Enjoy your workouts more by discovering your fitness personality


The introvert would rather work out alone. — Photos: AFP

How many of you are open to trying new workouts and sports?

We all have friends who rave about a certain exercise or sport, and how much weight loss or muscle gain they’ve derived from it.

Highly motivated, they drag you to give the activity a try, hoping it will become your passion too.

OK, I’ll admit it: I’ve been guilty of doing this many times, for the sheer pleasure of sharing my little joys with you.

Alas, after one or two classes, you find it a big yawn or too challenging.

You go back to your old routine. Ho hum.

But again, I’ll admit it: I’m just like you.

For example, some of my colleagues are fantastic badminton players and when they needed a female to join the team for a media competition, they approached me, thinking I would help them clinch a medal.

This, despite me telling them my forte is in ball sports and athletics, not racquet ones.

“But you’ve beaten me in squash so many times,” quipped one.

That was a pure fluke and only because my serves were good, I corrected him.

He insisted.

I conceded.

And so, I trotted along with an open mind to the event.

Unsurprisingly, I lost all my games in straight sets and we walked home with a few Milo packets and crispies.

After that incident, another colleague, who had been rooting for our team from the sidelines, told me to stick to the dance floor because, as he laughed and said, every time I smashed (or attempted to), it seemed as if I was performing a balletic manoeuvre!

I can’t help it – it’s the art I’m best trained in!

People often choose an activity based on the latest trends or a friend’s preference, with little thought as to whether they actually enjoy it.

It explains why new fitness hypes seldom last.

Unless you’re a sucker for mundane routines or extreme challenges, most of us would stop doing something totally uninspiring.

The world is made more exciting by our different personalities; similarly, we also have different workout personalities and like-minded people tend to be drawn towards the same sport.

Finding an activity you can connect with personally means that you’re much more likely to stick with it for life.

You may get fired up from a high-intensity boot camp-style workout, but your partner may find satisfaction from swimming or yoga.

Yet another person will not exercise anywhere but in a gym.

And for others, nothing but solo workouts with free weights will keep them motivated.

Check out which of the following fitness personalities fits you best:

> The social butterfly

Social butterflies like workouts such as Zumba. — FilepicSocial butterflies like workouts such as Zumba. — Filepic

When it comes to fitness, you crave for the social experience and are happiest when a sense of camaraderie with your fellow gym or exercise mates develops over time.

This can be a plus when trying out a new activity, as you tend to observe and learn from others around you, instead of only relying on the instructor.

You tend to favour relationships over results, and having fun with others while breaking a sweat is the most important aspect to you in a workout.

Your type tends to be easy-going, cheerful and brimming with positive energy.

Solo workouts bore you and you need company in order to enjoy your workout.

Zumba, aerobics and group fitness classes are the workouts that suit you best.

> The structured

You need routine, consistency and repetition to feel complete.

That means you’ll feel most motivated with a no-fluff or no-nonsense exercise regimen that you can learn and then repeatedly put into action.

You gravitate towards activities you are familiar and comfortable with, and more often than not, you prefer to go it alone.

Trying new workouts shakes your security and throws you out of whack, so you’d rather get a trusted trainer or coach and follow a tried-and-true exercise routine.

For example, you can be found on the treadmill every Monday and Wednesday, lifting weights on Tuesday, and perhaps doing Pilates or yoga on Saturday.

> The introvert

This personality type is known for prioritising downtime, and preferring silence or intimate conversations to small talk.

You might be nervous or shy, and get your energy from being alone or in a small group.

If there is too much external stimulation, your energy gets drained.

Crowds and group classes overwhelm you, so you’d rather go solo.

As you don’t like conversing with people, activities that suit you include running/swimming/hiking alone, following a virtual class with the camera turned off, or wearing headphones while you are working out in the gym to signal your desire not to be interrupted.

Try to keep your workouts short and effective.

High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, can be extremely effective without you having to dedicate a lot of time to doing it.

You are accountable to yourself and don’t need other people to motivate you, nor do you like competition as any part of your fitness routine.

> The go-getter

Go-getters enjoy a challenge and are quite competitive.Go-getters enjoy a challenge and are quite competitive.

Ambitious and bursting with energy, you’ve got a competitive streak and are willing to put in the hard work needed to achieve your goals.

To reach your personal target or prize, you need a specific training programme and will keep pushing yourself to go further.

Go-getters embrace risk and enjoy challenging exercises and sports.

Your motto: never say die.

Choices for you to consider include mixed martial arts, full marathons or triathlons, CrossFit, adventure races and obstacle courses

> The adventurer

Like the term implies, you like adventure and you’re game for anything when it comes to exercise and fitness.

With a passion for excitement and a flair for creativity, you’re not afraid to take risks and challenge yourself in an entirely new way.

You might make impulsive decisions and sign up for a triathlon, for example.

It may be tough, but you will push through with determination.

But you won’t sign up again if it was too taxing.

With an infectious personality and zest for life, you inspire others to want to follow your lead.

Know yourself

I interviewed a professor once who decided he would try pole dancing at the age of 76, only to be refused entry by the instructor as she deemed it too dangerous for his age.

He wrote a letter to the studio’s management, complaining of age and gender-related prejudice, and was later allowed to take the class.

Guess what? He couldn’t swivel around the pole, but managed to climb to the top!

That in itself is an achievement.

No one falls squarely into one category; more importantly, if you find the exercise or sport that suits your personality, you will enjoy it and reap the rewards.

Revathi Murugappan is a certified fitness trainer who tries to battle gravity and continues to dance to express herself artistically and nourish her soul. For more information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information contained in this column is for general educational purposes only. Neither The Star nor the author gives any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to such information. The Star and the author disclaim all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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