This topic has been on my mind a lot lately — which is better: group exercise or personal training? Why would someone pay the comparatively high cost of personal training when they could go to all the group exercise classes they want for a lower rate? Though I’m a personal trainer now, the first 21 years of my fitness career were solely dedicated to group exercise. So after considering the two, here are my thoughts. Obviously not all opinions apply to every instructor or class. 

Group exercise is often for the already fit. I recently joined a gym for my own workouts. As I attend classes, I see them not through my own eyes but through the eyes of my clients who are 1) intimidated 2) unfit 3) unsure how to do an exercise 4) do not have proper form. As I look around, I see atrocious form everywhere; form bad enough to cause injuries. And, most of the time, the instructors are not correcting this form. Sometimes, the class is too large and the pace too quick, I get it. Instructors of a large class can’t necessarily walk around and correct form when the rest of the class is ready to move on. But other times, it’s just the case of an oblivious instructor who isn’t tuned into her class. All in all, group exercise classes are great if you don’t need much personal instruction, feel pretty comfortable with exercise and have good form. But for those who don’t fit this criteria, it’s a situation ripe for injury or a feeling of defeat.

With this said, here’s why hiring a personal trainer can be a great investment.

  1. Motivation – Personal trainers wear many hats, serving not only as coach, but as an educator, confidant, role model and a major source of motivation and encouragement as well.
  2. Consistency – Do you find it difficult to stick to your program? Scheduling regular appointments with a personal trainer helps eliminate any excuses you might come up with for not exercising.
  3. Safety – Unsure about how to do a proper push-up or how to perform walking lunges without hurting your knees? I can show you how to exercise safely (including which exercises to avoid) and instruct you on the proper and safe use of exercise equipment.
  4. Individualized Instruction – What works for one person, may not work for another when it comes to choosing an exercise program. I can develop the most effective program for you based on your fitness evaluation results and personal goals. Beginners in particular benefit from instruction on how to perform specific exercises and program planning.
  5. Effective Workouts – Today’s hectic lifestyles mean you don’t have time to waste on ineffective exercise routines. I can help maximize your time by providing workouts designed to meet your goals quickly and efficiently.
  6. Supervision – Personal attention during exercise is the primary function of personal trainers. Need someone to spot you while you do squats? Looking for feedback on your form? No problem-that’s what I’m here for-to observe, assist and, if necessary, correct as needed.
  7. Ego Boost – It’s a fact-feeling good makes you look good, and vice versa. Not only can I help you achieve your health and fitness goals, I can provide you with positive feedback on your performance and bolster your confidence to take on new challenges.


If you’re still on the fence or trying to decide what is really the difference between group exercise versus personal training, I came up with the following analogy: Group fitness is like eating in the cafeteria – everybody gets the same thing, even if it’s not what you really want. Personal training is like having a personal chef ask what you want and fix your favorite meal exactly the way you like it. Yes, the cafeteria is cheaper but the chef’s food is much better.

Who’s hungry? 😉