As most who know me personally would assume – I fall into the latter category of much more (typically) enjoying individual workouts. I grew up playing golf, and swimming – all of which are more individually geared sports. I have no issue with group workouts, however they just aren’t my preference.
Don’t get me wrong – I have done group workouts (like when I used to attend boxing style training classes), and have gone to things like “body pump” or “zumba” at local gyms. These are good workouts – however I just don’t enjoy feeling crammed in with others. I don’t like feeling that I (or they) are in each other’s way. I don’t like the lack of direction/personal 1:1 time with coaches (which was actually NOT the case at the boxing gym because they limited the sessions to 12 people max), but other places like 24 or Chuze, it’s quite hard to get help sometimes as a new person. I don’t enjoy really loud venues and sometimes those classes can have SUPER loud music or on the flip side, if the sound system isn’t up to par, it’s difficult to hear the instructions/instructor.
I used to think I needed the support though – so I went to group boxing and spin. These were great and taught me a lot, but I finally reached a place where I felt confident enough to workout on my own and know that I could get a good workout in, safely. I didn’t feel silly any longer and I wasn’t worried about anyone else. Working out alone is now much more enjoyable for me.
As I have geared up to do my first half marathon, I am now beginning to see how running can feel simultaneously very isolating, but also free. I like just getting time alone to focus on myself without the need to socialize. I also enjoy the fact that since I am alone, I don’t feel the inherent need to “keep up” with anyone else. I am a competitive person, so I know I can push myself further than I ought in a group setting, just in an attempt to not be the “last” person or the “lowest” reps.
I also last year purchased a Peloton Bike, and it has been a really great mixture for me of individual workouts, but without having to guide them myself. They are coached – but I don’t have to do “live” or “real time” workouts with a group – I can do them on demand and not worry about the “leaderboard” aspect or competition. I can also choose the duration, the music, the coach, etc so I am much more satisfied with my experience than if I was going to a group class and had no say in the format.
Lastly – I have grown very accustomed to the ease and comfort of not worrying about what I look like when I am working out. I used to feel like I had to “look” a certain way whenever I’d go to the gym or classes. I felt like I couldn’t be nearly as comfortable or “natural” and I think that was silly now. I like that when I work out at home (or run outside) I can do so with no makeup, crazy hair, and in mismatched clothes. Working out at home/alone has lessened my travel time to/from the gym and made my life more manageable (in a fitness focused realm), and for that I will likely keep to myself for my workouts unless someone invites me to a class or asks me to support them in some way.
Which do you prefer and why?