You want to improve yourself and are wondering if buying a treadmill or a gym membership is the best way to go. Here are the most important things that can help you decide what’s best for you.
In the long run, buying a treadmill is cheaper than getting a gym membership, especially if the treadmill is used by multiple people. Access to a gym does provide many more exercise options that could make it easier to reach your fitness goals. On the other hand, having a treadmill at home means it’s always available and there’s no commute.
If you’re interested in all the differences, details, pros, and cons of having a treadmill and gym membership, keep reading so you can make the right decision for your situation.
- 1 Treadmill vs. Gym Membership Costs
- 2 How Much Does a Treadmill Cost?
- 3 How Much Does a Gym Membership Cost?
- 4 What’s More Effective?
- 5 Pros and Cons Of Owning a Treadmill Compared
- 6 Favorite Cardio Accessories
Treadmill vs. Gym Membership Costs
One of the first things you probably think about when making this decision is money. And it’s an important factor. For most people, it matters how you spend your dollars, and spending them in the right place is important.
So let’s look at what a treadmill and a gym membership cost and what the differences are.
How Much Does a Treadmill Cost?
Of course, there are tons of different treadmills out there on the market. There are treadmills with different qualities, features, sizes, and brands. All the different treadmills have different prices. Because there are so many options, it’s hard to say how much a treadmill in general costs.
We can identify a few price ranges though;
How Much Does a Gym Membership Cost?
So now we know how much a treadmill costs, we should have a look at how much a gym membership is.
Of course, just like treadmills, gym memberships come in many shapes and sizes. Different gyms have different pricing structures. Some are cheaper, some are very expensive. Also, gyms often have different price levels that give you access to more or fewer extras. Those extras could be things like the use of the sauna and similar amenities.
So just saying how much a gym membership is doesn’t give you a good idea. That’s why I’ve looked at a few different gyms and types of membership at different levels.
Is a Treadmill or Gym Membership Cheaper?
If buying a treadmill or gym membership is cheaper obviously depends on which treadmill and which gym membership you compare. However, I’m going to assume that you’ll get a gym membership that’s somewhere in the mid-range because most people do. Let’s compare that to a treadmill with a roughly average price.
If you want to buy a high-end or low-end treadmill, you would likely get a gym membership in a corresponding price range so the outcome of this comparison is roughly the same.
- Mid-range Treadmill: +-$1200
- Mid-range Gym membership: $300 to $660
So you can see that for most people, the price of a yearly gym membership will be cheaper than the price of a treadmill.
HOWEVER: The gym memberships are yearly. A treadmill should last much longer than a year. A good treadmill should last about 10 years with proper maintenance.
For about three years of average gym membership money, you can buy a very nice treadmill. Also, keep in mind a treadmill can be used by multiple people in your household. So if the treadmill repalces
However, for the treadmill, you’ll have to budget some maintenance costs as well. The first few years that will be quite low but over time it’ll increase. In the long run, having your own treadmill is much cheaper though.
What’s More Effective?
Of course if one is cheaper than the other doesn’t matter if it isn’t effective. But what does effective mean in this case?
If you’re interested in running on a treadmill you’ll likely have the following fitness goals;
How Effective Is a Treadmill?
So how effective is running on a treadmill while keeping the goals above in mind?
A treadmill is a very good tool to reach those goals. A treadmill is made for cardio exercise. It’s very good at getting your heart rate up and burning calories. This helps you reach all the goals mentioned above.
A treadmill is the gold standard of cardio exercise and if you follow a good program and push yourself regularly, you’ll see results.
On the other hand, a treadmill doesn’t provide much in the way of muscle growth. Your legs might get a little better tone but the rest of your body doesn’t change much except for the lower body fat percentage.
How Effective Is a Gym?
Let’s simplify this:
Comparing a single treadmill to a fully equipped gym isn’t quite fair – it’s like comparing apples to oranges. However, many people do make this comparison, so let’s do our best to weigh the pros and cons.
Most gyms worldwide offer treadmills but they also have a lot of other equipment on top of that. Gyms provide a range of other exercise equipment, including muscle-building machines, cardio machines, and free weights. Even if you don’t want to get super muscular, building some muscle can significantly improve your overall appearance and well-being.
More muscle means you burn more calories even when you’re not working out, enhancing weight loss and your physique. Building and maintaining muscle is vital for long-term health, combating age-related muscle loss effectively.
Ultimately, the effectiveness depends on how you utilize the gym’s resources. If you take full advantage of the available equipment, you can achieve your fitness goals more efficiently than with just a home treadmill. However, if you only use the treadmill at the gym, your results will be similar to using one at home.
Additionally, gyms often offer personal training, which can be beneficial, especially for those new to resistance training. A trainer can help you learn proper techniques and create effective workout plans.
Treadmill vs. Gym Effectiveness Summary
If you take advantage of the exercise options a gym offers, it can be more effective than a home treadmill but the effectiveness of either one depends on your programming and the effort you put in.
If you only care about improving your cardio and losing body fat, a treadmill alone is great. If you are interested in building muscle, a gym will be better.
Of course, you can also spend the money you would save by owning a treadmill in the long run on some weightlifting equipment for at home to even the playing field.
Pros and Cons Of Owning a Treadmill Compared
There are a few other considerations that can influence your decision. Besides price and effectiveness, here are some other factors that you should keep in mind before buying one or the other. If these factors play a role is personal.
Here are the pros and cons of owning a treadmill as compared to having a gym membership.
Many people don’t only go to a gym for a workout session but also to get some social interaction. Having worked from home for a while, I notice that I’m just looking for reasons to get out of the house so I can interact with other humans.
A gym is a good place to meet other people. Sure, some people won’t be open to interaction but many people will be. Making new connections in a gym is pretty common if usually just superficial.
Of course, if you have plenty of human contact and want to avoid other people during your time off, a treadmill at home is the better option.
A gym membership is all-inclusive. You use the equipment and the only thing they ask you to do is pay and clean up your sweat after you’re done.
If you have a treadmill at home (or any other gym equipment), you are responsible for upkeep and maintenance. In the first year or two, that won’t be much outside of cleaning. However, after a while, the maintenance will increase. And it might not be too much or cost all that much but it is something that can be a pain to deal with.
A home gym treadmill is always available just for you. There’s never a wait.
In a commercial gym, the equipment you want to use isn’t always available. During the daytime, this usually isn’t a problem. However, in the evening, gyms tend to be much busier and most equipment is in use.
A treadmill takes up quite a bit of space. If you have plenty of space in your house you’re not using anyway, it doesn’t matter too much. If you could also use that space for something else you’re interested in it becomes a tradeoff you’ll have to make yourself.
A gym membership doesn’t take up any space in your house.
Ok, I know that a big percentage of people have a gym membership but never actually go there except a few times in January and before a beach holiday.
On the other hand, the money you spend on a treadmill can also be a motivator. However, there’s something about the action of going to a different place to work out that makes it easier
Favorite Cardio Accessories
Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:
- Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and workouts, there is no better choice than the GymNext Flex. It’s super easy to use and set up with a phone app.
- Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
- Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.
To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.