I usually roll my eyes when fitness instructors try to get deep and profound and say things like, "Why are you really here today?" My internal answer: We're really here to burn off the mac and cheese we ate off our kids' plates last night even though we promised ourselves that we wouldn't this time ... and to get some endorphins going so we can keep it all together for another 24 hours.
Then the other day, my spinning teacher said something that struck me. Really struck me. All you fellow eye-rollers out there, just hear me out.
She said, "You ride the way you live your life." What she meant was, your workout style and your life "style" are often a mirror, and rarely, if ever, do we make that connection.
For example, do you really, truly turn up that resistance and challenge yourself, or do you fake it and coast along? Can you pedal to the music, or are you always just a little bit behind the beat? Does going fast thrill you or completely freak you out?
More from The Stir: Woman Sues Gym for Making Her Do 'Humiliating' Exercise Routines
Now, this was a spinning class, which I know some people aren't into. But the same sort of realizations can come from observing the way you run, swim, do yoga, Zumba, swing kettle bells, plod along on the elliptical ... anything. When I paid attention to how I was riding -- which, of course, can change daily -- the personal observations came flooding in. Some made me proud and excited and some did just the opposite. (Let's just say, I don't like too much resistance on my wheel.)
There are probably as many workout types as their are people, but here are the 7 that I've observed the most:
1. The Mindless Multitasker. You must be listening to music, watching the Kardashians on TV, watching the clock, texting, and thumbing through a stack of tattered tabloids all at the same time in order to get through a workout. Distraction is the name of the game.
2. Miss Independent. You don't like instructors -- or anyone else for that matter -- telling you what to do. You create your own workout plan. If you do find yourself in a class, you're not afraid to make up your own moves.
3. The Data Fiend. Heart rate max. Calories burned. Steps taken. Sleep quality. Your Jawbone UP wristband is more important than your wedding ring.
4. The Con Artist. The only person you're kidding by not choosing weights that are heavy enough, not pushing yourself through the full set of 10, or not breaking a sweat is yourself. But still, you do it with a smile.
5. The Guru Addict. When you find a class/instructor/method you fancy (and you always do), you dive in, buy the clothes, drink the juice, sign up for the retreats. Everything else takes a back seat, sometimes with disastrous results.
6. The Highly Self-Regarding Extrovert. Only the front row. Always a new outfit. You're not afraid to whoop and cheer or sing along (sometimes loudly) to the teacher's music or what's playing in your brightly colored headphones.
7. The Spandex Cutthroat. Having an opponent to beat is what motivates you. You love a race, whether it be an organized 5K or an unofficial eyeing of the person on the treadmill next to you.
Any of these workout types sound familiar? Which one are you?
Image via lululemon athletica/Flickr