Over the course of the past few years, the popularity of home gyms has fluctuated wildly. In 2020, for instance, stationary bike sales tripled as more and more people looked for ways to stay fit while staying at home. Alongside these sales increases, services like Crunch’s own online workout classes exploded onto the scene, and many of our members continue to use this feature of our memberships.
Still, the fitness industry has begun to stabilize, with a huge number of people restarting old gym memberships or starting new ones altogether. Because of this back-and-forth, we’ve decided to do our workup of the home gym vs. gym membership debate. In this article, we’ll outline the cost, convenience, and comfort of both, giving an unbiased assessment of what to expect from either a home gym or gym membership.
One of the biggest differentiators between a home gym and a membership with a commercial gym is cost. While you may eventually save money with a home gym, they generally require a much higher initial investment before you come even close to the level of gym equipment you’ll find with a membership.
In order to help you better understand the expected (and unexpected) costs of home gyms, we’ll outline the cost of common home gym equipment and then compare those costs to Crunch’s monthly gym membership fees.
Home Gym Costs
Unless you’re willing to slowly accumulate gym equipment over months or, more likely, years, furnishing your own home gym can mean a sizeable upfront investment, with a “complete” home gym setup costing thousands of dollars. This is because, like it or not, even the most basic equipment can be unexpectedly expensive. Even the most affordable squat rack, for instance, will likely cost you a few hundred dollars–and that’s without installation.
While this may seem pricey enough on its own, most people forget that high-quality weight plates or dumbbells generally cost around $1 per pound. Not only does this mean putting down a substantial chunk of money when building a home gym, but it also means you’ll need to buy more or heavier weights as you get stronger.
Depending on what you want, buying cardio equipment can either be relatively cheap or extremely expensive. For those willing to buy second-hand from social media marketplaces, you may be able to find older stationary bikes or treadmills for an affordable price. Even so, many of these can be on their last legs, damaged, or simply non-functional. If, instead, you want brand new cardio machines, expect to pay a pretty penny for all but the most basic of equipment.
Gym Membership Costs
While it’s possible to give an average cost for memberships at commercial gyms, they can vary wildly depending on location, gym chain, and other considerations. While a local gym in a small town may be very affordable, for example, classes at a boutique fitness studio in a popular city might be hundreds of dollars a week.
Because of this wide variety of prices, we’ll use Crunch’s membership packages as a baseline comparison. With a choice between our Basic (~$9.99), Peak (~$21.99), and Peak Results (~$29.99) packages, Crunch gyms offer some of the most affordable rates in the industry. For these fees, you enjoy high-quality gym equipment such as top-of-the-line squat racks and exercise equipment, a well-maintained locker room, and excellent customer service. One of the best parts of a gym membership is the minimal maintenance fees compared to a home gym: instead of paying every time a piece of equipment breaks, you can trust that Crunch will handle it for you.
Peak and Peak Results members take these benefits even further with group classes, guest passes (Peak Results only), and countless other perks that vary depending on your Crunch location. If you want to accelerate your fitness journey even further, we also provide access to an expert personal trainer for an additional fee.
Convenience and Accessibility
By far, the most complicated part of the home gym vs. gym membership debate is deciding which offers the most convenience. While this basically comes down to what features you value most, we’ll outline both to help you make the right call.
Accessibility of a Home Gym
When most people think about building a home gym, they’re doing it with convenience in mind. What could be better, after all, than simply walking a dozen steps to a basement or garage gym? The simple truth is that building your own gym offers certain types of flexibility and accessibility that a commercial gym struggles to match.
When you build a home gym, you can pick and choose the types of equipment you want most, whether that’s a power rack or a pull-up bar with specific grips. Even better, you can rest assured that this equipment will never be occupied by other gymgoers (unless you work out with friends at home, that is). Beyond design, things like being able to blast your favorite music, not carrying a gym bag, or setting your own schedule can be small but significant perks.
Still, it’s important to remember that home gyms also come with a fair bit of upkeep. When something breaks–and trust us, something will break–it’ll be your responsibility to fix or replace it. Additionally, you’ll have to dedicate a sizeable space for anything but the most basic home gym, so consider where your equipment would fit before beginning to buy.
Convenience of a Gym Membership
While not needing to commute or share your space may be a point in favor of home gyms, a good gym membership clearly wins out in terms of convenience. With gym memberships, you gain access to a huge range of benefits and resources that are simply unavailable to most home gym owners.
The most basic of these perks is a vastly improved supply of workout equipment and facilities. Although you may be able to choose the equipment you like best for home workouts, being able to mix up your routine at a moment’s notice is best achievable in membership gyms. Additionally, you’ll never have to replace, repair, or even clean the equipment at a commercial gym. You just show up, work out, and go home.
In terms of more potent benefits, group fitness classes like those offered with Crunch’s Peak and Peak Results memberships can be a complete game-changer for fitness. Rather than designing your own fitness routine and grinding through it, group classes can be a fun way to learn new exercises, make new friends, and enjoy the motivation offered by our professional trainers.
Beyond good equipment and well-maintained facilities, both home gyms and commercial gyms should be comfortable for the people who use them. In this category, both types of gyms offer unique benefits, so it’s up to you to decide which you value most.
Privacy of a Home Gym
For most people, fitness is an intensely personal topic, so working out in the privacy of your own home can go a long way to making you feel secure, and we understand that it can be difficult to feel comfortable in traditional gyms. If you’re brand new to working out, buying basic fitness equipment like resistance bands, small dumbbells, or a reliable pull-up bar can be a great way to build toward an eventual gym membership.
Comfort of a Gym Membership
We know that traditional gyms can sometimes be intimidating for those just beginning their fitness journey, which is why Crunch works so hard to provide our no judgment atmosphere. And, while we also know that it can seem impossible to replicate the comfort of a home gym, we’re dedicated to making each member feel like they’re at home when they’re with us.
Even more importantly, we believe that our locations give members the opportunity to build self-confidence by working out with supportive, like-minded people.
The Crunch+ Effect
Even if you decide that a home gym is your best option for now, consider trying out our online fitness training with Crunch+. With countless pre-recorded routines, iconic Crunch group classes, and on-demand instruction, we can give you all the benefits of a personal trainer in the comfort of your own home.
At only $1.99 per month for Crunch members or $6.99 for non-members, Crunch+ is one of the best pieces of “equipment” you can buy or your home gym setup.
Why You Should Make Crunch Your Home
We understand the appeal of owning a home gym: rolling out of bed to get in a short workout, avoiding crowds, and blaring music at full volume over your speakers. All of these are unquestionable benefits of being able to exercise at home.
That said, we firmly believe that a high-quality gym membership like those offered by Crunch Fitness is simply the better option for the vast majority of people. With competitive prices, no huge up-front investments, motivation from our staff and fellow gymgoers, and a hugely expanded range of equipment, our gyms give you everything you need to achieve your fitness goals.
Even better, we do everything in our power to make each Crunch location feel like a second home to our members, from dedicated customer service and top-notch group fitness classes to a no judgment atmosphere designed to help you flourish.
Crunch promotes a culture of positivity, inclusivity, and fun with no judgments by providing an environment for all individuals regardless of their health and fitness goals. Find a Crunch gym near you to try our free trial membership, or join Crunch now.