How do you learn? This is an important question for anyone seeking positive changes, especially in fitness. A similar, but related question, is what are your particular kinds of intelligence?
One way to answer the first question comes from David Kolb’s learning styles. (A quick web search can find you an assessment to test yourself!) He found four: diverging, assimilating, converging, and accommodating. I don’t think the names describe the states all that well. Essentially, he places people along one axis from thinking to feeling and another from doing to watching. Divergers learn by feeling and watching; assimilators learn by thinking and watching; convergers learn by thinking and doing; and accommodators learn by feeling and doing. When you know how you work best, you can maximize those kinds of experiences in your learning process. In fitness, this might mean an assimilator would want to watch a demonstration of a new exercise and think through exactly what the body is doing, what muscles are working, and how to progress through each step.
Howard Gardner provides a way to answer the second question. He proposes seven types of intelligence: linguistic, logical/mathematical, spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. (Again, a quick web search can help you test yourself!) When you attack a new task, if you do it from a position of strength, you are likely to have more success. A person with strong musical intelligence, say, might use the music of an exercise class to imprint the motions into her or his brain and body, while a linguistic person might need to talk him- or herself through the steps.
There are so many great tools out there! Let’s use them!