Personality Types and Training
Over the past decade, several prominent strength and conditioning coaches have started looking at their trainee’s personality types when creating their workout routines. The late Charles Poliquin was one of the first coaches to start using this method, and with great success. Poliquin knew that everyone tended to respond differently to different training methods. But what were the underlining causes?
At the time, most coaches were creating training programs based on a person’s body type. Mesomorph, ectomorph, and endomorph. Most coaches were correct in their assumptions that different body types responded differently to the same stimuli. But Poliquin wasn’t satisfied. He thought that there had to be something more at hand then just a person’s body type, and he was correct.
The Different Personality Types
If you have a degree in psychology, like me, then you are probably aware of the three main personality types. A person’s personality type influences every decision they make, and that’s just the beginning. There are three main personality types. And yes, there are some variations within each type, however most people will fall into one of these three categories.
Type 1 describes the thrill seeker. They are constantly looking for something new. They get bored with doing the same activity day in, and day out. Things like roller coasters and jumping out of airplanes makes them feel alive. These individuals also tend to be the ones that get easily addicted to drugs. Once they have that new experience, they will continue to chase it for the rest of their lives.
Type 2 individuals are always looking for approval from other people. Their decisions are based on what other people will think about them. These are the ones that like to go along with the crowd because they want to fit in with everyone else. These people are more followers, then natural born leaders. They can’t make the right decision if it will make them seem unpopular in the face of others. As long as the look good to others, they don’t care.
And then you have type 3. These individuals are afraid. They always think about the worst possible scenario, even though it rarely ever happens. They end up making their decisions based upon not failing. It is hard to find a millionaire that has a type 3 personality. They usually don’t have the ability to take the chances necessary to be a successful businessman. They can reach a certain amount of success, but nothing on the level of someone who isn’t afraid to reach for the stars.
Personality Types and Training
Poliquin was one of the first strength coaches to look at the different personality types when creating the workouts for his clients. And if you have any doubts as to how good Poliquin was, then look no further than the 20+ gold medals that his athletes have won in the Olympics.
For type 1 individuals, Poliquin would change their workouts frequently. If you have ever gotten bored from your training, you probably have a type 1 personality. Most people that love CrossFit have a type 1 personality.
For type 2 individuals, Poliquin would motivate them by complementing their results. Type 2 people are motivated by what the think other people like. So, if they think having abs is going to make them more popular, then they will do whatever it takes to get those abs.
Type 3 individuals are motivated by fear. Poliquin would motivate these individuals by making them feel guilty if they didn’t complete their workouts, or weren’t putting in enough effort. The fear of letting Poliquin and their loved ones down made them work harder.
Poliquin was Ahead of His Time
Charles Poliquin had a type 1 personality. He didn’t like the current methods of creating workout plans for his clients, so he did something about it. At the time, most people would have thought that he was just looking for a way to distinguish himself from every other coach out there. Like a true type 1 individual, he didn’t care what anyone said, and in doing so, has changed the way that coaches design workouts for their clients (well, the good ones anyways). Unfortunately, we lost Charles Poliquin way to soon. In my opinion, he is the greatest strength and conditioning coach of all time. If you think differently, you don’t know what you are talking about, and should just go join all the other fitness barracudas that chase anything that shines.
In the next article, we will dive a little deeper into personality types, and how they affect your training. Until then, try not to do anything too stupid in the gym.