Is 1-on-1, Group, or Bootcamp Training Best?

Did you know you have many different options of training when working with a personal trainer? Well, you do! And it could make a massive difference in your results (and wallet).

I actually haven’t seen any variation away from traditional 1-on-1 (1:1) training anywhere in Durant outside of my own training. Which is a shame, really. Many people will often find one option better suited to their goals. If standard personal training didn’t work for you, maybe one of the others styles of training will.

So what are the options available to somebody considering personal training?

Traditional 1:1

This is the kind of training everybody thinks of when they hear “personal training”. In traditional 1-on-1 training you get 100% of the trainers attention. This means you will have a program tailored specifically to you.

Did you want to focus on your endurance and core strength? Great, your trainer will design a workout for you that emphasizes cardio and core.

Since you have 100% of your trainers attention, your accountability will be 100% on him/her during that time period, and vice versa, the trainer doesn’t take his eyes off of you to keep you accountable. There should be no room for “forgetting” a rep or exercise.

1:1 is best for those who

  • Prefer working out alone
  • Want the absolute most “specialized” program to fit them
  • Feel most accountable to the trainer rather than others
  • Need a specialized program due to heart disease or other serious conditions
  • Prefer slower paced workouts with longer rest periods (assuming your trainer decides slower is better for you)


Group training

First, let me start by saying group training can be as small as 2 people – which I call couple or duo training; 3 or 4 people being small group, or as big as 5-10 people being just “group” training.


The larger the group, the less it will usually cost you. This is because you are all essentially sharing the trainers time. Your trainer has no need to charge everybody in group training the same as 1:1 training.

By lowering the cost per person, both the clients and the trainer benefit. If the trainer charges 50 for 1:1, then the client pays 50 and the trainer makes 50. If the trainer charges 40 per person on duo training, each client pays only 40 and the trainer makes 80. (Before the gym takes most of it as commission :’)

Therefore you are getting more for your money the larger the group is.

Duo Training


With duo training you can still get a great deal of specialization, particularly if your workout partner has similar goals as you.


Even if you two do not have similar goals, your trainer will often design your workouts specifically for you, and you and your workout partner may not even work out together. You may be doing a program focusing on legs while the other client is on a cardio program.

This is perfectly fine. It simply means you are both getting the same programming you would with 1:1 training, but at a lower cost.


There is also the possibility that you both get the exact same workout. This is great if you like having that extra person to workout with to make it more fun for you both and to keep each other accountable.


If you want to do duo training, talk to your preferred trainer about it. You can either bring your own friend(s) or significant other(s?), or the trainer will probably be happy to match you up with somebody with similar goals, or even more people if you and they are all interested in group training.


Small Group Training

Small training is going to be similar to duo training. We just continue to move across the spectrum to add some more people, which decreases the cost per person as the amount of people in the session rises.

Small group training still has some potential for the workout to be somewhat specialized to you. There is still a chance that everybody in the group has pretty similar goals, especially if the trainer is good at matching up training partners.

You also still may be able to find enough of your own friends to fill up a small group training session so that you all have to pay much less than the 1:1 rate while having a great time doing it.


It is likely however that you don’t have similar goals as the group you are matched up with. This means you may all be doing the same workout that will still get you results, but maybe not toward your exact goals.

But if you prefer a large group for the added fun and accountability, this is a great fit.


Large Group Training:

I’ll keep this one brief, because I feel like I’m beating a dead horse at this point.

You’re paying even less for large group training, and getting even more accountability partners and it may feel a bit like a workout party at this point with 5-10 people.

The drawback being, you will almost certainly have a generalized workout unless your trainer was able to put the group together from many people with similar goals.


Group Training is best for those that:

  • Want to work out with on their friends
  • Like socializing with other people
  • Feels equally accountable to the trainer and the workout partners
  • Can’t quite afford 1:1 training at the moment
  • Don’t mind workouts that may not be completely or even somewhat specialized



On the opposite end of the spectrum from 1:1 training are fitness bootcamps. This is my absolute favorite style of training.

I consider bootcamps to be anything over 10 people. Depending on where the bootcamp is located, there can be far more people than that. Some outdoor bootcamps can have upwards of 50 or more people in them.

You may see bootcamps outside in a park, in a school gymnasium, a gym, or facility designed specifically for bootcamps.

Why are bootcamps so great in my opinion? Because they are fun! You may have some fun with your trainer in 1:1 training and with your workout partners in group training, but bootcamps are just massive fitness parties of people trying to get into better shape.

There’s music, comradery, fitness games, and everyone really just has a blast. Don’t get me wrong, you will work your butt off. But you’ll do it in a high enthusiasm environment.

In most bootcamps, many of the exercises are going to be body-weight based, and all of the exercises will have variations to make them easier or harder. This means anybody can take part. There can be 22 year-old elite athletes in the same bootcamp as 65 year-old lifelong sedentary beginners and both will get a great workout.

The accountability you find in a bootcamp is unlike anything else. You have a dozen or more people in addition to the trainer to keep you accountable and make sure you show up. These people are also going to push you every day to make sure you get the most out of your workout.

As far as cost, it will be the very least of all of the options we have listed. If you get a good personal trainer and work with him/her 3 times a week, that could easily cost you over $1,000 a month. For most bootcamps you can expect to pay anywhere from $100-300 each month.

The trainer gets the ability to help far more people, and the clients all receive great workouts for a fraction of the cost of specialized training.

Bootcamps are best for those who:

  • Prefer working out in a group setting
  • Don’t mind a generalized workout that’s likely designed for maximum fat loss
  • Feel more accountable to peers than their trainer
  • Don’t need specialized attention due to heart disease or other serious conditions.
  • Want the most for their dollar, and can’t quite afford 1:1 training at the moment. 

Which one is right for you?

That completely depends on your goals and preferences. There is no way I could tell you what is best for you until we discuss you

Look at training as a spectrum. The smaller the group(even just you with your trainer), the more specialized the training is to you.

Also consider that you may not easily be able to find some of these services in your area, or that in your area, personal training may already be so inexpensive you don’t need less expensive options. Talk to some local trainers and see what they have to say about their services and prices.

If you are in the Durant area, feel free to talk to me about the training options I offer. We may be able to get you started on 1:1, group, or bootcamps. Whether you are near Durant or not, we may even be able to get you started on an online coaching program.

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