If I Knew Then What I Know Now: How to Train Different Personality Types

TAGS: Personality types, If I Knew Then What I Know Now: How to Train Different Personality Types, c.j. murphy, Matt Kroc, Marshall Johnson, joey smith, harry selkow, john meadows, Julia Ladewski

elitefts™ Sunday Edition

At some point in time, everyone I know has taken one of the many different personality tests. We have chuckled over how “close” we are to one or perhaps two of the characterized personalities that get tested. So, in that same spirit, I would like to offer up my own version of the elitefts™ personality characters, and how I would go about getting the most from them. In other words, what buttons I would push...

The Dave Tate

The Dave Tate personality is one of strong character and impeccable will. Among his many attributes is the fact that he gives clear and concise directions and demands. He tends to be very aggressive and loves competition. He demands much from his charges and wants things done his way. A person with The Dave Tate is the perfect CEO or military officer. He takes charge and doesn’t like to give up easily. He also has his hands in many parts of the operation. This type of person views himself as a “conqueror of all things” and should not be crossed nor questioned. What's more, he hates losing even more than he likes to win. If there is a prize to be won, its only rightful place is amongst his other trophies that are on display in his trophy room. To get more out of The Dave Tate, my encouragement would be one that is simple: clear cut, timely, and intense. It would be part of the overall goal and be focused on obtaining that particular goal. It would be best to use phrases like, “The other leaders would be there,”  “All of the great lifters have done it,” or "If you really want to obtain 'xyz,' then there is no other way."

The Matt Kroc/John Meadows

Given to detail, this personality loves to receive information with clear and technical instructions. With laser-like focus, the details of any given training session are spelled out to the nth degree. Leaving no room for error, the sets, reps, and weight are plotted and destroyed. Nutrition is precise and the consumption of such is at the designated time. Nothing is left to chance. Precision is the name of their game. Often driven to paralysis of analysis, The Matt Kroc/John Meadows will let nothing take place until everything is just right. From the atmosphere of the participants around them to the temperature and music that is played, the environment needs to be perfect for them to reach a level of optimal performance. Oftentimes, they will supply their own background by using personal devises with ear buds so that they will be impervious to distractions. In turn, weights need to be balanced and perfect on both sides of a bar. There is no mismatching for them for this would ef-up the lift. A person with this personality type has the proper pre-, intra-, and post-training nutrition in mixer cups at the start of his day, ready for the addition of properly filtered water from only the best sources. His gym bag is tidy and all of the equipment necessary for the training session is accounted for and neatly lined up. I would encourage this personality by emphasizing that all of the details of the day's session are already written out on the white board (or any other place on display). I would then encourage those with this personality type to tune in and prepare themselves for perfection. I would make sure that they had scheduled rests of appropriate length, and I'd have a clock or stop watch available for the accounting of the intervals.

The Joey Smith /C.J. Murphy

These fellas are governed by the need to have a blast! It doesn't matter if the training session is simple or complex, these guys are always having fun! With lots of weight and laughter, the training session is going to be loud and exciting. As long as progress is made and they remain at the center of attention, they can’t be happier. Big weights, big reps, and big times are all they need. The music can be anything as long as it’s loud. If you get into this group and you are being a downer, chances are you won’t be in the group very long. They will not tolerate misery. Be careful, though. Given something more fun or exciting to do, they may leave your sorry downer butt for something or someone more exciting. With a Joey Smith/C.J. Murphy it would be best to approach training with a spirit of, “Let’s bust some records," or "Let’s have a party!” Then just start doing something and include everyone!

The Marshall Johnson/Julia Ladewski

This personality type wants to please everyone. Not one to create any kind of controversy, these people are hard yet quiet workers. Not needing center stage, they tend to keep a lower-type profile. They will also work endlessly to meet the goal(s) given to them. They will do whatever is asked of them, no matter how much time or energy is needed. Often confused with being pensive, they are more introverted than most. They are also the most loyal to the coaches, trainers, gym, or cause. When working with people of this personality type, I get the best results by telling them something like, "Pick this up for ‘X’ amount of times and then rest.”

Although I’m having fun at the expense of my teammates, I must admit that each of them has a bit of each of the four personality types I have described. The most productive people, however, usually do have a bit of each, causing them to be a well-rounded and well- adjusted person. Yet, these are traits that are necessary to have in this profession and when coaching. This is obvious from their successes on the platform and on the stages of the world. I would recommend reading Personality Plus written by Florence Littenauer because those of us who train people need to understand people. It’s a fun, easily read little book that will give you insights into your own personality, as well as how to identify the personalities of others. It has been said, “To understand a person, walk in his or her shoes.” Since I don’t wear any, I had to get my understanding by watching and making a lot of mistakes.

Wonder where I fit in? Well, I’m a cross between The Joey Smith/C.J. Murphy and The Dave Tate. Let me be among the leaders having fun. You don’t have to spell out any details, just point me in the right direction and get out of the way.

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