woman with personal trainer at the gym

The Personal Training Studio vs Big Gym Debate


Not everyone works out with the same goal in mind. Some people have clear objectives, such as completing a first marathon or fitting back into those high school jeans. Others have a routine down and enjoy the social aspect of a group dynamic. And some are overcoming personal issues and want to get those endorphins coursing through their system again. All perfectly valid.

So, with various goals in mind, let’s look at the pros and cons of a Personal Training Studio versus the Big Gym. The major decision-making factors fall into five categories:

Privacy // Equipment // Results // Certified Trainer // Cost


Comfort level is a huge factor when it comes to making a decision about training one on one, semi-private personal training, or entering a gymnasium full of people. Some prefer to train with male personal trainers, others prefer to train with female personal trainers, there may be cultural concerns and so many of us feel we need to be fit before we actually get fit.

Personal Training Studios offer more privacy within the studio itself. There is not the hustle and bustle of a Big Gym, it is a far more focused environment. Also, the bathrooms and locker room facilities don’t see nearly the same amount of traffic as Big Gyms, which is far more comforting and manages our insecurities or hygiene concerns.

Big Gyms can’t guarantee privacy as lots of people are sharing the same space simultaneously. Their aim is to have as many people as possible using their facilities. However, you can be anonymous, if you want. You can easily disappear in the crowd if you’re simply looking to complete each piece of equipment with your buds in and your head down.


You’ll notice Personal Training Studios are not stuffed with big machines and complex pieces of exercise equipment. You’ll see more free weights, ropes, and boxing gloves. Personal trainers prefer to address the body as a whole rather than isolate single muscles, therefore much of the workout will factor in resistance using your own body weight, range of motion, and flexibility. The body benefits as a whole, not isolation.

Big Gyms offer an extensive range of state-of-the-art equipment that targets problem areas. If you’re already in decent shape or have a sound understanding about the correct use of the equipment, you’ll get the most from your workout.

Some gyms employ trainers to assist you if you are new to the facility and they will design a program for you. However, there is potential for you to fade into the background as Big Gyms are a numbers game, and you may not get the education you need to use the equipment correctly. Therefore, the onus is solely on you to understand how to use the equipment and get the most benefit from it.

Remember, Big Gyms attract several members, so you will be sharing all equipment. Expect to spend part of your workout cleaning machines others have used and cleaning up after yourself. You will also have to ignore the stress of others queuing for the machine while you are using it. This is a non-issue during personal training sessions.


Your results are key when making a decision between a Personal Training Studio and the Big Gym. What you need from your workout will greatly influence your choice. Personal trainers will create a tailored fitness program that specifically caters to your goals, motivate you to achieve them (you know you won’t push yourself to the same level as your PT!), and continue to adapt the workout as you gain strength, conditioning, and confidence. There is no danger of the dreaded plateau, which is so demotivating it can actually kill your desire to exercise altogether.

You can attain results at the Big Gym. If you dig deep, stay focused on your goal, and educate yourself on the best routine to achieve these goals, you can definitely see improvements physically, mentally, and emotionally. You also need to recognise when it’s time to level up so you don’t plateau. As you are left to your own devices, this is not as easy as it sounds. This is where your mental strength is tested, so you are pushing yourself to improve and not just going through the motions, which is not the most productive use of your time, effort, or money.

Having a professional trainer assessing and modifying your program means you are making the most of your time and energy. So many people dedicate themselves to a gym workout without truly gaining benefits. Big Gyms don’t maximise your productivity like Personal Training Studios do.

Also, make sure you warm up, execute the rep correctly, hydrate, and incorporate recovery techniques… and try not to zone out in front of a screen. Personal trainers teach the mind-body connection which is crucial to getting in shape and staying in shape. You don’t want to go to all that effort and then backslide. Most maintenance fails due to poor mindset. Getting in shape may be a physical game, but staying in shape is a mental game.

Certified Trainers

Certified personal trainers are genuinely concerned about your progress. You are not a membership number you are a member of the family and as such, they are invested in your progress and your success. They want you to become the best version of yourself because they truly understand how rewarding life is when you’re fit and healthy.

They will educate you on the correct technique so you don’t waste a moment of your time doing an exercise poorly. This also reduces the chance of injury significantly. If you have an injury, they can adapt your program as you recover or offer advice on how to proceed until you recover.

Big Gym attracts excellent trainers, however, they work for the gym and not for you. Expect great advice and genuine help from them when they’re around. However, they will have several members to focus on, may need to be reminded of where you are in your progression, forget if you have any injuries or physical concerns, and can only provide limited assistance and motivation. It’s hard to get into a rhythm if you’re constantly looking for help.

Don’t underestimate the power of motivation. We permit ourselves way more excuses in a Big Gym environment, rarely pushing ourselves to failure in order to grow muscle. Having an expert encourage us to really push ourselves will ensure the best results physically, which translates into great self-esteem and pride in our achievements.


Big Gym is going to be more cost-effective. One on one Personal Training Studios are going to cost more due to attention and expertise.

You have to decide between the cost and the value of your workout. Do you have clear objectives you want to achieve? How valuable is your time? What is the price of feeling good?

Personal Training Studios v Big Gym at a glance

Pros of BIG GYM Cons of BIG GYM
Cost Effective Large Membership
Bigger Range of Equipment Limited Privacy
Social Atmosphere Reduced Training Focus
Complete Privacy Higher Costs
Individual Tailored Program Fewer Class Options
Results Focused Smaller Social Atmosphere

PS: Whenever you’re ready… we have results-driven, no-nonsense programs to improve your health and fitness:

1. Join Us For Semi-Private Personal Training – Semi-private personal training is a signature service running both morning and night. What makes it our most popular service? It’s personalised, cost-effective, and gets great results. Contact us now with ‘Semi-Private Offer’ in the subject line to learn more.

2. Join Us For 1:1 Personal Training – We realise some people want to do the work on their own, we also know many of you have goals that are personal to just you and that you might want a program written specifically for you. Contact us now with ‘Personal Training Offer’ in the subject line to learn more.