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Finding Your Fitness Path: Workout Tips for Every Personality

One of the main reasons people flounder in a fitness journey is declining motivation. While we build mental as well as physical endurance over time, working out shouldn’t feel like a chore or mile after mile of aggravating time and effort. Our fitness mindset and motivation is, in part, tied to how well our exercise endeavors fit us as individuals. With all the variety possible, fitness isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition! To best direct our fitness journeys, we should take into consideration not only our exercise goals and current health status but also our personalities and preferences. When we tap into both our aspirations and our interests, our likelihood of succeeding and continuing fitness long term increases exponentially! Read on to learn how-to tips for aligning your personality with your fitness path.

Go for the gold, or go with the flow?

When you think of yourself enjoying exercise and feeling successful in your fitness endeavors, what do you envision yourself doing? Are you crossing the finish line of your first (or twenty-first) race? For some, a competition or event like a 5k, a marathon, or a 90-Day Challenge can offer the ultimate boost. Not only are these events fun and provide continual surges of motivation, but they also help direct your workouts, keep you on track, and hold you accountable.

For some people, however, the idea of competing or participating in an organized event feels more stressful than helpful. In this case, a group competition might potentially stall or even derail their positive mindset and fitness success. Working toward more individual accomplishments or challenges (e.g. stretching their yoga practice over time, building the strength and endurance to climb a particular mountain, developing their abilities in a particular sport or lifting heavier loads) feels more natural and motivating for many people. The difference is simply personality.

Knowing what type of person you are and where your goal fits into your plan is crucial. Whether or not you see competition in your future, choose a goal that fits your personality and interests. What would you like to work toward and be able to accomplish? What would feel like a meaningful fitness achievement to you? Set yourself up for success by ensuring your goal is S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, attractive, realistic, and timely. Figure out in detail what each of these S.M.A.R.T. characteristics means to you - your future vision and current abilities.

Committed, willing, and able to change?

You’ve determine what your overall goal is and whether or not utilizing an event or challenge would be beneficial for you. A helpful next step is to ask yourself how committed, willing, and able to change you are - your personal readiness. Oftentimes, we’re excited for our goals and motivated by the promises they offer. Yet, when we really dive into what this process entails on a daily basis, that motivation quickly wanes.

Using a scale from 1-10 (1 = low, 10= high), rank yourself for each of the three areas: commitment level, willingness to change, and ability to change. You may find that you rank yourself a 9 for commitment level and an 8 for willingness to change your lifestyle, which would suggest that your goal fits the S.M.A.R.T criteria. However, if you rank your ability to change less than a 7 or 8, that may be an indicator that your goal needs a little tweaking. Generally, set your goal to feel doable overall but to also require some stretch - generally ranking a 9 or 10 in each area. You may be surprised by what you find and how small “tweaks” can better match your goal to your personal readiness.

What level of sociability/space/accountability?

A final key step in finding your fitness path involves reflecting on the kind of socialibility/accountability you’ll need to be most successful. The fact is, there are fitness plans and offerings for every personality and every need - whether you thrive with individualized workouts on your own, or with training in large groups. The sky’s the limit! Think about times in the past when you’ve had success with exercise and what accountability you had. Did you train with a friend/partner? Were you part of a group fitness class? Did you follow an online training program? Did you prefer personal space and accountability to self? Was there another kind of structure or support that made a difference for you? If you’re not sure, try a variety of situations and see which one(s) you like best. Oftentimes, people thrive with their own personalized “mix” of supported/social activity and individual workouts.  

Having the right amount and kind of support during a fitness journey can make or break the process for many people. This resource is oftentimes overlooked! Determining how much structure and support you need as well as who/what can offer it might significantly impact your success - not to mention enjoyment of your journey.

Consider these areas before you kick-start your fitness path to help ensure you’re embarking on the best plan for you! Although you’re the expert on your preferences, don’t hesitate to consult with a fitness professional, who can share more information about your club’s classes, training programs, equipment and programming as well as the best tools and strategies for making optimal use of your workout efforts! Collaborating on an effective, personalized plan can be just the ticket to getting you to your goal!

Thanks for reading, everyone. What kind of workouts do you enjoy the most, and what settings and accountability allow you to thrive the best? Share your thoughts on finding your path and fitness personality!

Written by Becca Hurt, MS, RD Program Manager of Life Time WeightLoss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.



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