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Not sure which one is best for you? Here’s how to find out.

When it comes to working out, finding your motivation—your “why”—is key. But for some of us, it isn’t enough to actually get us into the gym on a routine basis. Every day is a battle to eat healthy, to sweat and not veg in front of the TV every night with a pint of ice cream. (Been there, done that.) And being a self-motivator can be really hard.

The great thing about joining a gym is that you’re not in it alone. You have a wealth of support at your fingertips: Personal trainers and other gym-goers are an often-untapped support system—one that you can use to your benefit.

But which one is right for you: personal training or group exercise classes? Here are the benefits and an overall assessment of what type of workout might be best for your personality type.

Personal training


  • One-on-one attention: You have your trainer’s undivided attention during your one-on-one sessions. He/she is focused on you and your workout, making sure you have proper form and that you’re working to your maximum potential.
  • Workouts perfectly tailored to you: Because you explain your goals and areas of concern to your trainer in your first session, he/she knows the best movements to help you reach your goals or rehab your injuries.
  • Personal cheerleader and accountability partner: Your trainer wants you to succeed, and he/she will cheer you on toward your goals inside—and outside—the gym. There’s also no escaping those inevitable questions: Have you been eating properly? Are you working out on the days you’re not meeting with your trainer? Don’t get frustrated with these questions. Embrace them, because your trainer genuinely cares!

Best for: Someone who has trouble getting himself or herself to the gym and needs an accountability partner to keep them motivated and consistent. Also for those who require or desire a specifically tailored program to meet certain needs (such as recovering from an injury).

Group exercise classes


  • High-energy atmosphere: A great benefit of working out with a group of people—such as in a group exercise class—is the energy that radiates from the instructor and every class participant. This energy is contagious, and will not only motivate you to do your workout, but will make it more fun!
  • Community of similar people with similar goals: Chances are if you’re in a group exercise class, the other people in the class are there for similar—if not the same—reasons you are: to lose weight, to get stronger, to feed off the group energy for a great workout (see above). Take advantage of that, and connect with the people around you in your go-to classes. Learn their names, strike up a conversation—maybe even schedule a time to meet up outside of the gym. This sense of community will make it easier to come back to class if you know there are people looking for you who will notice if you skip. Bonus: Get to know your instructor(s). If they know your name and face, they will check in with you before or after class, notice when you miss a class and coach you by name as you work out, so you get a more effective workout.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work: If you’ve ever taken a group exercise class, chances are you’ve heard an instructor encourage you through a workout by saying something along the lines of “come on team” or “let’s finish this as a team.” This team mentality is an effective tool to harness for pushing yourself harder through your workout. But doing your best work, you are in effect helping your team—not just yourself—to succeed, and that is a great feeling!

Best for: Someone who’s looking for community at the gym, and who needs the energy and electric atmosphere that comes with working out as a group or team to accomplish his or her fitness goals.

Interested in personal training or group exercise classes? Try a GX24 class at 24 Hour Fitness, or find the personal trainer that’s right for you.

Photo credit: g-stockstudio, Thinkstock