What is your definition of a “good workout” or the “ideal training program?" Moreover, why do you train or make exercise a regular part of your routine? Ask 10 different people, and more than likely, you will get 10 different answers. “I like to sweat.” “I just love lifting heavy things.” “Workouts gets me lean and toned.” “I want to be better at my sport.” “I just want to be able to eat whatever I want.” “I want to look good naked.” Whatever your definition, or whatever your reason behind why you train, every BODY is different. Keeping that in mind, in order to get the MOST out of your time in the gym, chances are, you will not be 100% fulfilled unless you are doing what moves you for fitness OR helps you meet yourgoals. Enter: The pitfalls of a one-size-fits-all group fitness approach. In short: How can ONE program, or ONE type of training, work for everyone? Group fitness is ironically not for everyone because it is actually the furthest thing from tapping into your personal goals and personal progression. For instance: You aspire to perfect the snatch; However, 3 rounds of 20 power snatches, coupled with a 400-meter run and 20 burpees, for time is NOT necessarily honing in on this goal. Or another: Your goal is to be able to do just one pull-up…just one. However, with only so much time in a group class setting, once the WOD comes up, it’s back to the band for you to rep out the prescribed 15 reps per round. And one more: You were progressing just fine for the first 18 months you stumbled into group fitness—and you loved it! Backsquat PRs (personal records) here, clean & jerk PRs there…even getting your first muscle-up…but then, somewhere along the way, all those PR’s came to a STOP. And now, you’ve just been getting by—maintaining, striving for gains, but finding it challenging. While group fitness, in and of itself, is not inherently wrong…What it does miss out on is the ability to tap into your peak potential—empowering you to maximize your time in the gym. Here is just some food for thought on the reasons why: 1. You do not address your personal weaknesses or specific goal. If you did you would not be stuck on the band, in that plateau, or stuck at the same weight week after week, class after class. Sure you may have breakthroughs here and there, but GENERAL PROGRAMMING is called that for a reason—it is GENERAL. In addition, the coach often programming that GENERAL WORKOUT or PROGRAMMING often biases the exercises and training protocols to what he or she knows best or is his or her preferred method of training—rather than the client’s. And therefore, your specific goals (i.e. "butt and traps," or "increase my back-squat," or "live long and prosper") are not addressed. You should tell a program or a coach what you want and they should build the program around you. Programs can give you fun ideas, but if you want progress for the long term you have to put some time into what you really want and then move toward it ferociously. 2. You do not get one-on-one coaching. Group programs only have so much time dedicated to a class session—typically about 60-minutes. In that 60-minutes, a coach’s attention is divided to approximately 12-20 individuals, meaning that 1:12 or 1:20 ratio leaves little room for the coach’s eyes to be on you or to help you work through your sticking points. And let’s face it, in order to improve at anything, we all need a coach (be it finances, education, physical fitness, life). 3. Apples & Oranges. They are all the same in a class. Tall. Short. Heavier-set. Ectomorph. Whatever body type you are, or whatever your actual physical capabilities—it really doesn’t matter when it comes to the bottom line of group programming. We’ve said it before, every BODY is different. So why should a former linebacker be expected in a group setting to work on handstand walking when that really does not tie in to his body type or his goals? Or the same for the ectomorph, wiry girl, who just wants to build a cute butt and filled out shoulders—does she really need to be expected to try to “get” the RX weight of a 205 lbs. deadlift for reps? No. A personalized program however can help guide her—and her body—towards her goals. 4. You do not connect the inside with the out. Our mental and emotional game is just as important—if not more important—than our physical game. Our emotions and mentality are what drive us throughout our workouts and our daily lives, to achieve all we achieve and be all that we are going to be. Unfortunately, in the group setting, under the guise of GENERAL PROGRAMMING, the mental and emotional side of who you are and why you are training in the first place (i.e. increased confidence, achievement, feeling good about yourself—inside and out, emotional release, stress management, etc.) is left to the wayside. The coach can’t really connect to you—nor can the programming—when he or she is yelling at you to “Keep going”, “Do one more”, “Not be weak”, “Rep it out.” Within a group setting, coaches cannot really connect to how each and every athlete is thinking or feeling—and therefore, the black and white notion of "just do work" is the entire focus. And, if you are worn down physically and emotionally while being yelled at, you are far more likely to over train or get hurt because your body’s defenses are already worn down. 5. “Community” is lost. Group programs are great for a socializing. You get to come to the box and grind it out alongside other likeminded people fighting a similar fight as you. Unfortunately, however, this concept of community has become skewed. People think that community is built around doing the same drop down, kick you in the ass workout every day. Simply stated: Is it ok to do the same workout as your buddy? Of course. Is it ok to feel an extra push of friendly competition, or nudge during your workouts? Of course. Is it ok to feel like you can’t get a kick butt workout in without having others around you, pushing themselves to the limit, or lying flat on their backs alongside you when all is said and done? NO! Why? That whole camaraderie through shared sweat and blood notion is NOT necessary—in fact, it is completely overrated. Community is not built through intense training sessions together that really do not serve any one of your body’s in the long run towards your individual goals, day in and day out. And certainly, community CAN occur within a gym setting and environment where individuals are on their own programs, working towards those individual goals. Trainees have been successful with their workouts, while still having community through their various gym settings for decades and more. Athletes have excelled on their various teams and in their various sports for ages. Do they all do the same workout? Nope. When you can realize that important point you will feel a heavy weight come off your shoulders. Whether you are a coach or an athlete you will not lose your community just because you train smarter. In other words: It’s time to take a good look at the definition of community and realize community and the type of training or workout you are doing are NOT synonymous. Again, these are just some points to consider when it comes to group training and following an individualized program that is more geared toward you. What could that look like if you really just gave it a shot? You never know until you try. Connect with Central Athlete today.