How Two Types of Exercise Combine To My One Perfect Plan

My goal for this blog is to talk about equal parts fitness, food, and motivation/inspiration (with the occasional technical blogging or writing post thrown in there). I haven’t talked as much about fitness lately, so I wanted to get back to the activity that helps keep me sane, healthy, and illness-free for longer than I can remember (knock on wood).

There are generally two types of exercises—those done individually and those done in a group setting. After years of trial and error and listening to my body, I have found that a combination of the two is what makes up my perfect plan.
See how personal training and group fitness both fit into my exercise regimen and why they are both important!

Before I was a personal trainer, I spent a lot of my time either running solo or looking up workouts online for me to do at the gym. I taught myself a lot about movement standards and form, but it wasn’t until I actually became certified that I felt confident designing my own workouts (and those of others).

Related: Passing the NASM Certified Personal Training Exam

Since I was a member of my local gym, I also dropped into group classes when I didn’t have the time or desire to do any planning. There wasn’t much of a method to my plan, but I was happy being able to work out consistently. Over the years I vacillated between individual time in the gym or group classes, but I didn’t pay much attention to when or why.

As I settle into more of a routine between training clients, teaching classes, and writing, I’ve spent some time figuring out which approach works best for me. There are pros and cons of both personal training and group fitness, but combining the two has given me the best results. On days when I have more clients, I can save some time by immediately working out by myself in the gym with a workout I have programmed specifically for me and my goals. Days when I am lacking the motivation to push myself (usually Fridays) are designated for group classes to get my energy back up!

Here is a look at some of the benefits of both individual and group fitness workouts. This combination may not work for everyone, but with my schedule and my personality, I find it to be the best plan for me:

Individual (Personal) Training

  • able to program for individual goals: if I am interested in working on a specific body part, I can plan the workout to strive for that goal
  • flexible: can work out at any time that is convenient for me
  • adaptable: if I wake up with my legs sore and was planning on doing a leg workout, I can switch to another body part
  • saves time: I am able to work out either in my home or at the gym in my building, which saves commute time to a studio or other gym
  • specialized movements: sometimes group settings don’t have the weight that I may need or I may wish to use an exercise machine

Group Fitness

  • workout is pre-planned: I can show up to a class and simply take it. No planning on my part.
  • motivation: some days I end up working harder than when I am by myself since there are other people around to encourage and motivate me
  • different types of workouts: no matter what type of group class you like (e.g., spinning, yoga, crossfit, etc.), you can always get in a good workout. Since I’m not trained in every type of exercise, IĀ have to go to those classes to have someone who is help me out
  • socialization: too many days of working out by myself in the gym can make me feel isolated, which isn’t a good thing for me. Showing up at group classes helps me be more social and if I’m really feeling crazy I’ll invite a friend to go with me!
  • learn new moves: group classes help me think outside the box and there have been a number of workouts where I’ve walked away with new moves and some new things to share in my own classes!

Questions:

  • What do your workouts look like?
  • Do you prefer one over the other or do you have a mix of the two?
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12 Comments

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 29, 2015 / 8:02 am

      If only I could make myself do yoga…

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 29, 2015 / 8:03 am

      I’m picky too since you know I really only go to Sweat but when I go it’s great!

  1. September 29, 2015 / 11:44 am

    this made me realize that i miss group fitness classes. since we moved into town in april, i have been just using our amazing gym in our building, and running/walking on all the incredible trails right outside our door. it’s hard not to! however, i realize that i miss the classes like spinning and body pump more for the social aspect and just getting out of a rut. i gravitate towards being a loner, and constantly get out to make sure i get a dose of social interaction. thanks for the great reminder! i think i’ll look into trying out a gym near us soon šŸ™‚
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    • erinsinsidejob
      September 29, 2015 / 8:25 pm

      I usually tend to do things solo but try and make it a point to get out and around other people as a way to keep myself from isolating. Good luck on your gym search!!

  2. September 29, 2015 / 12:17 pm

    I do not really like group classes, except for spinning. I love spinning!!! I just really do whatever I want when I workout. What works for me may not work for somebody else. Thanks
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    • erinsinsidejob
      September 29, 2015 / 8:26 pm

      Exactly. Once you find something you like, embrace it!

    • erinsinsidejob
      September 29, 2015 / 8:27 pm

      I don’t love them all the time, but I definitely like to integrate them for balance and to keep myself from isolating all the time!

  3. October 1, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    I like spin and yoga group ex classes, and prefer to teach Zumba rather than take it. Overall, though, I think I perform better when working out with one or two other people. Large groups have the reverse effect on me – I don’t push myself enough, maybe because I think I can slack off since there are so many other people around. Is that weird?
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    • erinsinsidejob
      October 1, 2015 / 12:29 pm

      No I’ve had that happen to me too sometimes. Then the instructor catches me and yells at me to get my butt back in gear haha

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