Weighing workout options

One of the major pluses of living in a condo or apartment is having your very own gym right on the premises. 

These are the obvious options I see for a workout regimen:

1.     Don’t exercise.
2.     Exercise outside.
3.     Live in a house or townhome with your own exercise equipment.
4.     Get a gym membership.
5.     Use the gym in your condo/apartment. 

Option 1 is definitely the easiest; Option 2 may be best for your mental health. Though even if you love biking by the river, there may be months of the year when the National Weather Service warns against it.

Let’s consider Option 3. You could easily build your own exercise area in your home. I have friends in South Minneapolis who installed a full weight-lifting area in their basement and friends in Golden Valley with an exercise bike in a spare bedroom. But you have to procure, maintain, and eventually remove the equipment yourself. Just last week, my condo building took out the old elliptical machines and brought in new ones — all without my help. My mom, on the other hand, has been strategizing for the past year on how to remove a 200-pound and 10-year-old treadmill from the basement of her house.

What about getting a gym membership, Option 4? Using a real gym, especially if it’s an upscale one, will give you the widest variety of options — maybe a pool; perhaps group yoga and kickboxing classes. A community of gym-goers. Many gyms are open 24 hours a day, so they provide flexibility. If they’re close to your place of employment, even better, so as to seamlessly fit into your daily routine. But going to a gym can be time-consuming and expensive. It can also be a big commitment if you’re trying to go 12 times a month to get the insurance discount. A beautiful sunny day on May 28? Well, if you’ve only been to the gym 10 times in the month, no outdoor running for you.

Now let’s consider the last option: my option. Depending on the condo, you could have multiple cardio options with your own personal cable TVs and extensive weight training equipment (Shout out to the Falls-Pinnacle!). Or you could be in a dinky room with a treadmill and a transistor radio. Either way, the main advantage of a gym in your building is the time it saves you.

You don’t have to drive/walk/bus/bike there, and you don’t have to pack a bag of clothes to change into, worrying that you may forget your pants and have to go to work in a blouse and running shorts. You don’t have to go 12 times a month in order to get the insurance discount — though it would be nice if the insurance companies offered some sort of reimbursement plan for Option 5 too. And since you aren’t weighted down by the Golden Handcuffs of Gym Membership Reimbursement, if you want to indulge in Option 1 or Option 2 once in a while, no big deal. This plan gives you the utmost in flexibility.

But more importantly, consider the time it saves you.

I save at least 10 minutes not having to pack my gym bag and breakfast, not to mention the emotional hassle of trying to walk to the car with an extra bag; in winter everything tangles with the hood of my jacket. A 10-minute drive to the gym. Then there’s the five minutes from the car into the locker room to leave the gym bag, then there’s the five minutes post work-out to walk back to the locker room and get into the shower. Showering takes about the same amount of time whether you do it at the gym or at home, though I suppose it takes an extra minute at the gym, because you have to take your items out of your shower bag and get a towel from the stack, whereas at home the towels and shampoo are most likely already situated. I would say the gym is perhaps two minutes faster in the getting dressed process, because since you already spent 10 minutes preparing the night before, you have your clothes picked out and gathered in one place.

Then the walk from the locker room back to the car: another five minutes. At this point, you might actually be closer to work, so I’ll subtract five minutes here; not sure if that’s the case for you.

Condo gym use: No prep work the night before. A two-minute commute to the gym (I take the stairs, in case you’re wondering! See October 8th post). A three-minute commute home (It takes me longer on the way up). Showering is one minute quicker, yet getting dressed two minutes slower.

Total time saved per day by using condo gym versus going to gym:
— 10 minutes packing time
— 10 minutes driving to gym
— 5 minutes walking to leave bag in locker room
— 5 minutes shower preparations
— 1 minute showering inconvenience
— 5 minutes walking from locker room to car
= 36 minutes total

Time saved at gym
— 2 minutes of having already picked outfit
— 5 minutes closer to work (commute time)
= 7 minutes total

So a net of 29 extra minutes more each day to use a real gym. For some people, I think this would be worth it. If you are a swim fanatic, for example, well, then, you need a pool. Or if you work out for 90 minutes a day, then what difference do 29 minutes make?

But for me, I only work out for about 25 to 30 minutes a day. So spending an equal amount of time on just getting to and from the gym seems like quite a waste of time. Yes, I do miss the pool and the yoga classes. But what I value above all else is efficiency.

29 minutes saved per day? That’s 145 minutes saved in a workweek. That’s 9 hours and 40 minutes saved in a month. More than an entire workday.

I rest my case.

Of course, if we’re basing this mainly on total time saved, it might be a good idea to take another look at Option #1… 

Carissa Jean Tobin lives in a condo in Northeast Minneapolis with her husband. Her hobbies include creating humorous surveys for friends, lounging at the Wilde Roast Café, and administering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator to interested family members, friends, and strangers. She teaches kindergarten in North Minneapolis.