Gym classes vs Gym training

Having a new membership to a gym can give you more incentive to workout than if you were trying to exercise on your own. Yet it can be daunting and overwhelming if you are new to exercise and unsure of where to start.

You may ask yourself questions like “should I take a class? Which one?” Should I hire a trainer or work out on my own?” “Will it make a difference in meeting my goals? Most gyms include one or two orientations with a trainer who can answer those questions for you based on your needs.


There are many benefits to joining a gym

There is a social aspect. Whether you take a class regularly, work with a trainer or do a little bit of both you will most likely make friends with fellow gym members and your trainer if you hire one.

If you decide to take a class it is a good idea to let the instructor know that you are new to exercise and if you have any  injuries or other physical imitations. Taking a class can be motivating because it challenges you to keep up with your classmates. However This can be good or bad.

If you are new to the exercises you are performing you may strain muscles or cause other injuries if you try too hard to keep up with classmates who are more fit and have been taking the class for longer. A good instructor will ask before a class starts if there are new members and will demonstrate beginner, intermediate and advanced moves so everyone can benefit while reducing the risk of injuries occurring. It’s a good idea to come to class on time so you don’t miss these instructions.

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Make the right choice

Choosing the right class for you depends the type of activity you enjoy. You may want to try different classes until you find the ones that fit your needs and ability. Cardio exercise and strength training are a great combination of exercises to do. It is recommended that you incorporate strength training 2-3 times per week initially. Cardio exercise can be done daily.

Working out with a trainer can be very beneficial, especially if you are new to exercising. Getting one-on-one attention can be more helpful than taking classes only. You have their undivided attention and you can ask a lot of questions if necessary. They will also help you use proper form and choose the right amount of weight for the exercises you will be performing.

In addition they will note your progress and increase intensity at the right time as exercise gets easier for you and is no longer challenging. It is impossible for a teacher of a class to give that one on one attention as she has many people in the class. She can only give you general guidance. It is up to you to stay safe and increase your level of fitness in the class.

You will be required to get medical clearance if you are overweight or have any cardiovascular or joint problems before starting an exercise program. Generally if you are starting a new exercise program it is a good idea to get a physical anyway. Most gyms will ask that you sign a waiver to release them from any responsibility for injuries sustained while at the gym.

The verdict

Choosing to join a gym can more effective, social and fun than working out at home alone. There are advantages to classes and/or working with a trainer. Taking classes you enjoy can help motivate you to continue coming to the gym regularly. Working with a trainer one on one can keep you accountable for showing up for appointments as well as help ensure you are performing exercises correctly and are making progress toward your goals. Overall, neither classes nor training come out as a clear winner – it all depends on what you enjoy!


Read more from Expert Susanne Winchester.

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