Gym or fitness classes: where are you most motivated?

A quick summary:

dentifying what personally motivates you is difficult. Do you work harder in a group with a trainer actively spurring you on? Or perhaps you prefer to set goals that apply to your own body for each session? Some need a PT yelling moves at them to get anything done. While others seem content with creating their schedule and hitting the gym of their own free will. If you’re not sure which camp you fall into, consider these pros and cons.


The pros

  1. Having a trainer present to encourage you can keep you easily motivated. In a study by Stanford University, those who were spurred on by someone else exercised for 8.5 minutes longer per workout than those who exercised alone.
  2. There’s usually music involved in classes, which can give you a motivational boost.
  3. A class situation can instil confidence that you’re doing your workout right, since you can watch a trainer do it, and others around you.
  4. Teamwork can be hugely motivating. In a study by Michigan State, people who worked out as part of a team exercised for 11 minutes longer than those who trained alone.

The cons

  1. The routines are planned out in advance, and take every fitness level into account, so it is difficult to ensure you’re working to your full potential.
  2. You can easily get lost in a class, and therefore slack off if you feel like it.
  3. The workout doesn’t take into account your personal fitness goals, so may not help you progress in the same way that you would if you were taking control of your own workout.

The Gym

The pros

  1. You can take things as slow or as fast as you like, with no one to push you in a direction you may not be ready for.
  2. It’s easier to keep track of your workout when you do it alone, taking note of what you did, how long for, and so on.
  3. A gym workout that’s planned by you takes into account all of your personal needs and fitness goals, meaning you can potentially progress further.

The cons

  1. If you are not easily self-motivated, it can be hard to make the most of your session and push yourself to work to your full potential.
  2. You may need to plan out your visit in advance in order to see good results, which takes extra time and effort before your session.
  3. If you’re new to working out, there is no one around to ask advice on which exercises are effective and could work best for your body type.
  4. If you’re not familiar with personal training, you may end up doing a workout routine that’s too easy for your fitness level.

Try asking yourself: where do I sweat more? Where do I find myself resting more? Do I feel that I have accountability for my lone workout at the gym? Do I feel suitably worked out after any classes I attend? You may find that a mixture of solo gym work and group classes is just what you need to succeed in your fitness goals, so try both on for size and see what suits you best.