Is It Better To Have A Home Gym or Gym Membership?

by Khaleef "Fat Guy" Crumbley on June 17, 2012

in Exercise, Save Money

Gym Equipment

The following post has been submitted by a guest contributor, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Fat Guy

If you are ready to get into shape, but you are not sure what direction to take, consider your options with care. You could either join a gym and pay membership fees or you could buy equipment of your own and work out at home.

There are many things to consider when thinking about home gyms versus gym memberships.


If you buy your own gym equipment for your basement or spare room, you will be looking at sizable upfront money.

These costs, however, are one-time costs, whereas gym memberships, which are less expensive upfront, last for as long as you go to the gym.

Take a look at the cost of the items you would want such as a treadmill, a set of weights and other equipment and compare it to the cost of the gym membership.

If you plan to stick to your workout plan, it might be worth taking out a small loan from a site like Money Supermarket  and buying the equipment for your home. You will probably save money in the long run.


If you do not have a lot of time in your life to spare for working out, having a home gym can also be an advantage.

You will save time on the commute you would make between your home or office and the gym. Instead of wasting time in the car, you could be using that time to work out.

Home Gym

If you work at home or have children around that pin you to your house even further, a home gym is a good way to get your workouts in each day.

On the other hand, driving to the gym and seeing trainers, friends and others committed to working out can be a great motivation for you to stick with your program.


Home gyms may win in the cost, time and even privacy departments, but when it comes to other services, gyms that offer memberships have all of the perks.

There are many gyms that offer things like group fitness classes, spa services, personal training sessions and many other special services.

You can do some of these things at home by using exercise DVDs, but there is nothing like an intense workout with a group of your peers. Some of the extra services require special equipment that you may not have at home.


Depending on what you are willing and able to spend, you will most likely find more variety in the gym equipment outside of your home. If you buy a home gym, you will probably focus on one, two, or even three items. If you get a membership to a gym, you will have dozens of items to aid your workout session.

Weigh all of the options with care and decide what would be best for your lifestyle and your workout program. If cost is key, getting a small loan and buying equipment for your home is cheaper in the long run.

If variety is number one in your book, you would be better off getting a gym membership. Either way, as long as you are working out and attempting to better your physical health, you cannot go wrong.

photo(s) credit:

Fat Guy’s Comments

This article brings out a few good points that you must consider when deciding whether to pay for a gym membership or work out at home. However, I would never recommend going into debt to purchase home gym equipment (or pretty much anything else)!

You can get an amazing workout, including strength training, by doing cardio, isometrics, and weight training with a pair of used dumbbells. Even though you may be able to partially justify the debt by assuming that the purchase price + interest would be less than the cost of a gym membership over time, it just isn’t worth it.

If you don’t have enough money saved to purchase equipment for your home, then that should be your top financial priority, not building up more debt!


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Lance@MoneyLife&More June 19, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Great choice of picture for the article. If I didn’t have a girlfriend I might actually go to the gym!

Jessica @ Budget for Health June 20, 2012 at 7:03 am

Great arguments for both sides. It’s clear as day how much harder I workout in a group class than I do on my own. Plus, I’ve made friends through my classes and that helps establish accountability when you know they’ll ask why you missed the last class! Another point is that I’ve networked with people and now have a homemade wine donor, a potential realtor, and a trainer who wants to start up a gym and bring me on as the dietitian! To me, the $40/month is worth it.

Fat Guy July 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm

I think you just brought up a lot of great reasons to pay for a gym membership. I actually never considered the networking aspect of it.

krantcents June 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm

I have a home gym since 1998. I use it regularly and it paid for itself very quickly. The convenience is worth everything. My total investment for weights, cage, bench and treadmill was less than $500.

Fat Guy July 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Knowing how important your health is to you, I expected you to say that your home gym cost a few thousand dollars. Maybe you should write a post about assembling a home gym on a budget (or a guest post ;-)).

marsha June 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm

A lot of good points were made here! Like you touched upon, the only reason I am for a gym membership is the variety of workouts it provides. It’s important to mix things up because, if you end up doing the same workout everyday, your body gets used to it and the results drastically reduce. The only thing I used to hate about the gym was being subjected to whatever they decided to put on the TVs. Nothing made a workout go slower than being chained to a treadmill, watching a boring ballgame or a seemingly endless infomercial since someone neglected to turn the channel. Recently, a coworker of mine recommended I start taking my tablet with me so I can tap into my channel lineup from home on it Remote Access.

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