What’s the difference between personal training and group fitness classes anyway?
If you are in group fitness classes, the instructor (usually not an experienced personal trainer) can’t watch you to make sure you are doing the exercises correctly or safely. He/she is just guiding you through a simple preplanned routine, not a custom designed workout for your needs, and there are certainly no allowances for your previous injuries, weak points or unique body metrics.
Watch Out for Fake Personal Training
First of all, personal training is one on one (or two for a couple). – 4-6+ people and one instructor / trainer is a class. As an experienced personal trainer, I will tell you that I cannot effectively monitor more than 3 clients at one time and that’s a strain. 1-2 clients gets what I call adequate attention. More than 3 clients and one trainer is group training, not personal training. Too many outfits are providing group training / fitness classes and calling it personal training. That’s fake personal training.
The Way You Think About Working Out Is Dead Wrong!
Individual Weight Training Vs. Group Fitness Classes
Do you believe that joining a fancy gym and/or making all those spinning, yoga and CrossFit fitness classes will get you the body of your dreams?
Do you believe that you have to train extra hard to get better results? Have you signed up for Orange Theory, SoulCycle, HIIT or other boot camp fitness classes and not lost weight, even actually gained weight?
Do you know why?
I have been doing this for a long, long time. I watch people take intense fitness classes, spinning classes, join Crossfit – and their bodies do not improve – they backslide. Massively.
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. They’re not supposed to. Fitness 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?
A hard workout doesn’t necessarily mean you will get the results you want. People equate a hard workout with results, but there are quite a few more factors that go into a program that creates a specific result. You need to train, fuel and recuperate the right way to get positive results. These classes / gyms/ boxes of course don’t do anything to remedy this incorrect conception.
Are you working out just to work out or do you want to get visible results and look like you work out?
One on one personal training
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/ fitness classes 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.
For example over the years I’ve watched gym members participate in several of the HIIT classes, boot camps, spinning classes and noticed them getting fatter. Pretty much never do they improve.
I’ve had clients who succeeded in their body transformation goals training with me just to switch back from the cardio style that I assign to more intense cardio like SoulCycle or other spinning studios. Sometimes they were doing this before they became clients. These classes always cause their bodies to 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.
Your body has a limited ability to recover from exercise and it is the body’s ability to recover that is the mechanism by which all gains / body shape improvements are made. It’s very easy to overdo it, both in incompetent workout design as well as execution.
Instead of wasting your money on fancy health clubs or fitness classes, invest in a qualified personal trainer with a proven track record. The trainer might train clients at a gym or will come to you. It’s a much more effective way to train, build strength, burn fat and target specific muscle groups.
As a personal trainer, I dedicate every day to helping my clients achieve best results. I know the strengths, the weaknesses and the needs of every single one of my training clients, and I track their achievements daily.
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.
So there you have it: All the pros and cons to consider when figuring out what’s right for you. Remember, finding the right instructor is vital. I highly recommend finding instructors who are full-time fitness professionals like myself, rather than fitness enthusiasts who just teach here and there. Full-time trainers have training in exercise science, anatomy and kinesiology not to mention nutrition and regeneration. That kind of training can be a huge difference.
I’m all about maximizing your ROI ( return on investment ) of effort for results.
Who your personal trainer is actually matters!
When it comes to your health and safety, it’s paramount to choose the trainer who you can trust to train you without injuries. So many trainers now have fewer qualifications or are simply Instagram-famous, but when it comes to your health, experience and resume are what’s most important. Interview and review the trainers before shelling out a lot of money and be careful when they overpromise or seem too eager.
I challenge you, my reader, to sign up for an 8 week personal training and nutrition program with me or one of my fantastic Los Angeles 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 fitness class.
Online personal training is another great way to get in shape; the biggest advantage of this option is its affordability and flexibility in comparison to regular personal training sessions.
Is online personal training for me?
I think online personal training is a wonderful option for those who want flexibility and affordability. Since you don’t have to drive across town, you can choose the best time for you to work out. You can also choose the workouts at home using the equipment you have available, or opt to train at your favorite gym.
Don’t worry; you won’t be left in the dark about what you are doing. I will be in touch with you the whole way. I will ask you for your feedback and I will map out your diet, supplements, workout and cardio (if needed) schedules for you.
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 help prevent injury and keep you in great shape for your daily life and future workouts.