April 21, 2020

Personality Type & Training Based Around It

As human beings, we are all different. Some things are more accessible to notice than others. The first and most apparent thing is gender. As soon as we are born, that's the first thing doctor usually says: It's a boy/girl. Then it's the colour. Colour of our hair, skin, and eyes. Another noticeable thing shows when we grow up. How tall we are, length and girths of our limbs, fingers, ratio torso to arm, ratio torso to legs length, shoe size. Little less obvious things are the types of muscle one posses - white, fast-twitch muscle fibres which usually grow more significant than their red, slow-twitch friends. But on the other hand, red muscle fibres can work for a more extended period.

As a Performance Coach, I always focus on things that will affect and influence your performance, be it in the training or competition. Once I understand how your body responds to training, I will want to bring you to an even higher level, but I will need to know how you react to different types of mental stimuli. We all know there are different personality types. Some are morning types, and others perform better in the evening. Some people are well organized, and others are better at improvising things. Some people need to see the whole picture while others are just going from task to task. All those characteristics can be well seen also in training.

The late Charles Poliquin was the first one who started to think about it training-wise. He travelled the whole world with only one goal: trying to find a »perfect training plan«, in which he didn't believe of course. In China, he ran into different so-called »Chinese elements«, or better, phrases that are related to many things. He realized some people relate those elements with inner organs, some with energies. Still, he wanted to compare it to personality, and then go even more profound and connect those personalities with training stimulus.

The Chinese elements are FIRE, WOOD, EARTH, WATER, and METAL.

Charles then found about the» Braverman personality test«, which gives you a rough sight into what type of person you are dealing with. The results of the Braverman test tell you what is your dominant Neurotransmitter (NT) in the body and what NT you are currently missing.

Neurotransmitter, also called chemical transmitter or chemical messenger, any of a group of chemical agents released by neurons (nerve cells) to stimulate neighbouring neurons or muscle or gland cells, thus allowing impulses to be passed from one cell to the next throughout the nervous system.

Basic NT in our body and their function


It functions both as a hormone and a neurotransmitter, and plays several essential roles in the brain and body. In popular culture and media, dopamine is usually seen as the main chemical of pleasure, but the current opinion in pharmacology is that dopamine instead confers motivational salience, in other words, dopamine signals the perceived motivational prominence (i.e., the desirability or aversiveness) of an outcome, which in turn propels the organism's behaviour toward or away from achieving that outcome.


Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used at the neuromuscular junction—in other words, it is the chemical that motor neurons of the nervous system release to activate muscles. In the brain, acetylcholine functions as a neurotransmitter and as a neuromodulator. The brain contains several cholinergic areas, each with distinct features; such as playing an essential role in arousal, attention, memory, and motivation.


It has a popular image as a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness, though its actual biological function is complex and multifaceted, modulating cognition, reward, learning, memory, and numerous physiological processes such as vomiting and vasoconstriction. Most of it is produces in the gastrointestinal track, and the rest is synthesized in serotonergic neurons of the CNS, where it has various functions. These include the regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also has some cognitive functions, including memory and learning.


Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter in your brain. Neurotransmitters function as chemical messengers. GABA is considered an inhibitory neurotransmitter because it blocks, or inhibits, specific brain signals and decreases activity in your nervous system. When GABA attaches to a protein in your brain known as a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect. This can help with feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear. It may also help to prevent seizures.

Charles later connected the NT with Chinese elements and came up with an idea of how to train a different personality type.
Dopamine = FIRE

- Motivation
- Pleasure & reward (sex, falling in love, first engagement on addictive behaviour)
- JANG (fire)
- Take risk
- Intensity
- Killers
- Strength & power sports


- Learning
- Memory
- Variation
- Attention span
- Great on team sports


- Calmness
- Anti-anxiety
- The only inhibitory NT in the adult brain!
- Don't like challenges
- Snipers
- Calm
- They have to be stopped (or else they will do everything written on the program)
- 1-1 sessions
- Feel guilt constantly
- People pleasures


- Happy
- Excitatory
- Happy people


- Scores on Breaverman test are equally spread

- Better on volume
- Don't like risk
- Don't  like changes
- OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder

As a coach, once you understand what type of personality you are dealing with its going to be much more comfortable to approach a client, to program, to motivate and periodize the training and training plan.

It's important to understand that a plan even the »best plan« will never work for an athlete or client who will not put 100% effort into it.

And if you, as a coach try to motivate a wrong personality type with a wrong approach, you will lose a client not because a plan is not good, but because you client won't be able to motivate himself to follow the program or he may burn out because of the intensity is too high from the beginning.

Gregor Sobočan

Gregor Sobočan

Gregor is a former professional handball player and Girevoy sport athlete. During his Girevoy sports career, Gregor achieved Master of Sports International Class at the world championship in 2015 and is Master Trainer in Kettlebell Lifting since 2015 (Russian rank). In 2013 he received a Degree from Endurance Specialization from OMSK University in Russia. Currently, Gregor is head strength & conditioning coach for Slovenian Handball National Team and Pro Volleyball National Champions Club. Since 2009 he is also a gym owner and is specialized in helping individuals, and professional athletes perform at the highest level possible.

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