Published on June 13th, 2013 | by Joe Starks
Physical Fitness Types: Individual Sport Fitness
Some of us like to turn our fitness hours into social events, either by playing team sports or by combining and comparing the efforts of many. Others prefer to spend their training hours alone, focusing on their selves undisturbed. In this article we will discuss some options for the latter type of person.
What is individual sport fitness?
Simply put, it means that you train alone in your chosen sports, competing only with yourself. Usually, people who choose to train alone wish to improve their skills with absolute focus.
When you are playing in team sports you get “distracted” a lot by the social aspect of the event. People make jokes, you have little mock competitions and you often have to wait for your turn in certain exercises. These matters take up time from your training, meaning that your time is not spent as productively as far as fitness is concerned when you are training with others. This is why some people who care a lot about improving their athletic skill spend at least a few of their training hours alone.
When training alone you can do as many sets as you want, rest as little or much as you want and change your workout however you please. It’s like being in a relationship or being single. In the first case you enjoy some social benefits at the cost of your private time, while in the second you have all the time you want for yourself, but you need to plan your social life.
What are the benefits of training alone?
There are plenty of benefits when it comes to training alone. Some of them are:
- Fewer distractions. You don’t get caught in everybody’s personal problems or moods and you can ignore the people around you. In team sports you have to give a lot of attention to your fellow players, which can cost you in fitness efficiency.
- Better planning. When in a team, you can’t ignore the schedules of your fellow players and when someone has an emergency your whole session might end abruptly. When you are training alone you don’t have to consider the plans of other athletes and you can plan your sessions as early or late as you desire. Not all people like after midnight or before 6am sessions. If you do you, should aim for individual fitness.
- Flexibility and customization. When you train alone you can change your routine as soon as you feel that you need something different or something more intense. In team sports you have to respect your fellow athlete’s abilities and you can’t change your regime at will. If your fellow sportsmen need leg workout and you want to train your arms you probably end up doing leg workouts anyway. You can also change your workout times when you are alone, making your workout longer on days you feel strong and shorter on days you are tired. This is near impossible in team sports.
- Less responsibility. You should not let your teammates hanging when you have a session planned out and you can’t just call off a game. As a member of a sports team you carry a lot of responsibility to be on time and to be ready. You have to dedicate a lot of your time in team sports to be able to do workouts when everybody else can, and to play games whenever a team accepts to play with yours. When training alone, you are free of all those responsibilities. When you can’t train one day you don’t disappoint anyone or waste anybody else’s time. You don’t need to keep weekends free for sports events if you don’t want to and you don’t need to be constantly reachable by phone in case your team plans something extra.
What are the drawbacks of individual fitness?
Individual fitness has its negative side. Some of the drawbacks of training alone are:
- Other people motivate you. If you are not an avid athlete and you’d rather play on the computer or watch TV than work out, then other people in a team might be exactly what you need. Teammates will help you stay motivated, both because you will want to see them and because you should not disappoint them with your absence.
- Teammates make working out more fun. If you want your fitness sessions to be highly entertaining as well then a team sport beats a solo gym session any time. Jokes and other forms of socialization will keep you spirit up.
- Lack of social element. If you have a lonely job and you don’t have a bustling family at home, then perhaps a team sports could offer you some of that missing socialization. Especially the elderly and children should choose team sports, because socialization becomes crucial at those ages. For children socialization offers growth of character, while for the elderly it offers relief from depression.
When considering whether to do individual training or to take up a team sport, you should look closely at your needs and lifestyle. If you have a socially active life, filled with loud family hours and a highly social job you should consider turning your fitness hours into a personal solo time. You can then relief the stress that socialization can cause and use training as meditation to stay in touch with yourself. If you have a rather quiet or lonely life then you should perhaps use the opportunity and train with a team instead. If you are a passionate athlete you should at least dedicate some of your training hours to individual training, so that you can fine tune your skills without distractions.