Most of my clients are not a member of the gym. For any independent sessions outside of our personal training sessions, I suggest to my clients that joining a gym is absolutely not necessary.
What could be as equally effective as attending a gym, would be owning a set of dumbbells (and an exercise mat) to use at home.
Dependent on your goals, it is typically the case that being able to perform a range of compound exercises at home, at weights or bodyweight exercises that offer an adequately challenging resistance, including deadlifts, squats, lunges, chest press, press-ups etc, then the need to be a member of a gym is greatly reduced or non-existent.
For cardiovascular based exercises, we can utilise an outdoor running or a swimming program.
There are some instances when joining a gym may be beneficial. These include;
- Having no equipment at home and where a body weight program would not suffice, in respect to your goals,
- Having extremely limited space at home. This is very unlikely as only a very small space is required to exercise, having trained people on house-boats before, I can vouch that training in very limited spaces can be done (albeit creatively) and can get results.
- The need for more variation which the gym can provide,
- Sometimes people may be more focused at the gym, whereas at home there may be more distractions (such as putting on the wash and putting the kettle on). A gym environment may provide a relatively more motivating space for exercise than a home space.
I am personally not a fan of going to the gym for one reason or another and am fortunate to have a small home gym studio space, where I can work out effectively, and from where I offer my personal training sessions from, in Arnos Grove, North London.
On occasion (and currently) I do attend a gym because as a 'home body' I can easily have days where I do not leave the house, apart from for a walk or jog. Therefore being a member of a gym helps to shape my daily routine, where I would leave the house to walk to the gym and often attach a social event on the back of my gym visit. This is great for my mental and physical health, where I find I walk more and socialise more. I would often then stop going back to the gym for a while until I forget how little I enjoy it and then re-return.
Whether you go to a gym or not is a highly personal matter, though most often than not, it is not more beneficial than training at home or outdoors, if you have the commitment towards a home (or other) exercise routine. Ultimately whether you go to the gym or not comes down to preference, though other factors mentioned in the write up, money, time and goals must also be considered.