at Home vs the Gym
A lot of people believe you have to go to "the gym" in order to do any serious strength or fitness improving workout. This is true if you consider your home can be a gym. The phrase home gym has the stimga of late infomericial elastic band machines or weight machines with limited weight. A home gym need not be like that. To lift weights all you really need is a dumbell and perhaps a barbell. You can have more than that or even less if you are willing to do unusual exercises and make do with what you find around you. The advantages of a gym you pay a membership fee to is fancy machines and equipment, potentially people to inspire you, spotters, and atmosphere. The main advantage of a home gym is convenience, usually no monthly expense, you can workout any way you wish to, and you have no one bothering you. This allows you to focus on what is important to you with whatever form, style or movements you wish to use. Even if one ultimately does go the professional gym route it may be prudent to try some basic stuff at home first. Most people start with what they can do at home even if its pushups or situps and graduate to the gym setting later on. But that is not necessary. If you can find a place to workout with a barbell or dumbells then with a small equipment purchase you could be set to have your own dungeon gym to use any way you wish. I prefer the home gym approach and will list below some pluses of both approaches.
For some people the fact that they have to go out to the gym inspires them to do something when they get there because they have to put in effort to get there. This is similar to how dancing at home by yourself is not the same as in a club with other people around. The right gym with the right people can help provide the atmosphere and people to help you achieve your goals. People can be there to advise you and help you as you start out. This does not mean you necessarily will get good advice in a commercial gym though. Its cheaper to hire a trainer at a gym than pay for them to come to your house if you wish to hire one. That is a factor for some.
With people all around its easier to get a spot on your heavy lifts and you have less risk of dying under a heavy load as could be a possibility at home by yourself. On the flip side a lot of people do not know how to spot properly. Its still a safeguard worth noting.
Commercial gyms can afford multi thousand dollar machines you might not be able to afford for your own personal use at home. That doesent mean the machines are actually better than just using a barbell necessarily though. But it is a factor if you want a specific high end machine to use at a gym that has it. You might have to wait to use it though.
This could include showers, lockers, saunas, aerobic classes and other things that may be of interest to some people that often are not available to the home lifter. Having members of the opposite sex to admire as you lift is an ammentity of the gym to some. It can help inspire some to improve or just be a distraction.
In summary choosing to lift at home versus a comercial gym is more a lifestyle choice than anything else. Its much like choosing to learn something on your own versus go to a professional school to learn a given thing. With the internet the knowledge is out there to help you set up your own place to lift at home and use it to do things perhaps you could not accomplish at the gym. The freedom to lift as you wish when you want is valuable. If you want to lift kegs, rocks or really thick barbells you can in a home setting. In a commercial gym you would be looking at a rare specialized gym to do those sorts of things and that will be more costly. Everything a commercial gym has you can have at home. If you want expensive machines you can buy such. If you want spotters you can invite people over when you need such. You get a no monthly fee option that you can expand from to do whatever you want. You also can start cheap with just a dumbell or barbell to see if you even like lifting before commiting to a yearly gym membership somewhere else.