Knowing your Exercise Personality and Finding What Works for You

What's your workout personality?

A good friend of mine is obsessed with the Myers-Briggs personality profile and claims to be able to very accurately guess anyone’s type. I’ve always considered myself to be either an extroverted introvert or an introverted extrovert, one of the two. I enjoy talking to people immensely if it’s one on one. In fact, learning what makes people “tick” and what they’re passionate about is one of my favorite things. But going to large group functions gives me major anxiety. And going into a group where I don’t know anyone is pretty much a recipe for me canceling at the last minute.

So, I headed over to 16Personalities and took the Myers-Briggs quiz. I got ESFJ and the further explanation of Extraverted: 5% (I knew I was right in the middle of being introverted and extroverted!) Observant: 8%, Feeling: 27%, Judging: 43%, Turbulent: 11%. 

I was curious how personality profiling affects exercise habits. As I’ve discussed before, personality plays a major role in your commitment, style and more. 

Suzanne Brue wrote a book called “The 8 Colors of Fitness: Discover Your Color-Coded Fitness Personality and Create an Exercise Program You’ll Never Quit!” In the book, Brue classifies people’s workouts into eight color-coded categories that correspond to their general personality traits.

Blue: Safety-Conscious (ISTJ, ISFJ)
Blues correspond to the MBTI personalities of ISTJ and ISFJ. They are straightforward and conscientious, especially when it comes to safety. Blues are the people who stick to the same gym machines, usually sporting a heart monitor or pedometer. They’re also introverts who will create their own space by reading books or magazines on the treadmill or elliptical trainer. Blues prefer repetitive, rhythmic exercises that allow them to track their progress easily. Rowing, running, walking, yoga, and weight training all appeal to this personality type. 
Gold: Traditional and Social (ESTJ, ESFJ)
Like blues, golds are also traditional and conservative, but they’re more outgoing. They look to authority figures, like doctors and trainers, to help them build their fitness routines around proven methods. They also seek precision in all things and often ask for help in perfecting their forms. Group classes, such as yoga and Pilates, satisfy this desire for authority and positive reinforcement, as does working closely with a personal trainer. Golds also enjoy swimming, tennis, and hiking because these activities have clear, specific goals and accessible role models. 
Green: Nature Lover (ISTP, ISFP)
You’ll almost never find greens in the gym. That’s because they’re outside, getting their exercise the natural way. They usually prefer to be alone, working toward a set goal or just attuning themselves to the rhythms of the outdoors. You’ll find greens hiking, biking, mountain climbing, or running, though they may do some weight lifting to train for a long hike or climb. 
Red: Enthusiastic and Competitive (ESTP, ESFP)
Reds have a ton of energy and a competitive spirit. They want to be where the action is. Like greens, reds see the gym as a means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Treadmills are just too boring for these guys. Unless they’re power-lifting, reds would much rather be outside, playing a team sport or a pickup game, such as basketball, beach volleyball, or touch football, with their friends. 
White: Independent and Introspective (INTJ, INFJ)
Whites use the rhythm of exercise to help them get more in touch with themselves. They prefer their own spaces and tried-and-true routines that leave their minds free. You’ll typically find whites at the gym during off-peak hours, listening to their iPods on treadmills or elliptical trainers. Whites tend to avoid group classes, since they resent any outward interference in their routines. They prefer hiking, running, yoga (done alone), and cardio and strength training at the gym. 
Saffron: Expressive and Spontaneous (INTP, INFP)
Brue writes that she chose the color saffron to represent this workout personality because it commands attention in a warm, comfortable way that is also subtle. Saffrons, too, are lively but not extravagant. They struggle with motivation if they aren’t in the mood. Yet they also seek challenges and don’t let their desire for fun lapse into frivolity. Saffrons do best when they mix up their workouts and choose fun activities. Dancing, group classes such as Zumba and spinning, and biking all appeal to these vivacious types. If they do work out on machines, saffrons will always have a great mix of funky beats to keep them motivated. 
Silver: Fun and Flexible (ENTP, ENFP)
Silvers get their energy from people, music, and a fun atmosphere. They tend to have more focus than saffrons; this gives them a skill set that makes them well suited for jobs as group-fitness instructors, according to Brue. Their workout style is flowing, building upon a collective momentum. Any rhythmic activity that tunes out distractions is ideal for silvers, who tend to enjoy tai chi, jogging, and group classes like spinning, Zumba, Nia, and yoga. 
Purple: Routine-Oriented (ENTJ, ENFJ)
Though purples are also extroverted, they tend to stick with one or two regular workout buddies. (More than that might interfere with their routines and deter them from their goals.) Purples choose uncomplicated regimens that are often repetitive; lap swimming, interval training, running, cycling, and walking all appeal to them. Though they find comfort in routine, purples need to be pushed to mix it up a little bit, or they run the risk of developing stress fractures, tendonitis, and other repetitive stress injuries.

If you’re interested in finding out more about your workout color, check out Brue’s quiz on her Web site.

Enjoy finding out more about yourself and your workout personality!