Doing push up

Which is better — going to a personal trainer or taking a group exercise class? The answer: It depends.

I decided to go to a personal trainer the beginning of the year because I had some very specific goals. I wanted to regain some upper and lower body strength and to feel more stable/balanced. Andy Wight, from AW Strength & Conditioning, has helped me with both. I am also wicked happy to report that I have lots more energy.

His gym also offers group classes. I asked Andy what he thought were the main differences between individualized and group training.

The big benefit of personal training is it’s an individualized program. The program is specifically catered to the needs of that person. We can set up the program to fit whatever issue they are having and make it specifically for them.

Whereas the group setting is a little more generalized. We make sure we cover all of the important movements but it’s not designed specifically for one individual. It’s set up so the whole group can do a similar workout. They may work at their own pace but the most important aspect is everyone leaves the class feeling accomplished and successful.

Some people prefer to be working out on their own or in the company of the trainer. People in groups feed off each other, which can be a good benefit. The energy is definitely a lot higher. You can look to your left, look to your right and even though you’re feeling exhausted you’re seeing people working just as hard. It gives you that little extra incentive to continue on, to squeeze out another rep. Groups also tend to be cheaper than individualized training.

Exercise group

Source: AW Strength & Conditioning

Whether you exercise alone or in a group, the goal is to improve, to succeed in meeting your goals.

Everybody has their own definition of success. Some people like to leave the gym feeling exhausted. Like they couldn’t do another exercise, couldn’t do one more rep. Other people like to leave feeling like they’re almost walking taller, like their posture improved in just that short time period, so it all depends on the individual.

I’ve met my initial goals — I feel stronger and more stable — so I feel successful. I didn’t think about having more energy, so I consider that a bonus. And I discovered that I have more endurance. Another unexpected benefit must have to do with the release of endorphins. I’ve arrived for a training session feeling grumpy and left feeling lighter and happier. I can count on an attitude adjustment!

Andy says all he wants is to see people succeed. The problem is that people may have good intentions, but for whatever reasons, they can’t seem to get started.

I try to walk nearly every day, but I knew I needed to add something to my routine. I almost didn’t make that first appointment with Andy even though I thought it would be a good thing to do. I kept coming up with excuses. I am so grateful that I made the commitment because I feel so good. I want to hang on to that feeling and to do that I know I need to keep being active.

Now Andy runs a gym, so of course, he’s in favor of people going to a gym. But I thought his reasoning on the subject was … well … reasonable.

I like the idea of a gym because it’s an environment change. Everybody can work out at home but when you’re at home you find an excuse or a reason why not to. When you come to the gym, everything is set up and planned out for you. Once you get to the gym you’re there and I always say that’s 80 percent of working out. Once you’re there, you’re there, you’re committed to yourself, you’re committed to doing the workout and you always leave feeling better.

Even if you enjoy working out, there will always be days you won’t feel like it. Take it from me — do it anyway. You might not be at the top of your game, but even a little bit of moving around and loosening up can bring you huge benefits.

How do you get your exercise?

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