Time – the one thing we could all use more of! This is my favorite benefit of a home gym for myself. Let me break down all the ways a commercial gym is costing you massive amounts of time:
Getting to the Gym
If you’re a commercial gym go-er your first step of the commute to the gym is to get changed (after you’ve convinced yourself to get off the couch – good job!). It might not be the Met Gala but you are going into public, so most likely you prefer to be halfway presentable. You throw on some clothes and fix your bed-head.
Next, you likely pack a gym bag or at least grab a few things before you leave the house. Even a minimalist grabs their headphones and mixes up a pre-workout or some BCAAs. If you shower at the gym, you’re
likely hopefully throwing a towel, soap, and a clean change of clothes into a bag as well.
The more dedicated fitness buffs typically live within 5 miles of their gym but that still takes some time. If you drive (most do), you need to find a spot, park, get inside, and stash your stuff in a locker after you search 764 of them to find one that’s unused. Then finally walk out onto the floor.
How much time passed since you decided to go workout? 15 minutes? 30?
Many chats in communities (like this one on Reddit) confirm it’s probably somewhere along those lines.
At the Gym
The most obvious (and frustrating) time-suck at the gym is waiting for popular equipment – most notably, the squat racks. Made worse by the fact most globo-gyms only have 1 or 2 of them.
Realistically, lots of us just end up supplementing the exercise with an inferior one to keep moving.
Go ahead and add inefficient workouts to the list of your membership ‘perks’.
Also, back when I had a membership, random chit-chat with friends I ran into and constant walks to the water fountain broke up my workouts more than I’d like to admit.
After the Workout
Those who shower need to head back to the locker and grab their stuff, hop in, change afterward, and pack their bag.
Either way, you’re still looking at the same commute back home. Seriously – time it next time you go. You’d be surprised.
How Much Time was That?
Let’s consider two people on either extreme of the situation:
- Sara showers at home, lives close, and is prepared every day
- Fred showers at the gym, lives a modest 10 miles away, and isn’t rushed to leave the house
Sara spends about 15 minutes between the time she decides to hit the gym, before she’s warming up on the mats.
She’s got her clothes ready, shoes at the door, grabs her shaker bottle and that’s it. Let’s say she only takes 10 minutes to get home from the point she finishes her last exercise.
So: 15 minutes to the gym + 10 minutes back home = 25 minutes per workout
Fred might take upwards of 30 minutes to get to his warmup from when he decided to get to the gym.
Maybe he hadn’t had his pre-gym snack yet, calls a workout buddy to meet up when they get there, and takes a while to pick out his attire. He also has a 15 minute drive there and back, and his shower takes 10 minutes before he’s ready to head home.
For Fred thats: 30 minutes to start training + 10 minute shower + 15 minute drive home = 55 minutes per workout
So what does that boil down to?
If both workout 4 times a week, for 45 weeks/year leaving 7 weeks of rest/holidays:
Sara still spends 75 hours just in commute times a year!
Fred? He spends 165 hours in commute times per year. That’s almost a full WEEK!
Let’s not forget this isn’t even considering the time wasted waiting for popular machines to open up, distracting chit-chat, etc we all experience in a gym.
The Home Gym Commute
If you built your own home gym, here’s how that would go:
- Decide to work out, throw on some shorts
- Walk into your gym
- Bang out a focused, effective workout
- Done. Walk ~30 feet over to your shower
No packing, driving, walking, worrying about what you look like, etc.
Think about it, how would you like to save up to a full WEEK of time yearly? Not to mention the stress, anxiety, etc. some people have about walking into a gym.
Not convinced? Let’s talk about another huge factor why thousands of people are now avid home gym warriors.
Some people don’t seem too bothered to have inefficient schedules and timing, but there isn’t a single person out there who smiles about a wasted buck.
Lots of people severely underestimate the costs of owning and operating a car. Gas is an obvious one. Realistically though, the more miles you drive to the gym, the sooner you will need maintenance like tires and oil changes, your car depreciates, etc.
This study by AAA found the cost per mile of ownership to be 46 cents per mile for the cheapest car category. However, they factor insurance and more depreciation in than some of us might be experiencing.
So, let’s assume you’re a best-case scenario only spending 25 cents per mile and have a 5 mile commute. Thats:
- $0.25 * 10 miles (back and forth) = $2.50 per gym session
- $2.50 * 4 workouts = $10 per week
- $10 per week = $40 per month = $400+ per year!
And that’s the absolute best case for those who drive.
Next, let’s consider all the extra ‘stuff’ we buy because we work out at commercial gyms. I’ll just name off a few that come to mind, I’m sure there’s plenty more I’m leaving out.
Not many of us are willing to show up in our $8 shorts and the same tank top every day to train when we’re in the public eye. We all feel the social pressure to look our best when out in public.
You know what I mean: we’re constantly bombarded with the newest styles of leggings, tops, shorts, sports bras, etc. We all do our best to curb unnecessary splurging – but still, how much did you spend in the last two years on outfits for the gym? $100? $200? $500+?
Whatever it is – I bet it’s a lot more than you would have spent if you had a home gym and never had to be concerned with your ‘image’. I’ve been rotating the same 4 pairs of shorts for my workouts for years and years now.
If anything, consider the savings as money you could save to spend elsewhere on the clothes you DO wear in public or to work.
Or maybe put that money towards your grocery budget. If you train hard and eat well, you know as well as I do that good nutrition is a HUGE expense you could always use help with.
Realistically, headphones should be a one-and-done purchase – if you choose the right brand. But, things happen, maybe you use a $12 pair like I did for years and broke them about every 6 months.
It’s not an enormous expense – but if you weren’t constantly commuting with them they’d last longer.
Or maybe you don’t even need that $150 dollar pair of wireless headphones. The reality is a cheap set of desktop speakers work very well for most home gym owners.
The neighbors can sleep when you’re done pumping iron!
Again, a great gym bag should last for long enough to not be considered an ‘ongoing’ expense of working out at a gym. Still – most of you probably splurged $100 on a nice sporty gym bag. Not all is lost though, these are great for short weekend trips! I have a gym bag myself.
Membership costs are obviously the largest ongoing expense of a gym. Before we start though, let me ask you a question:
How committed are you to fitness?
I bet your internal response was something like:
- “Totally committed!”
- “It’s my passion!”
- “I’ll workout until I’m 80!”
If that’s true for you, great, stick around! For those of you who aren’t willing to put in the work, day in and day out, go back to scrolling lolcats or your TikTok videos – and do not return.
If you’re so committed to staying fit and exercise, have you considered how much you’re going to spend over the years on just membership alone? Probably not, or you probably at least haven’t really weighed it against the alternative of building a home gym.
Here’s the facts:
- On average Americans spend ~$60/mo on their membership
- That’s $720 per year
- In less than 7 years you’ll break $5,000
How long did you say you were committed to staying fit?
You’re blowing your money if you have any REAL commitment to fitness
I’ll spare you by cutting this section off here. I wanted to stick to only covering costs that ALL of us experience.
We didn’t consider:
- signup and cancellation fees (seriously, how many times have you switched gyms?)
- parents who need to hire a sitter or daycare expenses so they can get to the gym
- additional costs for family members
- a bunch of other potential costs
Summarized Costs of a Commercial Gym
Let’s sum up what we’ve discovered so far about the real costs of commercial gyms vs home gyms.
- You’re losing somewhere between 75 and 165 hours of time commuting yearly
- For many, this is the only motivation they need, because they understand that time is our MOST valuable currency
- The extra car maintenance you’re piling on because of that commute is costing you over $400 a year
- You’re likely splurging on apparel and accessories for the gym to the tune of about $420 a year according to MyProtein’s study
- Gym membership dues are siphoning $700+ yearly from your bank.
- Much more than that if you go to a boutique/specialty gym that’s $90-150/mo
- Total Costs: somewhere between $900-1500 and over 60 hours of time per year
Now, I’m sure there are those keeping it ultra-budget. More than likely what they’re saving in dollars is being wasted in time.
I’m equally sure there’s PLENTY of you spending more than this.
“But I love my gym! It’s my sanctuary!”
“I need the social interaction!”
“The act of ‘going’ to the gym is how I get motivated!”
“What about the sauna?!”
I’ve heard this all before. This site is not for you. This is what the Sheep say who don’t have the willpower to control their own progress, motivation, and focus.
HomeGymWarrior is not for Sheep. It’s for Lions. Lions who want to save boatloads of money throughout their fitness journey, all while training more effectively and making more progress.
Home Gym Costs
To be fair, it’s only right that we acknowledge the upfront expense of home gym equipment. There’s another post that covers this in detail, but here’s a quick summary:
- For the Men & Women who like to lift heavy and focus on compound movements like the squat, benchpress, deadlift, or olympic lifts – your initial investment will be highest. Still, there are many sources that outline ways you can get enough to cover the basics with $1-2,000
- Those who are more focused on conditioning can easily get away with about $500-1000 in equipment. Mainly a mat, kettlebells, a barbell, some bands, and maybe an airbike.
- For those into calisthenics and other functional movement training, you can invest somewhere between $300-600 and be pretty well set.
Could you spend 10 Large on a home gym? Absolutely, some have spent that on their home gym many times over.
The fact remains: Even if you invest $5,000 into home gym equipment, you will make that back in savings within 5 years.
Read that again.
Even if you invest $5,000 into home gym equipment, you will make that back in savings within 5 years.
Now, shall we explore some more of the glorious benefits of having your own home gym?