What Type of Gym Person are You?
I think personality types are really fascinating but looking at the sort of person you are at the gym in relation to how you react to training is even more interesting! We’re going to look at all of the strengths and weaknesses as well as the best coaching methods for you.
Based on the book Concious Coaching by Brett Bartholomew I’ve simplified and adapted his client archetypes so people can check them out and see which one they relate to the most!
Gym goer personality types
Below are 16 gym personality types based on Brett Bartholomew’s client archetypes. I have changed some of the names slightly (so they’re not as blunt!) but try to be honest with yourself and pick one that most suits you. You can also be a combination of a couple, I know I am. (If you know me, try and guess which ones I am!)
I’ve also used the words ‘coach’ and ‘coaching’ rather than Personal Training because the descriptions in the book are intended for high level and elite coaching for athletes. However, I have tweaked the descriptions a bit to suit general gym goers!
Let’s get into it…
You do really well with movement related tasks and you look at exercises as a puzzle to be solved by the body and mind. If a new exercise is an issue, you’ll break the movement down until you understand it. You enjoy the technical side of training and you like to understand everything you’re doing.
Weaknesses – Your mind ends up working against you as you overcomplicate things for yourself. This is because if something doesn’t go as planned you begin to over-analyse and put extra pressure on yourself.
Coaching style – You need someone who is going to give you information and context. Having someone who is technically minded helps but if they can show understanding of your preference of learning then that works too. You need more than someone just telling you to lift weights.
You’re used to being praised (or you like being praised) and you become competitive when faced with comparison. You envision yourself coming out on top and become incredibly disheartened when you don’t.
Weaknesses – You don’t like to get out of your comfort zone and you avoid activities when you’re not fully confident that you’ll be one of the best. You’re very aware of other people’s perception of you.
Coaching style – When learning something new you’ll feel better when it’s associated with something you already know. You’ll do better in your session knowing you’ve achieved something that people receive praise for because it will encourage you to do well.
You not only do what you’re told, but you do so with true intention and attention to detail. Even if you don’t have all of the skills you find that you enjoy the process and push forward through setbacks.
Weaknesses – You go full steam ahead even if it means sacrificing your health or risk of injury. You don’t want to hold back.
Coaching style – Your coach needs to recognise your efforts and appreciates that you’re all in with effort and dedication. However your coach also needs to be honest with you regarding your expectations and make sure you don’t push yourself too hard.
You specialise in a certain sport or activity but you don’t want to do the training that will benefit your sport. Movement for your chosen activity can become intuitive so you become a natural at it but those who are less experienced can struggle due to your lack of interest in the training side of things.
Weaknesses – Having a singular focus can be a good thing but not when you’re missing out on training sessions that can improve your performance.
Coaching style – Your training needs to resonate with you so direct analogies and simulating movement patterns are important for you to stay interested. You need to know why you’re doing something and how it will pay off in the long run.
You have charisma, you’re funny and you love having a chat but because of this you find ways (even subconciously) to skip reps, sets or just give less effort. You’re confident but you know how to take the focus off you when you don’t want to be noticed.
Weaknesses – You’ll sacrifice progressing to avoid doing something you don’t want to do. You might think that it won’t come back to haunt you but it will! You need to learn to trust the process.
Coaching style – You need a coach who will give you a bit of freedom but they also need to be firm with you when you seem like you’re trying to cut corners. It’s best for you to have options when it comes to your programme but still have structure to get you where you want to be.
(Note: you’re not necessarily a newbie just because you’re new to the gym!)
You’re overwhelmed and sometimes overeager to do as much as possible but you do need to work on the basics first. You have a tendancy to try to run before you can walk.
Weaknesses – You lack patience but you’re very eager to improve. You want to push yourself further but you’re putting yourself at risk of injury by trying to keep up with other people who are ahead of you.
Coaching style – You need a coach who remembers what their training sessions were like when they first started out. The realisation that failure is likely when pushing yourself too far is essential so a slow and steady approach is ideal. You don’t need to be pushed to your max potential because you’re already doing that yourself.
(You might have the potential to be a Leader but you’re not quite there yet).
You have a natural desire to succeed and improve your skill level. You’re motivating to other people and you encourage others to be the best they can be. You have excellent work ethic towards training and act as a positive influence to people around you.
Weaknesses – You have internal negative self talk when something goes wrong and you replay every moment and action over and over in your head after a failure.
Coaching style – You’ll relate to a coach who is honest and dedicated to helping others be the best they can be. You’ll do well in a situation where you’re given permission to help others out in your group training sessions. Being in a situation where you’re silenced won’t be a positive experience for you.
You let bad moments becomes become a big deal by letting anxiety and self-doubt take over. You have a tendancy to overthink things which has an effect on your training mentally and physically. You have a good work ethic and a respect for the process but let your personal life affect things.
Weaknesses – Second guessing yourself will affect your performance and then one mistake has a domino affect. You become frustrated, the tension builds up and it takes it’s toll on your training session.
Coaching style – Your coach needs to recognise what you do well in and what brings you confidence to make sure you’re not just doing things that will stress you out. Visualisation practices will also help you because the main issue with this personality type is the fear of failure.
You want to chat about everything and everything. You bring a new energy to the room but you can be very distracting to other people and disrupt the session.
Weaknesses – You struggle to focus but you act as if nothing bothers you. You’re basically disguising your insecurity with your talking. This inhibits your progress because you’re missing out on vital training time!
Coaching style – We’re now used to being surrounded by noise and stumili but there’s a time and a place for story time. Your coach needs to compromise with you but make sure that you’re getting everything done in your session otherwise your training will suffer.
You’ve been through a lot of s*** so you’ve become used to the notion of not trusting people and only relying upon yourself. You’re strong-willed and trust your own judgement of what’s best for you.
Weaknesses – With your over-thinking and tendancy to doubt yourself, you struggle to get out of your own head. You get very frustrated which negatively affects your training.
Coaching style – You need someone to guide you and stop letting emotion get in the way. Building a good level of trust with your coach is very important so they can steer you in the right direction. You’ll probably want to have input in the session but try not to take over!
The Free Spirit
People think you’re younger than you are because of the way you act and your air of playfullness. You’re always smiling and full of energy and you like to enjoy every moment of life.
Weaknesses – You can be a bit forgetful and absent-minded during your sessions. Your aloof personality can make it seem that you don’t care.
Coaching style – A good coach needs to bring out your competetive side. Nailing your session will make you feel great which will encourage you to continue to progress. Training with other people might also be beneficial in realising your potential.
The Double Agent
There are 3 types of this one!
- Pretenders – you share tips and ideas with other people without actually knowing whether it works or not so you can fit in
- Charismatics – you like to act like the life of the party and share advice with people as if it’s a magic pill they’ve been missing out on
- Listeners – you pick up on the little details so you can use them in your favour later on, basically spreading rumours
Weaknesses – You’re going to get caught out eventually whether it’s by your coach or your training buddies!
Coaching style – You need to get a coach that can gently call you out on your bulls***. They need to learn how to understand your reasons behind your actions and you need to be open about why you do it.
You might have an excellent mentality towards training but not have the natural capability to do it. Or, you have the physical capability but your heart and mind just aren’t in it.
Weaknesses – You struggle to find the drive and determindation to progress and wish you had other people’s confidence. You struggle and go it alone even though a good coach could really help you.
Coaching style – You need a coach who will notice that you shy away and will encourage you to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Good programming will bring out your true potential and work on the side of you that needs improvement.
You project positivity in the your training and you’re confident in the gym. You keep to yourself but aren’t against being social, you just prefer keeping a low profile. You face problems head-on with intention.
Weaknesses – You’re a natural nuturer and teacher but you shouldn’t allow people to be overly-reliant on you for help; you’ll suffer from emotional fatigue and lose focus on the task at hand.
Coaching style – You need a coach who can connect with you with an honest and straightforward approach. You seek community and guidance as well as enjoying helping out others so group training is ideal.
You’re not closed-minded, you just like to consider your options before trusting someone with your training. You like to know the reasons behind what you’re doing so you question what you’re told.
There are 2 sub categories of this one also.
- Naturals – you don’t enjoy training and you wonder if it’s actually going to beneficial for you.
- Followers – you’re observant and heavily imfluenced by first impressions.
Weaknesses – If you question everything you’re doing it can be off putting to your coach. Plus, in a group training environment, you can put other people off too.
Coaching style – You should make your coach aware of any issues you’d had with training in the past so they can better understand any hesitation you have. A good coach should be able to answer your questions (or at least do some research to give you an answer) but try to be curious rather than negative.
You have a heightened sense of discomfort and a worry of injuring yourself. You’re hesistant to try something in case you’re not ready. You have a habit of asking a lot of questions because you’re worried!
Weaknesses – These habits can enforce a lack of confidence in yourself and you might find yourself using minor discomfort as an excuse not to do something.
Coaching style – A coach with an awareness of the body can help you determine what is actually a minor injury and what is discomfort. However, you need someone who will safely push you outside your comfort zone because secretly you’re worried about not being able to do something new!
Remember you can be a combination of a couple of gym personality types and it also might be difficult to accept the reality of the one you mostly relate to. If you recognise something within yourself that you don’t like, you can learn to develop other habits over time.
If you feel like it would be useful, you can share these details with a trainer to see if they will be suitable for you or be willing to adapt.
Tip: You’ll probably recognise these habits in other people first unless you know yourself very well!
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