Get Physical

What Your Favorite Workout Says About You

by Reza Moreno

We all have that one workout we resort to more than others. Whether it’s a sweat-dripping dance class, a solo run by the river, or a hip-hop yoga class that we do with our girlfriends, we each have a go-to exercise that we easily connect with that make us feel like the best versions of ourselves — or essentially, that doesn’t make us go on a cursing spree during a 60-minute sweat-sesh…

So as the curious creatures that we are, we figured there must be a reason why we keep on gravitating toward the same workout routines. That’s why we decided to connect with Dr. Monica O’Neal, a Harvard-trained licensed clinical psychologist to help us break down what some of our favorite peeps’ go-to workouts say about their personalities. 

Nicole Winhoffer (Dance)

Photo Cred: c/o Nicole Winhoffer

For Nicole Winhoffer, dance means everything. Three-and-a-half years ago, she started a dance and energy class called NW that’s based in LA and NYC. She booked her first show on Broadway at the age of 17 and has kept dancing ever since. From dancing on Broadway to being a backup dancer for artists like Shakira and Madonna, Winhoffer wanted to give people the same feeling you get when you dance on stage. “[NW] is my favorite workout, it works out every single muscle in my body,” says Winhoffer. 

So what does Dr. O’Neal think of Winhoffer’s go-to workout? She felt that Winhoffer, being that she created this class, is considered, “a leader and creative.” She analyzed dancing as “fun and most people aren’t creative, so the idea to go to a place to have someone tell you what to do is a [good] distraction.” To Dr. O’Neal, dancing is a way for people to connect with their emotions. “Emotions are accessible to us, there is something useful about being able to move your body and stretch.” 

Lisa DeSantis (Barry’s Bootcamp)

Photo source: Lauren Listor

For Lisa DeSantis, beauty editor at Health Magazine, she recently has gotten hooked on Barry’s Bootcamp after having a hard time finding a class that suited her needs. She began working out pretty religiously about a year and a half ago, mainly because she wanted to get in shape and boost her body confidence. “I started out a little bit lost and tried my fair share of classes until I found what works for me,” says DeSantis.

Her first class was six months ago and while she felt terrified, she now feels stronger than ever. “I didn’t realize it was a treadmill class until about an hour before and I was going with publicists so I couldn’t back out. I am so not a runner, but I did it and I felt incredible after,” says DeSantis.

She really feels proud of herself for pushing herself to the limit when it comes to this class. “[Barry’s Bootcamp’s] motto is ‘face yourself’ and when I’m running on the treadmill or working on the bench for the floor portion, staring at myself in the mirror, I realize how far I’ve come. It’s so much more to me than a workout now—I’ve come to rely on those 60 minutes as therapy and always leave that red room with more clarity than I walked in with.”

Dr. O’Neal interpreted Lisa’s connection with this class as that she can see the passion that DeSantis has for working out. “She said she worked out harder to have better confidence and a better body.” It is noticeable that “she is doing this to get a better and stronger body, she is acknowledging why people work out in the first place.”

Kirby Kelly (Running)

Photo Cred: c/o Kirby Kelly

“I actually hated running (and any sort of physical activity) growing up,” says Kirby Kelly, a publicist at AZIONE PR. She mentioned about how she used to be 60-70 lbs overweight and “struggled with bullying in middle/high school,” which inspired her to lose weight once and for all.

For Kelly, she wanted to “feel confident and prove everyone else wrong.” In January 2017, after Kirby graduated college, she moved to NYC full-time to start her job at AZIONE PR and alternated between ClassPass and running outside. “It was a budget-friendly way to stay fit and explore my local Crown Heights Brooklyn area outside of work hours, and found myself eventually able to go further and see more.” Kirby then started racing just last June when she signed up for a fun “throwback”-themed five miler that was put on by New York Road Runners.

“I had a great experience and loved the empowering community of runners and signed up for the Bronx 10 mile race in September to work toward. After completing 10 hilly miles, I was riding the runner’s high and signed up for my first half, the United Half in March,” continues Kelly. “[I love] the empowering feeling that I can do literally anything I put my mind to.”

Dr. O’Neal says she understands what running means to Kelly. “Running is a big deal because she really wants to get into good shape. For someone who was 60-70 overweight, you can probably see how having someone wanting to lose that weight,” continues O’Neal.

Adam Fulton (Surfing)

Photo Cred: Matthew Perrone

For Adam Fulton, who is a creative director at Den Hospitality, surfing became a hobby of his a little later in life. “I didn’t start super young, so there were lots of little kids and people, in general, a lot better and more experienced than I am,” says Fulton. Although all his other hobbies and interests somehow trended to being very pressure-driven, for Fulton “surfing has always been this thing that I’m not all that good at, but enjoy just for that purpose.”

He liked to just go out there, forget things and surf. “I also like the ritual and process of it, following the ocean swells and tides, deciding the right time and place [to] go, setting up the car with the equipment, just the whole thing is very purposeful just for a short-lived moment.”

Dr. O’Neal says, “He talked about vulnerability and something meaningful to him.” She felt that he wants to feel “youthful and doesn’t care about mastering surfing as much.” O’Neal felt he is aware of his age and he isn’t concerned about being the greatest surfer in the world “He just wants to do it for himself.”

Alyssa Coscarelli (The Class by Taryn Toomey)

Photo Cred: Frankie Marin

Alyssa Coscarelli’s favorite workout class is The Class By Taryn Toomey, because “it’s equal parts physical and mental.” Some people work out to get their body looking a certain way, but for this senior fashion market editor, she works out more for “her sanity’s sake.” “[I] work out to cope with life’s stressors and release pent-up stress and emotion.” Luckily, the Class does just that for Coscarelli. “It’s a safe space for women to come and forget everything that’s going on in the outside world, get centered, work hard, and just sweat it out,” continues Coscarelli.

Dr. O’Neal notes that “After reading her description, I felt she has it all together.” She felt that this workout Coscarelli does is “kind of competitive in this way and of something more [socially] desirable.” She felt that for Coscarelli, working out was more about emotions than it is staying in shape like it is for many others.

Eryn Ammons (Yoga)

Photo Cred: c/o Eryn Ammons

“I choose to do yoga because it helps me stay connected to myself in the best way,” says Eryn Ammons, marketing and social media intern at Chillhouse and The Chill Times. She has trained as a ballet dancer for 15 years, so for Ammons, she feels that this is the only activity that allows her to “channel into my old self in a way.” However, there’s a “childlike freedom” she feels when she practices yoga, which is a great offset from the responsibilities she has at work and at school. She uses yoga as a way to work through any difficult emotions “because it is a very reflective practice. I find that it helps me feel physically rejuvenated while also allowing me to improve as an individual,” continues Ammons.

Dr. O’Neal says she felt that both yoga and The Class are very similar. “Yeah, people like working out for their emotions, but don’t just work out for their mind.” She felt that although both Ammons and Coscarelli like working out more for their mental stability, that they’re not opening up as much, as they do not talk about working out for their body, like most people do. Dr. O’Neal does mention that yoga is not for everyone and it does pull a certain personality to do it.

Katie Polk (Personal Training)

“I struggled for most of my life trying to find a work out that suited me,” says Polk. “I assumed that working out meant full-blown cardio and running, which I absolutely hate and was traumatized by in P.E. as a kid.” Katie Polk is the type of person who actually loves working out vs. dreading it. “I do best with a personal trainer who keeps me motivated, working non-stop challenges me and keeps the workouts creative.” Polk is a competitive person who wants someone training her as though she’s training for a competition.

“I’m petite and have had injuries so I like to do lean stretching, toning workouts vs. bulky impactful ones.” On top of having a trainer tell her what to do, she would like to take more self-defense classes and boxing classes. “As a petite woman in NYC who has been physically and sexually assaulted, it’s extremely important to protect ourselves.”

To Dr. O’Neal, you can see that “Katie wants someone to tell her what to do and have someone help her walk through it and based on her experience it makes sense.” She wants to “make her body strong and to feel strong in her body.”

Think your personality matches to any of our favorite peeps? Head over to our Insta @thechilltimes, to let us know what’s your favorite workout. 

Featured Image via Vanessa Granda

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