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Gym membership or exercise bike?

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#1 Ingrid the Swan

Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:26 PM

I am about to move house and will be too far from my gym - so I've dropped membership there. I still need to lose weight and get fit, but am trying to decide whether it's better to buy an exercise bike or a gym membership.

At the moment, the exercise bike takes up about 50% of my workout at the gym. The rest of the time is spent stretching, doing floor exercises eg crunches, using the weight machines and/or either the treadmill or the cross trainer (stepper very rarely).

I have knee and back issues so can't do too much cardio other than the bike - both the treadmill and the stepped have to be low intensity low speed so as not to impact on my knees. As such they are more of a warm up or cool down.

There are some advantages to the bike over the gym:

* Time - at the moment I am lucky to get half an hour at the gym three times per week. By the time I get home from work, spend an hour with DD while DP cooks dinner, have dinner and get DD to bed, I have to sprint to get to the gym for even half an hour before it closes. Weekends are limited hours and I'm lucky if I can make even one. The female only gym I'm looking at is limited hours like my current gym.I'm not the type to get out of bed early in the mornings so I know realistically I won't do it.

* Money - gym is an ongoing expense whereas even a relatively expensive bike would be paid off c/f the gym in about six months. It's also an up front expense and I have birthday money.

* DP can use the bike too - it's not her favourite but it's better than nothing, which is what she does currently.

* I can put on a DVD and watch whatever I like rather than having to rely on whatever's on at the gym - would also help with motivation.

* Safety - as I said, my main time to go to the gym is at night. If I go to a 24 hour gym I can get a longer workout but would be going through a dimly lit car park at night three times per week.

* I am currently at a women only gym and before that was at an EFM so it didn't attract too many muscle men or people wanting to be seen in gym gear. I look horrendous in gym gear and don't have the self confidence to compare to others - let alone face negative comments.

On the other hand:

* I can do floor exercises anywhere and I have yoga DVDs so that's covered - but I would lose the stepper and cross trainer outright, and would have to actually go for a walk (I hate exercising outside - thus the gym). Similarly I have poor technique with free weights and would do more harm than good using free weights as opposed to machines. So I'd be cutting out a fair amount of exercise I can do at the gym - albeit stuff that is less relevant to the workout thatI do currently.

* Space - have to store the bike and keep DD away from it.

* I don't know what my motivation will be - I'll have less excuses not to work out but I'll not have the guilt of wasting money over my head so it may be easier to say "not tonight. I also won't have anyone to compete with or motivate me - DP is no match for my times on the bike.

* No chance of buying spare PT sessions if we have extra money.

So, in my situation, what would you do? Bike or gym?

#2 GoodGollyMolly

Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:38 PM

OP I think go on what has been successful for you in the past. I had bought exercise equipment, done team sports once a week, tried walking regularly etc but it wasn't until I was forking out the cash at the gym (and found that I actually really enjoyed the gym classes) that I lost significant amounts of weight.

What will be the easiest habit to make/keep/break?

#3 matt1972

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:23 PM

Have you considered getting a real bike?

#4 Lagom

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

QUOTE (matt1972 @ 16/11/2012, 01:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you considered getting a real bike?

I think the great thing about an exercise bike is that it's just there and you can jump on.  It doesn't matter if it's too hot or cold or raining outside.  You don't have to go out and unlock the shed and get your helmet, check the tyres and all that (well, in my case.) The downside is that you can't ride your exercise bike to the shops!

I've often wondered the same thing OP.  Will be watching this thread.

#5 MintyBiscuit

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:44 PM

I have an exercise bike - it's currently sitting in my garage gathering dust.

I also have a relatively new gym membership, and being able to do more than just the bike has completely re-energised me in terms of getting fit. I know that I can change my workouts around when I get bored, there are the options of classes, and having the various weight machines at my disposal has me doing resistance work I just wasn't doing at home. I would look at the bike sitting in the lounge room, think "I'll jump on for half an hour while I watch x", then continue to sit on the couch watching TV. When I did get on the bike, the intensity was much lower because I wasn't in the workout mindset.

If a gym membership is working for you now, I would try to make it work. Can you switch your time around a bit so you do work, gym then home? Is going to the gym on your lunch break an option?

Oh, and in regards to gym gear, people honestly don't care how you look. Everyone needs to start somewhere, and I've found in the past that those giving you filthy looks because you don't look right are also the ones who just sit on machines playing with their phones rather than working out

ETA - When I've previously had gym memberships I always found that the fact I was spending money on it, week after week, made me get along. And once I was there and started working out, it was rare that I would phone it in. With the bike, I'd already spent the cash and there was no ongoing outlay, so it was much easier to move it to the garage and have it as out of sight, out of mind

Edited by HollyOllyOxenfree, 16 November 2012 - 12:46 PM.

#6 Donuts08

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:52 PM

GYM more motivation meet new people and as you are paying for it you feel guilty if you dont go!!

#7 The3Monkeys

Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:57 PM

I think it comes down to motivation......how much will you really use the exercise bike at home? For me, I needed that kick up the bum that the gym provides, if ya know what I mean? I had an exercise bike in the loungeroom and it rarely got used.

Good luck with your decision original.gif

#8 tle

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:03 PM

I think it really is a personal preference. For me, I much prefer to workout at home because I can get twice as much done in the the same amount of time by the time you take travel to and from the gym into account.

I've had gym memberships in the past (many of them) but I always lose motivation after a few months and stop going. Eventually I decided to buy myself a new piece of equipment each year instead of the membership fees and its working for me. I now have a treadmill (on my 2nd because I wore the first out), eliptical, bike, hand weights, bench and smith machine (weight machine for various body parts). By far the most used are the treadmill and the handweights but it's nice to have other options to go to when I get bored (and just to change things up a bit).

#9 Ingrid the Swan

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:07 PM

QUOTE (matt1972 @ 16/11/2012, 12:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you considered getting a real bike?

I have a real bike, but thanks for being condescending.

That, again, boils down to time. I get home from work at about 6:30 (due to the distance I travel to work, it's unlikely to be any earlier) and spend time with DD until she goes to bed, usually around 8:00. It's definitely dark by then in the wintertime, and in summertime I still have a very limited time period until it's too dark to ride. My weekends are quite busy, as I said - and furthermore, DD is way too young to be riding a bike, so it's not like DP and I can ride together, so again it would be a chunk of time away from them both on the weekend. I hate being outside in the heat anyway, and I'm not a confident enough rider to ride a bike through the rain. An exercise bike means that I can work out in the evenings while DD is asleep, when I would normally be on the couch watching TV, or rushing to the gym to only get a half hour or 40 minute session before it closes.

Thanks to everyone who gave constructive feedback. I'm not sure that the gym is working for me, due to the limited hours - I'm rushed to get there, I only get a half-assed workout due to time constraints, and I don't know if switching to a gym with later hours is going to help, or if I'm not going to go because I don't fancy being out that late at night without too many people around. Unfortunately the one bit of exercise that used to work for me, I had to give up due to time constraints with DD (team sport that required at least 2x 2 hour training sessions per week as a minimum, but I did love it, as opposed to the gym which honestly feels like a chore most days). Problem is, I see what everyone is saying about leaving the bike to just sit there while I do nothing and don't feel guilty about money being wasted each week.

I might check out the gyms in my new area - most will do a week's free trial pass so I can take advantage of that - and see if there's any I prefer. If not, the bike is still an option.

#10 Chchgirl

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:11 PM

I prefer working out at home, I use the treadmill and some other equipment. I am more motivated at home and can do it when I want, it is an effort to try and fit the gym in and then I didn't end up going.

Each to their own, but I would say bike. original.gif

#11 Z-girls rock

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:21 PM

we have an excercise bike.

for ages it just sat there rairly getting used. we had also tried gym memberships too.

but then I just decided that we were going to do it (ride the bike) and so we are doing it now. It has been a couple of weeks and it is going well.

I think either way can go badly (waste money) or well. but the bike will still be there in a years time if you do suddenly get motivated and it will never cost you more (or less) money.

#12 Crap Napper

Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:32 PM

I would try the bike, and if it doesn't work out you can always sell it. Maybe have a look at some second hand ones so you don't lose too much if you do end up selling it?

I also prefer to exercise at home - time wise I can fit it in when convenient, our kids see us exercising regularly, it's cheaper... Have you considered getting a personal trainer to work out a program for you that you can complete at home, and then revisit the trainer every 10-12 weeks to ramp it up and check your technique? I do pilates at home and see a physio fairly regularly for a new program and technique check, especially because I have a back injury as well.

#13 beaglebaby

Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:34 PM

Look into one of the schemes where you can hire a good bike and the repayments go against the cost if you decide to buy it.  That way you get a few months to see if having the bike at home is working for you.  As SVK mentioned too, you can get a PT to come to your home and devise a good program for you that you can stick to in between visits, it can be very effective if you are motivated.

#14 LucidDream

Posted 17 November 2012 - 06:31 AM

I would go for a bike, as you with your moving house and increased transit time for work you will have less time than ever to get to the gym.  You might be able to bump up the intensity and frequency of your workouts if the bike is right there.  

A change in your workout routine can also be a boost in motivation.

If you find that you don't use it at all, you can always sell the bike and join the gym at that time.

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