Posted on March 5, 2011. Filed under: Bodentity |

I got my first job as a trainer when I was 16.  And I have loved working in the fitness industry ever since.

True, there have been ups and many a down, but I have always loved what I did.  Over time I have worked for small independents, and big-box gyms alike.  And when you work in gyms for a while you start to notice certain personality types.  You start seeing them often enough you start coming up with names for them, body identities, or what I like to call, bodentity.

I have kept a list of these personalities for a while and decided I would share a few on the blog.

Now very rarely do I find a person who is purely one thing.  Think of it as my own personal Myers-Briggs test.  I identify what part of the personality is dominant in order to more effectively coach them


Calibra (caloric libras)


Calibras are an interesting breed.  Much like the scale symbol which accompanies the zodiac sign these are personalities who are always trying to wager their calories.

A proper tracking of food intake and calories is done with a food journal.  Calibras “don’t have time” for such things, so they track it all in their heads.

They start off very strong, as most do in the beginning of their health journey.  watching what they eat, making healthy choices.  But with no form of tracking or measure they have no idea what is actually working or not.  They could be losing weight due to eating properly or just because the cut too many calories.  Eventually they fall off the wagon and binge.  This is where the wagering comes in.

Once a Calibra binges or even remotely cheats, their automatic response is to cut calories further over the next few days.  After all, weight loss is nothing more than calorie in, calories out right? 😉

Of course, after a few days of cutting calories, they start to feel miserable.  And since food is often used as a form of stress relief or pleasure they fall off the wagon again, and so they cut again.  Going back and forth trying to balance out this imaginary scale in their head.  All the while, the body has no idea what their good intending calibra is doing, so it stops responding.  Or if they do lose weight, chances are they are losing a bit more muscle mass than fat.

Calibras are also known for doing justification cardio or the workout of shame.  This typically happens when a Calibra after staying on track for a period of time, goes out to an event or party, and eats and/or drinks too much.  SO what do they do?

Go to the gym the next day and do an extra long  workout. 2-3 hours of cardio.  Because if the calorie read out on the treadmill is equal to how many calories they consumed last night, every thing is ok.  In this scenario Calibras are often mistaken for Cardiaddicks.  But the difference is easily seen as Calibras consistency of workout is off and on.  Where as Cardiaddicks are so consistent, hamsters look at them in awe.  Some Calibras will also do a weight lifting workout till they can barely move.

Can you see the flaw in this thinking?  The person is trying to move an imaginary scale back and forth, but have no idea how the body actually works.  Yes, calories in/calories out is part of the process.  But only in relation to quality of food intake, stress levels, hormones, etc.

Secondly, Calibras are taking something which should be a wonderful awakening about one’s body and health.  And making it a story of crime and punishment.  You ate something sweet, punish yourself by cutting your calories.  You drank and had fatty foods, punish yourself with exercise.  Who wants to live like that?  No one.

Which is why even with the most well-intentioned person, if they have a Calibra dominant personality.  Eventually they will quit, or get so stuck in a rut from guilt over not being able to stick with the program that they do damage to themselves and have to quit.


So how do we avoid becoming a Calibra

  • Keep a food journal and use it.  The only way you can know what is going in your body consistently is by tracking it
  • If you slip up, let it go.  Don’t punish yourself for a mistake.  If it happened, it happened.  Move on, let it go, focus on doing better the following days
  • Allow yourself to cheat.  I have become quite fond of the 10% rule.  However many healthy meals you eat you are allowed to cheat 10% of the time.  So if you eat 5x a day, healthy balanced meals.  That is 35 healthy meals within a week.  So you are allowed 3 cheats.  For the record, if you have a cheat meal and alcohol.  I count that as 2 cheats.
  • Have a support system.  As a coach my goal is much more than to count reps and design workouts.  It’s to teach you to succeed.  Part of that is helping a client deal when they make a mistake.  If you’re the kind to beat yourself up, this can be motivating to a degree.  But you need to have someone who can keep you from obsessing and taking it too far.


There are very few pure Calibras, but quite a few who have this as a dominant part of their personality.  If any of this sounds like you, no need to panic.  Just be aware, and address the issues accordingly.


Best Health,

Coach W




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