How CrossFit killed Personal Training

At the severe risk of bad-mouthing one of my passions (and income streams :p) I wanted to touch upon something that is often unclear or misinterpreted in the world of fitness, and even my own box.

The topic I refer to is the comparison between Personal Training and Group Classes, with particular reference to the benefits of both and how these are relevant to the individual. Which one is right for you?

First, a quick history lesson which also provides a bit of context. CrossFit itself, my sport, actually has its roots in personal training. Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit began at bog box gyms such as gold gym. He quickly got removed from a host of such gyms as he was breaking the mould, not using much of their “cutting edge” equipment (haha) and programming wacky routines. These wacky routines are what later became the foundation for what are now know to be the most addictive and beneficial programs on the planet. Through recommendation from his clientèle, Greg opened his own gym to serve his clients there, and through shear necessity i.e. a huge volume of people seeking to be trained by him, he began training multiple people simultaneously. And so CrossFit group training was born.

This suggests that PT is the true CrossFit, and therefore where we should find the most benefit. After all, this is the only way we can truly tailor a workout and be given undivided attention – the streamlined version. But it’s not quite that simple, and we’ll discuss the nuances and discuss why in the passages below.

Something I have heard more than once is “Why would i get PT when I already make great progress through group training?”. It is always great to hear that progress is being made, and it is also true that some individuals will only ever need CrossFit group training to satisfy their fitness needs. These are often people who:

1. Are functionally quite sound, with no concerning mobility issues (true in MOST cases, not all)
2. Thrive in the group environment and feed on the extra motivation that comes from it.
3. Do not have a specific goal that would need specific programming.
4. Enjoy the community aspect of fitness. They see the box as their pub, metaphorically speaking.

So then, if you can get crazy motivated, meet people, have a great time and get super fit from group training, why bother with PT? After all, it is far more expensive!

The values of PT are slightly different, and as I see it, often come down to the following points:

1. Tailored: Since the training is tailored to you, it is possible to focus more on your individual weaknesses and/ or goals. This is especially important for people who have e.g. a rowing competition upcoming or if you have a concerning lack of mobility or fitness in one area, or need to lose weight in the most effective way.

2. Time effective: Effective sessions can be conducted in 30 minutes or less, and can be scheduled at your convenience. This is more dynamic than the set schedule of group classes and allows us to work with even the most busy schedule.

3. Lacking confidence: Group classes can be intimidating, so personal training can serve as a great introduction to fitness, where we help you gain confidence in yourself, thus preparing you for group training in the future.

4. Personal contact & support: a well known but often under addressed duty of a PT. As PTs we have a duty to talk to you on a professional level but also, when necessary, on personal level as well, discussing your deeper issues and struggles and also offering support and advice from the perspective of a health worker. A supportive, trusting relationship should ensue.

Hopefully this goes some way towards outlining which of the discussed propositions is best suited to your personality and goals. At Escapist, we offer a free goal talk to all our members and prospective members, so if you have any doubts as to whether you are approaching your fitness in the right way, just book a talk with us online!



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