fitness, gym, weight lifting, weight training

Ten Reasons Why Quitting the Gym Was a Great Move

Some random dude at his garage gym

Close to a year ago, I cancelled the gym membership I’d had for years and set up a small garage gym at home. Here’s why that was a great move.

I don’t have a monthly bill.

It does take some money up front to get started at home, but it doesn’t have to take much.

I started with a used squat rack equipped with pullies, a bench, an Olympic bar, 300 pounds of plates, and a pair of 60’s. Total cost: $200. I’ve gradually added a fan, some rubber mats from Tractor Supply, two smaller sets of dumbbells, a trap bar, and another pair of 45-pound plates. All of that combined with a swing set frame for pull-ups and a little creativity, and I can do everything I was doing at the gym. (As a side note, $3.00 five-gallon buckets from Wal-Mart can hold at least 100 pounds each for farmer’s carries.)

The fees I’ve saved in my monthly membership have almost paid for what I’ve bought, and I don’t have to continue writing checks each month.

Gym time doesn’t take away from family time.

When I went to the gym after work, I always felt a little guilty knowing that three little ones were ready to see Pa. Hence, I felt rushed.

At home, my kids are usually in or around the garage when we’re lifting. My son’s straddling the bench while we’re squatting, happy that he’s included in the sacred man time. My daughter may pick up the 25’s and do farmer’s carries while we’re carrying something heavier. The other daughter can pop her head out the door to ask a homework question. My wife can go for a run without waiting for me to get home to watch the kids. Heck, I can even have supper cooking.

With a few, easy rules (don’t talk to Pa when he’s squatting anything over 300), this works great.

I don’t have to be around other annoying gym members.

The gym that I went to was full of people who had unlimited time, whether they were retired or just unemployed, and were under the delusion that everyone else had unlimited time, too.

The volunteer who gabs at the check-in counter and burns 5 minutes of my lunch break. The 75-year-old man in the locker room who doesn’t mind carrying on a conversation while he’s full-out naked and steaming from his shower. The man in the weight room who is concerned with everyone else’s routine and questions everything I do. The pimply, 145 pound 16-year-old who offers his expert advice.

When I first quit the gym, a few acquaintances wondered out loud if I could stay motivated without the accountability of a gym membership. Well, I have. I haven’t skipped a planned workout since I left the gym. But before then, there were plenty of times when I walked in, saw the crowd (or a certain person who was worse than a crowd), and went home.

I have a reason to invite buddies over.

Invite a man over for benching and a beer, and you might make a buddy who, after a few months, is a real friend. He brings his buddies, and before you know it, you have a band of brothers without ever leaving the house.

That, to me, is one of the best benefits of having my own gear. Not only can I stay away from knuckleheads I don’t want to be around, but I also have an excuse to invite over fellas I want to spend more time with.

A related benefit is that my wife brings her friends over for more workouts now, too. And who minds a garage full of fit ladies?

I don’t have to wait for equipment.

I don’t mind waiting for the only squat rack while someone is squatting, but I hate waiting for the lady sitting on the bench inside the squat rack to finish her 30-minute conversation about digestive issues.

When I walk in the weight room now, no one is sitting on the bench scrolling through their phone. The dumbbells aren’t scattered from hell to breakfast, reserved for one person’s “circuit.” There’s no old lady on the leg extension machine doing 200 reps of 1 pound. And there aren’t any grubby kids playing on the pull-up bars. Unless they’re my kids, and I can run them off.

The Gym doesn’t close on bad weather days.

During college, I slid off the road trying to get to the gym on an icy day. My most recent gym closed every time a snowflake fell to keep guys like me from sliding off the road. With a home gym, an ice or snow day just means more time to lift.

I can wear what I want.

In my garage, I don’t give a rat’s ass if my clothes match; I can even wear my jeans. Hot? Shirtless. Deadlifts? Shoeless. So early it’s still dark? Pajama pants if I feel like it. And if it’s cold, I can scatter my jackets and other clothes to the moon.

I can eat what and when I want.

When I lifted at the gym on my lunch break, I had to mix my plasma in the morning, which added a few more minutes to my already hectic routine. Then I had to take it to work and put it in the fridge, remember to take it out and sip on it for 15 minutes before the workout with my co-workers wondering why I was drinking cool-aid out of a gallon jug, then answer the daily, “So what’s that supposed to do?” from the ever-inquisitive folk who do nothing else in the gym but be ever-inquisitive. And I knew better than to sneak a banana into the gym, but I occasionally did and took quick bites while the employees were busy teaching a new member how to use the treadmill.

At home, I can mix my plasma and drink it when I need it. I can drink a Shiner Bock for my peri-workout nutrition. I’ve even eaten plates of bacon and eggs between sets.

I’m not afraid to touch the equipment during Flu season.

I don’t have to walk around with rubber gloves, a surgeon’s mask, and high-powered anti-everything sprays for fear of catching the next animal named, pandemic creating, panic inspiring, vaccine resistant strain of flu that the sick dude just sprayed all over everything he doesn’t know how to use. That’s not to say I don’t clean my equipment, but it’s not life-threatening if I forget to.

All I have to worry about is my workout.

When I’m in my garage to lift, that’s all I’m there to do, and I don’t have to worry about anything else. If I want to try to break a PR, I can use every plate in the gym without making someone else wait. I can scatter my dumbbells to hell without pissing off the ginormous dude who needs the 100’s. I can chalk the bar, my hands, and my face. I can grunt without causing a scene. I can do Zercher squats without junior telling me the bar goes on my back, regular squats without grandpa telling me I’ll ruin my knees, or goblet squats without feeling like a cross-fit queen.

In short, I don’t have to be considerate, polite, or cool. All I have to do is my workout.

How about you? Would you rather work out at home, or at a gym?

About Nowhere Tribune

A husband and daddy, striving to love his neighbors and be kind to his pets. I love good food, good beer, and a few good friends. My other interests are hiking, taking walks, lifting weights, reading books by manly authors like Hemingway and Twain, and splitting fire wood with my bare hands.

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