There is a seemingly endless variety of fitness options available to exercise enthusiasts, from boutique studios to commercial gyms to home gyms.

But you may be wondering—which option is the best for both your health and your wallet? Follow along as we navigate the ins and outs of working out at home vs. at the gym and what makes exercise so beneficial to your overall well-being.

Weighing The Pros and Cons

Deciding between investing in a home gym system or a gym membership boils down to what types of exercises and workouts you’re looking to tackle and your workout style. 

If you thrive at the squat rack or power rack, enjoy pumping iron, and love zoning out on cardio machines, a gym membership offers equipment and other amenities (like saunas or juice bars) that you likely can’t get at home and may be worth the high cost of gym fees for you.  

On the other hand, if you’re self-motivated, enjoy working out on your own schedule in your own workout sanctuary, and love to push your limits with comprehensive workout videos, a home gym may be a better option for you and your wallet.

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Pros of Breaking a Sweat at Home 

For folks who want to save time and would prefer more privacy and financial flexibility, creating your own home gym space is the perfect solution to fit into your busy lifestyle.

At-home workouts provide versatility in a private (and less expensive) space. For those daydreaming about home gym ideas, there are also various benefits of a home gym, including:

  • Setting your own schedule – No need to set an insanely early wake-up alarm to get you out of bed and on the road before rush hour traffic. Your home gym’s hours are whatever you want them to be, and you can feel good knowing you always have the place to yourself. 
  • Picking your own pace – At home, it’s just you vs. you. You can make your home workouts as leisurely or as intense as you desire. If you’ve ever worried about turning beet red and making the odd grunting noise at the gym, you can go ahead and go all out at home with no one around to see you. 
  • Convenience – Some folks don’t have the luxury of spending an hour or two at a gym or boutique fitness studio. Whether you’re on-call for work or need to watch the little ones around the house, working out at home allows you the luxury of multitasking.
  • Spending less money – The greatest boon to exercising at home is that, even with the purchase of some select fitness equipment, you’re bound to spend less money than you would on an annual gym membership.
  • Variety – Nowadays there are so many different options for a home workout. You can stream live classes, try an outdoor workout in the sun, utilize a workout app, or embrace the latest fitness technology. At the gym, you may be limited to traditional equipment and indoor space. With an  interactive smart gym like MIRROR, you have access to a host of live and on-demand classes like high-energy cardio, weight lifting, yoga, and more
  • Never waiting for equipment – Never again will you have to work up the courage to ask, “Are you using this machine?” At home, all the equipment needed is always available, so you can get more reps in without feeling guilty about holding anyone else up.
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Cons of Breaking a Sweat at Home

For people who are accustomed to a gym environment, pivoting to a home workout can feel a bit stifling, for various reasons. But the following factors don’t have to hold you back from a successful home gym workout.

  • Lack of accountability – At home, there’s no one to hold you accountable, except yourself. You can walk away from your workout at any time to do the dishes or walk the dog. For those who need accountability partners, working out at home may feel difficult; however, with MIRROR’s smart fitness mirror, you can interact with instructors and other MIRROR community members in real-time to ensure accountability and proper workout form.
  • Space If you live in a small place or apartment, finding space for a home gym can be an issue; however, you don’t need a ton of exercise equipment for a successful at-home workout. MIRROR is a nearly invisible home gym that can be hung up on your wall, taking up virtually no space and blending in beautifully with your home decor. In many cases, depending on your fitness goal, the only other home gym equipment you might need is a yoga mat, resistance bands, and connected weights, which pair with your MIRROR to analyze your form and offer technique fixes in real-time. 
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  • Unsightly equipment – Gym equipment isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing to have in your home, especially if you need to create a home gym in one of your main living areas. And for city-dwellers in condos or apartments, a garage gym just isn’t feasible. MIRROR, however, is a sleek home gym system that seamlessly fits within the aesthetics of your home. When you’re ready for a workout, it turns into a fully immersive home gym and when you’re not using it, it can be used as a mirror.
  • 1-on-1 training – One of the biggest draws of many gyms is the option for personal training. At home, you’re your own coach, left wondering if your form is correct. With MIRROR, however, this isn’t the case. MIRROR offers 1-on-1 personal training sessions, in which coaches will fix your form and technique in real-time, so you can be sure your squat or row is perfect.
  • Group mentality – Some people thrive off high-energy classes and instructors, and regular workout videos on YouTube just don’t bring that group element into your home. MIRROR’s immersive experience eliminates that, with the opportunity to interact with instructors, Face Off and compete with friends, and take live classes with other members all over the United States and Canada.

While there are some downsides to a home gym, MIRROR’s home workout experience is a game-changer. MIRROR provides an immersive experience that’s not only better than an in-person gym, but it eliminates the downsides that come with other home gyms.

Pros of Breaking a Sweat at a Commercial Gym or Boutique Studio

When you join a gym, you’re often signing up for a package deal that includes a variety of amenities, from saunas and pools to showers and hot tubs. 

While these add-ons are luxurious, consider whether these amenities are necessities when making your decision. That being said, there are some perks to joining a commercial gym or boutique studio depending on your specific wants, needs, and S.M.A.R.T. fitness goals, including:

  • Equipment galore – Gyms offer a variety of equipment and workout machines, including squat racks, heavy weights, iron plates, and cardio machines. If you’re an equipment fiend, chances are you’ll spend less money investing in a monthly gym membership than you would stocking your own home with commercial-level equipment. 
  • Targeted classes – If all you’re looking for is a group boxing class or reformer Pilates, a boutique studio specializing in a single form of fitness will get you what you need. The upside is also top-notch shared equipment, which you may not  have access to at home.
  • An escape – For those looking to momentarily escape life’s many obligations, a local gym provides a sanctuary for sweat-filled workouts and offers a break from daily life. The ritual of driving or taking public transportation to the gym and psyching yourself up in the locker room can also help you get into the right mindset before your sweat sesh.

Cons of Gym Memberships 

While there are numerous benefits to a gym membership, gyms also come with their own set of disadvantages, including:

  • High costs – The average gym membership cost in the US is about $40 per month. Depending on your location, type of studio, and specific package, membership fees can run up to $180+—and that’s not including set up or initiation fees. If you’re a chronic gym skipper, that’s a sunk cost.  
  • Crowded classes – Having a gym membership doesn’t guarantee you a spot in your favorite workout class—you may be put on a waitlist if the class is extremely popular. And you’ll be left to the rickety elliptical in the back corner with your exercise plans derailed. 
  • Less privacy – If you prefer private, peaceful workouts with limited interactions, you’ll likely need to hit up the gym at off hours, extra early in the morning or late in the evening. Otherwise, a gym workout may be prone to cramped spaces riddled with unwanted small talk and attention. 
  • More germs – Germaphobes beware: Late-night gym visits may also mean sweatier gym equipment, especially if day-time goers forgo equipment wipe-downs. Due to the large capacity of gyms, space won’t be as spick-and-span as a home gym.
  • Hassle  – We don’t always have enough time to travel to the gym and have time for a full workout session. Traffic, parking, subway delays, and more can make a trip to the gym take longer than you were hoping.

Elevate Your Home Workout with MIRROR 

Deciding between a home gym vs. gym membership can be difficult, especially if you’re an avid exerciser looking for the ideal workout environment.

While joining a gym provides access to a slew of high-quality gym equipment and training, it may leave you with little privacy and often a hefty annual payment plan. Working out at home allows for more flexibility; however, at-home gyms can be challenging if you are limited on space.\For the best of both worlds, elevate your fitness alongside MIRROR and bring the energy of a gym to the comfort of your home.

For the best of both worlds, elevate your fitness alongside MIRROR and bring the energy of a gym to the comfort of your home.

Try MIRROR at home for 30 days risk-free and get access to unlimited live and on-demand workouts for as low as $0 down and 0% APR.

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