Should You Work Out At Home Or At The Gym?

Wondering whether it's better to work out at home or hit the gym? The answer depends on your training style and goals. You also need to consider your budget and the equipment you have available at home. Believe it or not, it's possible to replace most gym machines with a set of dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, exercise balls, and other accessories.

For example, bodyweight squats and lunges can replace the leg extension machine, says the International Sports Sciences Association. If you don't have access to a lat pulldown machine, you can try dumbbell rows or pullovers instead. The humble push-up is a viable alternative to the chest press machine, while squat jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, and other bodyweight exercises are great for cardio workouts. There is also the option to use an exercise ball for hyperextensions, glute-ham raises, and core training. 

As far as aerobic training goes, you can go jogging or take a long walk to maintain your cardiovascular health, says personal trainer Luke Worthington (via Elle). Just make sure you pick an activity that's intense enough to raise your heart rate. So, does this mean you should quit the gym? Let's see what the experts have to say.

Gym workouts vs. home workouts: Assess your options

A gym membership isn't always cheap or convenient, but it has its perks. First of all, you have access to dozens of machines, from squat racks to treadmills. Second, you can turn to fitness instructors and personal trainers for guidance and ask other gym-goers to assist you when squatting or bench pressing. On the negative side, going to the gym is time-consuming and can limit your freedom, notes For example, you may have to wait in line to use your favorite machines, especially during peak hours.

At-home workouts offer more flexibility and convenience. You can exercise anytime, try new things, and wear whatever you want. Plus, there are no membership fees. Even if you're short on space or can't afford fitness equipment, you can still do bodyweight workouts or sign up for live exercise classes. The downside is that you won't have access to a personal trainer, group exercise classes, and professional gym equipment. What's more, the lack of competition can affect your motivation, says Another drawback is that you may not know how to safely use the equipment at hand and get the most out of your workouts. 

Training at home can be just as effective as hitting the gym

Unless you're a professional athlete, it's perfectly fine to quit your gym membership. The key is to stick to your workouts and adjust them based on your goals. Dr. Amy Shah tells MindBodyGreen that working out at home is now easier than ever since we have a plethora of virtual resources, on-demand videos, and equipment made for home workouts. Plus, you can use adjustable dumbbells, pull-up bars, stability balls, or suspension trainers for an extra challenge.

For example, a 2016 study conducted by the American Council on Exercise found that suspension training can improve body composition, or fat-to-muscle ratio, in as little as eight weeks. Over time, it may enhance balance and flexibility, protect against heart disease, and boost overall health. You can use a suspension training system for push-ups, reverse lunges, triceps dips, rows, planks, and everything in between. Likewise, BOSU balls, elastic bands, and other pieces of exercise equipment can provide a full-body workout in the comfort of your home.