How to match your Personality Type with your Gym Membership

It’s not just boxing day bargains Aussies are on the hunt for this time of year…

Don’t forget the January rush to find the ‘new you’ 2019 training program/gym. It’s the time when ‘gyms near me’ peaks on google and when ‘Resolutioners’ attempt their big promise to change their health and fitness.

But why then do 90% of these new members fail.

Why does it always seem so hard.


Why do you get this feeling history is about to repeat itself.

Over a decade of industry experience has led me and my team to ONE KEY realisation.

It’s not really the gym’s fault, it’s not the PT or coach and it’s very rarely the training program.

It mostly all works.

Move, sweat, eat less and get more sleep.

Why then is it so hard to stick to?

Because you are doing the wrong style of training or are at the wrong gym for your personality type.

If you can align your personality type with your training program and gym you have a winning formula.

So how then do you discover what personality type you are and what you’re most suited to…?

Read below.

(The personality types described have been identified using Gretchen Rubin’s 4 tendencies framework.)

  1. The Obliger (the vast majority of the western population, ~70%)

    Obligers meet outer expectations but struggle to meet inner expectations. Because most people are obligers you may easily identify with the characteristics below.

    Say ‘yes’ to other people almost always. Great at meeting deadlines and executing on tasks when being held externally accountable. Work well with clear expectations and instructions.

    By saying ‘yes’ so often Obligers often neglect themselves which leads to a lot of internal unhappiness and stress. Obligers don't’ often speak up about their internal frustrations until the problem reaches critical.

    Training of choice:
    Obligers NEED external accountability for their goals. Having a coach or PT who holds them accountable, knows their goals and has clear expectations is a formula which cannot fail. Obligers will do well with training partners in the sessions for the accountability (a cherry on top of the PT/coach).

    Training to avoid:
    training by yourself. Training which does not involve some person knowing what you are doing and what your goal is. Joining a training program because someone else told you too and dragged you along e.g. don’t join a yoga studio if you’re looking to gain muscle and strength.

  2. Questioner (the next biggest group of the 4, ~20%)

    Want the reason and why behind everything they do. Questioner’s are avid researchers and often suffer from ‘analysis paralysis’. Given enough of a reason and satisfied with the reason for doing something they will ruthlessly and effectively complete any task.

    once reasoning is established they are extremely good at executing and taking action. They love problem solving.

    Often take no action due to needing ‘more information’. Often left very drained and frustrated at their own inability to take action.

    Training of choice:
    questioners in reality are suited to any training style as long as they fully understand why they are doing what they are doing. The best approach is to fully understand what results they want and why, then to find and try 3-5 local gyms or training programs and ask questions about the services. They should then go with the place which not only explains best why they are a good fit for them but continues as part of their training to educate the client. In most cases this is high end PT or small group training and/or online training programs with advanced well researched coaches.

    Training to avoid:
    programs and training with little to no client education. Young PTs and trainers with less than 2 years industry experience. Online Ebooks and celebrity trainer workouts.

  3. Upholder (about 3-5% of the western population)

    Most people know at least one upholder. They stick to new habits, get up at the same time everyday and get the same coffee from the same coffee shop. They’re very organised and rigid in their schedule. They tend to be inflexible and as a result can struggle socially.

    meet inner and outer expectations very easily. Can set and stick to new habits with ease. Are consistent and reliable.

    inflexible and predictable. Their own rigid constraints can limit their creativity and fluidness in all aspects of their life. Often get very stressed when things do not go perfectly to plan.

    Training of choice:
    external accountability is not necessary for upholders success so having a PT, coach or training partner for that reason is not essential.
    Socially upholders may find it harder at group fitness gyms but this should not be a reason to not join them. On the same token having set consistent class times everyday can fit well into the rigidity of an upholders schedule.
    Training solo following an online program or their own routine also works extremely well for upholders depending on the difficulty of their goals.
    Upholders will also gravitate towards more quantifiable types of training like CrossFit, triathlons and strength sports.

    Training to avoid:
    training which relies heavily on client creativity, fluidity and has unclear expectations e.g. yoga, movement training and dancing.

  4. Rebels (~1% by far the rarest personality type)

    Struggle to meet inner and outer expectations. Rebels often go against what they’re told, struggle to stick to a routine and avoid the important stuff. Rebels whilst being a lot of fun they can like upholders be difficult to deal with as they often feel rogue and unpredictable.

    high energy, very creative and good at thinking outside the box. They also never feel obliged to do anything so are often always doing what they want.

    struggle to stick to doing one thing well. Often neglect the important stuff in a pursuit to “do what they want” always. Often left frustrated and stressed feeling as if they can’t get the things done people or themselves want them to do.

    Training of choice:
    this can be a tough one as rebels often alienate training partners and coaches around them by not meeting simple expectations. Rebels also often jump around with their training a lot and find it hard to stick to their goals.
    The best strategy (being a rebel myself) over the years has been making sure you DO have some accountability which usually comes best from a training partner and not a paid coach or PT.
    The next most important thing is being flexible with the program so having multiple gym memberships works well so on any given day you can hit the training style which most suits how ‘you feel’.
    Finally it’s important for a rebel to document and record their training at least 1x per week so they don’t feel cluttered.

    Training to avoid:
    repetitive mundane training programs. Rigid training times and gyms with highly limited hours. Online coaches and or PTs.