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Group Exercise vs. Personal Trainer (and which is right for me?)

July 1st, 2022 | 6 min. read

Group Exercise vs. Personal Trainer (and which is right for me?)

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Group Exercise vs. Personal Trainer (and which is right for me?)

Doctors tell us to eat right and exercise, but it is often hard to follow this advice. Whether it is the demands at work, kids' busy schedules, or simply exhaustion, making time to exercise can feel like an uphill battle. 


We at Paseo Club have supported thousands of people on their fitness journeys. Whether you are looking to lose weight, get stronger, or have greater endurance and stamina for your favorite sport, we know how to help you achieve your goals. We wrote this article to help illustrate the two most effective systems for getting in shape quickly so you can decide what works best for you.


One of the most effective tools to get started on your fitness plan — and see results — is to sign up for an instructed fitness program that offers regularly scheduled classes throughout the week. These programs work efficiently because they help you stay motivated and accountable.  A trained instructor will also push you a little bit harder than if you were on your own which expedites your success. 


There are two great options —- a group exercise class or private one-on-one training. In this article, we will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each approach. You will be able to clearly decide which method is the best fit for you so you can start a planned fitness program today. 


What are group instructed exercise classes?

Group exercise is a fitness class taught by an instructor to a group of participants. Group exercise classes can be taught at varying levels using different exercise styles. Group exercise is a way to get in shape and meet people. 


What types of exercises are taught in a group?

The types of group exercise classes available are practically limitless. There are classes for building strength, cardio-focused classes for weight loss, dance-themed classes, and classes focused on mobility and core strength, such as yoga and Pilates. Here is a list of some common classes taught by fitness instructors:


  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Cycle
  • Weights
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Water aerobics
  • Cardio
  • Barre
  • Zumba

What are the benefits of group exercise classes?

People love group exercise because it develops a sense of camaraderie and belonging. They form a bond with their fellow participants, growing to know them as "teammates in the trenches." 

For many participants, group exercise promotes the feeling of needing to attend every session as a demonstration of support, not only for their newfound allies but their instructor as well.

What are the drawbacks of group exercise classes?

There are three primary drawbacks to group exercise lessons.


  1. The number one drawback to group classes is that they are not customized to you. If you are looking for a class taught at your exact fitness level, or you have an injury or mobility issue, or a certain area of your body you want to target — that will not be catered to in class.


  1. The second most common drawback to a group class is that complete accountability to show up for each session simply is not there. Yes, your classmates may miss you. But they are not going to call you and find out why you missed class and when they can expect to see you again. (Unless they are your best friend). 


  1. The third drawback is that they cost less money than a personal trainer. Now you may wonder why group exercise class is being criticized for being more affordable. The truth is when you pay for a private lesson you are much more likely to show up. If you miss a group class and it didn’t cost you extra, or the cost was nominal, there was little to no financial loss. Missing a private trainer lesson hurts because they cost more. A lot more. That pain motivates people to attend almost every session.


How much do group exercise classes cost?

Depending on the type of facility you attend, group exercise classes cost different amounts. 


If you are a private club member, there are often many group classes available to you at no extra charge. But other classes cost anywhere between $15-$50 per class. This is due to smaller class size, more costly equipment, or because a prestigious teacher instructs,

What is personal training?

Personal training is an exercise class taught to you — and only you — by a qualified personal trainer. You schedule the class time and frequency and the instructor creates programming based on you, your abilities, your interests, and your fitness goals.

What types of exercise are taught by a personal trainer?

You can find a personal trainer that teaches any mode of fitness that you want. There are private teachers for yoga, Pilates, running, tennis, swimming, and more. The most common type of personal training is a cardio/weight combo class. 


What are the benefits of a class taught by a personal trainer?

The benefits of hiring a personal trainer are significant. A personal trainer assures undivided attention in a one-on-one isolated environment. Instructors know clients' names, physical profiles, goals, and limitations. They provide an individualized curriculum geared to each person’s specific ambitions and levels of fitness. 

Personal trainers not only draft a customized regimen for each participant, but they also oversee that individual's safety, form, and body alignment, making any necessary modifications over the course of the program. 

One of the greatest advantages to individualized workouts is the time factor: having a personal trainer helps you achieve the best possible results with the quickest turnaround.

What are the drawbacks of a personal trainer?

You may have noticed that the list of benefits of exercising with a personal trainer is long. But that does not mean there aren’t any drawbacks. There are two main drawbacks to working with a personal trainer.

  1. The primary drawback is that you will pay significantly more for a personal trainer than participating in a group exercise class. The cost can be many times more making it a significant expense to budget for.
  2. Training one-on-one means you do not have any classmates. No one else will be cheering you on or commiserating over an intense class. Personal training means, for better and for worse, the attention is all on you.

How much do private trainers cost?

The cost of a private trainer varies widely based on your location, the facility where the trainer teaches, their education, and how experienced and skilled they are. The average cost of a personal trainer is $70-$120 per class.


How do I decide which fitness program is right for me?


Now you know the pros and cons of both group exercise and working with a personal trainer. Hopefully, you have acquired enough information to know the next step to help achieve your plans for greater health and fitness. Look to your local gym, social club, fitness center, or studio to find a qualified instructor. 


If you are in the Santa Clarita Valley and are interested in learning about the options available to help you get fit, check out the Paseo Club. We offer group classes and personal training. Our staff of Certified Trainers comes with over 15 years of experience. 


But group classes and hiring personal trainers are not all of the options available for exercise. Some people like to exercise on their own whether it is swimming laps, going for a run, or lifting weights. Others like to engage in competitive sports for their fitness — tennis, pickleball, basketball, and soccer are all popular choices. 


To learn more about one successful group exercise class, read this article about Liquid Cardio. Are you interested in seeing our seven-acre facility for yourself? Sign up for a tour today.