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Monday, March 31, 2014

Workouts as windows to personality

My son recently mentioned something he'd just read: that you can tell everything you need to know about someone from watching him work out. I thought about it, and realized it's true.

Working out is something you generally do purely of your own volition. It's not like the Army, or even a corporation, where you're expected to conform. So you can find out a lot about someone's personality from watching him work out.

Does he work hard at it? Does he break a sweat? There are those, mostly women, who don't even break a sweat on the treadmill.

Does he know what he's doing? Does he work his entire body, or just his upper body? (Any guy who works only his upper body is almost guaranteed to have an IQ below 110.)

Does he do exercises which utilize his entire body, or does he isolate the Hollywood muscles? (One guy can move well, the other generally can't; there's an IQ correlation here as well.)

Does a woman work her upper body as well, or just her legs and tummy and tush? If the latter, she is doing it purely for sex appeal, and has zero interest in athleticism. 

Does he look in the mirror a lot? Does he seem to like what he sees? You can get a good read on the ego-meter from that.

Can he work out by himself or does he need workout buddies to keep him motivated? (Is he a peer pressure-type or does he actually have any will power?)

Does he prefer exercise classes? (Sheep alert! Or, possibly, voyeur alert.)

Does he vary his effort depending on whether someone else is watching? (If so, don't expect honesty in other regards.)

Does he/she spend a lot of money on his/her workout outfit? (There's an imperfect but generally inverse correlation between the expensiveness of the outfit and the seriousness of the workout.)

Does he/she read a book while he works out? If so, he's not putting much effort into it. And you probably won't want to have lunch with him, because he'll be spending most of his time staring at his cellphone.

Is he more into lifting or cardio? One kind of guy wants to be more manly, the other wants to live forever, and each will probably express that dynamic in every other facet of his life. (Marathoners don't drive Ford 150 pickups, and power lifters don't drive Volvos.)

Is he the type who talks about his workout plan but always finds an excuse not to stick to it? (Don't expect him to stick to anything else either.)

How neurotic is he? If he misses an exercise, will it really bother him? (If so, don't expect him to be flexible in other regards.)

Does he use good form? Does he bridle if you suggest a change? (That's his whole personality right there.)

Is he willing to share whichever machine he's using? (A hog is a hog everywhere.)


Anonymous said...

"(Any guy who works only his upper body is almost guaranteed to have an IQ below 110.)"
Or be paralyzed below the waist.

John Craig said...

Anon --
Right, the IQ comment doesn't apply to people with physical disabilities, obviously.

Anonymous said...


Loved the topic today, made me think about my PT schedule and mental attitude. What about the guy whose trying to keep up with his neighbor?

Mad Dog

John Craig said...

Tom --
Thanks…..That's no big deal, just a sign of gayness, that's all.

Anonymous said...

I sweat pretty good doing whole body workouts while checking myself out in the mirror.I can't walk by a mirror without looking, ditto for relective glass. I go to the gym at oh dark hundred when nobody is there. My clothes are clean, but nothing special, and I work out harder then when others are there, mainly because I can more noise and segue better. Never been in an exercise class. I do drive a F150, and don't worry too much about missing a set. I do use good form, but I don't want advice in the gym, I really don't want to talk anyone there. I'll share a machine with someonem, but I'd really rather not.

So, what's my personality? Do I slam doors into little, old ladiy noses or do I help them with their groceries?

John Craig said...

Anon --
If all that is accurate, I'd say you're a hard worker, a serious-but-not-neurotic fitness guy, and reasonable to boot. (Nobody likes to share a bench if they don't have to, but it's only unreasonable people who refuse to share.) As far as looking in the mirror a lot, it means you probably like the results of your hard work and have a healthy ego. (I have to admit, I"m guilty there too.) The F-150, unless you need it for work, is usually a sign of a manly self-image (otherwise known as "machismo"). Nothing wrong with that unless it's a chip-on-the-shoulder type of aggressive machismo.