Group Fitness Versus Personal Training: Which is Right for Me?

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” -Jim Rohn

san diego lifestyle
As San Diegans we are fortunate to have a plethora of fitness options such as personal training at our fingertips. This city features some of the best yoga experiences in the country as well as hundreds of boutique fitness spots ranging from Crossfit gyms to barre studios; something to meet anyone’s preferences.

There is also no shortage of highly-trained personal trainers working in San Diego who are just as committed as group fitness instructors to helping you reach your fitness goals. You may have found yourself wondering, is group fitness or personal training right for me? There are some fundamental differences that separate group fitness and personal training, and in considering these factors you should be able to more effectively determine which fitness option is best for you and your needs.

San Diego Personal Training

Factor One:  ENVIRONMENT

One of the most blatant differences between group classes and working one-on-one with a trainer is the environment of each option. Because I grew up playing on sports teams, I thrive in a class environment where I feel motivated and pushed by my peers around me. If I’m feeling a bit sluggish on a particular day, a group can get me going. Some studios even encourage a bit of competitiveness, like Orange Theory Fitness in Encinitas. There they post clients’ heart rates on a television screen as the group completes the workout for all to see (and maybe compare). Group fitness can also be a fun and healthy way to socialize with your friends and family. Rather than grabbing a drink after work, take a yoga class with your coworker!

If you are used to a crowded room and bumping music, you might find a personal training experience to be a lot less exciting. However, there are some clients who have had enough of the club-like playlist and feel rather claustrophobic when it comes to a packed class. If you find that you are more focused on your workout in a quieter setting, perhaps working with a personal trainer is just your cup of tea.

San Diego Personal Training

Factor Two: ASSESSMENT OF FORM

A downside to the group environment is that it may be less likely for your instructor to assess your form as much as a personal trainer would. I regularly teach Yoga Sculpt classes at CorePower Yoga with over 30 students in the room. It is impossible for me to check out every single student’s form as thoroughly as I am able to do when I teach my private yoga clients. For this reason, some clients feel they get enhanced results when working with a personal trainer who is able to watch them closely in every exercise they perform.

San Diego Personal Training

Factor Three:  ACCOUNTABILITY

Some clients sign up for personal training mostly to be held accountable. It is tempting to skip out on yoga after a long day of work if no one is holding you accountable to being there. With a personal trainer, you set a time and place to meet and you are expected to be there. Usually your trainer will be understanding if an emergency does arise, but many of my friends who work as personal trainers require their clients to pay for all sessions at the beginning of the month and if a client misses a session, they have already paid for it and will lose out on that workout. Other personal trainers have a 24-hour cancellation policy. If the client decides he or she does not feel like working out just 2 hours before the planned session, he or she will still have to pay.

There are, however, some fitness studios like BodyROK in Carlsbad that require clients to sign up in advance to save a spot. Most of these studios have a 12-hour or 24-hour cancellation window so this also helps to keep clients accountable; they will lose out on the class if they don’t show or will be charged a late cancellation fee if they cancel last minute. If you know you are guilty of ditching your workout last minute, you might want to consider hiring a personal trainer with whom you will set appointments with or choosing to work out at a studio that does make you sign up ahead of time for class. Usually the studios where the client needs to reserve a specific piece of equipment (such as a spin bike or Pilates reformer) require clients to reserve their place ahead of time too.

Pilates Class Reformer

Factor Four:  EXPENSE

One reason many clients choose group fitness over personal training is due to the expense. Personal training can easily run you $100/session while group fitness classes are usually somewhere around $20/class. When making your decision, assess how much you would like to spend each month on your workouts and take this into consideration.

Have you tried personal training or group training? Which do you like better? If you are still trying to find the perfect workout or trainer for you, let me help! You can always email me at blairwriter@gmail.com for suggestions.

Blair Atkins
Written by

Blair Atkins is a yoga teacher, Pilates instructor, and writer living in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. When Blair isn't teaching or sweating herself, she can be found hanging out at the beach. To see what Blair is up to, follow her on Instagram @beachgrownblog.

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