Why fitness comes in all shapes and sizes....
I'm not here to blow smoke up your ass.... in an ideal world everyone would have extra ordinary levels of motivation, pay a specialist Personal Trainer for a personalised and completely adapted program that would fit their exact needs and they would go and do it regardless of what comes up during their day, eat the perfect diet suitable for the form of exercise they have been given to do and get results that are absolutely second to none.
But it's not an ideal world. And we all have lives to live. And more importantly we are all so completely different and motivated by such varied factors and have both incredibly different cash flows and personal preferences, how can there be such a one size fits all approach to keeping fit and healthy.
Some people prefer to train alone, solely motivated by their own personal goals and having time to themselves without other people interfering. Some people like to workout in small groups, with people they know pretty well and that they feel comfortable with, they have similar goals and it spurs them on to tick the boxes. Other people need lots of humans and noise in a room and they need someone to tell them what to do, to call them out when they're not working hard enough and to high five them when they get the job done. It depends if you are training for a marathon, if you just want to be a bit fitter and a little healthier, if you want to compete in a physique competition, if you'd like to join an adult netball team..... the list goes on. People's exercise preferences and goals differ so greatly that it is physically impossible for one type of exercise/training to cater for everyone. That is why there are such varied ways of working out and us fitpros are confident that there is a solution for everyone somewhere.
This is where group exercise comes in. Instructors are not ignorant.... we know that it may be more beneficial in an ideal world for every single one of our participants to have ours/another personal trainer's individual attention for an entire hour several times a week. This, however, for most people is either not financially viable OR they don't get off on exercising alone. The single best way to improve adherence is to exercise in an environment that you find exciting/fun. Now that could be the gym, it could be a park, up a mountain or it could be an exercise class. Whatever the thing is that floats your boat, you stick with it. Even if you need to add in less fun things to get a balanced workout, that sparkle that makes the magic happen for you, is the one thing that will to keep you going regardless of what comes along.
Good instructors stay educated. We read and learn new ways and methods to get our classes the results they want. We do courses, licenses and bolt-ons so we constantly keep as up to date as possible in the fast changing world of fitness. We may even have personal trainers, coaches and mentors ourselves for both our own personal fitness, our business and to keep us happy and pumped so we can keep delivering the service our classes have come to expect. Your group ex instructor should be just as up to date as a personal trainer at the gym.... the instructor just specialises in motivating and delivering information to large numbers of people at the same time rather than just one-on-one or in small groups.
With regard to the overall 'type' of exercise you should be doing there IS a one size fits all when we generalise it.... EVERYONE should be keeping their heart and lungs healthy by raising their pulse rate (cardio classes) and EVERYONE should be getting a balanced resistance workout to keep their muscles strong, their bones dense and their metabolism tip top. Something that involves improving your co-ordination can also be a bonus. Group exercise instructors may specialise in one type of fitness e.g. the cardio based dance fitness classes. But if you ask them they will always recommend that you do some resistance training as well. The same goes for Personal Trainers. A good fitness professional will never tell you that they are the be all and end all when it comes to exercise for every single person in the world - if they aren't a spot on match for you, they will always recommend someone else for the part of your workout that they aren't an expert in,
So all in all my point is simple.... don't be swayed into thinking one area of exercise is better for you than another. You know yourself and you know what you like. YES you do occasionally have to do things that you don't think are as much fun in order to get a balanced workout HOWEVER your goals dictate what you should be doing. And if your goal is to get a bit healthier, a bit more toned and to feel more confident then who's to say whether you should be getting that from a PT or from going to classes.
I see and hear a lot of opinions both online and in fitness environments about what people should and shouldn't be doing. People need to wind their neck in a teenie bit - YES as fitness professionals we all think there are some very very effective ways of getting the ultimate workout. But those methods are not suitable for everyone and they certainly don't appeal to everyone.... if you start something you don't even like, chances are you're going to stick to it for about 5 minutes before you chuck the towel in. Now that doesn't sound like the perfect solution to me.
If you are starting out, pick something that makes you get all giddy about going. After you've got into a routine of fitting it in and sticking to it, work out what it is you are lacking and what you could add in. For most females, we tend to start with a cardio class and then realise after a few months it's just not going to get us the physical results we were after, then we add in some resistance. And that's OK..... think back to the moment you started exercising. If someone had told you you had to lift weights 3 times a week would you have done that willingly? And would you have stuck to it? Exercise is, for most people, a journey, and who knows, in 5 years you could be deadlifting in a gym some place, but in the meantime we are all doing what we can to be fitter, healthier, happier and live longer. And THAT is what is important!
For more info on Anna's classes in Feltham & Hounslow go to www.annamartinfitness.co.uk
For more info on Anna's home workout program '14 Da