If you’re one of many exercisers having trouble sticking to an exercise routine, you’re not alone. Linda Shelton, a fitness and wellness authority and author, has a solution: Work with, not against, your fitness personality type.
Shelton has identified five distinct personality types that exercisers can use to develop personalized long-lasting fitness regimens which also recognize potential pitfalls. Some people may be a combination of more than one of the following types, says Shelton.
“Using the personality types is a great way to structure an exercise routine so you’re not just guessing about what might work and might not,” Shelton said. “It’s about knowing what drives a person, and using that knowledge to help someone stick with exercise and even enjoy it.”
The five personality types:
Squares: Squares are the most reliable, stable and predictable of the five personality types. They like to have a plan for nearly everything in their lives, and thrive on routine.
Potential pitfall: Doing the same exercise routine for years. “Squares tend to develop rigid schedules for themselves, so while they get to the gym, they don’t see progressive results because they hit plateaus,” Shelton said. “Instead, a square should try to take baby steps toward sprinkling in new activities weekly that switch up their routines while still giving them the familiarity of the old program.”
Rectangle: Rectangle types are a bit more flexible than squares, but still like order and routine. They love groups, and perform best with social interaction. Potential pitfall: Exercising alone. Rectangles should join fitness clubs – like hiking or running groups – and take group fitness classes instead.
Triangle: Triangles are the most competitive and driven of the five personality types. They are task-oriented and maintain detailed lists (like sets and repetitions) when working out so they can monitor their progress and revel in their successes.
Potential pitfall: Exercising without a set goal. Shelton suggests that triangles work out with an equally competitive partner or train for a specific event, like a sprint triathlon or half-marathon that has a goal.
Circle: Circles are the social butterflies of the fitness world, and the most emotionally driven of the five types.
Potential pitfall: Socializing instead of exercising, and putting themselves – and their fitness – last on the priority list. “Circles sometimes talk the entire way through a workout; they’re not really there for exercise so much as camaraderie,” Shelton said. “They need a nurturing trainer who will motivate them, yet not push too hard, or to exercise in a group setting.”
Squigglie: Squigglies possess the most outgoing, least structured personality type. They are the complete opposite of squares and hate routine. Squigglies must derive pleasure from whatever activity they’re doing, or they may quit.
Potential pitfall: Getting bored. Squigglies should try an extremely varied routine that includes lots of different classes and new activities to maintain interest in exercise.
Shelton says her five fitness personalities are an important consideration when developing an exercise routine. The exerciser can use their personality type(s) to create the best workout.
For information about fitness and nutrition for health and wellness call Dr. Richard Browne, Acupuncture Physician, at (305) 595-9500.