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What's Your Fitness Personality?

Posted by weigthloss-diets Wednesday, July 7, 2010


When I take my daughter to her dance class at our community rec center, I’m always amazed at the number of people pacing doggedly on the treadmill or working up a sweat in spinning class — even when it’s sunny and 70 degrees outside.

“This is Boulder, Colorado!” I think to myself. “We have acres and acres of public Open Space, miles and miles of running and cycling paths and hiking trails. Why would anyone choose to exercise indoors?”

The answer likely lies in a concept that’s at the core of getting — and staying — in shape: fitness personality.

I thrive on nature and novelty. The thought of a regular gym workout under fluorescent lights bores me before I even try it. But someone else may be inspired by the predictable routine and location I loathe. Ensuring that your fitness regimen jives with your fitness personality is the key to making exercise easier and more enjoyable — and thus a more consistent part of your life.

If you poll your friends about their exercise habits, patterns will start to emerge. My friend Mimi is out the door for a walk at 5:30 a.m. without fail, even in the dark and cold of winter. My sister-in-law spends her early mornings on her home treadmill. As for me, I can barely rouse myself before the sky is light, and the only thing that guarantees any discipline is if I have shelled out money for a gym class. Ideally, it’s a dance class, with invigorating music. We clearly have different fitness personalities!

Why should you identify your fitness personality?
“Fitness personality” is a concept that’s gained traction among exercise experts. Jonathan Niednagel, an athletic consultant for professional teams and author of Your Key to Sports Success, explains how understanding your inborn brain type can help motivate you, choose which sport and speed you’re best suited for, and which athletic pursuits to avoid. In Suzanne Brue's book The 8 Colors of Fitness, she applies principles from the popular Myers-Briggs personality inventory to help readers develop a personalized exercise program within eight color-coded types. And Susan Davis-Ali, Ph.D., who has developed a Fitness Interest Profile survey for the Life Time Fitness health club chain, says research suggests that people who engage in activities appropriate for their personalities will enjoy their workouts more and are likely to stay with them longer.

By identifying your fitness personality, you can create an exercise program that suits your rhythms and interests, which comprise who you are. Working with your personality, rather than against it, can help you find a fitness approach that can become an integral part of your life.

Maybe getting fit is a brand-new goal for you. Consider your overall orientation to life and relationships — do you like consistency or change? Time alone to think or lots of conversation with friends? Are you geared toward goals, or do you prefer to relax and see what unfolds? Do you like to get up early and get your obligations out of the way, or are you more spontaneous, tackling tasks as the spirit moves you during the day?

Based on a range of composites from the growing literature on fitness personalities, we’ve put together some categories to help you assess yours. Find one that captures the way you feel about exercise — there may be several. Then, check out the recommended workout possibilities, and get moving in a manner that works for you, not against you!

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