Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Okay, so before I get a firestorm of hate mail from some of my group x’er friends and coaches, let me first say that although what I am about to say is not the case for every individual, it is the case for many. And it’s a strong case for why private personal training and coaching will always remain a strong presence in the field of health and fitness.
In my over 16 years as a Health/Fitness Expert I have helped countless individuals achieve astounding results that they never would have been able to achieve by starting out in a group X class. What’s the reason you ask? It’s because when they came to me, their basic conditioning level was beyond dismal. If they had entered a group X class they would have surely walked out feeling defeated or worse yet injured.
Of course, someone’s exercise level doesn’t have to be dismal to not be a good candidate for a group x class. I have countless friends and clients that have contraindications or minor injuries that get aggravated all over again when they take group class.
Yes, there are modifications that can be performed in class, but there are several reasons why injuries can occur in a group environment.
It’s great to be pushed by others, but sometimes we do it to the detriment of listening to our bodies in order to keep up with the person beside us – the “if she can do it I can do it” attitude isn’t always the best when your body is asking you to listen to it and you choose to ignore it.The instructor often keeps a certain rhythm to the class that many newbies can’t keep up with and/or if you are having an off day you can feel defeated for falling behind.
When you have a private personal trainer that is catering to exactly how your body feels that given day and what you need in that very moment, the results can go way beyond what a group class can offer. A well-educated fitness professional paying attention to your form at every moment can be truly priceless. In my books it’s not how many reps are done, it’s the form that matters the most. After all, it’s truly how you are sculpting and designing your body and if you’re putting in the time at the gym you should be sculpting a body you are proud of and one that you feel good in.
Is this why so many of my friends are disappointed with the results they are seeing in the gym? I believe so. They don’t realize that the exercises they are performing, the order they are performing them in and the form they are performing them with are sculpting their bodies for better or worse. They end up with injuries and imbalance issues throughout their entire body. The end result is a body that does not function well and is plagued by injury and pain.
By the time they see me they are floored by the new concepts I teach them that actually help them start engaging their muscles in the correct firing pattern and often within weeks they are on their way to a new shape, better health and pain free.
Now, all that being said, just as I believe personal training will always have a place in fitness, I also commend group training for all it has to offer. Once I get my clients balanced again and teach them proper patters I have them add group training classes back into their program if the desire.
The result is they perform on an entirely new level in the class. Often times the class is harder because they are doing the exercises correctly and engaging more muscles in a proper way so they burn out even quicker. As a Fitness Expert I am happy because I know they are doing the group classes and increasing their fitness level using proper form. But, the best part is the clients newfound knowledge of their body and understanding when they need to take a break for sake of their form and not being embarrassed by that.
The Bottom Line: Group X offers a range of benefits, but one really should have a fair amount of body awareness and training before delving into some of these harder core classes. Private on one one training is the bridge way to group X and a must try experience for anyone’s exercise program no matter what level.