Group Fitness Sucks and Strength Training is King

Group fitness won't bring you the result you're seeking. Individualized programming is the missing link.
Group Fitness Sucks and Strength Training is King

Strength Training is king and group fitness [usually] sucks.


Ok that’s a bit harsh but I got your attention. I’m not a hater on group fitness, quite the opposite actually. I have done many classes myself, of all types. I cut my teeth training people in group the group setting back in 2015. Shout out to LeanFit! The people there got incredible results and were in the best shape of their lives. I later went on to coach CrossFit and even owned my own CrossFit gym where we did group training almost exclusively.


CrossFit has been tremendous in popularizing strength training to everyday people, especially women. Before 10-15 years ago it was rare, even taboo, to see everyday people lifting heavy weights. Men and women were spinning their wheels doing the same 30 minutes on the elliptical then 10 minutes of abs and biceps getting nowhere. The nation was spending more than ever on health and fitness but the population was getting sicker and fatter every year. Today we see men and women of all ages and backgrounds using barbells and kettlebells realizing its potential. I love what CrossFit has done for the fitness community at large.


As I coached classes I began working with clients 1-on-1 learning from each experience. Over the course of the next few years I realized why individualized was actually superior to those who did group fitness. Even those who trained less were seeing more results.


Here are my top reasons to ditch the group at the park and find yourself a weight room that will challenge and change you. In no particular order...


  1. Proper strength training progressive and can always be improved upon.


  1. Group fitness is made for the masses. Strength training is 100% customized by you or your coach. Movement selection, rep schemes, volume, rest periods, deload when needed, and more. Corrective exercise to address your needs, programmed workouts for your goals and body as any, or all of, it changes with time.


  1. Strength training is slow controlled movement allowing you to learn to be as efficient as possible. Group classes you must go with the flow of the class (see next point).


  1. Strength training programs rest periods appropriate for you and the type of lifting you’re doing that day. Longer rest periods allow for heavier loads letting you challenge yourself more. Group fitness often rushes you from one place to the next opening you up to injury and less likely to improve your coordination during the movement patterns.


  1. Strength training is less likely to allow your body to adapt. This is a good thing. Adaptive training such as repetitive, and primarily cardiovascular or bodyweight, exercise over time becomes less effective burning less calories and fat while working the muscles less as you become more fit. Whether you realize it or not you want muscle.  Yes, even you who is reading this thinking, “I don’t want to build muscle. I just want to get toned.” Guess what? To get toned you need to lose fat AND build muscle to look toned.


  1. Strength training is better for your metabolism and hormones long term. Too much high intensity exercise is not sustainable mentally or physically.


  1. Strength training builds mental toughness. Running when you’re at a loss of air is a challenge but nothing compares to something like a heavy set of squats. Knowing how to dig for every muscle fiber in your body is irreplaceable. I’m a big believer that the lessons learned in the weight room bleed to all areas of our lives in the form of discipline, consistency, and hard work. Getting strong is not easy and will not come quickly but the effects will take you further and last you a lifetime.


  1. Strength training builds lean tissue providing the body and health you’re seeking. Chronic cardio with little to no emphasis on building more muscle will leave you looking like a smaller, still squishy version of your current self. Think of a cotton ball. It comes in various sizes but they are all soft and squishy. That’s your body when only focusing on cardio and burning as many calories as possible in an hour.


  1. Strength training will fit into your schedule. With classes you must plan around their schedule. If you’re running 10-15 minutes behind schedule you will not only miss part of the session you’re paying for but some places won’t even let you in the door. They do this for safety reasons primarily which is understandable but if you had a plan to follow you can workout when/ where it works best for you. Even if your schedule is sporadic.


To find the results you’re seeking you need a progressive program made for you. Using remote training you can work alongside someone who will cater to your body, goals, and lifestyle. You will have a guide to make good decisions about training smarter.


Most group class environments are not programmed with progression in mind and will not create the body you’re hoping for. Move and sweat more than the day before over and over again.


My sessions are 6-8 minutes of getting generally warm and moving through many different planes of motion. Followed by 10-12 minutes of mobility and corrective exercise specific to that person’s needs and what we were doing that day. Next is 25-30 minutes of strength work. And finishing with 10-15 minutes of some sort of finisher which could be a short dose of cardio or a quick pump.


I have clients who do group classes 2-3x/ week and use custom training plans to cater to their specific goals and needs. This is the best of both worlds by getting high intensity cardio, social aspect of the group, and a plan that provides flexibility.


Take the next step in your fitness journey with a plan made for you by a professional. Join me in-person or with remote training to breakthrough plateaus and begin feeling athletic and aesthetic like you set out to do.

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