Group Training vs. Solo Workouts - Which is Best?
By HYLETE Content Team
Working out with a group of people has its own set of pros and cons versus a more individual routine. With the rise in group training programs across the country, you may be considering taking a class or two. Here is some information to consider if you want to find out what's best for you.
The rise of group training
According to a recent study by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA), health club industry revenue has grown to $87.2 billion as of 2018. Over the past decade, United States health clubs have seen membership climb 33.6%, from 45 million to nearly 61 million people. The popularity of group exercise programs has been a major factor in this growth. Group training as we know it today has its roots in the '60s with the advent of Jazzercise and other aerobic routines. Mainstream appeal grew after aerobics programs came along in the '80s. Now, this form of group cardiovascular training is more popular than ever, thanks to the sheer number of options available. While in the '70s, your town might have had one Jazzercise class, today it's unlikely you could drive down Main Street and not see a fitness studio where dozens of classes take place each week. There are too many to name them all, but just for example, you've got yoga, pilates, barre, circuit training, spin, Zumba, CrossFit, high intensity interval training, martial arts and many more, including variants and sub-categories.
Pros of group training
There is some good evidence as to the efficacy of group training. This includes:
- Increased participation. We all know that peer pressure can be a large motivator. A past study found 95% of participants who partook in group training stuck with the routine, while only 76% of those who worked out individually did. It also said that 66% of those in the group training category maintained their weight loss, compared to only 24% of those going it alone. When surrounded by peers, nobody wants to appear to be the weakest. This phenomenon is called the Kohler effect, and helps explain why group exercise can keep you motivated.
- Healthy competition. Striving to keep up with those perceived as better than you is an integral part in healthy competition. This can help make your workout more intense and effective. In fact, a study by Kansas State University concluded that working out with a more fit buddy increased workout time and intensity by up to 200%. Having people around to push you is a great way to become the best you can be.
- More options. As discussed above, there is no shortage of variety for group exercise classes. This affords you the opportunity to try as many out as you'd like until you find the one (or two or three) that speak to you. Being able to have fun is an important aspect in sticking with a routine, and most of the group classes you'll find will attempt to make it a fun experience. There could be up-tempo music, encouraging instructors or like-minded participants to keep it interesting and enjoyable.
- Structured programs. If you're working out individually without a personal trainer, you'll need to come up with your own regimen. This is really just putting more work and mental stress on your plate. If you end up hating the routine, it'll be up to you to fix it. This is not the case with group exercise. Everything is meticulously structured and you'll know what to expect after the first class. No additional brain power required.
Cons of group training
Although it's been established to be growing in popularity and getting fantastic results, group training isn't necessarily for everyone. Consider the following:
- Impersonal instruction. Usually group programs have only one instructor who must keep an eye on potentially 30+ participants. This leads to more of a ""one-size fit all"" kind of philosophy to your routine. While the good instructors can tailor aspects of the program to you, you certainly aren't going to get the kind of personalized routine you could craft with a personal trainer. Also, if you have prior physical issues that require special needs, group training may not be the best route to go.
- Overtraining risk. Overtraining is a condition that can occur when you push your body past its physical limits for an extended period of time. While not all group training classes ask you to work until complete exhaustion, some of the more intense options do. Programs such as Insanity or CrossFit aren't for everyone, and if you push yourself too hard, too quickly, it can lead to overtraining or injuries.
Choosing the right training regimen for you
As you can see, there are benefits to both group and individual training regimens. Consult a physician before starting any new workout routine and weigh the pros and cons of each method.
If you're looking for a new sustainable exercise routine that provides you with a rewarding experience, be sure to download the HYLETE Daily Circuit App to your iOS or Android device. Our workout app guides you through a programmed group of functional movements with strength building and cardio in mind, for a well-rounded 20 minute circuit. The best part is, you can decide whether you want to gather your friends and workout partners to complete each circuit as a group, or embrace a solo challenge.
We'd recommend giving group training a try if you're looking to stay motivated and have a structured environment in which to improve your health. HYLETE offers a wide variety of exercise clothing and shoes and that can help you get the most out of your workouts. With performance fabrics and expert craftsmanship, you'll feel fantastic as you push it to the limit.