If you've made a commitment to getting in better shape and a salary bonus at work has given you a bit of extra cash in your pocket, two logical choices are joining a gym or buying an exercise machine such as an elliptical trainer. Before you choose either option, take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of each -- and then change into your workout gear and get moving.
People work out for a variety of reasons, but a common reason to visit the gym or use a piece of exercise equipment in your home is to burn calories to help you lose fat. An elliptical trainer workout is an effective calorie burner. According to Harvard Medical School, a 185-pound person will burn 400 calories during a 30-minute workout. Joining a gym gives you access to other calorie-burning equipment such as the treadmill, rowing machine and stationary bike. A 185-pound person who pedals the stationary bike vigorously for 30 minutes will burn 466 calories.
Working out with an elliptical trainer helps you burn calories and build your muscles, but if you enjoy variety in your workouts, it might not be long before you begin to struggle with the repetition of using the elliptical trainer. If you join a gym, you have not only a number exercise machines at your disposal but also free weights, weight machines and access to classes such as step aerobics and yoga. Joining a gym is ideal if you want variety in your workouts.
It's responsible to compare the price of joining a gym versus buying an elliptical trainer before making your decision. Elliptical trainers range in price considerably, and it's easy to spend around $1,000 for the device. Gym memberships also range significantly. Check the monthly rate of a gym that you're considering and compare it with the price of the elliptical trainer you might buy. For example, if a gym costs $40 per month, a $1,000 trainer is equal to more than two years' worth of visiting the gym.
Your living situation also plays a key role in helping you chose between buying a gym membership or an elliptical trainer. If you live a short walk or drive from a gym, it might be convenient for you to opt for the gym membership. If you have a 300-square-foot apartment, adding an elliptical trainer to your space might be too cumbersome. Consider, too, if you have friends who are gym members. Working out with others can add variety and camaraderie to a workout, whereas working out alone can be occasionally mundane.
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- Amazon: Elliptical Trainers
- MayoClinic.com: Are Elliptical Machines Better Than Treadmills for Basic Aerobic Workouts?
- Reader's Digest: Get the Most From Your Gym Membership
- The Wall Street Journal: Six Ways to Cut the Cost of a Gym Membership
- CNBC: The True Cost of Gym Memberships
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.