Health Clubs vs. Home Training - A Cost Analysis

Health Clubs vs. Home Training - A Cost Analysis

I've thought about the idea of joining a health club for quite a while now, but I've always had this nagging feeling that it's just not going to be worth my money. But as I grow older my health and fitness becomes way more important to me, and I am starting to consider a health club as a viable way to stay in shape.

Let's take a look at the different criteria I can base my decision to join a health club on, starting with finances.

Health Clubs vs. Home-Grown Training, a Cost Analysis

Health clubs can vary in price quite a bit, but for this example I will use the pricing structure for a local health club called "Soul Fitness". This health club costs around $30 / month, with a slight discount if you buy for multiple months at a time. Say I pay monthly for a three full years. That would mean the first year it would cost me about $360 for the first year, $360 for the second year and $360 for the third year, for a total of $1,080.

If I decide to work out at home, instead of buying a health club membership, then there are a couple of things I'm going to need: 1) space and 2) fitness equipment. Given that I have the space, what is the equipment going to cost? Let's say to start with I should get one cardiovascular machine and one weight machine. To keep it versatile, the weight machine will be a simple bench with an incline and enough weights to keep me busy for a while, which would run around $200. For the cardiovascular workout, I go for a middle-quality recumbent exercise bike, which runs me around $200 as well.

Health Clubs vs. Home-Grown Training - Final Costs

If I plan to invest in one new machine every year, at a cost of roughly $200, for the first year home-grown training will cost me $400, for the second year $200, and for the third year $200, for a total of $800 over three years. Over a three year period, home-grown training is more affordable by about 26%! Plus, I get to keep the equipment.

Health Clubs vs. Home-Grown Training - Travel Costs

Of course, by training at home will save on travel costs, since there's no commute to the health club. Say you travel about 5 miles to and 5 miles back from the health club. If your car gets around 25 miles to the gallon, and you exercise 4 times a week, that's about about 1 2/3 gallons of gas a week. If you exercise for 50 weeks out of the year, at a cost per gallon of $2.00, that's a total of $160 a year, making your total cost of home-grown training about 36% less than going to health clubs.

Health Clubs vs. Home-Grown Training - Conclusion

So it seems that home grown training is more cost-effective than buying a membership to a health club, but there are other factors to consider when deciding which route to take. For one, the social aspect of a health club can have a direct effect on how much exercising actually gets done, and the variety of equipment at a health club definitely is is plus. But if costs are your concern, and your concern is general over-all fitness, go with your own equipment instead of a health club and use the extra money to buy some protein bars.

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