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?