Crossfit, Personal Training or Bootcamp. Which one is right for you?

The world of health and fitness can be confusing. There are just so many options. And if you’re like most people, you’re probably not sure what the difference is.

This article attempts to breakdown the difference between the three main types of paid fitness training to allow you to see which version is best for you.


Crossfit was founded in 2000 and encourages participants to focus on performance, rather than body composition (weight loss/muscle gain) as the primary objective. They use more complex movements such as Olympic lifts, explosive pull ups called kipping pull ups and advanced gymnastic based movements, but can also include 400m sprints, cycling and bodyweight movements such as burpees and squats. Crossfit is known for it’s super intense workouts and the mind-set that goes with it.

What are the benefits and drawbacks?

  • Training is mostly completed in groups which is great for keeping you motivated.
  • Attendees often complete WOD or ‘workout of the day’ programs to keep boredom at bay.
  • Depending on which Crossfit box (location) you attend, there can be multiple classes per day from which to choose from.
  • Crossfit has a very high injury rate. The incredibly complex movements and intensity of the workouts can lead to a higher rate of injury than other fitness routines.
  • Although different each time, the workouts are generalised for the class and not specific to the person. If you’re looking for personalised fitness, this option may not be for you.
  • The complex movements require lots of flexibility and mobility in joints, which are normally very stiff and tight for people who sit at a desk for long periods of time. Not recommended if you have poor flexibility, or little time to address it.


Originally popular around 1999, bootcamps or fitness bootcamps promote large groups of exercise often outdoors. Using low tech equipment and bodyweight exercises, these classes can often range from 5 to 105 people.

Exercises during the session often include

  • Star jumps
  • Squats
  • Push ups
  • Burpees
  • Running
  • Games

What are the benefits and drawbacks?

  • Because of the volume of attendees, Bootcamps are often the cheapest way to paid fitness. Prices can start as low as £5 per session.
  • You don’t need a gym location to run a bootcamp and as such, many bootcamps are held outdoors away from a standard gym environment.
  • Because of the large volume of people who attend, there is an increased sense of community among people who attend bootcamp classes regularly. The key word here being regularly.
  • Because of the large number of trainees, exercise is not specific to each client. Workouts will generally follow a standard theme but you will not get a specific workout for your needs. This is offset by the price.
  • As they are limited with equipment, often the same muscle groups and movements are worked over and over again. This increase the chance of injury and muscle strength imbalances.
  • Now unless your bootcamp is on the beach in Thailand, you’re also at the control of the elements if your bootcamp is outside. Great for a few days in July at least!

Personal Training

A personal trainer is an individual certified to have a varying degree of knowledge of general fitness involved in exercise prescription and instruction.

Often the plan is targeted towards achieving a specific goal, be it body composition changes (weight loss/muscle building).

Exercise is normally carried out in a gym setting but can range from commercial gym sessions to private personal training studios, to personal training in a park.

What are the benefits and drawbacks?

  • Personal training is often a lot more personal. Exercise selection can be determined for a persons given strengths or weaknesses and can be tailored specifically to each client.
  • Because most personal training goals centre around body composition, tailored nutrition advice may also be available to clients. A combination of personal training with nutrition advice has been known to get better results.
  • Personal training can range in price, but is usually the more expensive option when compared to larger groups of training. This is often due to the specificity of the program and the knowledge of the coach.
  • Because there is no, one governing body for personal trainers, qualifications can range as does the quality of these certifications. Certifications can last anywhere between 2 days and 10 weeks. This can make it difficult to identify higher quality trainers. To overcome this, we recommend you speak to your trainer and find out their experience and proven track record (client photos are great) before signing.

So there you have it. A summary of the most popular types of paid fitness activities today. Be sure to check out our others posts below and give us a comment below and let us know what you think of the article.