That Depends on the Workout. Generally speaking, I think everyone is more likely to get a more rigorous workout in a group class setting, due to the teacher's egging and the peer pressure. So if you are comparing an exercise class with a fairly identical personal workout, then I would say the class would give you the better workout. You can't compare apples and oranges though. Taking a casual dance class might be good for cardio, but it won't build up muscle. In this case, doing weights on your own will give you a better strength-training workout than the dance class. Of course, if you are highly disciplined and can push yourself beyond your own limits without a teacher or trainer, then classes may not be necessary. Personally, I always find myself going farther in a class than on my own.
About to test my theory on this. I just joined a health club that offers cardio and strengthn training equipment, and also aerobics classes (Finally! A lot of places around me don't offer classes.) I imagine that I will get a better workout among other people and being directed by someone who really knows what he/she is talking about. I'm not the most knowledgebale person on my own with the stand alone equipment, but I can hold my own. Still, I think the only way I'll really get a GREAT workout on machines is if I've got a personal trainer.
Both Ways. I've lost weight both ways. I think either one will work as long as you are achieving the right intensity in your workouts. You have to be sure to pick a class that's challenging enough or to set your treadmill, elliptical trainer, whatever on a high enough level to push your boundaries.
Skip both. Personally, I think that if you are trying to lose weight, it would be better to dispense with regular gym workouts and exercise classes, and get a personal trainer instead. That way, your regimen will be customized to your goals; I'm also sure that your personal trainer can recommend the right mix of classes, strength training, and cardio to save you from boredom.
Do what inspires you. Exercise is really about one thing: adherence. If you are not going to keep going or you are not inspired, then it's not going to work for you. I started my exercise life in group exercise. I felt at home with a similar group that enjoyed movement and music. Then, I found other things in the gym that I enjoyed as my confidence grew. If you hate group exercise, then try something else. When you find something fun, stick with it, and I bet other things will start emerging. If you are having trouble finding that right place for you, get some help from a trainer or a peer that is an exerciser. Working out with a buddy also helps, because it becomes a social event, and because you can plan your schedule with them. Planning to be somewhere at a certain time will at least get you in the door. And once your there, the rest is easy.
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