Whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle or just stay in good shape, joining a gym is a good decision. Far too many people decide to bypass gym membership, only to find themselves lacking in motivation or putting off their exercise regimen for days or even weeks. Joining a gym can mean making a financial commitment, but when you’re trying to prioritize your physical health, that’s actually a good thing!

You may already know that regular workouts can offer you a lot of health benefits, such as a stronger heart, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and weight loss. It can also help you sleep better, deal with stress in a healthier manner and stave off mild depression. When you’re committed to working out in a gym, not just trying to make it work on your own, there are a lot of other very real benefits.

The Drive to Really Focus on Your Goals

Many times, the goals that inspire us to work out are abstract. You want to lose weight, but how much will that really push you to get in shape? When you’ve invested money and time in joining a gym, you’re more likely to follow through with your plans and reach your goals. You’ll want a return on the money you put into joining, after all.

No Need to Buy or Maintain Expensive Gym Equipment

Sure, you can probably find a cheap treadmill or used elliptical on Craigslist, but do you really know what you’re buying? Machines can quickly fall into disrepair. In fact, they may not have been put together properly by the original owner. They can also carry quite a few nasty germs into your home.

Gyms maintain their own equipment and often invest in the newest, most effective machines on the market. Whether it’s the newest model of elliptical that helps you engage in interval training or simply a properly cleaned and stocked weight bench, the professional grade machinery and equipment at a gym is a real perk.

Access to New Fitness Friends and Professional Trainers

Nothing motivates a good workout like an instructor or trainer pushing you to give it your all. It’s all too easy to float through home exercise regimens. You may complete your daily routine, but you also may not reap the full benefits. Making friends at your new gym can help you focus on giving your full effort in each workout and keep you coming back for more.

Additionally, working out at a gym reduces your risk of injury. A professional trainer or instructor will intervene if you’re using incorrect body mechanics. The last thing you need is a strained muscle, injury to your lower back or blown out knee. Professional help, guidance and oversight can help you stay motivated and safe while you exercise. The trainers at professional gyms often help you set goals and move around the space, watching for issues that could result in injuries.

Gyms Often Provide a Little Pampering as Well

Your basement doesn’t have a juice bar, sauna, hot tub, pool and on-site massage therapist. You can find all of these perks and more at many gyms. Heat from a sauna or hot tub can help your muscles relax after a particularly intense workout. Pools can offer low-impact exercise for days when you’re already tired or are in between muscle groups.

Even grabbing a smoothie with protein as a recovery snack on your way out the door can help. Not only does it aid in achieving your fitness goals, it motivates you to keep coming back. Whether it’s funny locker room chatter with the people from your spin class or a sweat session, those moments you take to pamper yourself at the end of your workout can help you stay motivated.