Personality Test

If you follow FFG on Twitter or Facebook then you already know that I passed the practical part of my personal training examination before heading to Toronto last week. My friend SuperWoman (SW) acted as a volunteer, playing the role of a relatively unfit client. The real SW is both muscular—–easily doing 30 tits-to-floor-from-the-toes push ups in a row—and amazing. In addition to working several jobs, she is a part-time student and full-time mom. Plus she is fit and hot to boot. All I can say is: Respect. SW made it easy for me to act as if she was a newbie, running her through a straightforward series of cardio and weight training exercises. I also had to pretend to have the requisite ‘personality type’ for a trainer, which officially means (and this is from the textbook) being knowledgeable, supportive, a model of healthy behaviour, trustworthy, enthusiastic, innovative, patient, sensitive, flexible, and self-aware. While I am many of these things—if I do say so myself—I am far from patient and sensitive. Whether or not I am enthusiastic is up for debate. I am quite passionate about many people and issues, but would have a hard time shouting ‘woo!’ during a revs class, or even yelling ‘Go Girl, you can do it!’ at someone jumping over hurdles or swinging a kettle bell. That’s just not how I roll. 

I was instructed to end my mock training session by offering ‘a positive thought to the client to help keep him or her motivated,’ but I couldn’t think of anything. I failed that part. While I am a fundamentally positive person—inheriting the manic but not the depressive elements of my dubious gene pool—I do not dabble in truisms or catch phrases. Nor do I have a mantra. Maybe I could borrow one, or would that give me an inauthentic spirit? [insert donkey-bray laughter here]. ‘First call out, centre stage’ is utterly inapplicable to me, though highly effective for G-Smash this year; she just won her pro card! PDDs’ mantra is more relevant. During a particularly heavy lift she uses her inner voice to chant: ‘don’t fart, don’t fart, don’t fart.’ Did I already mention that she is the greatest work out partner ever?

This week got me thinking about how personal characteristics are perceived and measured. For fun I took a few online personality tests, and they confirmed what I already knew: I am a highly intuitive introvert who is analytical and not very judgmental. Being an independent people shunner is okay with me, but not necessarily rewarded in contemporary western culture, which can mistakenly equate extroversion with intelligence and/or a capacity for leadership. Many popular discussions of personality types are designed to help one find an ideal mate, a goal that seems misguided at best. Thinking in terms of ‘ideal’ can only lead to a bitter life that ends with a lonely death in the cold, cold ground. But that’s just my opinion, and four out of five studies indicate that I am indeed opinionated. In any case, while walking home from the gym with the always engaging RenMan he suggested that as part of my research I check out EHarmony’s questionnaire. Cleverly disguising myself as ‘Louanne from New York,’ but otherwise accurately indicating my age, education level, height, body type, ethnicity, and values, I diverted time from exam preparation to answer the kabillion questions. I also did the test, which similarly determined that I have a tidy desk, like to eat spicy food in restaurants, and strongly agree with getting busy in an amoral, non-religious fashion. For the most part I was paired with artsy wine drinking types rather than fitness buffs, which is probably right. If I had to choose between a curious foodie who hated working out, and an uncultured athlete with mismatched furniture, I would take the former. Body type is not that important to me and I found myself prepared to date fattish men as long as they had inner strength and a good physical presence. As usual, the ingenious Mae West was right when she said: ‘A man can be short and dumpy and getting bald but if he has fire, women will like him.’