According to the world-renowned Myers-Briggs personality test, people are divided into 16 different psychological types that define their behavior and specific characteristics. Here's how to figure out what type of workout matches your type and how to reap the most benefit out of it!
All 16 types are organized into what's called a "type table", as they make a perfect 4x4 structure, according to the four main characteristics. Everyone is a combination of all four, but some may differ only in one, and some may be on the complete opposite side of the spectrum. The goal of knowing all personality types is to understand and appreciate differences between people. There is no best type; all types are equal. The main characteristics that define all types are:
- Attitudes: Introversion/Extraversion
- Functions 1: Sensing/Intuition
- Functions 2: Thinking/Feeling
- Lifestyle Preferences: Judging/Perception
In the Myers-Briggs table, they are featured by their first letter, so I/E, S/N, T/F, J/P, and each type has all four. Now imagine all the combinations of those 8 letters- and there you have it: 16 personality types. Let's dive in.
ISTJ- Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
This personality type is characterized as quiet, serious, practical, realistic, and someone who takes great pleasure in organization. They value traditions and work towards their goals steadily, without distractions. They tend to perform the best when they're alone, so they should avoid group trainings and team sports, and focus on individual long-term, goal-setting performance such as running, cycling, rowing, hiking, or swimming. They thrive in organized settings so anything with clear goals, beginning and end points, and established steps to reach them, would be their best option.
ISFJ - Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging
Quiet, but friendly, committed and steady in reaching their goals, emphatic, and concerned with other people's feelings. They strive for work-life balance and overall harmony. This type of person doesn't enjoy anything that throws him/her out of balance or ignores other people's feelings, so you won't see them preparing for months in order to complete set out goals or compete in an event, putting themselves in front of others. They care about everyone having a good time, but due to their introvert nature, they would be better off working out with just one friend or a small group. Soulcycle won't do them good, but a quiet yoga class or pilates works nicely with their energy and overall balance goals.
INFJ - Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging
People who turn out to be this type seek deeper meaning and connection in ideas, relationships, and material possessions. They're interested in knowing what motivates people and are committed to their firm values. They are also organized and determined in their mission. Fitness or motivational coaching would be a great fit, but with smaller groups or 1-on-1. Finding ways to turn their fitness habits into something of deeper meaning like participating in charity events, collecting funding, and helping people, boosts their motivation to keep pushing forward and be determined in reaching their goals.
INTJ - Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging
Known for quickly seeing patterns and implementing their ideas in order to achieve their goals. They are also considered skeptical and independent, with high standards of competence and performance - for themselves and others. In fitness, they'll be the ones setting a high bar for themselves, planning to "run a marathon" out of the blue, or signing up for the "Ironman" in order to push themselves and reach their expectations. They are also quick learners, so whatever exercise they come across, they'll quickly pick-up and pretty soon excel at.
ISTP - Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception
Although known as tolerant and quiet observers until a certain problem appears, they act quickly to find workable solutions, value efficiency, and are extremely interested in cause and effect. They are also quick learners and ready to try anything out. For their fitness style, they would be great in any activity which involves organization and efficiency. Progress motivates them, so when they're able to see results and connect the cause and effect, they work harder to reach even bigger goals. Weightlifting would be a great choice for this type, as the reps, sets, and weight are trackable, so progress is transparent and motivating.
ISFP - Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception
Although quiet, people who fall under this type are very friendly and enjoy being in the present moment. They like to have their own space and are committed to their values and to people who are important to them. They dislike disagreements and conflicts, and do not force their opinions or values on others. Yoga would be the perfect workout choice for this type, as being in the present moment, practicing kindness, doing no harm, and enjoying the space of their own mat, are the main characteristics of this ancient practice. Namaste is this type's mantra.
INFP - Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception
This type tends to be curious, but idealistic, trying to conform the outside world to their ideas, values, and thinking. They can be catalysts for implementing ideas as well as adaptive to others'...unless it contradicts their values. They are great when starting something new if that's what they believe in, but be prepared for them to stop coming to your barre or pilates classes if they feel that the energy of the studio doesn't match their vibe.
INTP - Introversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perception
The biggest realists, as they seek logical explanations for everything and anything that interests them. Interested in ideas and theories, rather than social interaction, they're also known to be critical, skeptical, and deeply analytical. These are the types who will analyze and research everything there is to know about a certain exercise or training program, trying to make sense of every move and find solutions if something doesn't seem or feel logical. They perform the best when they're by themselves, and would do great in any workout style that requires thinking and coordination, such as boxing, kickboxing, HIIT, fencing, or weight lifting. That is why yoga, pilates, and similar workouts that tend to shut off the brain and focus on the breath won't be their strong suit.
ESTP - Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Perception
Getting into the extroverted types, ESTP tends to be flexible and tolerant, taking a pragmatical approach in order to get results. Easily bored with theories and conceptual explanations, as they'd rather spring into action. Spontaneous, focused on the present moment, and enjoying each minute that they can be active with others. These are the best people to come up with a fitness activity they can do with their friends as a spur of the moment. They hate being alone, so any type of energetic workout that includes a group of people is their jam. Not big fans of organization and planning, so you won't see them keeping a consistent schedule. Expect a Sunday night phone call to go snowboarding the following day or taking the odd 6 am Soulcycle class. Energy, spontaneity, and community: that's all that matters.
ESFP - Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Perception
The people who belong to this type definitely know the definition of fun, they may have even invented it. They're outgoing, extremely friendly, and even described as "exuberant lovers of life, people, and material comforts." They'll be the first to come up with a fun activity to do with all of their friends, as their life mantra states "the more, the merrier." The best workouts are those involving lots of people, whether it's trying a new sport or being a part of the same team for years. They'll lift up every situation and put a smile on everyone's face, even when things aren't so ideal.
ENFP - Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception
This type characterizes imagination, creativity, and seeing life as full of possibilities. People who're defined by it love meeting new faces and exchange tokens of appreciation and support, but they want to be loved and feel accepted by everyone. They'll readily accept trying out a new gym or studio, but if they don't feel accepted, they won't have the best of times. On the other hand, if they find themselves in a situation with limited equipment or gym access, they can count on their imagination to feed their fitness cravings.
ENTP - Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking, Perception
Quick and alert, this extroverted type tends to be quite resorceful and good at reading other people. Characterized by easy to get bored, the best type of fitness routine will be the one with often changes in pace and intensity. HIIT workouts will challenge them and keep them on their toes, as well as switching up their entire style every couple of months. It's got to be high energized though, as this type gets motivated by the pump.
ESTJ - Extroversion, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
Very down-to-earth and practical, ESTJ type lives for organizing projects and getting things done. Loves to create a set of logical standards and systematically follow them, while wanting and expecting others to do the same. This type is a leader; a motivator. Someone who keeps others going when they feel like they can't do it anymore. Perfect teacher and coach, loves guiding a group of people to unleash their full potential. Any type of team sport or workouts like F45 and crossfit will fit this type well.
ESFJ - Extroversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging
A real teammate, someone everyone can count on to cooperate and give the best in order for the whole group to succeed. Warmhearted and loyal, observes what other people need and tries to provide it for them. Likes feeling appreaciated for their actions, so a tap on the back will do plenty. Great for team sports and workouts such as crossfit or dance, as being a part of a group is where this type's strengths lie.
ENFJ - Extroversion, Intuition, Feeling, Judging
Highly attuned to people's emotions, those with the characteristics of this type will always look for the good in everyone, giving them benefit of the doubt even when no one seems to understand why. Always ready to help and give advice, they're great as leaders as well as teammates. Being a part of a group nourishes their soul, so team sports and group workouts inspire them and push them to go past their limits.
ENTJ - Extroversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging
Decisive and ready to take action, this type assumes leadership easily, quickly analyzes problems, and jumps to finding solutions. Enjoys long-term planning and organization, constantly researching about one thing or another. Being a part of the group and organizing joint activities brings out joy, so expect this person to sign up the whole group for a competition or race and plan out the entire training in order to be successful. True leader who also loves being involved.
Ready to find out what personality type are you? Fill out this quiz and match it to the workout style that fits you best!