Understanding the nature of your personality comes in handy for landing the perfect job or fine-tuning your communication skills with your partner. But did you ever consider the role your personality type plays in determining your fitness tastes?
“Understanding these nuances and tailoring your fitness regimen accordingly give you a major head start on the path to success,” says Suzanne Brue, MS, a longtime Myers-Briggs practitioner and author of The 8 Colors of Fitness (Oakledge Press, 2008).
“Research suggests that people who engage in personality-appropriate activities will stick with the activities longer, enjoy their workout more and ultimately have a greater overall fitness experience,” says Susan Davis-Ali, PhD, a researcher who developed a fitness interest profile test for Life Time Fitness. (Take Davis-Ali’s quiz at www.lifetimefitness.com/fip.)
Though not the first to dig into the topic of fitness and personality, Brue is the first to create a system based on the principles of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment. Brue took the MBTIs — Introversion (I) or Extraversion (E), Intuition (N) or Sensing (S), Thinking (T) or Feeling (F), and Judging (J) or Perceiving (P) — and reworked them into an easily maneuverable color-coded fitness personality model.
Get to Know Yourself
If you’ve ever taken an MBTI assessment and you remember your resulting four-letter type, you can skip to the type-associated descriptions on the following pages. If not, you can get quick results by using Brue’s online color-coded fitness assessment at www.the8colors.com.
A little background: The MBTI investigates whether you’re an extrovert, (“E”– drawing more energy from the outside world) or an introvert (“I” — getting energized from within); whether you process information through intuition (“N” – trusting flashes of insight) or through sensing (“S” – seeking out hard facts and sensory data); whether you’re a thinker (“T” – meaning you tend to be more detached and analytical in decision-making) or a feeler (“F” – meaning you tend to be more personal and empathic when making up your mind); and whether you lean toward judging (“J” — indicated by a desire for defined decisions and closure) or perceiving (“P” – denoting those who prefer to keep their options open longer). Often people recognize their type when they hear it described, Brue notes, so even reading the descriptions of the personality categories can help you identify yours.
To help you get to know your fitness type, we’ve outlined each of the eight fitness colors below. Read the descriptions, take Brue’s 8 Colors quiz online and try out some activities that best suit your personality. “You might even discover you are well suited for a sport that you never even thought of trying,” says Davis-Ali.
- Blues (ISTJ, ISFJ) are safety-conscious, and good at creating their own space and concentrating in a gym.
- Golds (ESTJ, ESFJ) are traditional, conservative, and like to share their exercise experiences and results with others.
- Greens (ISTP, ISFP) are nature lovers who enjoy outdoor activities.
- Reds (ESTP, ESFP) like to live in the moment and compete in team sports.
- Whites (INTJ, INFJ) prefer to plan, hate to be rushed and are visionary types who enjoy calm spaces.
- Saffrons (INTP, INFP) like to express themselves as individuals and are attracted to spontaneous, engaging activities.
- Purples (ENTJ, ENFJ) are routine-oriented and enjoy repetition.
- Silvers (ENTP, ENFP) like exercise to be disguised as fun.
Next: Find the best fitness activity for you!