Lots of good exercises look like they can easily be done from home…so why would I need a gym membership to do things I know I can do from home?

Just yesterday at my gym I saw a woman I had not seen for a couple months. She had switched memberships to a smaller gym where she had originally felt a stronger sense of community because everyone was extra nice and seemed to know one another. Over the course of a few weeks though, she apparently noticed that at the smaller gym, there were often fewer people around than she was used to. While I’m one who enjoys an empty gym, she felt much less motivated to push herself with no one around to silently motivate her to keep going. It was as if all the other members were taking the day off, so why shouldn’t she?

She said she noticed herself going less and less, adding some weight back on, but realized it was because the atmosphere just wasn’t what she needed to ensure success in her exercise adherence. She re-joined Gold’s Gym of College Station, TX and instantly felt back on track because there are always people from every end of the fitness spectrum pushing themselves hard, working to become better every workout which influences everyone else to work harder, creating a community to support and encouragement despite most people not knowing most of the other members.

There are a myriad of reasons why joining a large, successful gym can be completely worth the few extra dollars a month. Do any of us know someone in really great shape who only works out at home? Probably not. Aside from how expensive it would be to acquire just a few basic pieces of equipment to stimulate your muscles appropriately, you would undoubtedly get using the same equipment in the same part of your house day in and day out. Eventually you’d want some new equipment, costing even more, you’d get tired of that too, and eventually you’re out of room and/or money for anything new. That’s all assuming you even do your workouts when you’re home, which is unlikely.

I see people all the time decide not to join the gym or do personal training because they’re going to do one or more of their workouts a week from home. They’ve got a few dumbells, a bench and a treadmill, so they’ve got “everything” they need to get in the shape they’re looking for. Well…months down the road when I call and check on them, nothing has changed. “I haven’t been sticking to the workouts like I should have”, “I haven’t had a chance to start because I’m too busy,” and a hundred or more other excuses.

The reason these people fail at ever accomplishing anything is because they can’t even get started! Just like people who struggle to sleep are told to let bed be a place for sleep, not a place for TV or other entertainment, your brain associates home with a place for comfort, rest, and relaxation. Apart from being just steps away from the pantry, refrigerator, living room, and anything else you’d rather be doing, you will likely get distracted by kids, roommates, phone notifications, and the fact that you are only seconds away from quitting and doing something much easier.

Put that same person inside a quality fitness facility and everything changes. There’s so much equipment that they know they need to come back a number of times before they can try it all, making it much more interesting. Everyone around them is sweating and putting in work, so walking away with perfect hair and dry clothes would be embarrassing. You will probably see people in the very shape you want to be in, inspiring you to keep coming, maybe even copying some of their exercises so you can get closer and closer to your ideal shape!

It’s just like going to the library to study. You don’t stay at home because you know you’re likely going to turn on the TV and be largely unproductive. Whereas at the library, everyone is studying, and you won’t want to be that person being lazy and avoiding your work. The library is a place to study and educate your self, the gym is a place to work hard and improve your physical health, and home is where you escape from the world, unwind and enjoy your family and friends.

I plan to have a home gym one day where I can do most if not all of my Olympic weightlifting and powerlifts, but I will always want that community of support and encouragement, as well as expertise because having people to help you push through the workouts is fantastic, but having people who can see things you can’t and help you correct your form is huge when it comes to reaching new levels of strength and ability while preventing injury. Humans are pack creatures, so we are more successful in everything we do when we work together to achieve it.