Home Gym Myths – Learn The Hype and Truth on Home Gyms


For many people, the promise of a home gym is the promise of greater health on their own terms. I have always loved the freedom and flexibility that comes with having a home gym, but over the years I have discovered that some home gym promises often fall flat.

Myth #1 – Home Gyms Are a Better Value Than a Gym Membership.
While it’s certainly possible for a home gym to cost less than a gym membership, you often can’t expect it to be that much cheaper and it may not be a better value for your dollar. Let’s say you buy an average quality home treadmill ($2,000) and some basic free weights ($1,200). Add a few extras like an iPod stereo and a floor mat and you’re looking at spending around $3,500.

Now let’s say you have a typical gym membership for about $60/month. With these numbers, you’re looking at having the home gym pay for itself in a little under five years. Not too bad, but that’s also figuring that nothing breaks down and there are no repairs or additional accessories purchased. It is a little deflating though to realize that most people pay off a new car faster than a home gym pays for itself!

Now, let’s look at a full-scale commercial gym. A decent commercial gym will have commercial quality equipment which means a treadmill that will be at least $6,000 and most weight machines will be about $3,000 each. It can take anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to well over a million dollars for the equipment in a gym and that’s not including the trimmings like lockers, showers, mirrors, good flooring and sound systems. In the end, home gyms bring many great things but massive savings, however the value per dollar for equipment isn’t usually one of them.

Of course you can always go simple and cheap with some set ups only costing a few hundred bucks, so it really does boil down to your needs. However on the whole, I have found home gyms a much more expensive deal than I bargained for.

Myth #2 – If I Buy It, I’ll Use It and Get In Shape.
home-gym-mythsIt might seem like working out at home might be easier (it is more convenient) but it often won’t give you much for increasing your chances of getting in shape. In fact, many people find that it’s easier to stick to a regular workout schedule when they have a specific gym location that they have to travel to.

This also goes right along the idea that if you spend the money and put an investment down, you will be motivated to workout. This strategy might work for a few weeks but it’s almost always a false hope. Many folks ultimately reach a point where they simply consider the investment a loss and put the equipment in the classifieds.

The most successful home gym users are folks who already have a steady exercise habit established before they set up their gym. In all honesty, you don’t need anything special or fancy to get in shape. You can walk, run, hike, bike and do simple bodyweight based exercises without a home gym. So if you’re looking to get started on a new healthy lifestyle, I recommend making basic exercise habits that don’t require a huge financial commitment. Once you have some habits established, you’re far more likely to make the higher investment pay off.

Myth #3 – The Equipment Can Make a Huge Difference.
Listen to any commercial or advertisement for home gym equipment and you get a sense that there is some sort of magical power constructed into the design to bring you greater results. I’ve fallen for this idea more times than I care to admit. No matter how advanced a design is, it will do little for you over other conventional designs. The most a piece of equipment can promise you is that it is safe, reliable, comfortable and fun to use. You just can’t expect a piece of equipment to do much more of anything beyond those characteristics.

The good news is that the special magic that can transform your body has always been within you just waiting to be discovered. Special pedal motions and dumbbell designs can’t hope to produce the results you get when you push yourself and dig a little deeper than you have before. Best of all, discovering your own inner power won’t cost you a penny or take up more space in your spare bedroom.

If you’re considering building a home gym, I recommend you start with equipment and habits you already feel comfortable with. This way you should experience minimal shock to your lifestyle so you can maximize your potential. If you need anything special, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I’m always anxious to hear your thoughts and ideas.

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About Author

Matt Schifferle

My name is Matt Schifferle and I'm an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, CrossFit Level 1 coach, underground strength coach and I'm a 5th degree black belt in Taekwon-Do. I specialize in outdoor and playground based underground and CrossFit style bootcamps. See my profile page for more information!

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