Suzanne Brue of Delray Beach, Fla., could tell right away this was not going to work. She was watching a physical therapist work with her mother, who was rehabilitating a torn rotator cuff. Her mom is the type of person who likes instructions with very specific detail. The physical therapist, however, was giving her mom very general directions – and her mom was not “getting” it.

Brue advised the therapist how to better connect with her mom: Focus on only one movement at a time, show her the correct form and don’t give her choices. The suggestions clicked. “My mom’s face instantly relaxed,” says Brue.

Brue is a former college administrator who had for decades studied psychological type and used personality tests to advise students on their careers. Having seen how simple changes in approach made such a difference in her mom’s exercise experience, she wondered if such a tool might help people find the right exercise that fits their personality. Maybe her mom and the therapist’s ultimate “meeting of the minds,” Brue thought, had something to do with their personality types, as determined by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a widely used instrument used to identify distinct personality types.

A lifelong exerciser, Brue was also curious about why she herself was drawn to certain physical activities, such as swimming laps, but not others. Brue began interviewing and surveying hundreds of people that regularly exercised, and discovered that individuals’ exercise preferences correlated directly with their MBTI types. Her six years of research led to her book, The 8 Colors of Fitness (Oakledge Press, 2008).

In her book, Brue summarizes workout preferences reported by people from each MBTI type, and assigns each type one of eight color-coded “fitness personalities.” The goal, Brue says, is to help readers figure out their exercise likes and dislikes and, ultimately, stay motivated for fitness.


Learn your fitness type: Take the quiz

To use Brue’s “8 Colors” system, users must first learn their MBTI types by taking her mini-MBTI test in the book or online.

Click here to take the 8 Colors Quiz.