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Group Fitness Instructor vs Personal Trainer: Which is Better for You?



Not sure if you should be looking for a group fitness instructor or a personal trainer?

When it comes to your fitness regime, your “why” is the first question you have to answer. Why are you working out? What are your goals? Once you know the answer, you can work backwards to find out if group fitness or 1:1 personal training is best suited for your goals.

Still not sure? Hopefully this article about the comparison of a personal trainer and group fitness instructor will give you some guidance and direction when it comes to choosing between group classes or personal training.

Personal Trainer vs Group Fitness Instructor:

Group Fitness and Personal Training are two different certifications – a person can be certified in one, or both. They are not pre-requisites of each other. The education and training each coach receives for their role can be vastly different, and this is important to note when deciding between the two.

As the titles suggest, group fitness instructors teach in group classes, and personal trainers take a more personal, usually one on one approach. 

This is the first thing to consider when deciding between a group fitness instructor and a personal trainer. What setting do YOU want to be working out in? What type of background and education do you want your coach to have?

Group Fitness Instructor vs Personal Trainer:

Personal Trainer:

The biggest difference in group exercise vs personal training is that a personal trainer is there for YOU. You have their undivided attention for the duration of your session, there is no one else there for them to coach. 

The setting provides them the opportunity to educate and motivate you on a very personal level. They get to know you, your exact goals and the specific obstacles that you need to overcome. If you have an underlying health issue, a previous injury, or a very specific goal, a personal trainer might be the right choice for you. You will get a more customized and personalized workout program that will take you to your goals faster than a generalized one that a group fitness instructor would provide.

Oftentimes a personal trainer is the best choice for a complete beginner to fitness. This is the best way to learn correct form, exercise intensity, and get the most out of a training session. Personal trainers are able to make a lasting impact with individuals who want more specific direction. With a personal trainer you get more one on one training vs group classes.

Group Fitness Instructor:

Group Fitness Instructors are usually a very extroverted and diverse group. They often teach a range of fitness classes, from Zumba to Aerobics, Swim-Fit, Yoga or Spin Classes. All of these different formats require different certifications, so your group fitness instructor is more likely to be a “jack of all trades” and know how to teach many more different forms of exercise than a personal trainer would.

Your Group Fitness Instructor will know how to get the attention of a crowd, get them pumped up and motivated to work hard. During a group exercise setting you will be directly cocached less than you would be with a 1:1 personal trainer, but you will still get a highly motivated and effective workout with feedback.

A Group Fitness class is often a fraction of the cost of a Personal Trainer, which makes it appealing and attainable for most people. This is often the first noticable difference between group training and personal training. The price is often lower since you aren’t getting a customized workout plan or much corrective coaching. A fitness class might be suitable for you to supplement with your own personal training program, or if you are already knowledgeable in form and exercise execution.

Differences between group training and personal training:

Personal TrainingGroup Fitness Training
Can be costlyAffordable
Customized training/workout planEveryone gets the same workout, not personalized
1:1 attention and support, get to know each other on a personal levelClass could consist of tens of people, so you may not get to know your group instructor very well
Proper form correction and exercise intensity/execution at all times due to 1:1 supervisionIt is up to you to know you are doing the exercise correctly and at the appropriate level. Your group instructor may help you depending on the number of students in the class


At Iron Lab Strength & Conditioning we specialize in 1:1 personal training. Our approach is to give you the best program possible to get you towards your goals as efficiently as possible. This means custom workout and nutrition programs, with accountability and support in and outside of the gym. 

As your personal trainers we care the most about your success. We are unique personal trainers in Vancouver not only in that we offer Personal Training 2.0 but we guarantee our work, and offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you do not achieve your goals. 

View some of our clients’ results here.


I hope these facts have helped you get a better understanding of which fitness route to take. There is no 100% right or wrong way to reach your goals, but having a plan that works for you and your lifestyle can really help. 

Whether you are considering a group fitness instructor or a personal trainer, the trainers at Iron Lab would be happy to help answer any questions you may have. Feel free to reach out to us anytime!