I’d like to develop my exercise equipment at home a little more.

    🙂 Marion

  3. Satu says:

    You must be an extrovert to be able to socialize in a gym like that, Marion! Or maybe it’s a culture thing? Iremember mostly keeping to myself when I workd out in a gym and I have trouble imagining Finns socializing as freely as Americans.

    You describe gym as a learning place very well. I think nowadays internet and books play that role for me. But they are not very interactive way to learn!

    • Marion says:

      Actually, I was extremely shy when I started out at the gym. People saw how hard I tried, and initially just smiled or helped me with something.

      I do have lots of friends at the gym, but I met them all one person at a time over almost 5 years of going to the gym at the very same time 5 days a week in the morning. I didn’t know anybody except a few of the gym employees for the first 3 months I worked out.

      But if a person goes to the gym at the same time each day, he or she will eventually end up with friends. Shy people hang out with other shy people, talkative people with other talkative people, etc… It just takes time for the right people to click together.

      Marion

  4. Sometimes, it might be a matter of finances that makes you choose to work out from home. The important thing, though, is to work out. It does take action to get where you are going.

    Thanks for sharing!

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