Which is better? Are you wondering? Here are some scenarios and my suggestions.
Which one is like you?
Gracie is very motivated and already has a strong understanding of body mechanics. She wants to continue to improve her fitness, but she´s not experiencing any major body issues. She takes in the information presented in class and has no trouble applying it to other movement situations, which she actively seeks out and structures for herself. Gracie is confident. If she does have a question, she´s fine with asking it in front of the group.
Recommendation: Class. Students like Gracie usually have the body awareness and strong foundation to take in information and make sense of it for themselves. As long as she doesn´t find herself needing more specialized attention, Gracie will get a lot out of class.
Sahira knows she should exercise, and she does, as long as it´s fun for her. She´s in reasonable shape and doesn´t suffer from any physical limitations. As an extrovert, she thrives off the proximity of other people´s energy. She makes a point of arriving early so she can have fun chatting with the other class members, and everyone misses her when she´s not there.
Recommendation: Class. Group energy, pumping music, and getting out of the house to a different place give extroverts the motivation they need to make fitness a part of their lives. Sandrine can maintain her commitment to activity and learn how to keep herself safe in a fun group environment.
Annie has always competed at a very high level in all of her sports. She´s noticed that ever since she had her kids, she ends up irritated by soreness and back twinges after her workouts. She´s even had to work through a couple injuries, which never used to happen. She worries about how long she´s going to be able to push her body to success in the sports and activities she loves. Unless she´s a master of a whole-body sport like rock climbing or yoga, she probably prides herself on her strength and considers her lack of flexibility par for the course.
Recommendation: Individual Coaching. Someone like Annie got all the basics down long ago. But those tiny nuanced changes in our kinetic chains brought on by pregnancy and delivery might be escaping her notice. She will benefit from a trained eye and some very specialized feedback. Often it´s a barely noticeable postural change or a breathing power-up that makes the difference between being cranky and achy post-race/game/climb and feeling exhilarated and amazing.
Nanda likes walking. Walking is fine. But running? Horrible. Sports? Brings back bad memories. Lifting weights? Waste of time. Nanda is the type of person who would always choose a nice stroll through the city or curling up with a book over a fitness class or personal training, but she´s being bothered by the pain in her neck. And her shoulders just feel so stiff–it´s distracting her. She wants to feel good again, without having to –yuck–sweat.
Recommendation: Individual Coaching. Learning how to move correctly is a long-term gift you can give to your body. Nanda might have evolved some new habits in response to the changes her body went through during pregnancy and after. Some analysis and feedback on breathing and posture can clear up tons of pain and stiffness, and she can do it slowly, without even breaking a sweat.
Raina has no time. Intense job, three kids, parents on the other side of the country, partner with a demanding travel schedule. She already does everything at the speed of light, and then there´s her commute, school pick-up, and all those emails and texts waiting for responses. Whatever´s going on with her body has just had to take a back seat for the last few…years.
Recommendation: Individual Coaching. Raina has to fit help for her body into a very circumscribed schedule. She needs a fitness session that comes to her and requires no commute and no babysitter.
Sheila does not want to talk to anyone about the–situation–going on with her body. And she flat-out does not want to risk peeing her pants in public. Humiliation! She has severely curtailed her activities to avoid any event that could result in her mysterious…what is it? bladder issue? …acting up.
Recommendation: Individual Coaching and then class. Sheila doesn´t need to be suffering or feel embarrassed, but many people do. She doesn´t need to ¨do more Kegels¨ or whatever it was that one doctor advised, the one with with the condescending and judgmental voice. Sheila should find happiness for her pelvic floor and learn how to bring it back to full strength. Her breathing, postural, and movement systems are very fixable, and she will likely be pleasantly surprised by how empowering it is to learn a new style of movement. Once she´s feeling more confident, she should go to as many classes as she wants, jumping, lifting, and coughing and sneezing as much as her heart and allergies require.