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Vantage Point (Part One)

Tracing its origin back to the mid 1800’s, the phrase “vantage point” is a derivative of the word “advantage,” and was defined as “a favorable position.” In our culture today, vantage point has less to do with favorability and more to do with a uniqueness of standpoint or position. Your vantage point of life is a result of the experiences and environments leading up to this moment in time. And it undergirds the way you show up in almost every aspect of your life, including the gym.

Believe it or not, you have a fitness personality. You do! And your fitness personality is shaped by your vantage point of life, specifically how you view yourself in relation to other people. Here’s the cool thing. If you understand why you show up the way you do in the gym, it has the capacity to rewire how you show up in life. To help you get started, I’ve developed four fitness personalities. Now, don’t take these the wrong way. I’m not trying to put Baby in a corner. Instead, I want to have a little fun as we all self-reflect. In Part One, read through each of the personalities. Really pay attention to the vantage point driving each of them. Then choose the one most reflective of you. It’s ok not to agree with everything I wrote about the personality you chose. Remember, I’m building these off general characteristics. Next week in Part Two, I’ll introduce practical tips on how to change your fitness personality, and we’ll look at the impact those changes can have on your life.

Fitness Personality: Microwave

Vantage Point: “I am more significant than other people.”

Mindset: Outcomes

Microwaves are easy to spot in the gym. They have all their equipment already in their spot before coach even says to. And notice I said their spot? That’s right, microwaves have their very own personal parking spot on the gym floor. And you better not step into their space, or they will be quick to let you know. There are many things in the gym belonging to microwaves. They have their own space on the rig, their own lifting station, and maybe even their own favorite ab mat. When they walk in the gym, their focus is more on themselves than others. And when you talk to a Microwave, everything is about outcomes. They need to dial in their macros because they must lose ten pounds. They need to already be squatting two times their body weight, even though their first class was only last week. I call them microwaves because they want their outcomes now and don’t want to wait.

Fitness Personality: Darwin

Vantage Point: “People who are better than me are significant to me.”

Mindset: Winning

Darwin’s are all about survival of the fittest. They believe in order to be the fittest, they must constantly surround themselves with people fitter than they are, and then try to beat them at all costs. You’ll find a Darwin trolling the digital whiteboard of their gym looking to see who had a better WOD time. Don’t be surprised when they suddenly befriend their next opponent, with the goal of gaining knowledge, supplements, or whatever that person is doing that a Darwin is not. Because they want to win. To them, everything in fitness is either win or lose. And once a Darwin has beaten an opponent, they are cast to the side in pursuit of the next victory. Darwin’s are the kind of athletes who wish every workout was an open workout, so they would know everyone was held to the same standard. Shaving reps and shortening the range of motion is like gun powder for a Darwin. Driven by an intense desire for integrity, Darwin’s simply won’t accept anyone in their world who in their eyes would cheat to win. In the evolutionary world of fitness, Darwin’s believe they are the superior species.

Fitness Personality: Nomad

Vantage Point: “Am I significant to other people?”

Mindset: Belonging

Nomads are all over the place. Somedays, they are front and center for the WOD, other days you’ll find them in the back corner. Nomads have the smallest amount of personal gym equipment, perhaps not even owning a jump rope. Even though their faces may not communicate it, Nomads are in the gym seeking something more than fitness – to feel like they belong. A sense of belonging is difficult for Nomads, because they are unsure of how significant they really are, especially to other people. Nomads may bounce from one workout group to another. They may scale if everyone else is scaling, or RX for the same reason. But try as they might, Nomads still feel like every time they walk in the gym, it’s like they’re the new kid in school all over again. Even after all the reps, all the rounds, and all the drops of sweat, Nomads cannot quench their thirst for identity. Because their identity is based on feeling significant to those around them.

Fitness Personality: Farmer

Vantage Point: “All people are significant, including me.”

Mindset: Growth

Farmers are all about the process. They’ve been through more training cycles than most people in the gym. They’ve been through the seasons of PR’s and great success as well as weathered the storms of injuries and life changes. Yet with wisdom comes the risk of sounding like they know it all. Or worse, giving you that look like, “You obviously just got here yesterday.” Despite how they sometimes come off, Farmers have as much interest in the success of other athletes as they do in their own. You’ll know farmers by the way they move in the gym. They have a rhythm reflective of their view of the big picture. Farmers are not in a hurry. They possess an intrinsic belief that the work they’re doing will produce results. Farmers have hope. And they know that individual success is nothing without the growth of everyone in the gym. Farmers believe in the value of community. Farmers occasionally need to be reminded the goal of the gym is not to make farmers, it’s to build fitness.

Next week in Part Two – How does changing your fitness personality rewire how you show up in life?

Questions for Reflection:

Which fitness personality do you most relate to? Why?

Which fitness personality frustrates you the most? Why?

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