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How Far Is Too Far to Drive to a Gym?

Distance matters. If your gym is too far to drive, you’re not going to want to go as often. People are busy, and an extra 10 minutes to the gym can have a big impact on your motivation. If you consider that most people give up going to the gym within the first 90 days, making travel easier is certainly a big factor.

So how far is too far to drive to the gym? We surveyed over 100 people and nearly half of them said that 20 minutes would be too far to drive to the gym. Studies show that people who travel 4 miles or less go significantly more often than people who travel further.

We’ll cover some points to consider to make sure traveling to your gym is worth it. We’ll also share studies to show how travel time impacts gym motivation at the bottom of this article.

How Far Should Your Gym Be

Let’s face it – even for motivated individuals, we get busy and can even feel lazy at times. If we are going to be dedicated to something, anything that helps us reach our goals is a good thing. The distance to the gym one of those things.

Most people said they would not travel further than 20 minutes to the gym. I personally find this a bit far, unless the gym was really good.

If your gym is further away, here’s a few things that can make it worth it:

  • Type of equipment
  • Cleanliness of the facility
  • Amenities like pool, steam room, massage chairs, etc
  • Atmosopher, people, and attitude
  • Classes or trainers

Some gym-goers that did travel further said it was worth it because they were taking classes or working with a trainer:

I found it was worth the 30 minute drive for me to work with a really great trainer. Will really depend on your comfort and happiness. If it will help you keep up with your training, go for it.

I find this to be true myself. I work with a trainer one day a week who pushes me more than I can push myself. I’m willing to drive further to the gym to get a great workout with him.

All things being equal, I’d be willing to spend more money going to a gym that was closer compared to a gym further away.

But yes, the distance traveling to the gym has a big impact on motivation. Going to the often does take a lot of time.

Time required going to the gym involves:

  • Getting gym clothes ready
  • Traveling
  • Changing
  • Warming up
  • Training
  • Changing
  • Shower
  • Driving home
  • Protien shake

Even though your workout may be as quick as 30 minutes, traveling and everything else takes just as much or even more time than the workout itself. The easier you make it for yourself to save time the better.

Others would agree as well:

I don’t think I would go if my gym was 20 minutes away.

Picture this: getting ready for the gym, driving to the gym, doing your workout, cooling down, driving home, getting home, protein shake, shower, etc.

It’s a long process in itself. Make it as easy as possible.

And yes, distance does kill motivation

Distance to the gym impacts my motivation like crazy. 

My commute to work is a 30 minute drive. Because I spend that much time in the car twice a day, I found I was literally never willing to drive the opposite direction to go to the nice gym with the pool I was paying for. I switched to a gym that is literally 2 minutes from work and now it’s so easy for me to go 3-5 times a week. Turns out proximity was a huge factor in my success.

My schedule is so packed already that I cannot afford to add an extra 20 minutes driving time. So time/distance is a huge thing/deterrent for me.

All that being said, if your gym is more than 15-20 minutes away, it should be a nice gym so you are more excited to go.

How Far Are People Willing to Drive to Go to the Gym?

We took a poll of over 100 gym-goers and the results were what we expected. Most people said they would not travel more than 20 minutes to go to the gym.

Max Travel TimeResults
10 minutes10%
20 minutes35%
30 minutes21%
40 minutes13%
60 minutes6%
I train at home15%
How Far Is Too Far to Drive to a Gym?

One particular study also seems to back this up as well. The study found that 4 miles is just enough distance to keep people more motivated to go to the gym.

People who traveled 3.7 miles to their gym went to the gym 5 times more often. If you think about that in terms of fitness, that makes a huge difference in getting in shape and reaching your goals.

The study did find that distance became less of a factor for people who were attending more expensive gyms. This makes sense, as people are more excited to go to better gyms with more amenities.

In summary:

  • People who drove less than 4 miles went to the gym 5 times or more per month
  • People who drove more than 4 miles went to the gym 1 time per month
  • People who went to more expensive gyms went more often

How Far Should You Drive to the Gym?

How far you decide to travel to the gym is really going to depend on your schedule, budget, lifestyle, motivation, and what you are looking for in a gym. Four miles seems to be the right distance in keeping people motivated, but it could be more or less.

Gyms that are closer are simply more convenient. I personally wouldn’t want a home gym since I would probably lose motivation after a while – it’s basically too convenient enough for me to get lazy about it.

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About Ben Adler

I'm Ben, a passionate fitness enthusiast on a mission to help you achieve your fitness goals. With a love for lifting and building a well-rounded physique, I founded Swole Class to provide beginners with the guidance and knowledge they need to navigate the gym and embrace a healthier lifestyle. Join me on this journey as we unlock our potential and inspire greatness together. Learn more about me