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Personal Trainer vs. Group Fitness Instructor: Which is Better for You?

November 25, 2022

Not sure if you should be looking for a Group Fitness Instructor or a Personal Trainer? Your “why” should be the first question you answer. Why are you working out? What are your goals? Once you have your answer, you can delve into which individual is better for you!

This article should give you guidance on choosing between personal training sessions or group fitness classes. Maybe, you will decide to do a little bit of both!

Group Fitness and Personal Training are two totally different certifications-a person can be certified in one, or both. Perhaps, they hold speciality certifications as well (barre, Pilates, TRX). The education and training can be vastly diffrent between the two certifications, and this is also an important factor to think about when making a choice.

As the titles suggest, Group Fitness Instructors teach group classes, while Personal Trainers train clients 1:1 and set up a custom workout plan for their clients. Personal Trainers typically must pass more rigorous tests if they have a respectable certification!

What setting do you prefer to workout in? What educational background do you prefer your coach to have?

A Personal Trainer is there for YOU! You will have their undivided attention for the session length (typically 30-60 min.) This type of setting gives them the opportunity to educate and motivate the client on a personal level. A good Personal Trainer will get to know you, your goals, and obstacles you may overcome. They can also work around your injuries. If you have underlying health issues, injuries, and/or a specific goal, a Personal Trainer may be the right decision for you! You will get a custom workout program that will help you achieve your goals quicker than a general workout plan from a Group Fitness Instructor.

Many times, a Personal Trainer is the right choice for a beginner. Form, exercise intensity, and how to get the most out of an exercise session will be stressed to someone new to working out. Personal Trainers are able to make an impact on individuals who want more specific direction.

Group Fitness instructors are typically extroverted and extremely diverse! They may teach a range of fitness classes such as Barre, Pilates, Zumba, Yoga, and/or spin to name just a few. All of these formats require different certifications behind the Group Fitness general certification as well. A Group Fitness instructor will likely know how to teach multiple formats which can sometimes make it more interesting than a Personal Trainer who does not have the group fitness background.

A Group Fitness Instructor will typically know how to pump a crowd, get them motivated, and ready to work hard! You will still (if the Fitness Instructor is reputable), get a highly motivated and effective workout with feedback. You may get a few individual helpful hints with your form, but do not expect the instructor to get to every individual in the class. Typically, they correct as a whole as well as offer modifications for all levels.

A group fitness class is usually a fraction of the cost of a personal training session, which makes it appealing for many people. The price is lower as you aren’t getting a customized workout plan and/or corrective training. Many people will supplement group fitness classes in addition to their personal training sessions!

I happen to be certified in both! I am backed by the American College of Sports Medicine as well as the International Sports and Sciences Association for Personal Training. Some of the TOP certifications you should look for in a trainer are the two I mentioned as well as ACE and NASM. I am group certified by AFAA (Athletics and Fitness Association of America), and I hold specialities in barre, kettlebell, Pilates, and TRX. BEWARE of Group Fitness Instructors who only teach specific type of workouts such as BEACHBODY. If they do not teach anything else, these type of workouts only require about a day long training!

It is IMPERATIVE to ask Personal Trainers these questions and get an idea of their backgrounds. Unfortunately, there are all too many gimmicky websites offering a certification within a couple of hours. It is up to YOU to research. The other thing to watch out for are rates that are far below the going standard industry prices. The going rate for a Personal Trainer is approximately $100-150 an hour. If they are priced far below these rates ask questions about their training, background and experience. You do get what you INVEST in.

As always, if there are any questions or concerns, feel free to ask me!

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