IN THE PAST, we’ve told you all the reasons running is better than the gym. Now, we bring you the 25 reasons the gym is better than running. But, we’re not being contradictory. Hear us out. The truth is, both going to the gym and running are great ways to get in awesome shape, lose weight, build muscle…you get it. However, there are certain things that just make the gym better than pounding the pavement. So, don’t quit running, but consider joining a gym as well. Hey, you can run there too, and the gym can actually make you a better runner (really—just check out #7).
1. The gym gives you access to personal trainers
Working out with a personal trainer is a great way to make sure that you’re performing exercises with proper form, not only so you get the most out of them, but so that you prevent potentially sidelining injuries, says trainer Allyson Signaigo. “Most gyms offer an orientation of some sort to get you started with a beginner’s program.” Plus, even if you don’t generally work with a trainer, there are always some floating around the gym who would be happy to answer any “Am I doing this right?” questions.
2. The gym is open, rain or shine
Sure, you can run in the rain, but most guys don’t. “With the gym, you can’t use bad weather as an excuse to skip your workout,” Signaigo says.
3. The gym’s weight racks burn crazy fat
Minute per minute, weight training wards off abdominal fat better than cardio does, according to research from the Harvard School of Public Health. That’s because, while cardio burns both fat and muscle, strength training burns calories from fat almost exclusively, while at the same time building metabolism-boosting muscle that helps you burn calories long after your workout.
4. The gym is climate controlled
Sure, when it’s below freezing or above 100°, working out indoors feels great. But sticking to indoor air temps can also prevent frostbite and tight muscles that lead to injury (when it’s cold out), and heat stroke and workout-wrecking electrolyte imbalances (when it’s hot out). Plus, gym air is also filtered to keep car fumes and other pollutants from clogging your windpipes, says Erik Moen, P.T., founder of Corpore Sano Physical Therapy in Washington. Better air means better workouts.
5. The gym comes with massage therapists
After your workout, it pays to hit up the gym’s spa. Massage promotes muscle recovery after tough workouts, while preventing scar tissue and injury, according to a 2015 study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine annual meeting.
6. The gym packs a ton of workouts in one
Kettlebells, yoga, powerlifting, rowing, spinning, and, yes, even running: The gym lets you perform them all in one place.
7. The gym can make you a better runner
Without the gym—including strength training, yoga, cross training, and hip and core work—you wouldn’t be able to run for very long. The gym gives you the chance to give your body the strong base it needs to run long-term,” says Sarah Evans, C.P.T., a personal trainer and running coach in San Francisco.
8. The gym hits your entire body
While any running newbie will feel some burn in his back, core, and arms after his first few runs, running does work your legs more than anything else. In the gym, though, you have access to the tools you need to hit every muscle, Signaigo says.
9. The gym costs money
Sure, that probably sounds like a con, but your membership fees might just be the investment you need to actually hit your workouts, says Signaigo. You don’t want that money going to waste, do you?
There are lots of benefits to working out in a building filled with other sweaty people: They can help motivate you, spot you, and the more experienced ones may even be up to showing you a thing or two, Signaigo says.
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