is a home gym worth it?

Is A Home Gym Worth It? The Pro’s And Con’s For Skinny Guys

Are you juggling the idea of purchasing a home gym? If so, then you will benefit from this post. Because today, I will be answering the question: is a home gym worth it?

Numerous factors need to be considered when deciding if a home gym is a worthwhile investment. The main benefits are long-term cost savings, convenience of workouts, and better hygiene. The main drawbacks are the high initial startup cost, a non-existent training community, and a lack of atmosphere.

During my early skinny days, I worked out exclusively at home with a simple barbell.

I have also spent the last 2 years calling the local gym my second home. And in the process, I have put on 40 pounds of lean muscle.

Having experienced both setups, I can tell you one thing:

There are definitely pro’s and con’s to working out in a gym and working out at home!

But I am now in a position to end my current gym membership and transition back to the garage workouts (with upgraded equipment of course).

In other words- I’m going to invest in my own home gym!

And if you are on this page, I’m assuming you are in a similar position.

That’s why today, I would like to share my research and personal experience with you. Furthermore, these viewpoints will be given from the perspectives of a skinny guy!

Hopefully I can help you make your own informed decision!

So let’s jump straight in!

I cleared my garage for a home gym!

Before I begin- If you are in a rush, then this decision tree should help you make an informed decision!

decision chart to help skinny guys decide if a home gym is a good investment

General Consensus on Home Gyms.

Let’s start by addressing the main question.

Is a home gym worth it?

I have my own personal opinion on the matter (I’ll reveal this at the end!).

But first, let’s explore some public statistics on the matter.

Reddit Members Agree Home Gyms Are A Good Investment.

20 members of the reddit community with a home gym were asked:

Was your home gym worth it?

And here are the results:

pie chart to show reddit poll "was your home gym worth it"

As you can see, the results came in 100% positive.

25% of the the members felt that their home gym setup was worth the money. But you also need to consider some of the pro’s and con’s (I will explore these later).

The remaining 75% straight-up thought their home gym equipment was worth the money spent!

Quora Members Recommend Making A Considered Decision.

Next, 12 members of the Quora community were asked:

Do you prefer using a home or commercial gym?

Here are the results:

pie chart to show quora poll "do you prefer home gym or commercial gym?"

As you can see, 40% of people prefer to use their home gym over a commercial gym. And less than 10% preferred to use their local gym!

Furthermore, 50% of the members stressed the importance of considering the pro’s and con’s when deciding which setup they prefer using (I will explore this in more detail below, I promise!)

Market Insights Show Home Gym Popularity Is Increasing!

Finally, here’s an interesting statistic from Global Market Insights.

line graph to show global market trend for home fitness equipment is increasing

As you can see, global market trends for home fitness equipment is expected to grow tremendously!

More specifically, the home fitness equipment market is expected to grow from US$12 billion in 2019, to US$15 billion by 2026 (at a 4% annual compounded rate).

And a significant chunk of that growth will be from weight lifting equipment!

There must be reason why home gym equipment is becoming increasingly popular.

And there is!

Advantages Of A Home GymDisdvantages Of A Home Gym
Cheaper to use in the long term.High initial investment.
Save time travelling to and from the gym.Most people do not have the space and money for specialised equipment.
Build lifting confidence in the comfort of your own home.Big financial and time commitment.
Open 24/7, 365 days a year.Human spotters are not readily available.
Forces you to keep to a simple training programme.Home gyms can lack atmosphere.
More hygienic workout environment.Home distractions can interrupt training programme.
No need to wait to share equipment.Lack of temperature control.
Information compiled from Reddit/Quora surveys and my personal experience.

The popularity of home gyms has increased, and is expected to continue doing so. People with a home gym generally agree that they are a worthwhile investment, but you should also consider the advantages and disadvantages of choosing to use a home gym over a commercial gym.

7 Advantages Of A Home Gym.

Here are 7 reasons why you should invest in a home gym as a skinny guy.

1. Cost-Effective In The Long Term.

The money you can save from obtaining home equipment (compared to paying for ongoing gym membership costs), is one of the biggest advantages of investing in a home setup.

My 10-year cost comparison table below will give you a better idea:

Home GymBudget GymPremium Gym
Average Initial CostUp to $2000+$396 + $33 enrolment$562 + $23 enrolment
Average Annual Cost$0$396$562
10 Year Cumulative CostUp to $2000+$3993$5643
Prices are in US$.

As you can see, it will cost (on average) up to $2000+ to buy all the equipment required to build muscle at home.

Needless to say, the exact price of a home setup will depend on factors such as:

  • Equipment brand.
  • Quality.
  • Type.
  • Condition (new vs used)

If you are a savvy shopper, then you can probably find a full setup for under $2000.

This may seem like a high price tag at first.

But look carefully.

5 years of gym membership alone will cost you around $2-3000 (depending on your choice of budget or premium membership).

This means you can make back your money within 5 years from buying a home gym (through the money saved from gym membership costs).

And that time can be reduced even more if you are able to keep find cheaper home gym equipment.

Whats more, you get to keep (or sell!) your equipment by the end of those 5 years!

So in the long-term, a home gym set up is well worth your money!

Check my other article for a list of essential home gym equipment to build muscle!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

save money and buy bulking foods

Who doesn’t want to keep more money in their pockets?!

But generalisations aside- you can also use the extra money saved to buy better quality foods.

As a skinny guy, you will need to consume a lot of food to gain muscle.

And food costs can run high when you are on a bulk (protein ain’t cheap!).

So why not save money by investing in a home gym, and use that money to feed your muscles?

Check out my other article for the cheapest sources of protein!

2. Reduced Commuting Time.

save 6 extra days in the year from commuting.

From my own personal experience, I can tell you that gym commutes are often wayyyyy under-looked.

Let’s assume an average gym commuting time of around 20 minutes one-way.

By the way, this is a very conservative number! Don’t forget to factor in driving time, as well as walking time!

Let’s also assume an average of 4 workouts per week.

If you were were to tally up all those minutes, do you know how much time you would spend just travelling to and from the local gym?

And more importantly- how much time you would you SAVE, just by working out at home?!

I have done the math for you:

Weekly Minutes Saved By A Home GymMonthly Hours Saved By A Home GymYearly Days Saved By A Home Gym
160 minutes per week.11 hours per month.6 days per year.
Times based on a 20 minute one-way gym travel duration and 4 training sessions per week at

Seriously, look at those numbers.

You could save an entire week in a year, just by investing in a home gym and cutting the commute!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

use the extra time to build muscle

As a skinny guy, there are plenty of things you could do instead with that time.

But training-wise, you could use the extra time to :

  • Read up on home training methods.
  • Make a nutriton plan for muscle growth.
  • Cook your weekly meal preps.
  • Save calories to build muscle (walking diverts calories which could otherwise be used to build muscle!).

So invest invest in a home gym, and use the time saved to build more muscle!

3. Comfortably Build Training Confidence.

If you are on this page, you are probably a skinny dude.

I’ve also been a skinny guy for much of my life.

So I know the problems you go through!

And one of those is probably “gym intimidation”.

Yes, it’s a real thing! Take a look at this interesting statistic by Study Finds:

pie chart to show gym intimidation poll results

48% of Americans fear going to the gym!

And of that 48%, another 47% who have conquered their fears, STILL experience occasional gym intimidation!

This could be due to very personal reasons.

For me, I was body conscious and didn’t want to be that fool who drops a fully loaded barbell with everybody watching.

But if you invest in a home gym, you can workout with 100% peace of mind that no one will be judging or watching you!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

try different exercises at home with confidence

You will be more confident to try different exercises and techniques when you are less anxious.

This is particularly important when it comes to the practicing the compound exercises (which are the staple exercises for skinny guys to gain muscle).

These exercises are awesome ways to build muscle.

But they are also relatively technical. And require practice to master the technique.

So why not do this at home?

You will no doubt struggle at first, but at least no one will be there to watch you!

Read my other article to learn more about the compound exercises!

4. You Decide On The Opening Hours.

home gyms are open 24/7

There’s nothing more frustrating than getting in the rhythm of your training plan, only for gym closures to disrupt that.

And this has been highlighted for me personally during the 2020 lockdown restrictions. It’s actually one of the main reasons I am now planning my own home gym.

There’s only one gym in the world which allows you to train 24/7, 365 days per year, every year of your life.

And that’s your own personal gym!

Not that I recommend you to workout every day of the year (that would be foolish!). But you get the point.

Check out my other article to establish the ideal training frequency to gain muscle!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

24/7 opening allows training consistency

As a skinny guy contemplating on getting a home gym, I assume you are doing so to gain muscle?

If so, then consider this:

The most important factor in building muscle (and any training goal) is consistency.

In other words, you will need to create a training programme, and stick to it!

This is how you will make steady muscle gains.

If you get a home gym, then you don’t have to be at the mercy of gym closures getting in the way of your training goals!

Read my other article to learn how to lift weights for muscular hypertrophy!

5. Forced To K.I.S.S.

TOP 10 BEST BARBELL EXERCISES 💪 TOTAL BODY MASS

When i say kiss, I’m not referring to the retro rock band. Or the smooches you give to your significant other.

I’m referring to K.I.S.S- KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

Many people like to overcomplicate the muscle building process.

Yes, there are many intricacies and nuances to weight training.

But as skinny beginner, many of the advanced lifting techniques don’t necessarily apply to you.

In fact, you will gain muscle as long as you lift heavy with exercises that engage the entire body (and eat properly).

It may be hard to believe, but a simple barbell-rack-bench set up is really all you need to gain muscle at home (should you wish to keep things to the bare minimum).

Check out my other article to learn how to eat for muscle gains!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

barbell exercises are the foundation to a home gym

By being forced to use what you have at home (i.e a barbell and other free weights), you will be forced to master the barbell compound exercises.

And these are the foundational exercises for gaining a powerful physique.

Furthermore, you won’t be tempted to waste your time on weight machines.

Weight machines have their uses for absolute beginners and those looking to isolate particular muscles.

But the bulk of your training programme (as a skinny guy) should be focused on free weight compound exercises!

6. Don’t Need To Use Sweaty Equipment.

home gyms are more hygienic

This is one of my personal pet peeves at the local gym. All the sweaty gym bros who don’t clean up after themselves.

There’s nothing worse than waiting in line for a bench, only to find a puddle of sweat before you have even started using it!

Needless to say, the recent pandemic has probably heightened most peoples sense of personal hygiene.

But you will always have that one douchebag who doesn’t wipe down their equipment after using it.

So if you do’t like using sweaty equipment, then get yourself a home gym and mitigate this disaster!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

commercial gyms often have sweaty equipment

Not so much a skinny guy benefit than a general benefit.

I probably don’t need to explain the benefits of not having to use other peoples sweaty equipment…..

7. No Need To Get In Line.

no need to wait for equipment in a home gym

My other personal pet peeve- the gym bros who feel the need to take up all the equipment, and sit around chatting or scrolling IG.

Or the meat-heads who feel the need to breathe down your neck until you have finished using the equipment (which you waited to use yourself!).

Do yourself a favour- get a home gym set up, and bathe in the glory of line-jumping in a socially acceptable manner!

Why it benefits skinny guys:

no waiting allows you space and time to practice

Minor frustrations aside- having the time and space to perform your exercises properly is extremely beneficial.

And even more if you are a skinny guy who is trying to perfect your form.

By having your own equipment, you can take all the time you need to complete your sets without being pressurised by others!

Heck, why not pull up a youtube tutorial? Perfecting your form will ultimately lead to faster muscle gains.

My point is this- practice makes perfect.

And you can’t practice effectively, if people are pressurising you to finish using your equipment.

7 Disadvantages Of A Home Gym.

Now, here are 7 reasons why you may need to think twice about investing in a home gym.

1. Initial Start-Up Cost Is High.

I’m not going to sugar coat things here.

A home gym is expensive, even for the most savvy of shoppers.

If you are looking to go brand new, don’t be surprised to see costs to reaching over $2000.

As I mentioned before, the final price will depend on many factors (including equipment brand, type, quality, and condition).

For the more savvy shoppers, you can get a second-hand (but decent) setup for under $2000. And this will include:

Equipment (Second-Hand)Target Price
Olympic-Sized Barbell.$100
150kg Weight Plates.$400
Adjustable Bench.$400
Half Rack.$600
20Kg Adjustable Dumbbells.$200
Total:$1700
Approximate costs for a second-hand setup based on current Ebay searches. Prices are in US$.

Shop around and see what bargains you can find. Or consider buying cheaper brands.

But you shouldn’t expect a quality set-up for anything less than $1000!

So as you can see, a home gym is not cheap!

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

try a few months at a commercial gym to make sure it is right for you

If you are a skinny guy who is just getting into weight lifting, you may want to consider first trying a few months at a commercial gym.

Then, if you decide a home gym is suitable, then you can take the plunge with a home gym.

Following this strategy has multiple advantages:

  • See if weightlifting is actually suitable for you.
  • Get a feel for what you enjoy doing.
  • Establish the exact equipment you need to reach your goals.
  • Experience what good (and crappy) equipment feels like.

Doing this will also mitigate the risk of spending time and money on home equipment, only to sell it a few months down the line!

2. No Access To Specialised Equipment.

most people cannot afford specialised home gym equipment

As we have already established, a home gym is pricey.

And the the prices I have given so far are just for a basic set up!

Unless you have the money and space of Richie Rich, you are highly unlikely to be able to get specialised equipment for your home gym.

An by specialised equipment, I mean things like:

  • Compound weight lifting machines.
  • Smith machines.
  • Safety squat bars.
  • Trap bars.
  • Swiss bars.

Though these are not essential to build muscle, they will help you gain confidence in the popular weight lifting movements as a beginner.

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

The Benefits of Fixed Resistance Machines

The specialised equipment I mention above are all pretty standard in any commercial gym.

If you are a skinny beginner, you probably wouldn’t want to be jumping straight into using free weights.

Instead you may first want to practice on guided equipment such as the compound weight machines.

If so, then getting a few months gym membership may be a more suitable alternative than diving straight into buying a home gym!

3. You’re In It For The Long Haul!

get a home gym only if you are 100% committed to training

Let’s re-address the elephant in the room again:

Investing in a home gym is a BIG commitment!

Both in terms of time (equipment delivery and setup), and obviously money.

The last thing you want to do is buy everything, only to sell it a few months down the line.

Not only will this will be a logistical nightmare (have you tried packing a half-rack for delivery?!), but you could also lose money due to equipment depreciation.

If you invest in a home gym, you are in it for the long-haul. So make sure you are 100% sure it is the right move!

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

commercial gyms allow you to try before you buy

If you are not yet 100% committed to weight lifting for the long-term, you may want to consider first trying a commercial gym.

This allows you to get a feel for things before taking the plunge with a home gym!

A commercial gym may be be more pricey in the long-term, but at least you have the opportunity to opt out in the early days!

4. No Human Spotters.

spotter arms are not as effective as human spotters

A decent barbell rack will have spotter arms built-in.

These are basically steel arms (or pins on a cheaper rack) that prevent a loaded barbell from falling on top of you.

Although these features provide a basic safety net, they are by no means comparable to a human spotter.

In other words, a real-life human is more likely to save you from a falling 150lb barbell, than two metal bars!

And this is especially true for inexperienced lifters who have not yet learnt to judge the movement of a barbell.

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

most people at a gym will help spot you

Even if you are training solo, 99% of strangers in a local gym will be happy to spot you (if you ask nicely).

In fact, I’ve yet to come across someone who refused to spot me when I ask.

Having this service readily available will allow you to safely overload your muscles. And this is what ultimately drives long-term muscle growth!

5. Atmosphere Can Be Non-Existent.

home gyms can lack atmosphere

Once you have settled into your local gym, it can be a haven for workouts.

Pavlov’s Dog was conditioned to salivate upon hearing a ringing bell (it learnt to associate the bell with food).

And I kid you not, the sound of clanging weights and loud music will do the same for your motivation.

Once you step into the weight room, your mind gets PUMPED for a workout.

Unfortunately, you probably won’t get the same effect from a home gym.

In fact, a home gym can require a huge amount of self-discipline and motivation to use on a consistent basis.

And this is especially true for beginners who aren’t yet 100% committed to training.

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

commercial gyms have a sense of community

Good commercial gyms spend a lot of money on creating the perfect workout atmosphere.

And they do this to get you in the right mindset to pump hard. Once you enter the weight room, you know what needs to be done.

Not only this, but most gyms also have a community of like-minded customers and trainers.

And depending on your personality, this can be extremely beneficial to help you achieve your goals!

6. Home Distractions Can Affect Your Training.

home distractions can impact training

You may be surprised at just how many distractions are present in your household.

Parents, spouses, siblings, kids, TV, video games, the list goes on.

These can all be major distractions to maintaining a regular training routine.

So depending on your household dynamics, you may really need to consider whether working out at home really is suitable for you!

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

Don’t get me wrong, distractions still exist at the gym.

But they will be significantly reduced.

If you are someone who lacks discipline or has difficulty concentrating on a task, then going to a commercial gym may be more beneficial to help you achieve your goals!

7. Temperature Affects Motivation.

temperature extremes can affect home training.

If you are like most people, then you either prefer the heat or the cold.

One or the other.

And chances are if you love the cold, you are also non-functional in the heat. And vice versa.

Unless you install climate control in your home gym, the fluctuating temperatures can be a huge disadvantage when it comes to getting a home gym.

Remember- most locations are constantly hot, constantly cold, or have short durations of temperate conditions in the year.

To put it simply- not many people have the luxury of living in lovely spring-like conditions year round!

And if ambient temperature is going to affect your training, you may well have to consider going to the gym instead (or invest in climate control!).

Why Gym Membership May Be Better:

It’s the 21st century. All gyms will have air con.

If not, then the gym need’s to catch up!

The Choice Is Yours!

Ultimately- the decision is yours to make.

Most people will benefit highly from a home gym. And the majority of people who have invested in a home gym have nothing but praise for their new investment (see polls at the start of the post).

But a home gym is a big financial and time commitment. It’s also a highly personal investment.

Therefore you should consider how the pro’s and con’s apply to your personal circumstances. Re-read the list if you have to!

If you are still stuck for choice, you can use my decision tree (start of the post)

For me- I know I will benefit hugely from all the advantages of getting a home gym. And I also know that I will get my money’s worth from buying my own equipment.

That’s why I have decided to take the plunge!

Conclusion

Finished!

Today I have explored the question, “Is a home gym worth it?”.

There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to investing in a home gym. These have been explained today.

Whether or not you will gain the full benefits of owning a home gym will really depend on your personal circumstances.

But as a general reccomendation:

If you are committed to a long-term training routine, dedicated to bulking up, and have the financial/space resources, then a home gym will be an extremely worthwhile investment.

What other reservations do you have about investing in a home gym?

Let me know in the comments below! I am also looking to upgrade my home setup. And it would be awesome to hear your views on the matter!

Alternatively, signup to the Kalibre Newsletter for weekly posts!

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Thanks for reading guys!

Peace Out,

Kal

(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)

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