Although you’ll see countless articles related to this topic, I’m going to keep the advice here quick and simple. I’ve been working out now for over three decades and have had the pleasure to work out at a wide variety of home-based and commercial gyms in all types of environments. Yes, even on a cruise ship.
While my focus has always been and continues to be on bodybuilding, i.e., lifting weights in a healthy and intelligent manner to build the best body my genetics and age allow, I still make time for a wide variety of other related fitness activities, including Cardio, Yoga, CrossFit, and Plyometrics. To me, that’s the first key: Make sure you’re at a gym that allows for a wide range of different fitness activities. Don’t just stick with cardio. Don’t just stick with weights. Mix it up. You’ll not only be healthier and more capable, but you’ll also maintain your motivation.
The second key is: Don’t pay too much. This is the golden age of gyms and gym memberships. In many areas, the choices of gyms are overwhelming. I presently go to a place called The Edge, and it’s only slightly more expensive than a place like Planet Fitness, yet offers many times the equipment and options, including child care (with a nice bonus of actually letting the kids do supervised workouts!). This ties in nicely to the third key: Don’t compromise. Shop around and make sure the gym can grow with your needs. If not, make sure you’re not locked into a long-term contract in case you find you need more.
There is one bonus key that I’ll also provide… With all other things being equal, the only difference between those who are fit and those who aren’t fit is consistency. The fit ones keep a regular workout schedule. So, ultimately, whether you workout at home or go to a fancy commercial gym, what really matters is making sure your workouts are reasonably intense and reasonably consistent to go along with a reasonable diet. Most exercise and diet programs are effective, but they need to be utilized to work.