Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home Gym, or Join a Gym?

As my deep, deep decluttering slows to a trickle, I finally have an office that is starting to resemble the exercise room I intended it to be. The recumbent bike is in there along with a TV that gets 3 or 4 channels to watch while I ride. The big weight machine I bought about ten years ago is in there, too. Within a week I should have room to put my free weights in there as well, and I'm going to buy a full-length mirror to hang on the wall so I can watch my form. All the PT stuff is going in there, including an exercise ball, ankle weights, and a thick mat for floor exercises. It's not a big room but with the boxes up off the floor and out of the way, it is big enough for all this plus my computer desk. I am loving the transformation; I may even paint one wall a cheery color and hang some pictures in there so it is a place I can truly enjoy.

Even with all of that, this week I have spent some time trying to decide whether or not to join a gym. When I first moved here and was married, we had a family gym membership and it was fun, but expensive. After I got divorced there was no way I could afford almost $100 a month for this huge, pricey gym. Since then I have done most of my "workouts" at home... mainly walking, biking, videos, and weights. That has slowed quite a bit as I've had trouble with my joints and feet.

This summer has been so fun. My daughter finally learned to swim, so I've been taking her to a public pool once a week for a couple of hours (it's a half hour away or we'd go more often). It has been a complete blast! I no longer have to hold her or stay with her in shallow water the whole time like I did last year; we go in the "deep" (4-5') together and she swims and jumps in a million times while I swim with her. I still have to watch her closely, and it ain't lap swimming, but it is super fun and I feel much better even with this level of activity. In just two more week though, the pool closes for the season. I'm already dreading that! I am just so thankful we've been able to go as much as we have. Anyway, this got me thinking about how nice it would be to swim year-round. Nope, there isn't a YMCA with a pool. Nope, there isn't a high school with a pool, or a pay-per-visit pool... nothing. Just that $100-a-month gym I used to belong to. But then I heard a new gym opened up 10 minutes away WITH A POOL. And with a year contract it is only $29 a month for one person! And then, I found out the 'expensive' gym I used to belong to is running a 3 month special that's just about the same price as the new one. Hmmm. Something to think about.

I have to decide by tomorrow if I want the 3-month thing, and I'm just not sure. I mean, here I am on the very brink of *finally* having my home gym all set up. Why join a gym NOW? The only reason, really, is the pool. I can do all my strength training on my machine and my free weights at home. I have the bike. I can't use much other gym equipment and probably can't do any classes. I could see a personal trainer but have to pay extra for that; I could do that without joining a gym.

I need to really be honest with myself about what I am physically capable of, how motivated I will be to use a gym I paid for versus one in my house, a pool versus a bike, driving somewhere in the winter versus working out at home, and getting to the gym when my kids are in school and I am not working. I dunno. I am not sure what to do.

I haven't worked outside the home since I was 6 months pregnant with my last child. I wasn't able to go back to work due to her health issues, but she is doing great now. I've just been SO enjoying the last few years with my girl; I had to work when my boys were little so it is nice to have extra time with my last child. The job I'm applying for would have me working only when the kids are in school, so I can still be home when they are home. If I get the position, working out will have to happen at night, at home. Long term, I will be going back to school for my Masters (at least). All of this is swirling in my mind and I feel like I need to get in shape NOW because life is just going to get busier. I have really enjoyed this 7 year reprieve from the rat race/workforce, but I think it's a good time to move back towards my chosen field.

So, tonight I ponder: join the gym? Or set up a workout schedule for my almost-finished home gym? Wait and see how committed I am to the home gym, and join the other gym later if I really need the pool? Save the gym money to use towards sessions with a personal trainer? How much will I even be able to do with my joint problems? Is the pool the answer? I dunno. I am going to sleep on it. Input and insights are welcome!


Anonymous said...

That is a hard question. I hope you find the answer. It really depends on how much you like swimming and how often you think you can really weekly go to swim. Home gym is great. If you had time to do both that would be ideal, I think.

MargieAnne said...

I wish we had a gym with an all year pool. I'll be swimming this coming summer but in the sea... cold water.

You have a lot of life changes coming. Take care that you don't over-load yourself with too many changes one on top of another.

Great about the job.


Diandra said...

You could use the pool. Maybe take a yoga class if they offer one. Meet new people (I am talking friends, not guys). If it is not that expensive, I'd go for it (the one closer to home, of course, makes if more likely you'll go).

By the way, I don't do gyms. Do everything at home and teach myself. It's "Do as I preach, not as I do". ^^

Melanie said...

Hi Lyn - I feel that joining the gym is something to consider because the pool is a great place to exercise since you have joint issues. If they happen to have a heated pool, that would be even better.

Anonymous said...

I share your dilemma. 10 years ago, I bought a good treadmill, used it a couple of times and then it sat. But I kept it. This last year, it has been my salvation. It has been so easy for me to walk/run regardless of the weather and I've been committed! However, I have done nothing for strength/core conditioning. So a new gym opened, $10 a month membership and I joined! One month later, I've been 1 time. School begins in a week and I'm hoping that a new schedule (I'm a teacher), will bring new routine. However, it's so difficult to know what's going to "be right" when it comes to exercise. I never thought I'm be committed to home exercise (I belonged to gyms in the past), but now I'm having a hard time getting myself out the door and to the gym! I'd still rather just go upstairs and use the treadmill.

lisa~sunshine said...

I know you will have to find your answer to your question from within... but for joint issues.. I would have to say that the pool would be awesome.. but then again do they offer classes in the pool? Then with starting a new job.. and a time factor.. the home gym sounds the best because I think you will have issues with time and your children..
I know you will find the right answer for you though..

Ellesar said...

Personally I would go for what makes you happiest. If you love swimming with your daughter do that! If you prefer to work out at home do that too. $29 a month doesn't seem a lot. Personally I cannot go to gyms, and do not have a home gym, I find that I can only incorporate exercise into my daily life - so its walk the dog, cycle to work, shops, etc.

Becca said...

Join the gym!! I have both...a workout room I just set up and a gym membership. I love the classes at the gym, and the pool/sauna/whirlpool. But I also like the convenience of getting up in the morning, walking into the other room and walking on the treadmill while I watch an episode of something on my Kindle Fire.

I'd go with the new gym...newer equipment, and check out their kids area if you are putting your daughter in that. Take a tour of both before you sign up for whichever one.

And I hope you get the help you need for your plantars fasciitis. It's held you back long enough...you will enjoy some of the gym classes if you can get past the pain (I have it in my right foot, and am working to get it healed...but even when it's not, I push through the pain to workout, and make sure I have good shoes to step right into when getting out of bed).

matilda deathstar said...

My 2 cents. If you love to swim then join the gym. If not then wait until you find the exercise you enjoy.

I lost 100+ lbs on Medifast and never exercised while I was on the plan because I hated exercise - especially going to the gym.

Recently I took up running and it turns out I love it. For the first time ever I want to work out. I am in my 40s and have arthritis so I am not fast but I am happy.

If you can find your activity - I promise the debate will not be as hard :)

Anonymous said...

I think you should do the gym. It's just good to get in the routine of dropping your daughter at school and going straight there. I was thinking that in exchange for a membership perhaps you could work at the club for a few hours. I think that's how it works at our YMCA. If you work there, your membership is free. I know I wouldn't be disciplined enough to work out at home. Plus it's a good social activity. Good luck! Amy

Darcy Winters said...

I like the idea of you having access to the pool. You can probably get a day or week for free --- so why don't you give it a try and see if you like the gym atmosphere. You could probably do both gyms this way and exercise for free for half a month while you decide!

katie said...

You can have BOTH. You deserve the pool...join up! After you drop your child at school drive straight to the pool. How good you will feel having a new daily routine you commit to and keep :)
It is a win - win all around.


Niki said...

I think it would be amazing for you to be able to join the gym and have access to a pool, but also because it would be wonderful for you to meet like-mided people as well. One of my favourite places to meet new people is at the gym, you could built an entire support network that may help you in your journey. Just my opinion though, I wish you all the best!

Jennifer said...

Is the three month membership only a three month membership, or does the reduced rate come with a year's worth of commitment? If it's only three months, I would do that and see how much you actually go during that time, and then decide if you want to go longer term. Also, you mentioned getting a new degree. I'm not sure how far off that will be, but most colleges have rec centers that come with your tuition and fees.

Amy said...

A good personal trainer will know which moves to use in order to spare your joints and what form will take the strain off your joints. I have personal experience with this, it makes a world of difference.
I have a home gym and a membership, but rarely use my home gym because I find it too restrictive. I like all the choices I have for different equipment and weights at the gym, and the atmosphere is so inspirational!

Lyn said...

Both.... maybe both is the answer. I could try it for the 3 month trial and see how much I use the pool. It might be a very wise use of a hundred bucks.


the new one requires a year, but the old one is a 3-month only special, after which if I wanted to continue it would be a price I can't afford. But I could switch to the new gym at that point if I am using it a lot. The university I attended and will return to doesn't have a gym facility. They do offer partial reimbursement to certain gyms though, so that might be helpful when I get to that point.

Thanks all, will report back later!

April said...

I highly recommend the gym. I've belonged to my gym for almost 4 years and I love it. I originally used it for what I know: the elliptial. I slowly ventured out into the world of group classes. I started out with the dance class (what I know) and have even done what the gym says is the "hardest class they offer" although I've only done that class 3 times. Some of my regular classes are now one's I would have NEVER tried had I never joined a gym: a weights group class and a kick-boxing class.
A gym membership will eventual get you out of your comfort zone (once you are comfortable enough with going) and you'll become curious in trying new things. I think that with an at home gym you'll find yourself doing the same things over and over and over again, because that's what you know, that's what you have. A good gym will offer lots of different options.
Once I was comfortable with my gym (after about a year) and started the Group Classes more frequently I started meeting people who became great friends, and now I truly look forward to going to the gym because it's also a social outlet for me and not just a gym.

Anonymous said...

I would start a program at home get on a schedule
If you are getting a new job and with the kids going back to school that will be an adjustment right there
Nothing worse than buying a membership and feeling guilty cuz you r not using it


Anonymous said...

it depends on your level of motivation....if working with others pushes you then do a gym thing....if u don't need the mental encouragement and support then do the home thing.

Anonymous said...

My mother uses a cane. She can't stand for longer than 5 minutes at a time. She sits on a stool in the kitchen to cook. My father does all the shopping. Her knees are shot, like yours. Her back gives her trouble sporadically. She is 5'4", 230 lbs, age 68. She goes to the pool EVERY day except Sundays. She credits going to the pool with her lack of diabetes and decent blood pressure despite being on blood pressure medication for the last 30 years and having a family of obese diabetics. I think her committment to swimming might keep her a LOT healthier than she would otherwise be. ALL forms of exercise hurt her because of joint pain. BUT she can swim every day. I think that says something about how good swimming can be for someone with your knees and foot problems. Finding the time is hard. Committing to it is hard. So is feeling crappy all the time. You've got to find something you can consistently do. Weight training would be great if you can commit to it and find a way to train several times a week and not hurt yourself.

Elaine said...

Personally, I found joining a gym to be a great motivator: i tend to make myself use things I have to pay for!

Plus, if you get bored with your bike you can use an elliptical, you could try spinning, etc. Being a member of a gym helps you change up your workouts when you get bored

skinnyhollie said...

I hate working out at home, so I gladly pay for a gym membership. But lately riding my bike has been fun, too... But when it gets cold outside I know I will be back in that gym more! You really have to be honest with yourself and do what is best for you. You are worth the investment... We always find the money if we truly need it :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm the odd ball out on this one. I vote to not join the gym. It seems like your are really focusing in on your life at home (deep cleaning / organizing / purging etc) & that room is finally getting back to a real workout room that you could take advantage of. There will probably always be some sort of gym special at some point. I would wait to join the gym until after you've been using your home gym for awhile. Maybe you could say, when I work up to doing XY&Z exercises, I'll join a gym. Or when I lose x amoun of lbs, I'll reward myself. This is just my thought so take it with a grain of salt.
Coming from someone who is currently paying for a
Gym but rarely uses it because it is so much more convenient to walk or jog or do my exercise video at home. I have the best of intentions of going but usually end up getting the job done at home.