It’s not that introverts don’t like people, we just want them properly dispersed. And usually out of visual range. And some of us do not leave the house voluntarily. Which presents unique challenges for exercise.
I’m a Paleo Nerd: an INFJ.
INFJ is my Meyer’s Briggs type, and the ‘I’ is what makes me a nerd. ‘I’ stands for introvert, of course. Humans range on a spectrum of introversion & extroversion, which is the closest thing we have to a geek-o-meter.
But most nerds don’t need to do a personality test to know they are introverted.
And if you are introverted you need a customized approach to fitness.
Introverts generally exercise less than extroverts, and us ‘I’s know why: most fitness arrangements are cripplingly social. Guaranteed, the byline for your local gym is something like: Once you’ve decided you want to get into the best shape of your life (yes!) and be a part of a community of like-minded people… (Um, a community? Of like-minded people? You mean people who go grocery shopping at 2am to avoid contact with others? People who don’t answer their phone because that might provoke a social obligation that would ruin the rest of their week? And don’t have voicemail either? But do peer cautiously at their call log and are only slightly irritated that you tried to get in touch? Those kind of like-minded people?) Or these kind:
To address the fitness needs of introverts, I have developed a nerdy reference chart. Because when nerds think about exercise, logically they wonder hmmm, how would that look in graph form?
When starting to workout I recommend doing the form of exercise you hate the least. If you commit to paleo living, expect this hatred to abate or even disappear, but you need to start where you are right now. If you don’t yet know which type of exercise you loathe least, try plotting yourself on the paleo nerd fitness graph above, keeping in mind that your degree of introversion may not change, but your motivation probably will when you embrace paleo living.
If you are:
- Extremely introverted with low motivation: Your inspiration will increase once you are off the SAD-loop that is the Standard American Diet. Consider focusing on strict paleo eating rather than exercise until your motivation abounds. Or rock your nerd quotient (you may as well) and get a mini trampoline. Stick it in a high traffic area in your nerdery so you have to step on it to get the kitchen or back to the computer. Whenever you find yourself there, bounce.
- Extremely introverted with high motivation: Hide in your room & do the prison workout as described on Mark’s Daily Apple.
- Mildly to moderately introverted with low motivation: Find a class that is instructor-directed but where it is socially acceptable to ignore the people around you, like yoga (or Pilates). Sign up & make yourself go. Once there, all you have to do is follow directions, but you don’t feel obliged to chant or say Namaste.
- Moderately introverted with moderate motivation: Stream some fitness videos. Chart how much you hate each type until you determine the type you hate the least. Do that one.
- Moderately introverted with high motivation: Walk/run until you can run/run. Music creates an ambient shield of protection from evil sorcerers and other passers-by.
- Mildly introverted with high motivation: Get a gym membership. Find someone who knows their stuff to give you a tutorial on the machines. Ascertain the least busy times of day, and go then.
If you’re an extrovert, I can only imagine what kind of exercise you might prefer, but since all of American society and the entire southern rind of Canadian society is predicated on an extroverted ideal, you probably don’t need any advice from a Paleo Nerd like me.
But if I had to guess, it would be a team sport with lots of tackling (or hugging), in which everyone goes out for drinks afterwards. Or maybe cross fit.
If you’re an extrovert and are perplexed about how to relate to introverts, check out this classic infographic.
Stay tuned for Paleo Nerd Fitness part 2.
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