Where Oh Where Do I Train

Before we explain the pros and cons of working out at home, let's get one thing out of the way: We prefer training at the gym. Why? Well, being city dwellers where space is precious, we hardly have room to store our bicycles and running shoes, let alone a separate place to house all the equipment a solid gym has to offer. (Just for the record: Joe, who hasn't thrown out a pair of running shoes in years, is the Imelda Marcos of athletic footwear. And Jonathan, who's raced bicycles for years, has more spare wheels and gear cogs than most bike shops.) That, of course, doesn't mean you can't create a great home setup. You can. And you'll be able to do so without the hassle of rubbing elbows with the rest of humanity. In this chapter, we'll help you figure out what will work best for you—working out at a gym, or creating a great gym at home.

As we've discussed, one of the key factors in maintaining a workout regimen is convenience. Unless you follow the credo of the U.S. Postal Service (neither rain, sleet, nor snow ...), you're not likely to stick with a workout regimen if getting to your gym is an ordeal, no matter how well-intentioned you are. If you happen to live a stone's throw away from a good gym, your decision is basically made for you: Sign on the dotted line and have at it. If, however, you have the space and would prefer to work out at home, then you may want to create a gym for yourself there. After all, what could be more convenient?

Well, hold on. Before you rush out to become one of the millions of people who buy home exercise equipment that ends up unused in the basement, here's where you

Bar Talk

A full range of motion (ROM)

refers to the movement of a joint from its fully extended (straight) position to its completely bent (flexed) position.

Bar Talk

A full range of motion (ROM)

refers to the movement of a joint from its fully extended (straight) position to its completely bent (flexed) position.

need to do a bit of self-evaluation. Some people can work out on their own; some people can't. We each know athletes who will wake up at an ungodly hour to train with a partner, but when left on their own will roll over in bed and blow it off. On the other hand, there are those who will head out alone at twilight into a raging snowstorm to complete a workout. In other words, if you need the company and motivation supplied by others, joining a gym is the best way to fly. On the other hand, if you're a self-starter and find you are more focused and intense on your own, a home gym is your best bet.

Of course, to borrow a basketball phrase, you may be a "tweener"—someone who may prefer working out at a regular gym but just doesn't have the time to make it work. You might be someone like Joe's kayak-racing friend, Nels Akerlund. A freelance photographer who works irregular hours, Nels set up a variety of equipment in his basement (including an indoor climbing wall). No matter the hour, 6 a.m. or midnight, he heads downstairs, cranks the tunes, and lifts to his heart's content (although he is sometimes inconvenienced by his wife's tendency to hang laundry on his bench).

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