See What Workout Is Best for Your Personality (Based on Myers-Briggs)
If you’re having trouble sticking with your exercise plan, did you know it may not entirely be your fault?! It could actually just be a mismatch between your personality type vs. your exercise program. It’s true! Your particular Myers-Briggs personality type could have a lot to do with how you work out, what motivates you, and the best type of program for you.
According to Nancy Shaubhut and Rich Thompson at CPP—The Myers-Briggs Company to the British Psychological Society—how well you are able to stay on course with your exercise program has a lot to do with your personality type. And setting yourself up for success can go a long way toward helping you achieve your goals.
What are the Different Personality Types?
According to Myers-Briggs, you are first and foremost either dominantly an introvert or an extrovert. Extroverts typically want to be around people, and therefore, exercising at a gym is preferable for them. They tend to enjoy classes, social interaction, and a lot of people around them while they work out.
On the other hand, introverts don’t receive energy from being around other people (and can actually feel drained of energy when surrounded by others). Thus, a workout where they don’t have to interact with others is better for them. That doesn’t mean they need to stay away from a gym, it just means they’ll be the ones with the headphones on and without workout partners.
Of course, someone who is entirely introverted or entirely extroverted is rare. Most people are a combination but lean one direction or the other.
Next, there are types that involve sensing, perceiving, and intuition. Those whose personalities include perceiving tend to want variety in their workouts. They’re probably not the folks you’re going to see doing the same old, same old routine on the treadmill every day of the week. These are the hikers and joggers; the ones always scouting out a new trail or a new challenging exercise program. And the sensing and intuitive types tend to really enjoy an outdoor workout.
Then comes either a thinking or a feeling personality type. A thinker is probably going to want to know the logic and research behind a workout, such as why is this way of doing it better than other ways or how does this help your level of fitness. Whereas a feeling type personality will be more likely to join in on workouts that support a cause they enjoy, such as a charitable 10K run or a community fun day.
The Best Workouts for Every Personality Type
Let’s take a moment to explore each personality type and then match it up with the best exercise plan. There are 16 different combinations in the Myers-Briggs lineup with a brief explanation with the ideal workout styles for each type:
1. ENFJ—this “teacher” type personality will do best in a class or group atmosphere. Whether they are the instructors or merely participants, the ENFJ types are great at motivating others and leading by example. The best type of exercise for this Myers-Briggs type? Think cycling classes, boot camps, and team or partner activities.
2. ENFP—these creative free spirits love variety and are enthusiastic outdoorsy folks. But, they bore easily, so a classic routine is not for them. The best type of exercise for this type? Think fitness challenges, Crossfit routines, or hiking and biking on new trails that allow them to explore.
3. ENTJ—these are the folks who are driven by goals, deadlines, and timelines. And, they like to save time while getting the most bang for the buck. The best type of exercise for this type? A lot will choose an activity like running, which doesn’t require equipment or a commute and can be accomplished at the drop of a hat. It’s easily measured and documented. They’re also the types to engage in extras along the way to make things more challenging like pushups, monkey bars, and hills.
4. ENTP—the thinker in this athlete can actually be the bane of their existence. In order to get in a good workout, they have to let the competition do its own thing and focus on themselves and their own progress. The best type of exercise for this type? HIIT training, circuit training, or some kind of activity that requires your mind to focus, like yoga.
5. ESFJ—these social butterflies gain their energy by being around others. So, clearly, they need partner and group activities to stimulate and satisfy their social sides. They seek out the fun in fitness and do best with lots of interaction. The best type of exercise for this type? Fun fitness classes like Zumba or other dance classes where they can socialize both before and after class as well.
6. ESFP—also super social, these folks thrive in group and team sports that are fun, with an audience, and allow for lots of camaraderie. The best type of exercise for this type? Beach volleyball, baseball, or other team or group sports.
7. ESTJ—these competitive types like to keep things simple and ultra-organized in the gym. They thrive on workouts that can require tracking like weightlifting and running. The best type of exercise for this type? A workout with a competitive friend to keep them trying their hardest on the track or in the weight room.
8. ESTP—the fun-loving class clown needs to be the focal point, and their workouts reflect just that. The best type of exercise for this type? Think dancing or a team sport like football where the players can be the stars.
9. INFJ—these introverts are also big dreamers. And, while they may seem to be very laid back, exercise is important to them—as long as it’s the right kind of exercise. The best type of exercise for this type? They need something fulfilling for both body and spirit. Yoga is at the top of the list for these folks.
10. INFP—these outdoorsy types thrive when training with a small trusted group of friends. The best type of exercise for this type? Think bike riding with friends or a class on stretching.
11. INTJ—these practical athletes thrive on a schedule and a logical progressive path in their fitness endeavors. The best type of exercise for this type? This is your classic bodybuilder who actually enjoys the monotony of long cardio sessions and set training days.
12. INTP—these folks have a lot going on at all times and are extremely focused and in their heads, so working out has to fit into the other activities in their lives. The best type of exercise for this type? Walking, running, or hiking while multitasking and listening to a podcast is ideal.
13. ISFJ—these kind folks thrive on helping others, and when it comes to achieving fitness goals, it’s no different. They crave the accountability, and the desire to not let others down will drive them. The best type of exercise for this type? Group fitness and weight-loss challenges.
14. ISFP—these “extroverted introverts” love fun and spontaneity, and their workouts are no different. The best type of exercise for this type? Group workouts where they can still do their own thing, such as Crossfit or a burn boot camp with great music is right in their wheelhouse.
15. ISTJ—not into trends or fads, these people enjoy doing what works. They don’t have the time nor the desire to reinvent the wheel, so they stick with what’s worked best for them in the past. The best type of exercise for this type? Swimming, running, or perhaps even ice skating would be good choices for this group.
16. ISTP—the curious Georges of the pack, these folks love to try new things and will be the guinea pig in a new fitness class. They’re also not bound by schedules and are probably those rare folks who can work out “anywhere.” The best type of exercise for this type? A punch card to different gyms with a variety of classes would be great as could joining some fitness groups like a biking or running group.
What’s your personality type? Does the workout idea sound like a good fit? Let us know in the comments section!