Personal Training vs Group Training – Which is Best for You?

Personal training vs group training – which is best for you? You’ve made the decision to finally get in shape. Whether it’s to be able to navigate stairs without becoming winded, to keep up with your very active three-year-old, to participate in a marathon or just to be able to fit into your favorite jeans (or swimsuit!), you’ve decided it’s time to get serious about becoming and staying in shape. Now – where to start? Both personal training and group training have been around for awhile and both enjoy a certain level of popularity. 1According to Kisar Dhillon from Southeast Portland’s the Art of Personal Training “If someone is looking for training that will be safe, relationship-based, and 100% focused on them, then private one-on-one personal training is the best bet.”

Deciding which route to fitness is right for you involves consideration of your finances, your schedule, your preference and your goals. In this blog we’ll discuss going the personal training route: what a personal trainer does, what to look for in a personal trainer, advantages, etc. Next week we’ll discuss group training. 

Personal Training 

A personal trainer is a professional who has the experience and knowledge about the body and how it works (or should work), which exercise is best for specific results and how to make lifestyle changes to achieve and maintain a desired outcome.

Things to Look For in a Personal Trainer 


  • Can the trainer provide references, past clients who can vouch for their claims?
  • Are they certified? A few personal training certifications offered are:
    • NSCA
    • ACSM
    • NASM
    • ACE
    • Crossfit – completed in a single weekend, considered very easy to earn
    • NPTI – National Personal Training Institute – a credential gained from going to a full school on personal training (rather than attending a class or taking a test). 3According to this is the most important certification to look for.


You want a trainer that has similar outlooks on goals, ways to meet those goals, lifestyle, diet, etc. It’s hard for you and your trainer to meet goals if you don’t have shared goals!

  • Do they take your preferences and ideas seriously?
  • Do they encourage your active participation in setting your fitness goals?
  • Is their focus directed in the same direction as yours? (For example, is your focus on long-term health while the trainer is focusing on short-term changes in appearance?)


Working with a personal trainer can be costly. You’re paying for ability, certifications, knowledge and convenience. Although costly it’s worth it if you prefer individualized, one-on-one workouts and advice on succeeding via lifestyle changes.

“Soft” Factors to Consider

  • Do they address the dietary factor and stress its importance on your overall health and fitness?
  • Do they offer good and clearly stated advice on lifestyle changes as well as on your physical workouts?
  • Are they fit themselves? (This one is kind of self-explanatory!)
  • Are they creative? Honest? Encouraging? Enthusiastic?

Advantages to Personal Training


  • Your workouts can be scheduled to fit your time constraints and preferences.
  • No issues with commuting to a gym (unless you both hire a personal trainer and use a gym).

Personalized Fitness

  • A good trainer takes the time to discuss with you what your goals are, your motivation, your personal preferences, etc.
  • A trainer should offer you individualized workouts and lifestyle changes that will meet your personal goals.

Motivation / Encouragement

Your trainer can be your best cheerleader and a positive relationship with your trainer can be very rewarding and motivating.


3Personal training is a good idea if you’re very new to exercise, are suffering from previous injuries or if you have very specific goals, like athletes in training.

Personal Training vs Group Training – Which is Best for You?

To sum it up, hiring and working with a personal trainer can be very rewarding and worth the cost as long as you take the time and diligence to ensure the trainer meets your requirements, is knowledgeable, motivating and has the experience and education to help get you to where you want to be.


“Personal Training VS Small Group Training: Which One is For You?” Allison Jones,

“How to Hire a Good Personal Trainer” Steve,

“Fitness Truths: group exercise vs. personal training” Jean-Claude Vacassin



Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie


Post by Andrea Rogers