Introverts, Extraverts, and Training

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 03, 2012 6:30 PM GMT
    I stumbled upon this blog post about introversion/extraversion and weight training...

    And get this -- in one study of patients in physical
    rehabilitation, the introverts didn't respond well
    if the therapist "pushed" them to do more and more in
    their therapy sessions. Being pushed made them anxious --
    and they "tightened up." Instead, they responded to
    "gentle encouragement."

    In contrast, the extroverts in physical therapy
    responded better if they were "pushed" or "challenged"
    by the therapist. If the therapist tried the "gentle
    encouragement" approach that worked for the introverts,
    the extroverts got bored and stopped trying.

    That meant the therapists had to use one approach
    for the introvereted patients -- and a different
    approach for the extroverted patients.

    So let me throw out a couple of questions for you:

    1. Is it possible that training programs that work great
    for an introvert might not work as well for an extrovert?

    2. Is it possible that extroverts should find training
    partners who will challenge them to do better?

    3. Is it possible that introverts do best if they follow
    the same workout for a long period of time -- and extroverts
    do best if they change their program relatively often?

    4. Is it possible that some trainees do better when they
    train in a gym -- and others do better when they train in
    the solitude of their garage or basement?

    My question to you RJers, are you introverted or extraverted, and do you think that influences the way you train?

    I'm definitely introverted. I prefer training at off-peak hours at the gym - usually 5am. I find that I'm a lot more efficient and focused when the weight room is nigh-empty at the wee hours in the morning. Ideally, I'd have my own gym at home where I can blast my own music and grunt as loud as I want. Conversely, crowded weight rooms, to me, are a drag and sap my energy. I can't concentrate on my lifts as well.
  • Lincsbear

    Posts: 2613

    May 03, 2012 10:06 PM GMT
    Introverted here, too.

    I think this has enabled me to go off running without a partner and concentrated on the workout without getting bored. In effect, more freedom/fewer excuses not to get active. It also means I can train any time I prefer, rather than being constrained by a strict timetable.

    And consistency in exercise is essential if you`re to make any progress.
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    May 03, 2012 10:07 PM GMT
    Interesting. Introvert here. I don't like getting yelled at for motivation either. It doesn't make me anxious. It makes me annoyed.

    1. Different people need different motivations. People don't fall neatly into introvert and extravert labels. I'm self-motivating most of the time. Other people like to have a partner to keep them going.

    2. Some extraverts will benefit from a partner. See #1.

    3. No, not necessarily. Introverts can get bored easily. I was changing my routine about every 4 weeks for my program.

    4. Possibly, to some degree. I don't like the distractions of a busy gym. I use my headphones with my music to drown out the clatter. I get lost in my own little world.
  • dalwriter

    Posts: 167

    May 03, 2012 10:10 PM GMT
    I consider myself more of an introvert but I have to say part of me enjoys going to the gym. I like seeing a few people around (as long as I don't have to wait for benches and stuff), I just don't want to interact with them. It's more of a visual distraction.

    As for the kind of encouragement, it's been a while since I worked with a trainer but my internal self-talk is more along the gentle lines so I guess they may be on to something.
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    May 03, 2012 10:11 PM GMT
    I am introverted about some things and extroverted about other things.

    However, when it comes to my workouts I am completely not motivated by intimidation, yelling or any of that. It's why I am not in the military.
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    May 03, 2012 10:22 PM GMT
    onaquest saidI am introverted about some things and extroverted about other things..

    Same here. But I'm usually the first guy in the gym(I have 24 hr access) and prefer to crank out my sets without the distractions of other people.

    USMC drill instructors were more annoying than motivating, but it was a choice I made. It did give me the discipline to motivate myself however.
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    May 03, 2012 10:25 PM GMT
    introverted here and became a computer programmer...
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    May 03, 2012 11:27 PM GMT
    When I joined the gym and was looking for a trainer, the fitness director asked me if i preferred a "drill sergeant" or a "cheerleader."

    I'm so glad I chose a trainer with a "cheerleader" style. As an introvert, I'd shut right down if anyone shouted at me, "C'mon! Give me more!"

    Posts: 2190

    May 03, 2012 11:33 PM GMT
    I tend to push my own limits, and I don't need others to 'push' me. If I say I'll go one more time... I probably talk myself into doing two or three more just to challenge myself. I wouldn't get anxious; I'd be annoyed in physical therapy. I am more on the competitive side of introversion.
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    May 04, 2012 12:12 AM GMT
    Yes, absolutely.

    I think that is why weightlifting lends itself to more introverts whereas group sports foster a lot more extroverts.

    Personally, I'm introverted enough that my most comfortable zone is to workout at home alone.

    Its really important when I do go to a gym that it have a lot of space, not be extremely crowded and definitely not have pushy trainers.
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    May 04, 2012 12:23 AM GMT
    I'm slightly introverted here. It's impossible for me to work out with someone. In the past when I would, I wouldn't push myself as hard because I didn't want my workout partner to see me struggle. I ended up losing some muscle mass when I worked out with someone, but gained it all back when I went back to working out by myself.
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    May 04, 2012 12:25 AM GMT
    Dunno ... I'm a huge introvert but did very well with a more "bark it out" type of trainer a few years back. I think it might be a more individual thing, and where a person is in terms of comfort level at the gym (but that's just a guess).
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    May 04, 2012 12:36 AM GMT
    I work with a trainer who is much more the cheerleader type (except when he tells me to do burpees, then he's a bastard). I've had a few drill sergeant experiences and I just shut those guys out and stop performing.

    While I dislike a crowded gym, having a dedicated place to work out and seeing other people work out is very motivating for me. I now take a twice-a-week class and I know I push myself harder because I am competitive with those people who are 20 years younger than I am.
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    May 04, 2012 1:31 AM GMT
    JPtheBITCH saidWhat if you're neither an introvert nor an extrovert?
    Does that mean you're a pervert?

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    May 04, 2012 1:36 AM GMT
    I don't think that extroverts ALWAYS enjoy noise. I think those who are noisy in public and near people's public space are more obnoxious people who crave attention the wrong way. Some of those psychological articles need to be more specific. Extroverts enjoy QUALITY noise like the concert of a respected band/group or a nice nightclub not some trashy fool yelling like they're entitled to disrupt peoples personal public bubble.
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    May 04, 2012 1:38 AM GMT
    Looking back to when I was still doing CrossFit, I guess my case is consistent with that physical rehab study. My trainers and my peers at my old CrossFit box were definitely the "cheerleader" type. The positive reinforcement definitely helped me to push myself.

    Edit: Actually, now that I think about it a little more, the type of encouragement I got from my CF trainers wasn't so much a "gentle encouragement" like the study states, but a more forceful, enthusiastic encouragement that was borderline drill sergeant status.

    Take this scenario:
    I'm at the bottom of my last rep of heavy squats and I'm having a little trouble pushing all the way back up. My trainers and peers would yell things like "Up up up up up!" and "PUSH!", but not in a negative tone, but a more positive tone, if that makes any sense.
  • justinatx

    Posts: 4

    May 04, 2012 2:04 AM GMT
    I think that personality / preference is more complicated than introverted versus extroverted. I’m motivated by making a plan and sticking to it – the cheerleader and the drill sergeant would probably annoy me equally. Yeah, I’m the guy at the gym with the clip board (and headphones).
  • studflyboy87

    Posts: 194

    May 04, 2012 2:43 AM GMT
    I am an ESTJ. Although I am basically 100% for S, T, and J, I am probably 51% for E and 49% for I, so i'm right in the middle.

    I would say that I respond way better to being pushed and challenged. I guess I am just a competitive person at heart.