What’s your token workout style? Have you always been a solo act when it comes to working out, and all you need is you, your running shoes, and your headphones? Or are you all about exercise groupthink, and relish the instruction and collective energy that group classes provide? Both have their benefits, and each one has its place in a balanced workout regimen.
Each style has its pros and cons, and every exerciser is different. Which style packs the most benefits for you?
Swingin’ it solo:
- If you’re a fan of exercising alone, you’ve likely noticed that getting your workout in is a great two-birds-one-stone excuse to get some much-needed alone time. When you deprive yourself of you –time, you don’t give your mind the chance to unwind and replenish. Alone time can improve your problem-solving skills, improve creativity, and allow you to discover more about yourself.
- When you exercise alone, there’s no one to hold you back. If you’re the self-motivated type, we’re betting that constantly setting, then meeting, and then resetting personal goals is how you roll. You want to bike 15 miles this week, and 25 next week? Go for it – you don’t need to wait for anyone else, and you’re only accountable to yourself.
- You’re not very intimidating to you. One of the biggest reasons people give us for why they avoid public gyms like the plague is the fear of comparison and judgment. If you’re new to exercise, working out alone is a great way to get your apprehensive foot in the door, so to speak. Once you’re familiar with how your body works and which style of exercise you like the most, taking the show on the road becomes a little easier.
All together now:
- You know how they always say that misery loves company? It’s true that people who endure something difficult together feel a closer bond. One possible reason for this is that stress or discomfort leaves us feeling vulnerable, which instinctively causes us to want to bond together with those around us. Not that our classes are torture, but, well, they can get pretty intense.
- If you’re not feelin’ the workout that day, but drag yourself to class anyway, there’s a decent chance that the pumped-up energy of the instructor and co-sweaters will get you in the right frame of mind. Plus, think about it: when you’re feeling lazy and work out alone, you’re probably going to cut it short. But are you going to leave class early? Not likely. You’ll get your full workout, even if you didn’t start out wanting to.
- Pride and competition can be powerful motivators. Do you really want to be the only one not at FIT36 that day, and let everyone else make endurance and strength gains? If the thought makes you cringe, you’re not alone. Preventive Medicine Reports published a study that found that those who exercised in a competitive atmosphere went to 90% more classes than those who worked out alone or in a purely social atmosphere.
The bottom line is this: the very best style of exercise for you is the one you’ll do. Most likely you’ll find that your exercise sweet spot is a combination of a few different styles. Working out on your own can work for some, and it may be just the thing you need when you’ve got a lot on your mind to sort out. But oftentimes it takes the motivation, energy, and competitive spirit of others in your HIIT class to really take your fitness to the next level.