This may come as a surprise to most exercise enthusiast, not everyone enjoys exercising.  In fact, many people struggle to maintain a regular exercise program. Motivation, or the lack of, is one reason people stop exercising.  Motivation is complex and individualistic.  What motivates one person may not inspire another.  Linda Shelton, author, editor and fitness expert, explored the idea of fitness personalities and suggested motivation may be related to exercise compatibility.  For example, I love to exercise.  Today I did a kickboxing workout, followed by resistance training and core conditioning.  Yesterday I did an intense med-ball workout and the day before that, fitness fusion yoga.  This workout program might seem random, a mixed bag of activities, and that would be correct!  According to Linda Shelton’s fitness personalities, I am a Squiggly and my exercise program reflects my dislike of routine and my desire for variety.

Shelton defined five fitness personalities, classified as geometric shapes, which differ in workout structure and motivation.  Which fitness personality best describes you?
Do you like to plan all activities and events? Are you most comfortable with a familiar routine and schedule? If so, you may be a Square.
According to Shelton, Squares are very committed to their exercise program and thrive on routine.  Exercise plateaus and lack of progressive results are potential obstacles for Squares.  To avoid unproductive repetition and stagnation, try including a new activity into the weekly routine.  For example, if you are running the same distance every week, try including sprint intervals and running hills.
Do you like order and routine? If something interferes with the day’s workout, are you comfortable moving from plan A to plan B? Do you enjoy groups and perform better with social interaction? You may be a Rectangle.
Rectangles are comfortable working out alone, however are more motivated in a group setting.  The key to continued exercise enthusiasm is to combine a set schedule with social interaction.  A great example would be joining a running group or an exercise class.
Do you have a competitive edge and keep detailed exercise logs? Then you may be a Triangle.
Triangles are goal motivated.  Without a new training goal, Triangles lose momentum.  Shelton suggests partnering with an equally competitive buddy and train for specific events, such as marathons, or triathlons.
Do you find yourself at the gym socializing more than exercising? Are you emotionally driven and put the needs of others before your own?  If this sounds familiar, you may be a Circle.
Circles enjoy social interaction.  Incorporating structure and a social environment, group exercise classes and partner training are great options to keep Circles focused and motivated.
Do you dislike routine? Need a lot of variety? Do you quit if you are bored or not having fun? Then you join me among the Squigglies.
Squigglies should try an extremely varied exercise routine and include an assortment of new activities to keep motivation high.
Now it is your turn. What shape are you? Does your workout routine match your personality shape?

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Linda Shelton presented her study findings at the American College of Sports Medicine’s 2009 Health and Fitness Summit in Atlanta, Georgia.
American College of Sports Medicine, 2009.  Getting in step with your fitness
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Nichols, N. 2009.  Discover the perfect workout for your fitness personality.  Retrieved from