At the risk of sounding like a corrupt MP3 file stuck on repeat, the most important aspect of your program is your habit. Without the habit, you have nothing from which to improve. With your regular habit intact, you can always course correct, but without it, you’re stuck on square one.
To help you keep that habit, it’s a good idea to stick to aspects of fitness that you enjoy. Of course, there is no science to determine this, but there may be better matches for the way you’re wired. Bare in mind, the way you’re wired will likely change once you start working out. That’s okay. Habit first, then course changes, remember?
Here are five personality traits, with at least one recommendation for a fitness outlet. These are the places you should start looking.
Everyone is competitive in some fashion, but the nature of competition changes from person to person. I’m more the introverted competitor. I like to compete with my personal best, but that’s me and that’s not the norm.
When most people talk about someone who is competitive, they’re talking about someone who can’t do anything without trying to be the best. Competitors don’t always win, but they always try their hardest.
For those motivated by competing, Crossfit is a no brainer. They measure workouts by how fast you complete them. Alternatively, you may consider Olympic weightlifting, especially if you are strong. If you’re really good, you can take this one to the ultimate competition stage.
You’re the sort of person who likes order. There is a right way to do everything. You face the food in your cupboards like a store shelf. You clean on a schedule without fail. When you walk, you consider each footfall to measure if they are even.
There are two outlets you should consider for fitness. If you suffer any kind of vanity, bodybuilding is the best way to go.
There’s nothing wrong with a little vanity. We’re all wired that way to some extent.
Alternatively, if you’re not so concerned with vanity, Pilates may be a better option. The discipline of Pilates is less about the perfection of physical form externally, more about perfect control of your internal muscles and how they work with your externals.
There is only one right way to articulate in any given movement in Pilates. People spend years trying to perfect those movements.
Some of us are extroverts; like half of us. That half of us feeds on interaction with others. When class is starting, the extroverts among us are the last people to stop chatting.
For extroverts, interaction with others is critical. Otherwise, they find the fitness center a drag.
My favorite suggestion for the butterfly among us is to join functional fitness centers or other group training outlets. There are too many to mention, but Orangetheory and November Project are hot tickets right now.
Group fitness could include a Crossfit center, even if you find Crossfit intimidating. People of all different abilities and ages can do Crossfit.
With the backing of a group, it will amaze you what you can do.
For the half of us that feed off other people, there is another group that finds other draining. This is where this author lives, with the loners.
If we’re gonna exercise, it will be on our terms. We don’t want anyone to bother us. We don’t want to chat. A good option for the loner is running, long distance or otherwise. Another possibility for loners is weight lifting.
The challenge is that some weightlifting may require a spotter, but if the goal isn’t to get stronger all the time, then controlled weight lifting might afford the loner the freedom he craves to stay invested.
Some of us toggle back and forth between begin loners and social butterflies, depending on the day. Those lucky folks have more options for keeping their habit.
Since you were a kid they’ve been telling you to sit still. If you’re seated, you bounce your foot or rock in your chair. The only time you stop moving is when you sleep. Your overflowing energy only warrants once thing: an outlet.
You need someplace to direct all your power. It will take some zen focus, but powerlifting could be your perfect energy outlet. In powerlifting, everything you have goes into one massive lift. It’s intense so your focus has to be one point.
If you can manage it, nothing will sap your energy faster than a good pull or press.
Yoga offers a whole different outlet of focused energy. For the naysayer who thinks yoga is all about stretching, it’s not. Way off. It takes a monumental application of energy to achieve most poses, but also to hold them.
You may walk into yoga a spazz, but you will walk out a zen master.
It’s likely you will find more than one of these personality traits applies to you. Pick the one that best stimulates your desire, but don’t be afraid to jump around.
Leverage the fact that you are an energetic social butterfly or a perfectionist loner. The more outlets you have for fitness, the better chance you have of keeping your habit.