Loathe running? Hate high intensity? It could be your personality and not your body that’s to blame. Research shows our traits can dictate the type of workouts we enjoy – there is a reason why some thrive at spinning while others get a buzz from yoga. And it’s not quite as simple as stressed types hitting the meditation mat and adrenaline junkies signing up for boot camp.
“For fitness to work, it has to feel right for you,” says Pete McCall, spokesperson and trainer for the American Council on Exercise. “You should workout according to your personality for better health and results, but it’s not so simple to recognize what is right and wrong for you. Personality style reflects more than just an individual’s characteristic – emotions and coping mechanisms also come into play, too.”
So, how do you know what’s right for you? According to American psychologist John L. Holland, we fit into four main personality types: The Deliberator – detail-orientated and impatient; The Director – goal-orientated and determined; The Collaborator – reserved and steady; and The Expressor – energetic and interactive.
Should you push against your personality type? “No,” says McCall. “It’s just not going to feel right. Be true to yourself, or you’ll find motivation will wane, and ultimately you won’t get the results you are looking for.”
Once you identify which type you fall under, science says we’re much more likely to stick to it because we’re creatures of habit. Here’s how to match your mind to your muscle…
As an overthinker, you need your workout to help you tune out mentally. Exercise that keeps the mind engaged through movement is the perfect antidote – high intensity interval training, circuits and ballet barre classes will work you hard while still giving you that much-needed structure and a mental break.
You like to take charge and look to get the most from your workout in as little time as possible. What works for you are classes that allow you to stay in your own head space without interacting. You’re not one for teamwork, so indoor spinning (where the room is dark and the focus is inward), yoga and Pilates are ideal.
For you, working out is all about the social experience. You enjoy a wide variety of exercise, but to avoid getting bored easily, go for group classes such as kick-boxing and boot camps – you’ll thrive on the social support and constant stimulation.
As an introvert, you’ll relish exercising solo and enjoy those quiet, meditative moments in yoga and Pilates. Though barre classes are often done in a group setting, the structure and small movements can be calming. You approach exercise rationally, so if you do hit the gym, work with a trainer one-on-one.
THE FIT KIT
The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown.