Mat Fraser
Source: CrossFit Inc

Training Alone Vs in a Team – Which is Best for You?

What are the pros and cons of both and which works best for you?

Reflecting on my training the past months, I thought about whether I should change the fact that I train alone most of the time. I had discussions with a lot of people, who either prefer training alone or need to train with their crew and other people every day. So – which is better?

Why you should train alone

Focus

Working out with your gym buddies can be fun, but you can lose focus if you concentrate on other things instead of just your training. Think about what can happen when you are talking between sets during strength work for example. Another example is during a workout: If you look at your friends pace, want to keep up and will burn out earlier it´s not beneficial. Also the other way around: if you notice you are super fast and slow down because you will “win” the workout anyways.

Of course, if you can focus on your own pace and are still super concentrated all the time, this is not an argument for you to train alone from now on. I just like to train alone. I am not distracted and am in my zone all the time. Additionally, I don´t have much time and (unfortunately) my sessions have to be very carefully timed and structured – no time for a lot of conversations and losing focus.

Self-motivation

When you´re alone it´s just you and the bar, or you and the workout. No one to motivate or shout at you. But I like to turn this into something positive: you will learn to motivate yourself and push yourself and it will make you mentally stronger. In the beginning it was hard for me to push myself during long workouts because no one was around and could see that I wasn’t giving 100% – but it got better every time and now it´s easier for me to work through the pain. It´s important to know you gave everything you were capable of.

Own training plan

With your own and personalized training plan there is no need for a training-partner, especially when it´s based on your individual strengths and weaknesses.

Independence

This is just something personal from my side and you can argue against it of course. Your time for the whole session is independent and you don´t have to wait for anyone and nobody has to wait for you (i.e until you finished with the warm up). Additionally, if you are not in a talking mood training alone is the best. Even if I train super early every day, I´m not really a morning person and don´t love to have big conversations about life in the morning – I just have the get sh* done attitude and enjoy the feeling and talking afterwards. I know I could change this attitude easily;)

Why you should train with your crew 

Watching this video it doesn’t look like it was hard – but it was ??‍♀️Was the second time in a sports hall & doing a Gymnastic session with the comp crew. We didn´t do any Muscle Ups or Handstands or Pull Ups or whatever. Just the basic work you need for all the gymnastic movements. I´ve been changing my training a little bit since 2 months and I was´t sure about (because it doesn´t have anything to do with weights or conditioning or mobility) the impact on my performance in the future. Today I learned once again that it´s kind of all about the core and a strong one (not only on the outside) is the fundamental a lot of people are missing. Been working on my core and did a lot of intramuscular training lately – can already feel a small impact on my movements (Dumbbell Overhead Squats f.e.) and look forward to the next months. @_niavalle @rhiannonono @chrissordamon @davidrolcf @evope_germany #mycoreisweek #workonthebasics #forthelongrun #crossfit #gymnastics #intramuscular #votd #thinkaboutit #crew #evope_germany #evope_nutrition

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Motivation

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When it´s hard for you to motivate yourself, training with your team is definitely better. If it´s PR time and you have people pushing you towards that new PR, or when you´re the last to finish the workout they will motivate you to go faster even if you are the last one. Sometimes, this extra shout is necessary to achieve a heavy lift!

Help and tips

You can train alone, film it and watch your videos afterwards but immediate help is only possible when you train together and everyone watches each others lifts (for example). Fixing a small movement pattern can lead to big improvements in the longer run – the sooner the better.

Push each other

No one wants to loose the workout and you will always push each other and go faster. Especially when you have a training partner who is as good as you are. The chances of slowing down in the last round or minute when you are still head to head are pretty low. Training alone doesn´t create that atmosphere.

Fun 

you will have fun, a good time and a great laugh 🙂 That won´t happen when you train alone. No further explanation needed.

What do I think?

I have to train alone 80% of my time and have adapted to the circumstances. Now, I really enjoy training alone, the silence in the morning and the progress I have made when it comes to motivating myself.

Weightlifting and Team WODs are for the weekend. Basically, I need help everywhere but weightlifting is exceptionally complicated and it´s always good to have someone watching and correcting my movements. And of course I love training with my team and how we always motivate and push each other to be better.

Look at your individual needs and time and if you have to train alone, even if you don´t want to, do it! But in general, you should always try to workout with people even if you have your own training plan. A good mix of both is what I do.

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