What’s your (exercise) type?

For some, it’s indoor cardio equipment that works.

Yesterday at CrossFit, we did a set of jump roping and Olympic lifting. I was bored, to be honest, with the lifting part. But every time we got the jump roping section, I wanted to do more than what was prescribed (I didn’t). Checking in with my running partner who was there with me, she had the same reaction. We compared the types of workouts we had liked so far at CrossFit and for both of us, they were the ones that involved constant action and working up a good sweat. Clearly, our personalty types crave endurance activities, which is why we are runners first.

It got me to thinking about different personality types and the kinds of exercise that work for each one. I’ve said it many times over that the key to finding fitness is finding your thing. If you were to force me to exercise indoors on cardio equipment, I’d want to poke my eyes out. Same with making me do strength work only. I need my endurance/endorphin fix, plain and simple. But to others, running for miles on end in the great outdoors (well, the great ‘burbs?) is a form of torture. These folks would rather pull up  a yoga mat, strength train, or participate in a group exercise class–basically anything but run.

I was sure there had to be some exercise personality typing out there, ala Myers-Briggs, and sure enough, there is. According to Gaiam, there are six main exercise personality types:

1. Disciplined and driven

This is the image most of us think we should aspire to — though in reality, not everyone fits this mold. The disciplined and driven exerciser is self-motivated and goal-oriented. Commitment and consistency go hand in hand. You like to track progress. Disciplined types are often early risers, and regular exercise to start the day is second nature. Compatible fitness regimens include cardio workouts, interval training, weight training, running, swimming and martial arts.

2. Relishes routine

You have commonalities with “disciplined and driven,” but you’re more relaxed about your regimen. For you, the key to success is consistency. You like order and familiarity in your exercise settings and practices. Making exercise predictable is the way to make it a habit.

3. Conscious contemplative

You’re a reflective person who enjoys quiet, solo activities, which allow a chance to look inward while working your heart and muscles, often without thinking too much about the physical details. Long-distance running, hiking, swimming and biking offer an escape from cell phones and electronic tethers — a chance to clear the mind and renew the spirit while strengthening the body. Your workouts are often soothing, rather than intense.

4. Plays well with others

For you, exercise is best enjoyed in company. Your workouts are as much about the social dimension as they are about getting fit. Left to your own devices, you’re likely to stay plopped on the couch, but connect you with camaraderie, and you’re revved up and ready to go.

5. Compulsive competitor

You also like a communal aspect to your fitness pursuits, but in your case, the greater gratification comes through competition over mere socializing. The “driven and disciplined” types may be happy with pushing their personal best, but the competitor is motivated by winning. Team sports are a natural outlet. Races and matches are also a natural draw for you. As long as there’s an opportunity for the thrill of beating your opponent, you’re in.

6. Avid for adventure

It’s tough for any formal exercise program to keep your attention and commitment. You crave freshness and spontaneity in your fitness pursuits, seeking activities that engage your interest and animate your enthusiasm. The key to keeping you active is to keep things stimulating.

Reading this I can see that I am a combo of personalities. How about you–where do you fall? Does your activity of choice match your personality type? 

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  1. says

    Bizarrely, I think I’m Disciplined & Driven, mixed with Conscious Contemplative – depending on my training plan. In my current rebuild/rehab mode, my running is Conscious Contemplative – because D&D would be far too frustrating right now (boring base building, LSD, etc. etc).

    But at the same time – put me on that spin bike (where I feel it’s very hard to hurt myself by “overdoing it”), and I’m gonna give it all I’ve got.

    As a side note – if you’re looking for a strengthening routine (not sure it matters for your current marathon plans, etc) – but if you are, you might look for a BodyPump class near you. It’s 1 hour of fast paced lifting – higher reps, lower weight , one song per muscle group. I find it’s the most painless way of getting in my strength training – fast moving, fun, thorough, and with a hit of cardio, too.
    Holly KN recently posted..Refueling at RelishMy Profile

  2. says

    Probably consciously contemplative more than anything, 90% of the time I run by myself, even though I am pretty meticulous about tracking my running. For some reason or other running inside doesn’t bother me too much as long as it is only a couple of times a week, but definitely prefer to be outside. On trails when possible :-)
    Harold recently posted..A Veteran Runnah Blog SiteMy Profile

  3. says

    I can see a little of myself in all of these. I love getting up early to exercise and I like having a routine with set goals. In terms of activities, I actually really like lifting because it’s another way to challenge my limits and see how far I can go, but running will always come first for me. Lately I’ve been strength training three days a week, but now that the semester is picking up and I’m getting busy again, I have been prioritizing running (and a little bit of swimming).
    Rachel recently posted..Food and Running and Tumblr and RESTINGMy Profile

  4. Charlotte says

    It. Ames little sense because the two sort of contradict one another…. But I feel like I’m somewhat a mix between “relishes routine” and “avid for adventure” though some days I can certainly relate to all of the categories.

    Great post!!
    Charlotte recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: One Week From TodayMy Profile

  5. says

    When I’m in training for a race I tend to be unforgiving of myself and so routine that it drives my poor hubby batty! I try really hard to be driven but conscientious of my life and what is going on with it and the people who play starting roles in it! I always prefer running to anything else but have learned to live yoga. I enjoy spinning but get my strength training done reluctantly. I guess I, like you, desire something that is going to push me, engage my mind and sweat like crazy!
    Sarah MomRunningonEmpty recently posted..Ever wish you could experience a Groundhog’s day??My Profile

  6. says

    i think i’m 1-2-4-5-6 lol. i’ve actually grown to love the lifting part of CF. i like moving decently heavy weight (granted nowhere near what the pro-CF-ers do) and i LOVE being able to do pullups. it’s taken me awhile to get used to some workouts being less than 20 minutes (hello, when is a run ever that short?!?) but most days i’m still bushed and sprawled out on the floor.
    lindsay recently posted..Getting My Rear in GearMy Profile

  7. says

    I think I’m a Conscious contemplative and Avid for adventure for the most part. Part of what appeals most to me about CrossFit is that it is so far out of my comfort zone. Olympic lifting gratifies the seeker in me as a new thing, but also some alone time — the breathing and form really make me turn inward.
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Mobility WODMy Profile

  8. says

    This is very cool! I would say I am a combination of compulsive competitor and disciplined & driven. When I was reading both descriptions they sounded exactly like me.

    You would have loved our WOD last night! Including in our rounds of 10 was a 200 meter sprint. Since there was running involved I had the fastest time of the day. :-)
    Tasha @ Healthy Diva recently posted..Snowshoeing @ Mt. SpokaneMy Profile

  9. says

    HAAA!!! Those bikes are advertised every 20 seconds while watching the Tour de France, Everytime I see one, it reminds me of the commercials that are over played

    I tend to be complusive, more like, if a friend calls and wants me race, I have a really hard time saying no, like it is really rare that I will turn down a race
    Scott recently posted..Weekly RamblingsMy Profile

  10. says

    Disciplined and Driven with quite a bit of the compulsive competitor that I try to keep stashed away. I don’t mind the first, the competitor part tends to lead to injuries for me!

    I think in real life that I play well with others and really relish routine.

    This was interesting to step back and look at the different exercise personalities and then compare them to the rest of life.
    Kim recently posted..Wednesday – Take 2My Profile

  11. says

    Hmmmm…I think I’m a mix between 1 and 5. I am definitely competitive which is why I love races…but I don’t always need to be others – mostly just myself. If I place or come close to the top, that’s an added bonus.
    But I’m with you on the sweating part – I think that is part of why I have never been able to stick to yoga. For me, nothing beats a workout (like this morning) where I can literally wring out my sports bra and shorts from the sweat. =)
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..PR Spotlight: Steve LMy Profile

  12. says

    I’m somewhere between 1 and 2. I can relate to you as well… I need to move, sweat, bounce around. I’m starting to figure out how to work up more of a sweat with weights in circuit training, but I still prefer a good run! And you’re so right, our athletic “personalities” have so much to do with what we gravitate toward in exercise.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..10 Winter Soup Favorites for the Crock PotMy Profile

  13. says

    Oh how cool! I love reading about personality types! Though it makes me feel schizophrenic to think about who I am this way! Discipline and drive, sort of minus the discipline because I feel super lazy at times and do not mind breaking routine for a rest day or three, but I track my progress pretty well and care about it.
    Plays well with others, sometimes the only way for me to get out of the house is if I know people are going to be running with me.
    Compulsive competitor, absolutely because I really like to win WODs and place high in races, and I can get pretty grumpy if I don’t do well. Very interesting to think about.
    MegG recently posted..In My Twenties Tuesday: Running paid offMy Profile

  14. Terzah says

    I’m mostly #2, but I like to shake it up and head to the mountains sometimes (like this weekend–cross-country skiing!), so there’s also a dose of #6 in there. I may trend back toward #6 even more once this BQ goal is accomplished.

  15. says

    When I was younger, I was a #5- all the way! So competitive in everything I did. It took me a long time to be able to go bowling with friends, just to have a good time, and not to compete!
    Now, I think I am a #2. I love to run and workout by myself, but I have put the competitive side of me away. Now I focus on staying healthy and enjoying myself. I want to cross finish lines with a smile on my face, for many more years!
    Heather @ Bake, Run, Live recently posted..Biscoff Magic Cookie BarsMy Profile

  16. says

    I’m definitely #1, but want to add more of #6. Hike is my thing in the spring/summer. If only I could find the time to do more of it. I’ve also been looking into finding an instructor that teaches Krav Maga (Israeli Self Defense). There’s no one local, though. I’d have to drive to Pennsylvania to join a class. phooey
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Doin’ the Hoo-Rag ShuffleMy Profile

  17. says

    Well I’m definitely mix of all of those. I try to never miss a workout, but I like to mix it up. I like long distance running, but I don’t have to win, but I love racing myself.
    I’ve done almost every kind of workout from the lone long run, yoga, to crossfit, team sports, zumba, to just hopping on a machine or training alone in the gym.
    I think I find the most pleasure in working out by keeping my cross training days random and my running days consistent. Pretty much any kind of moving around that makes me sweat a little or burn a little is good in my book.
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  18. says

    Interesting…I have a hard time identifying with any of them. Maybe I’m just being difficult. I refer to myself as “consistently inconsistent” with my running and strength training. I go in fits and spurts but I never stop trying. I admittedly like races more than I like training for them, but not because I’m super competitive…I just like the vibe.
    Thea @ It’s Me Vs. Me recently posted..Personal Weight Loss Challenge Results – THE VLOG!!My Profile

  19. says

    I am definitely a combo…a bit of each of those! Sure there are things I prefer to do, but during a strength workout I actually prefer the lifting to the cardio elements. Of course both are important, and I think my driven side focuses on that aspect. Meanwhile my competitive side is checking out what everyone else is doing! I definitely enjoy working out with others, especially when it’s hard, like indoor bike trainer workouts or long runs!
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