Archive for the tag - group class

Group Fitness Classes Vs. Individual Training.

Dear Davey,

For the last 2 months I have been working out through class exercise groups and have had great results. Currently I do 3 days of spin class for cardio and 3 days of BodyPump for strength training. I love my classes, but I am starting to plateau. Is it time to break away from the class atmosphere and start my own individual workout routine?

Thanks,
Kevin

Hey Kevin,

As you’ve discovered, group fitness classes are great. I like group classes for a number of reasons:

  1. They are fun!
  2. The instructor pushes you.
  3. You learn new exercises.
  4. You can socialize and make friends.
  5. They’re great at building confidence and skill for beginners.
  6. They hold you to a regular schedule.
  7. The instructor can teach proper technique.

But for more advanced exercisers, it’s often advantageous to focus the bulk of your workout on individual training. I, for example, take a group class or two per week – but most of my training is individual.

Why?

As an exerciser, you have individual goals. If you’ve never taken the time to actually articulate and write down those goals, it’s definitely something that I’d recommend. When you’re in a group class, each person in that class also has a set of goals; these goals may or may not be in alignment with what you’re looking to achieve. Moreover, each person is operating from a different level of fitness – and each person has their own set of health issues or complications. Considering all this, the instructor will put together a very general fitness program, but it’s not necessarily the most effective program to deliver on your goals.

The BodyPump class, for example, may be focused on muscle endurance – and you may be looking to build muscle size, specifically in your biceps. It’s very easy to achieve this in an individual setting, but it’s not something you’ll get in a group setting. Or, perhaps, you have a specific muscular imbalance that needs to be addressed. It’s unlikely to be corrected through a group class.

If the transition from group classes to individual training seems scary or overwhelming, I recommend giving yourself the gift of a personal trainer. Even if you book a handful of sessions, the trainer will be able to put together a great workout program for you and show you how proper technique. Or, you can always download my Ultimate Guide to Working Out to create a custom workout program around your goals.

I’m not trying to discount group classes; they can be a wonderful and very effective – especially for beginners. But for more advanced exercisers, focusing on individual training will provide the best results.

Love,
Davey