Josh Bowen: What’s Your Fitness Personality? Three Questions to Ask Before Starting a Program

There are many articles and blogs about exercise/fitness written and seen every day. Today’s media is obsessed with the latest fitness fads. We are all inundated with countless “Lose 10 Pounds in 6 Weeks” taglines. From P90X to Insanity to the latest trend diet, we’re on fitness overload. But one problem remains… people still have trouble staying fit. Why? Well, I found a glaring hole into the fitness lexicon: lack of personality analysis.

As a trainer of 10 years, the most important lesson I learned is the client’s personality, goals and abilities dictate how I train them. Personality traits have been used for years in other industries to place workers in the right career or match a single up for a date. How about doing the same for fitness?

Today we start. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself:

1.For successful workouts, do you need a challenge or do you want more structure?

This is a great question that will forecast where your fitness journey will take you (for now, anyway). If challenge is what you need, define what challenges you. Running, lifting, obstacle courses, or cross training can be challenging on different levels. Keep it fresh to keep from getting bored. If structure is what you need, switching things up too quickly may overload you. CrossFit or P90X may not be something for you if structure is your goal. Keeping your exercise somewhat predictable may allow for more commitment and consistency. What if you have never exercised? Think about what you prefer in everyday life and apply it to your exercise program.

josh2.When you need to reduce stress, do you pick activities that are relaxing, or activities that help blow off steam?

For some, working out is stressful. Add work, life, and kids to the equation and it gets tougher. For some, exercise adds unwanted stress. To create adherence and long term participation with the possibility of results, I advise people to pick what fits their personality. For example, if blowing off steam is my preference, I may pick activities like boxing, weightlifting or cross training. If you prefer something more relaxing, yoga, massage or a nice stroll may be more suitable. People are more likely to keep exercising doing something they enjoy versus something they don’t.

3.Do you enjoy exercise more when it involves a routine that you can adhere to, or one that offers a variety?

Variety the spice of life, but not everyone wants it. Some of us get bored quickly, but not everyone is created equal. Think about what your personality would be best suited for and get the most from it. Would it be a program that you stick with, or would it be a plan that was progressive and changing? Either way, it does not matter. Your dedication to and how you feel about the program matters more than if it’s routine or offers variety.


Many people stop an exercise program at some point. The main culprit is the lack of support, but also because of a failure to identify the right fitness personality. Remember, fitness doesn’t need to take place in a gym. Recreational sports, outside fitness, and yoga are all forms of exercise – a point to consider when developing the program that fits you.

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