Life Performance Blog: What's The Right Type of Exercise For You?



Match your fitness to your foundation and enjoy


As humans, movement is both a birth right and a privilege.


Babies squirm and squiggle as soon as possible. Children love to move.


For many, between our transition from the playground to the workplace, we forget how much we love to move. We decide that exercise is a chore, or it's something that "other people" are good at.


If movement is a chore, making it enjoyable again may be a matter of practicing a mindset shift.


Maybe, the problem isn't "exercise", necessarily. The problem could be a mismatch between you—your natural type and style—and the activities you associate with "exercise".


Your body type and exercise


We tend to gravitate towards activities that best suit our physique and abilities.


Ectomorphs


Ectomorphs (the "lighter-framed, leaner and lankier" body types) tend to like endurance activities, or activities where they can use their height or leanness to advantage.


This can include activities like:

  • long-distance running or cycling

  • swimming

  • basketball

  • track and field

  • rowing

  • climbing

Mesomorphs


Mesomorphs (the "muscular mediums") tend to like quick, explosive activities, where they can use their athleticism, speed, and strength.


This can include things like:

  • wrestling

  • sprinting

  • gymnastics

  • short-track cycling and mountain biking

  • tennis

  • football

  • hockey

Endomorphs


Endomorphs are larger-framed people and put on fat more easily. They tend to like slower-paced or strength activities where size is an advantage.

This includes:

  • baseball and softball

  • golf

  • strength sports (e.g., powerlifting, strongwoman, Olympic lifting, Highland Games)

  • heavier weight classes in martial arts, wrestling, or boxing

  • football and rugby

  • throwing sports (e.g., discus, shotput)

  • hiking


Your "exercise personality"


We all have "exercise personalities" as well as a body type.

  • Do you prefer exercising with a large group, one workout partner, or alone?

  • Do you prefer indoor or outdoor exercise?

  • Do you prefer spontaneous, loosely organized activity (such as a game of pickup basketball) or well-planned, clearly structured activity (such as a class or course)?

  • Do you like to compete against other people as part of a team (e.g., hockey)? Against one other person (e.g, boxing)? Against yourself (e.g., climbing)? Or not at all (e.g., yoga)?

  • Do you like exercise to rev you up or calm you down?

  • What do you like to feel when you exercise? Strong? Fast? Energized? Joyful?

  • Do you like exercise to be intellectually challenging (e.g., learning a new skill or doing an obstacle course) or intellectually relaxing (e.g., running on a treadmill, where you can zone out)?

  • Do you prefer someone else to push or direct you, or do you prefer to be self-directed?

  • Do you like exercise to be useful (e.g., learning outdoor survival skills) or playful (e.g., Frisbee)?

  • What kind of music do you like to listen to when you exercise? And do you like exercising to music at all?

  • What movements or activities make you feel good? What are your strengths, and what movements or activities match those?

Just like body types, most folks are a mix of "exercise personalities".


Find your niche


Find what fits you.


1. Think about your body type and "exercise personality".

What type of activities appeal to you? Which ones do you naturally gravitate towards?


2. Consider what activities might suit you, or which ones you might like to try.

Then… why not try them?


3. Mix it up. Try new activities.

If you're an endomorph who's frustrated by marathons, maybe you'll discover you're actually the next Serena Williams or Lennox Lewis.


4. Try and do as many activities as possible.

If you're enjoying an exercise that may not be ideal for your body type, that's perfectly fine. Having a broad repertoire of movement choices is part of being a fit person.


Be brave


You may also find that as you get into better shape, you want to try more new activities—and you’re more able to do those new activities.


Get creative. Be brave. Try all kinds of things as you progress.


You might feel a little silly, self-conscious or unsure of yourself when you start a new activity.


That’s normal. And when you try something, you've never done before, you won't be awesome at it. That's OK.


Stick to it, keep practicing, focus on getting a little sweaty and having fun, and you might be amazed at what can happen.