What type of training is best for you?
What type of training is best for you?
By Shane Sauer
When I meet with clients for the first time, their story about how they ended up in my studio usually goes like this:
“When I was younger, I was in pretty good shape. I enjoyed my favorite activities and felt pretty good in my own skin. Then, life took over. I got hurt and never really got back to where I was. Also, my working and/or family life became more demanding, so there was less time for myself. I’m now at a point where I no longer feel good about my health and/or looks. I need some motivation and guidance to get me back on track.”
Does this sound familiar?
If so, you’re clearly not alone. And if you’ve made the decision to try and change something about yourself, congratulations! You’ve taken the first step, which is always the hardest. The next step is to figure out how you want to go about making that change. That’s where this blog might help.
When it comes down to it, there are really only four training scenarios to choose from:
Going it alone
Joining a group
Working with a trainer, one-on-one
Sharing a trainer in a small group
Of course, there are many different options and varieties within these scenarios. There is also the option to mix and match. But instead of getting into those subtleties, let’s first understand how these general scenarios can affect your chances for success. To do so, we’ll explore each option in relation to some factors that drive fitness success: Motivation, Knowledge, Accountability, and Affordability.
(if you’re short on time, check out the summary table at the end)
To embark on a fitness journey, you must have some type of motivation. As mentioned above, the first step is usually driven by a desire for personal change. While that’s usually good enough to get us started, our motivational needs tend to change as our fitness regimen progresses.
A lucky few of us are born with the innate ability to keep going with just an internal sense of motivation. If you’re one of these people, you can do well going it on your own. But for everyone else, there needs to be an external driver as well.
This is where the social aspect of working with others can come in handy. Be it in a large group, small group, or one-on-one with a trainer, the comradery that comes from working with others often provides the external motivation to keep going. Depending on where you fall along the spectrum from outgoing (group) to shy (one-on-one), one choice might be better than others. But any way you look at it, developing relationships will help keep you focused and engaged in what you’re doing. It also has the ability to redefine your workouts from something you have to do into something you enjoy doing. And if there is one thing that will keep us motivated to continue in any aspect of life, it’s having fun!
Another tremendous benefit of working with others is accountability. Again, a select few of us are able to hold themselves accountable. Those people don’t need to check in with others. However, most of us are more likely to do things if we feel beholden to others. Social accountability can come in two forms, wanting to help others or not wanting to disappoint them. In practice, it doesn’t really matter which version drives you. All it means is that having other people in the mix will make you more likely to adhere to a program. And this is important because inconsistency is one of, if not the largest factor, in determining whether people will achieve their goals.
Working in a large group will help provide you with the support you need to stay with a program. But working with a trainer adds even more value. Having an appointment with someone who can help you set realistic, achievable, and adaptable goals provides the most accountability you can ask for. This should be built into any one-on-one or a small group setting.
Knowledge can be a big hurdle for those embarking on a new exercise program. Contrary to what many believe, exercise is not so simple that you can’t mess it up. There are many who go too hard right out of the gate and end up getting hurt. And nothing stops fitness progress like an injury. Other people don’t understand how to modify their program as their body adapts to exercise and never move past that first plateau.
This is where fitness professionals can really make a difference. They should be very knowledgeable about how the body works and should be able to recognize plateaus and adjust programs accordingly. They should also be up to date on the latest trends in the industry so that your workouts never get boring. Most importantly, they should provide guidance and supervision to help prevent any injuries. And depending on how many people you are splitting their time with, they should provide some level of personalization to your program.
So, to overcome the knowledge challenge, you need to do one of two things, invest money into working with someone who has the expertise to guide you, or invest your own time to teach yourself what to do. Either way, this leads us to affordability.
Affordability is of course a consideration for most people. And when it comes to fitness, you often get what you pay for. The greater the level of personal attention you get, the more money you will have to pay. However, don’t forget to consider some of the hidden costs such as time, energy, and equipment.
Going for it on your own will cost the least amount of money, unless you have to buy a lot of equipment. However, you will likely have to spend a whole lot of your own personal time planning what to do and learning how to do it. Not to mention the progress you could lose through the greater risk of injury. Additionally, workout efficiency tends to suffer without having others there to keep you motivated and accountable, meaning results come more slowly.
Professional environments will provide these intangibles and oftentimes the equipment, too. That means the monetary costs might be higher, but you’ll have a lot more time to spend on other things, like your work or family. In the end, you have to put a value on your time as well.
There can be a lot to consider when trying to decide how to exercise. To help, here is a table that summarizes the discussion above.
Here at MATRIX Personalized Fitness we’re on the cutting edge of fitness training with our brain-based approach. We offer one-on-one training as well as the personal, but more affordable small group training. In either scenario, we make sure to teach you what you need to know to be safe and to maximize your workouts. We help you set goals and hold you accountable to them. We also keep things fun and interesting with a variety of workouts.