How Do Personalities Affect Your Exercise Life? – Part 2

In the last segment of this exercise series we looked at how choleric and melancholy personalities approach exercise. Today we are going to look at how the sanguine and phlegmatic personalities deal with working out.


Sanguine personalities either love or hate exercise. The key is whether they think it is fun or not fun. Sanguine people are all about having a good time and if they think physical activity is fun, they will do with a smile and beads of sweat on their brow. However, they will quickly abandon the clank of equipment and the music-filled aerobic rooms if a more intriguing activity enters the picture.

(Obviously my sanguine extreme niece found something funner to do than exercise.)

According to Rita Brake, my exercise teacher: “Sanguine personalities are often so distracted with socializing that they forget to finish their workout. However, if they can stay engaged, they like to please their teachers and trainers.

Another dynamic that is important, especially for the female sanguine, is cute workout clothes. If they can wear super cute fashions to the gym, there is a better chance they will go. My sanguine niece has a workout wardrobe that is more stylish that my normal clothing. However, since I am phlegmatic and she is sanguine, that doesn’t surprise me. Last time I talked with her, she was actually working out twice a day. Maybe if I looked as cute as she did when she goes to the gym, I’d do it more, but probably not.


Of all the personalities, the laid-back phlegmatic is the least likely to show interest in sweating and getting out of breath. I am a classic case in point. Before I started attending Rita’s class, my workout consisted of a stroll on the treadmill and lifting baby weights. I was so happy and never sweated OR breathed like an “obscene phone caller.” I was a bubble bath body builder.

However, when I joined Rita’s class, I thought I was in exercise boot camp . . . and I was NOT a happy camper. I left class with stringy wet hair and, oh my gosh, sore muscles! I missed my wienie workout, but I had paid cold, hard cash for my pain regiment and had to stick it out.

A year later Rita has learned this about the phlegmatic exerciser: “The phlegmatic personality works out on their own terms. Unlike the easily influence sanguine, they do not respond to bribes or threats when I try to push them, even a little. It also takes longer for them to process instructions, so I always make sure I provide clear and concise directions for my phlegmatic students.”

Unlike the fashion-conscious sanguine, the phlegmatic exercise seeks extreme comfort. If a shirt is old and holey, they don’t care . . . “comfort” easily overrides “cute” in phlegmatic world.

As you can see, personalities do affect a person’s workout ethic. It’s not that any one approach is wrong, they are just different. I must say that my choleric exercise instructor, Rita, does a wonderful job at tailoring her approach to all the personalities in her class. Sometimes I’m sure she feels like she is herding cats, but because she makes an effort to know what works with each of us students, we all find something about her class that keeps us returning week after week. Thanks for all the pain, Rita . . . especially on weigh-in day!

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 8th, 2011 at 7:44 pm and is filed under Personalities: Two-Part series, Personality Stories - Phlegmatic, Personality Stories - Sanguine. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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