When it comes to choosing the way we reach our fitness goals, nowadays it can feel like there are just too many alternatives to choose from. It’s both exciting and overwhelming at the same time -- you could join your besties in that intense Crossfit course, but you’re not sure if these exercises target the areas you want to work on. You could get into group cycling with your mother-in-law, but you’re afraid you might lag behind since she started a month ago… Or you could just decide to go for a run every morning, but you wonder how long you’ll be able to keep yourself motivated.
The options are endless, and you might find yourself wanting to take up on every exercise you come across (read: overwhelm your body), or making the right choice might seem so stressful that you delay the decision-making for some other day (read: procrastinate and end up never really getting to it).
Well, don’t fret -- we’re coming to your rescue!
For this blog post, we prepared a checklist of differences between group and individual workout plans, and laid them out for you quite simply in the next couple of paragraphs.
The main differences
Ready to learn all about the aspects that go into choosing the right workout for yourself? Keep on reading to find out what the pros and cons of individual and group workout plans are.
The first thing on our list is motivation -- being motivated to reach our wellness goals is necessary both when deciding to get into training, and in order to stay on track and keep working out in spite of any drawbacks or distractions we find along the way. As important as it is, motivation is something that even the most determined ones among us struggle with from time to time. Many of us can get impatient when out workouts don’t bring immediate results and give up right at the start, while others may have unrealistic expectations of what their results should look like. When deciding on the type of training that would increase your motivation the most, we believe both group sessions and personal training can be highly inspiring, depending on what suits you more. For some, the progress of others in a group training will be the main motivator to keep going; for those of us with an accentuated competitive side, training in groups could be the perfect fit. For others, however, a personal trainer can be the most motivating. Personal trainers are professionals whose job, among other, is to keep you motivated in order to reach those goals you’re working so hard for. We’ll leave the final judgement on this up to you, as your personal preference plays a big part in this one.
Winner: individual training
When it comes to safety during a workout, individual training definitely wins. If you have a personal trainer choosing the right exercises targeting the areas of your body that you want to improve, the likelihood of an accident occurring is much smaller than when the exercises are generalized and of the same intensity for everyone. In addition to putting your workouts together to fit your body’s unique needs, your personal trainer will watch you perform every exercise, and monitor how your body reacts to it: before, during and after every workout. Not to be confused -- we’re not saying that group trainings are dangerous or unsafe; but if you’re a beginner and want to make sure that every exercise you perform has a positive effect on your body, individual training is the way to go.
Winner: group training
This one is pretty straight-forward. It is always necessary to take into account what type of workout you can afford without breaking the bank. Yes, fitness is important -- but there’s always a way to reach your fitness goals without breaking the bank.
This is definitely one of the biggest cons of personal training: it can be very expensive. The average price for one hour of working out with a personal trainer in the US is between $80 and $125. However, there are many factors that affect that price, and your expenses are likely to go up if you choose a professional with experience, live in a bigger city, or if you are training for a specific event or goal. Some personal trainers offer discounts if you ask for a group of sessions, or if you pay for your sessions in advance. A monthly/yearly plan could be more affordable, but the expense still turns out higher than if you were to take on group training.
EFFECTIVENESS AND RESULTS
Something that we all have in common is wanting to get the most results out of the effort we put into reaching our wellness goals. It’s normal that our individual goals will always differ -- after all, we’re all individuals, our bodies don’t all work in the same way, and we can have quite different body ideals we want to reach for ourselves. It’s important that we strive to reach fitness goals that are ours; obsessing over someone else’s ideals (or society ideals, for that matter) is completely counterproductive -- trust us on this one. The effectiveness of your training and the results you want to see after all the hard work you put into exercising can be achieved through both group and individual trainings. But depending on what your goals are, one option might be better than the other. Group fitness trainings are great for keeping in shape and staying active; however, training to reach specific long-term goals is better done in individual trainings.
Choosing your own workout style
If you still can’t quite decide on whether you’re leaning more towards an individual, personal training or group workout sessions, the good news is we’ve got a couple of alternatives for you!
Working out at home is a non-expensive, least time-consuming, and easy alternative -- perfect for those busy bees who don’t have time for the gym, but still want to take care of their fitness and reach their wellness goals. You can find a trainer to put together a workout plan for you, but keep in mind that this will be limited to exercises you can perform at home by yourself. You can aid yourself in self-training with different workout programs that are available online -- the good thing is there are many to choose from, so you should be able to find something that will suit you.
Small group training is a version of personal training in small groups. This alternative is useful when you want to get personalized advice from a professional trainer, but want to cut down a bit on the expense. The most important thing here would be finding a group with very similar fitness goals, so your personal trainer has an easier time putting together a workout plan and monitoring your group, while still giving some individual attention to everyone in the group.
So, how can you make the right fitness decision for yourself?
Hopefully, this article shines some light on what aspects of a workout you should be evaluating when deciding whether you’re more of a group workout type of gal, or an individual training bee. Remember that no matter what you choose, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident and that the workout plan suits your needs and wants. Personal fitness and wellness is not among the one-fits-all things, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try out different ways to reach your fitness goals -- we’re all unique, hence it’s natural that different things work for each of us.
Are you among the lucky ones who found what works for them already? Share your thoughts, advice, or experience with us in the comments!