Home Gym vs Gym Membership

When it comes to getting in shape, there are a million ways to approach it. Two of the most popular choices are to either get a gym membership or to invest in a home gym. Both of these are strong options and for a lot of us, the ideal place is to have a blend of both, but that’s not always an option.

If you’ve been weighing the options between getting a home gym or spending the money to join a local gym, there are few things you should know about the pros and cons of each so you can make the best decision.

Home Gym Pros

The biggest difference between a home gym and a gym membership is that you’ll have to pay your expenses up front to get all the equipment. A gym membership often costs less up front, but you’re simply renting the space and the equipment and never get to take it with you. However, if you decide to do bodyweight exercises or use light weights, it shouldn’t cost much at all.

Weather doesn’t matter as much

If you live in a place that gets snow, you know how hard it can be to make it to the gym on those freezing, snowy days. Sometimes even the roads are closed making getting to the gym even harder. The benefit of having your own gym at home is that you don’t need to worry about the weather since you’re already there. The only time you’d have to worry about it is if you have your home gym in an area that doesn’t have climate control (like a lot of garages, for example).

Listen to your own music

Listening to your own music is one of the best features of a home gym. No shade to commercial gyms, but a lot of them have questionable music or just not my preferred genre. Of course, at commercial gyms you can just bring your own headphones, but it’s nice to have the option.

Don’t need to worry about gym hours

Some gyms have weird hours. If you’re a person who likes to fit in a good workout before you head off to your job, it’s nice to be able to wake up and just workout at any time you want.

Home Gym Cons

Home is for relaxing

Sometimes the nice part about a gym membership is that you have to leave the comfort of your home to go workout. That can be a good motivator, especially since most of our homes tend to be a relaxing environment.

Equipment can be wildly expensive

Everything you buy you’ll have to move around. The benefit of a gym membership is that it’s up to to the gym to maintain, store, and move the equipment.

Not enough weight variety

Typically, a gym membership will give you more equipment variety and options when it comes to machines, weights, and options to use. If you’re just looking to stay active, that’s not really a big deal. However, if you’re into things like bodybuilding, that can be a huge hindrance to your progress.

Gym Membership Pros

Keep in mind, not all gyms are the same. There are CrossFit gyms, huge commercial chain gyms, local gyms, yoga studios, and so on. The average gym membership is $30-$50, but some smaller ones can run much higher.

Better options

Most gyms have more equipment than you could buy to fit in your home. They’ll have different machines, bands, chains, weights, and so on that would take up a ton of space in your home.

Maintenance and cleaning

It’s nice to not have to worry about cleaning any equipment or keeping it maintained. The staff at the gym have to do that and you just come in to use it. Things like squat racks have to be

Gym Membership Cons

Expensive

Some smaller gyms can be expensive, depending on how big the city you live in is. It’s a recurring charge every month and depending on how tight your budget is, sometimes it simply doesn’t make sense. Some people are better off financially to just buy a cheap set of weights from a garage sale and start that way. I’d never sit here and say someone HAS to have a gym membership, especially if it’s going to put you in a tougher place with your money.

Crowds

If you have anxiety or don’t like to be around a lot of people, the crowds at a gym, especially during the busy hours, can be overwhelming. If you’re just starting to work out, being around a ton of people and feeling like you’re taking up space or getting in their way can be enough to keep people out of the gym forever.

How to decide

If you’re still on the fence, one good way is to try and do bodyweight exercises at home. If you find it hard to get motivated when you’re at home, get a guest pass/trial membership at a gym. Most gyms will give community members a free day (or even up to a week) to test out the space and see if it’s a good fit. You’ll want to do this before joining any gym since it can be hard to tell if you’ll like it or not before trying it.

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Summer Shredding Workout

I’ll do more updates on this plan, but I signed up for the Alphalete Summer Shredding challenge. Mainly as a way to get myself focused and challenge myself in as many life areas as I can. It ends right at the start of my 30th birthday, so the timing is perfect. Anyway, onto the workout!

If you want it in Google Doc form (for easy download), here it is: click here.

Summer Shredding Workout

Every week: fit in 3 or 4 days of cardio. (30 mins)
Week 1: All exercises 12-15 reps
Week 2: All exercises 8-10 reps
Week 3: All exercises 6-8 reps
Week 4: All exercises 2-4 reps
Cycle through all the rep ranges as needed

All exercises, 3 sets. Unless it’s one you want to build up more. (For me, that means legs #chickenlegs)

Rest-pause for all sets: On last set, go to failure, wait 15 seconds, then go to failure again.

Monday – Legs + Abs
Front squat
Romanian deadlift
Ball hamstring curl
Step ups
Ab work

Tuesday – Chest + Triceps
Cable fly
Incline bench press
Tricep rope pressdown
Tricep rope overhead extension
Dumbbell bench press
Reverse tricep extension
Ab work

Wednesday – Legs + Booty
Lateral lunges
Split squats
Hip thrusts
Rope pull throughs
Donkey kicks
Forearm curls
Forearm reverse curls
Ab work

Thursday – Back, Biceps
Single-arm lat pulldown
Dumbbell bent-over row
Lat pulldowns
Straight-arm pulldown
Seated cable row
Dumbbell curls
Hammer curls
Reverse curls
Cable curls
Ab work

Friday – Shoulders, Traps, Calves
Reverse shoulder fly
Dumbbell shoulder press
Upright row
Lateral raise
Front raise
Trap shrug
Standing calf raise
Ab work

Saturday – Optional
Hip thrusts
Forearm curl
Forearm reverse curl
Good mornings
Preacher curl
Ab work

Life Is a Battle – Stay Strong and Prepared

If you haven’t seen Cinderella Man starring Russell Crowe, put it on your list immediately.

When I talk about staying mentally strong, this is one movie I love to reference.

There is a fine line between being a positive person and preparing for adversity. James Braddock finds himself down on his luck after being a successful boxer and needs to fight through the hard times for his family.

This doesn’t require just physical endurance (he’s a boxer and also does physical labor on the docks), but mental endurance as well. To wake up every day, put on his outfit, and keep fighting for every single scrap he can get.

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This requires a different kind of endurance than just being able to put weights up and down.

On your journey to a better body, do not overlook developing your mental strength as well. There are a ton of people out there with rock-hard abs and zero ability to actually handle stress.

There will always be unforeseen circumstances that come your way, things that happen that you have no control over. Assuming that you’ll just “deal with it” when it comes is nonsense. You have to mentally prepare yourself for things around the corner that you don’t see coming.

Muscles grow with resistance, and the mind is no different.

There are tons of people who can’t handle an ounce of resistance. They crumble to the smallest amounts of adversity.

There will always be times in life where we must find that tough warrior within and battle our way through life. Something will happen to our families, our loved ones, or our own lives, and we must fight to pull ourselves out of the situation.

Instead of building the fundamental habits for a better life, people waste their time playing video games, smoking weed (I live in Denver, so this is incredibly common), scrolling through Facebook, drinking their savings away at bars, watching football,  watching reality TV… It’s all a waste of time, especially if you aren’t where you want to be in life.

If you aren’t making as much money as you want, don’t have your dream body, aren’t learning anything new, or progressing toward any goal you want, why would you waste a second flushing your time down the toilet instead of taking the action steps needed to move your life forward?

This is something I constantly battle, and so do most of the people I know. Time vampires are everywhere, waiting to suck the life out of you.

Of course, breaks are good, but at the sacrifice of your goals, any breaks should be destroyed.

Build your body. Build your mind.

Pre JYM Review

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Pre-workout is one of the best things to help people get through a workout. However, a lot of the ones on the market simply give you a caffeine or sugar buzz but don’t actually do anything to enhance your workouts. Pre JYM is different. It not only gives you the energy you need to sustain your grueling workout, but it also is full of benefits to help you get the most out of your workouts.

The benefit of Pre JYM

Pre JYM is formulated by Dr. Jim Stoppani. He worked as the science editor at Muscle and Fitness for a decade and also, you know, casually holds a PhD in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry. He also served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Yale University School of Medicine. So, just easy degrees. HA.

Right away, you need to know that one of the biggest benefits of this pre workout is the lack of a crash after taking it. With most pre workouts, you drink them and then an hour or two later you’re face-down on your couch because the buzz wore off. You won’t feel shaky and tingly from this workout. That’s not the point of a pre workout anyway. A quality pre workout is designed to give you all the nutrients your muscles need to get the most out of your workout, not make you feel like a tweaker.

Unlike other supplement companies out there, JYM doesn’t use proprietary blends. That means you know exactly what’s in every product you buy instead of some secret amount.

This can hurt you because there are certain ingredients that need to be in a pre workout, but you’ll never know if you’re getting the right dose. That’s just a waste of money.

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Ingredients and benefits

Although there are more ingredients than these ones, they are the most important:

  • 6 G of citrulline malate: helps with muscle endurance and muscle pump
  • 6 G of BCAA’s: helps reduce muscle fatigue and helps increase muscle growth
  • 2 G of creatine HCl and 2 G of beta-alanine: helps with strength, endurance, and muscle growth
  • 300 mg of caffeine
  • 1 G of taurine: helps improve focus and reduce jittery feelings

Read the full list: here.

Jim has mentioned multiple times how it’s scientifically impossible for these other brands to have such small scoops in their pre workouts if they wanted to fit in all the ingredients that are in Pre JYM.

Most pre workouts do not also include BCAA’s, so if you’re a person who has been buying both, you’re going to get a deal by using Pre JYM instead.

Taste of Pre JYM

I haven’t personally tried all the flavors of Pre JYM, but here’s a run-down on the ones I have tried and my thoughts:

Raspberry Lemonade – This was the first Pre JYM flavor I ever tried and I thought it was delicious.

Rainbow Sherbert – hands-down my favorite flavor of all the options. It surprisingly tastes like sherbert ice cream and is so good. It’s also really smooth and doesn’t have any aftertaste unlike some others (especially other brands of pre-workouts).

Refreshing Melon – This flavor is good, but it has a really strong sugar flavor. It doesn’t have the same smoothness and feels pretty thick. If you do get it, be sure to put it in a bigger container so there’s extra water.

Considerations when using Pre JYM

When you first put it in your shaker bottle, you need to let it sit for 15 minutes. This gives everything a chance to break down for easy digestion.

You’ll also want to shake up the bottle before you scoop it out.

A lot of people have stomach issues with Pre JYM and this is the solution to that. Unless you simply cannot take the caffeine in it, in which case you should use his Post JYM matrix since it has what you need without the energy boost.

There’s no doubt that it’s more expensive than some of the other options on the market, but in my opinion, it’s well worth the price tag.

How I use Pre JYM

Personally, I only use a half scoop for my pre workout. Sometimes I add another scoop of the Post JYM to make sure I’m getting everything I need. I have a pretty high caffeine tolerance but this tests it. (Also, when I’m on a budget, this helps me spread it out.)

The focus with this pre workout is unlike anything else I’ve ever had. Even on a bad day, it’s easy for me to stay in the gym longer instead of getting tired and cutting it short. I always have such clarity when I’m in there that I bring my notebook and jot down work and side-hustle to do’s and ideas.

I recommend Pre JYM to everyone I talk to so they can enjoy the benefits and get the most out of each and every workout. You could even sip it on a hot day for added energy or bring it with you to drink during a hike or sports game.

Buy it on Amazon

Amazon

Buy it on Bodybuilding.com

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Disclaimer: Jackie Pearce is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Before You Quit Your Fitness Plan, Read This

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The hardest part of any fitness plan isn’t the lifting and the diets.

The hardest part is staying consistent. Actually following through with your plan until the end.

We all start out with high hopes. We go grocery shopping to prep, we get out our favorite fitness outfits, maybe even splurge on new shoes…. but two weeks in we’re stuck.

This is where the excitement falls off, the pounds aren’t falling off as fast as they were, you’re sore often, and you’d rather go back to your old habits.

This is when you need to call in the reinforcements.

This process will help you analyze what you’re doing and get extra help where you need it.

Do you even like it?

I have always been a strong believer in doing workouts that bring people joy. I love lifting weights. It’s where I excel, it makes my body feel good, and it’s something I can stick with.

If I had to run, however, I would quit all the time. Running doesn’t bring me any joy and I would avoid it at all costs.

Look at your current plan. Is there something about it that you hate doing? Something that you find boring? Something that you dread doing? Then simply stop doing it.

Now, this doesn’t mean you get to just stop working out. For everything you take off, you have to find a replacement. If you don’t run, then do you like hiking? Or swimming?

What is your end goal?

Just working out for the sake of working out is not something most people can do. Yes, once you’ve gotten in the habit, it’s so much easier to keep it going, but building the habit requires more than that to keep you going.

You need to spend the time to find your greater WHY.

I’m not saying you need to find your life’s purpose (although it’s never a bad idea to spend time reflecting on that), but you need to find a reason to stay active.

Maybe you have an upcoming vacation that requires you to be active.
Maybe you’re trying to get off some medication.
Maybe you have an age milestone coming up.

There are a lot of reasons, but just going to the gym to “feel good” is rarely a good enough reason for most people. I trained a lot of people when I worked at a gym, and although it sounds nice to have that as a reason, it’s rarely enough.

Going to the gym and your diet is no easy feat. You need a stronger purpose to pull you through those hard times when you want to throw in the towel.

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Put a carrot at the end of the stick

The problem most people fall into is that they reward themselves before they finish a program. They buy new shoes, new workout gear, a fancy watch that calculates their calories.

Instead, you need to start putting these things after you finish.

Humans are simple creatures. We love rewards after hard work.

If your boss is going to give you a raise after a project, you’ll work hard on that project. If he gives it to you beforehand, you’re not going to work as hard on the project as you would if you got it at the end.

This is why trophies are given at the end of games. You need to prove yourself first, then get your reward.

Pick something you want really bad (whether it’s fitness related or not). Make that your reward by following through with your current goals.

If you don’t hit your goals, you don’t get the prize, it’s that simple.

I have found through the years that combining a deeper why with a fun gift is a great combination to keep people focused, motivated, and excited to workout. With some of my clients, if they were low on motivation or feeling extra tired one day, I’d make them visualize the thing they wanted. What it would be like to own it, use it, look at it. Really picture it.

It sounds materialistic, yes, but sometimes, when motivation is low, it’s hard to feel connected to that deeper “why”. Visualizing yourself playing a video game you want is much easier for our brains to imagine than something like climbing a mountain when you’re still 100 lbs. overweight.

Fighting the external forces

This part is hard to write, but it needs to be addressed.

Sometimes the hardest part of sticking with a fitness routine is the forces around you pushing you to quit.

Sometimes this looks like an unsupportive friend, family member, partner, spouse, co-workers, or someone else you’re close to.

And frankly? I don’t have any answers for this. All I can do is share my experience.

In my early 20’s, when I first fell in love with the gym during college, I used to work out at midnight. I’d go to 24-Hour Fitness, lift for an hour, and then soak in the hot tub/sauna for about 30 minutes. That means I’d be done and sleeping by about 2:30 am. My mother hated this. It’s not even like I kept coming home at that time and would wake her up (a valid reason to be annoyed), she just thought it was unhealthy.

She’d repeatedly tell me for months about how bad it was to work out at night. It took years and research for her to finally stop bringing it up.

The only thing I could do was power through and keep going. I had a gym buddy at the time who was always waiting for me, which was a huge reason I was able to make it. I had someone to be accountable to.

This is me extending my sympathy to people who have someone like a spouse who doesn’t support their new healthy lifestyle.

Just keep in mind, that a lot of these fears stem from the fact that they’re worried you’re going to get more attractive and leave them or find someone else.

If you’ve been in one habit or routine for years, switching it up out of nowhere is making them nervous.

I do have one huge tip though: NEVER TELL YOUR PARTNER THEY SHOULD JOIN YOU.

Nothing sets off arguments like a spouse telling the other one they could lose some weight or that they “should” go to the gym. DO NOT BE THIS DUMB.

If they want to join on their own, great! But never ever suggest it. Instead, encourage them to start putting time into a hobby they want to do and commit to helping them make time for it.

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Track your progress in multiple ways

Just tracking your progress by the number on the scale is a horrible way to get a bigger picture.

There are a million reasons that your body could have a different scale number than what you think it should.

Instead, keep track in a variety of ways. Maybe you get a calendar and put a big X through the days you drink enough water or stretch. That way you create a nice long chain throughout the month you don’t want to break.

Take pictures of your body. Pictures are SO helpful. Even if the scale doesn’t seem to be moving, you can visually see how your body is changing.

Measure parts of your body. This way you know what’s growing and what’s shrinking. Even if you can’t see the gains, measurements don’t lie. For me, it helps a lot to see that I’m gaining size on my little chicken legs, and that’s something the scale can’t tell me.

Try all these things before you throw in the towel on your new fitness plan. Never forget that the mental strength is the most important strength of all.

What helps YOU stay on track? I’d love to know in the comments!