When it comes to those who exercise, I’m convinced that there are two types of people: the competitive and the leisurely.
Let's take biking, for example.
This is how my husband bikes.
Competition drives him. Working toward a big goal, continually improving, and testing his limits are what keep him coming back for more. He reads books like Relentless by Tim Grover, where contentment is not a word in the vocabulary.
This is how I bike. (Though I'll admit, that wet sand would likely have me on the ground!)
Feeling good is my interest. Enjoyment and stress relief are what keep me coming back for more. (Competition tends to stress me out.) I prefer books like Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, where contentment is the goal.
The competitive group is pretty intense. They love their races (or other competitive sports events), and their workouts tend to include dramatic grunting. :) They might say to the leisurely person, "Step it up — no pain no gain!"
They see dramatic gains in their physical abilities. We admire these people for their drive, discipline, and achievements. We give high-fives and get inspired when we watch them perform.
In contrast, the leisurely group is more relaxed, slower paced, enjoying the ride. They venture outside their comfort zone, but nothing too crazy. They might say to the competitive person, "Easy there, tiger."
Their results may not be as immediate or dramatic, and there's typically no fanfare, but don't underestimate this calmer group, who often see big wins in the lifelong journey of health.
What Is Your Exercise Personality?
My goal isn’t to put labels on people. We probably all have a combination of each of these character traits within us, with overall tendencies in one direction or the other. Furthermore, what starts as a leisurely activity may become more competitive, and vice versa.
My goal is to get you thinking about what will keep you “coming back for more” when it comes to exercise.
Our motivations and preferences can vary greatly. And there's no right or wrong way to be.
In my opinion, any mindset that gets a person up and moving on a consistent basis is the "right" way for them.
If you’ve tried the intense, competitive stuff and it wasn’t your thing, try making your exercise routine more leisurely and enjoyable! (This made a huge difference for me, in terms of staying consistent.)
Conversely, if you enjoy an exercise and want more of a challenge, try something competitive!
What Is the "Right" Kind of Exercise for You?
Here are some things to think about as you consider exercise practices that would be a good fit for you:
Do you prefer a more competitive or leisurely routine?
Do you prefer the company of others or solitude?
Do you prefer to be outside or in a climate-controlled environment?
Do you prefer a strict program or freedom to decide as you go?
Do you prefer to start your day with exercise or to do it later?
We're all wired differently. The point is to find out what works for you.
In other words, “Be you. Do you. For you.” -Unknown
This post was originally published on February 22, 2016.