Individual Weight Training Vs. Group Classes
Do you believe that you have to train extra hard to get better results? Have you signed up for CrossFit, SoulCycle, HIIT or boot camp classes and not out weight, even actually gained weight? Do you know why?
Group workouts are all about music, lighting, mantras, or enthusiastic cheerleading. It’s a great formula to keep you coming back for more, but just showing up isn’t enough. The substance and content of the workout will determine your actual results regardless of strobe lights and entertainment value.
I recently read an article regarding great ways to get in shape. This particular article was touting the benefits of group classes at some of the specialized gyms in Southern California. The author highlighted a few key points about group classes, but I felt a need to add my own two cents here. Yes, a group class, whether it’s aerobics, interval training, core essentials, crossfit or anything else, will get you into the gym and help you work up a sweat. I can certainly applaud this. However, what it won’t do is help you: personally, focus on your goals and get the results you desire. Group classes don’t take into consideration your specific issues, muscle weaknesses, posture, flexibility or strengths. You move together in a “herd mentality” for an hour and as you walk out the door, you may be drenched in sweat and your muscles may feel sore or stiff, but are you really seeing dramatic results in your health, fitness and shape? Are you working out just to work out or do you want to get visible results and look like you work out?
Individual weight training (best with a qualified personal trainer) is specifically geared to you. Equipment and weights are adjusted to your specific needs, which help you target and isolate muscle groups to strengthen and build definition. In group classes, the instructor is too busy concentrating on a room full of people to provide you with the individual attention you need to keep your form, target the correct muscle groups and help you prevent injury. You likely have no clue what you are doing right or wrong.
In a personal training session, you have (hopefully) a fully qualified private trainer’s full attention and as a result, you are safe and work out in a proper form and alignment. If you’re going to invest an hour a day in your own health, which makes the most sense to you?
Many of the boot camps / CrossFit/ group workout outfits are actually marketing and selling workouts. People often equate hard workouts with results. This is often not so. Is very easy to overwork / overtrain or follow a workout prescription that’s actually counterproductive to making the body look better.
I’ve had clients switch from the cardio style that I assign to SoulCycle or other spinning studios. Their bodies always reverse course – they gain fat and lose muscle. Quite the opposite result they were hoping for. Maybe that’s not the client’s goal. Maybe their goal is having fun while exercising. More me it’s more fun to get maximum return on my exercise efforts.
My role as a trainer is not just to deliver fun workouts, I have to keep my clients safe, in proper form and alignment to ensure results without injury.
I challenge you, my reader, to sign up for an 8 week personal training and nutrition program with me or one of my fantastic High Performance Personal Trainers. I promise you, you will see real results after 8 weeks. Hell, you’ll see real results after two weeks, but 8 weeks will take you to a different level of radically visible results, health and fitness. A level you’ll never achieve in any group class.
Free Weights vs. Machines
Yes. To both. A well-rounded workout should involve all types of weight lifting. Lifting weights in any form is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. When adjusted properly, machines align your form and keep you from straining other muscle groups which should remain stationary during specific exercises.
Free weights allow you to target multiple muscle systems. However, proper form is even more important since you may try to compensate for a weak link by using the wrong muscles for an exercise. Either way, a good warm-up and cool down before and after your weight training session along with stretching and keeping proper form will keep you in great shape for your daily life and future workouts.