Are You A Cat Or Chameleon?

Under Burn Fat/Fat Burning, Muscle Building/Routines, Recent Posts

One of the most helpful analogies that I’ve EVER been taught about personalized program design was that some of your clients will be CATS and others, CHAMELEONS.

My teacher was using these animals to describe the neurological efficiency and kinesthetic awareness that either type of clients may exhibit.

You’ll have some clients or athletes who, like Chameleons, are very limited in their kinesthetic awareness, but tend to grow very efficient in a handful of particular movements.

These are the folks who take three weeks to learn to do “walking lunges”, then once mastered they never want to do anything else.  They’re very content with what they have learned and would be perfectly fine if they never did anything else… they like their exercise programs to “blend in” with their lifestyle and comfort levels.

Chameleons are very good at finding a program and sticking with it.  They may follow the same program, with positive progressive results, for several years!

They tend to gravitate towards consistent repetitive types of training that require little “thinking”, just shutting off the brain and DOING.  Sports and activities such as machine based bodybuilding routines, long distance running, and watching grass grow are best suited for your chameleon types.

Chameleons gravitate towards careers such as librarian or mail carrier.

They are more competent in the completion of activities, than the initiation of action.

Rapid change and anything overly dynamic or explosive makes them uncomfortable.

Then you’ll have other, Cat-Like people, who learn how to execute very complex exercises movements that require tremendous focus and concentration during their initial phase… SUPER FAST!

These clients or athletes can be taught how to perform Olympic lifts in less than 20 minutes, then they’re ready to do something else.  They want to be challenged EVERY single workout and like their exercise programs to make them uncomfortable.

Cats get bored with their training program if it doesn’t offer a challenge and actually benefit by changing exercises and programs every one to four weeks.  It’s not that these guys have “training ADD”, its that their highly adaptive nervous system needs a constant stream of challenges to foster growth… their strength, performance and muscle gaining results come to a grinding halt and they become stale very quickly.

They tend to gravitate towards training and sports that require a high level of awareness and focus, many of which tend to be fast moving or with high intensity.  Sports such as wrestling, sprinting, Olympic lifting and strongman are best suited for cat types.

Cats gravitate towards careers such as firemen, salesmen or Wall Street stockbroker.

They are more interested in achievement as opposed to safety.

Rapid change, danger and explosiveness gets them excited and fired up.

When designing training programs for yourself or your athletes you’ve got to consider what type of person you are dealing with, otherwise you’re going to end up very frustrated with your lack of results.

WHICH TYPE ARE YOU? 

 

Chameleons don’t want to flip tires, do “battling ropes” or box jumps.

They want to do leg presses, “Hammer” machines and jog for long distances… and they get their BEST results by following a program for very extended periods of time.

Cats don’t want to sit down… EVER, they hate machines and jogging.

They want to load Atlas Stones, press odd objects and throw things around the gym… and they get their BEST results by following a program for a few short weeks and then either change the exercises done, or parameters followed.

Here’s a program that utilizes strongman density training!

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55 Comments Add yours

  1. Charles
    May 9, 2011
    3:21 pm

    Hey Elliott Great read man very informative I believe I fall into the cat category. However I do have some chameleons(hope I spelled that right)?? This will be very helpful in creating programs that are beneficial.

    [Reply]

  2. Gary
    May 9, 2011
    3:31 pm

    I tend to think im more of a cat, but could be in the middle too. As Ive done both kinds of training. I’ve done lots of box jumps, cleans, presses, sprints, etc. I also have done long jogs and same workouts in my first 2 years of weight training.

    Basically started as a chamillion and turned into a cat.

    [Reply]

  3. Ana
    May 9, 2011
    3:39 pm

    Cats don’t want to sit down… EVER, they hate machines and jogging.

    That is me, exactly. I absolutely loathe jogging and other forms of “hamstering” in the gym. I hate machines and swear by barbells, kettlebells and challenging exercises. The best thing I found so far is a group class where the instructor comes up with a new workout every session. It never gets boring.

    [Reply]

    Elliot Reply:

    Where on earth did you find an instructor that could come up with a new workout every session?

    [Reply]

    ron blue Reply:

    dunno if u ever heard of it…some people haven’t and i actually stumbled upon it about a year ago on accident. the navy seals…sealfit.com…the daily wod’s are pretty much a different thing every single day..sometimes its maxing out on something followed by ALOT of high rep stuff..sometimes not..dunno just thought maybe u might wanna take a peep if you’ve never seen it before…i did it for a while when i was training for mma back in Illinois a few years back or so…the only thing though was that i lost ALOT of weight and strength but gaines super massive amounts of wind from the cardio stuff…cut up a little bit too but not what i had expected to…peace and blessings brotha!!! lemme know when that transformation comp comes ut homie!!

    [Reply]

  4. Randy
    May 9, 2011
    3:42 pm

    Well, I guess I’m a bit of both. While I like the “no thinking, just doing” routine, I tend to change my routine based on how my body feels that day. For example, I may be on a Leg day, but because I’m feeling agressive in the arm and shoulders, I’ll do them instead. And I hate running, jogging, etc… I will do elip machines or recumbant bike. Guess you’re going to have to come up with a few more classifications. LOL!!

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    yea, this is not written on any stone :)

    just a cool way to classify training types.

    [Reply]

  5. Sean
    May 9, 2011
    3:42 pm

    Was a chameleon when I was doing triathlons and the like. Now, I want to push, pull and throw heavy things on a daily basis!

    [Reply]

  6. Anastasia
    May 9, 2011
    3:43 pm

    Im Definitely a cat! I think i have tried every program out there! I’m joining every new thing…and following…and getting results! But my fabourite always will be bodyweight exercises! You can be so creative with this! I even use my daughter’s weight sometimes, when i exercise at home ;)

    [Reply]

  7. George
    May 9, 2011
    3:51 pm

    I am more cat than chameleon, about 75-25. It does fluctuate sometimes as well. The not thinking just doing routine is attractive when you want to clear our mind but feeling like I am going throw up when I am done in the gym is good, too.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    I have to agree about the mind clearing benefit of most
    Chameleon training! Thanks George!

    [Reply]

  8. Josh
    May 9, 2011
    3:54 pm

    I guess I’d be a cat… but I’m not a big fan of cats. How about I’ll be a Eurasian Lynx. ;o)

    [Reply]

  9. Aaron
    May 9, 2011
    3:57 pm

    I’m a cat. I love trying new exercises and tend to change around my training programs every 4 weeks or so. I get bored very easily doing the same thing week after week.

    [Reply]

  10. cam
    May 9, 2011
    4:08 pm

    Definitely a cat! no question about it. I can’t sit down for too long without being active, i love using freeweights and really weird objects like lifting up mini coopers :P Also if im going to do cardio in a workout it ABSOLUTELY HAS to be sprinting :) im not thaaaat bad at jogging but i get so bored.
    Cam :)

    [Reply]

  11. Bill
    May 9, 2011
    4:38 pm

    All cat! ( Even though I’m not really big on the animal) I do, however, try and stick it out for as long as I can ( 4-6 weeks) on the type of training that I’m doing (power,athletic,HYBRID,ect) That being said, I’m always changing around the exercises that I’m doing. I find it hard to go beyond 2-3 weeks without changing or tweeking something! As for jogging (or anything similar), I just can’t seem to do it without adding in a few sprints or jumping over things or even taking the unbeaten path through the woods or any other more challenging terrain!

    [Reply]

  12. Daniel
    May 9, 2011
    4:52 pm

    Well i’m more of a Chameleon and proud to be one ! That doesn’t necessarily mean that i don’t do hard-core workouts, but i DO care about safety & proper form. I love using compound movements and free-weight. But i also enjoy running for a long time & every now & again won’t hesitate to use a machine. I can sit down all day long and i won’t get bored.
    But my body just takes a long time to adapt to a workout so there’s no point in changing my workout all the time. I personally have better results without constantly changing exercises.
    People like me just have a bit of both chameleon and cat. But i don’t see why everyone seems to think being more of a cat is so COOL lol who really cares ? As long as you’re doing the right kind of workout to reach YOU’RE goals, there’s no point in trying to make stereotypes (that’s like saying your a hargainer and giving up before you even try to achieve something).
    I try to stay away from stereotypes, it sets you up for failure. Everyone is different !!!

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    YES! Thank you Daniel… I was waiting to hear from one of our
    Chameleons out there.

    What trumps even the proper exercise selection and programing
    for EVERYONE is detachment and honest self assessment!

    You know yourself, regardless if anyone thinks its “cool” or not…
    and as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, “This above all: to thine
    own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou
    canst not then be false to any man.”

    Thanks for contributing!

    [Reply]

  13. Izaak R
    May 9, 2011
    5:06 pm

    Ima hybrid of both depending on my goals for a certain period

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    :) good answer!

    [Reply]

  14. Denise
    May 9, 2011
    6:18 pm

    I am definitely a cat. I hate treadmills and stationary bikes. I have to be moving most of the time. I am one of those people who can’t even sit still for long. I often fidget when I have to sit for awhile. I have my favorite exercises that I like to do, but because I don’t want to become bored with my workout I am always changing it up. I also know the value of involving as many muscle groups as possible so I try to always cover my bases with my differing workouts. I am not a big fan of the “gym” environment since I like to do my own thing. I have my own “mini-gym” at home with alot of different workout aids.

    [Reply]

  15. John B
    May 9, 2011
    6:23 pm

    I agree with Izaak R, I’m a hybrid. I don’t mind doing machines here and there but not for extended periods. I don’t mind doing some of the same routine or having certain moves I fall back on but definitely enjoy new challenges.

    [Reply]

  16. Taiku Altergrund
    May 9, 2011
    6:23 pm

    honestly, i am a total cat. i need to be constantly challenged not just physically but mentally. it is why i love instruments like the piano which you never stop learning how to play. If i cant hold interest i cant keep going.

    [Reply]

  17. Jonny
    May 9, 2011
    6:29 pm

    Mostly cat, with chameleon tendencies. Love all explosive and dynamic movements, and only just started learning proper form of the olympic and power lifts recently. Learnt them all quickly, and love it. Fast, explosive, challenging. But having a program with those things in and following it through to the end to ensure I get stronger and get the results I want is high on my agenda too (I’m a textbook stereotypical hardgainer).
    Great post!

    [Reply]

  18. Adam
    May 9, 2011
    6:37 pm

    Cat for sure, not that I am a little hesitant to say so cause I am not much of a fan of cats but that besides the point. Strongman, quick moving that training gets me all pumped up and excited for training!

    [Reply]

  19. Isaac
    May 9, 2011
    6:42 pm

    I’ld have to agree with youngblood about being HYBRID !!!! With one very important addition…… No matter the goal and or program, I trial like a SAVAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    H4L-
    WILD I

    [Reply]

  20. brian garcia
    May 9, 2011
    6:44 pm

    hmmm, I usually find wut works and stick to it as long as I keep progressing. I only exchange certain excercises or routines when I find something more effective. I don’t care for treadmills or cardio machines, except the ROM. I love deadlifts and probalbly wlll keep hitn them for as long as I can keep getting stronger at it…or my arms fall off LOL!

    [Reply]

  21. Isaac
    May 9, 2011
    6:46 pm

    Wether it’s a TRIAL or TRIAN (my above typo) I BUST MY BUTT ON A VERY INTENSE LEVEL LIKE A FURRY LIZZARD !!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    “furry lizzard” that’s great! lol

    [Reply]

  22. scott gough
    May 9, 2011
    8:11 pm

    Yo Elliot,
    I fall under the cat – ergory, love to be challenged each work out.

    [Reply]

  23. Philip
    May 9, 2011
    8:22 pm

    cat totally

    [Reply]

  24. Sean M
    May 9, 2011
    8:46 pm

    I’m with my tribe boys on this one. I know I hit the workout like a cat and stay structured to what I am doing, but that chameleon comes out because I always like to try new and different variations or workouts to keep my mind and body guessing!!

    [Reply]

  25. kenneth
    May 9, 2011
    9:38 pm

    I AM NOT A CAT OR A CHAMELON.. I AM A MONKEY!!!!!

    “monkey see.. monkey do!”

    if i see someone doing something, i will try it out in my next workout.. if i “feel” it works, i will continue doing it.. if it dont, i will find something else to do..
    I have some few basic exercises that i will do in every work out session. (almost every).. but i have only being working out for about a year.. so there is still a lots of variations, and new exercises i havent tryied yet.. so everytime i see something new to me, i just have to try it it.. So i kinda have a basic program (split) and then i mix it up by what i see some of the other guys is doing..

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    cool… i’m a bit of a monkey as well kenneth!

    thanks!

    [Reply]

  26. Tj
    May 9, 2011
    9:49 pm

    I would have to say I am more a cat type than anything else. Even at home during the day, before I go to work at 3 pm, I am up and working in the yard instead of watching tv or other usless crap. Digging up rocks, chopping down bush, pushing wheel barrow loads of dirt up hill and then dumping. These all get the endorphins going! At the gym, I love doing decline bench press and lateral shoulder raises and finish with sprints (HIIT) on the treadmill for about 12 minutes. I also do a lot of pushups as I feel these help me in my yardwork, and I do a LOT of hard work, gardening, etc, in the yard. It all pays off in the end!

    [Reply]

  27. Troy
    May 9, 2011
    11:12 pm

    Cat. I’ve done a lot of research over the westside barbell method an I’m defiantly going to start using there program or a similar version of it. I like to vary my exercises an such so this should be a good program for me an I’m really exspecting stregth gains from this program.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    you’ll really enjoy to frequent change of max effort lifts troy.

    thanks for your comment!

    [Reply]

  28. Pedro Sepulveda
    May 9, 2011
    11:37 pm

    Hate chameleons, means that in your classifation type I’m a CAT for as long as thirty years. Cheers

    [Reply]

  29. Matt
    May 10, 2011
    1:48 am

    Wow, great post guys! Possibly one of the best posts i’ve read about bodybuilding. Period. Everything makes so much sense now. Starting doing Vince’s program last year, and never really liked the constantly changing rep ranges and routines (still got decent enough results though). After switching to Sean Nalewanyjs program which focuses on high intensity and consistency, I found my results were better and I enjoyed it a lot more. And the whole time I was thinking Sean’s program was the ‘be all end all’ when really it was just what was working for me.
    Now I realise that everybody is just different. Thanks.
    (PS: these are definate sterotypes though. I’m a charmeleon, but hate machines and LOVE free weights)

    [Reply]

  30. mike
    May 10, 2011
    1:48 am

    You do realise that cats sleep a lot right? I mean, look at lions… anyway, I see your point. I’m a cat for sure. I hate jogging, but love to sprint. I love flipping tyres at my local rugby club. I love dead lifts and thrusters, squats etc. Putting a 70litre pack on my back, hiking in the mountains for a week in all weather is what I call relaxation, not lying in a hammock reading a book all weekend, and then heading to a office cubicle… uggh!! I also need lots of sleep, albeit at night. Unlike lions ha ha.

    [Reply]

  31. mike
    May 10, 2011
    1:53 am

    umm… which one would we rather look like?? AThe skinny runner in the top picture, or the ripped dude throwing the tyre?? Meeoowww…ahem…RROOOOAAARRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  32. Isaac
    May 10, 2011
    8:59 am

    In reference th e Monkey post…. BOTTOM LINE I AM WORKING ON THE BEST VERSION OF ME LIKE NEVER BEFORE IN MY LIFE !!!! So maybe I train like a FURRY LIZARD THAT DOES FOR SURE EATS BANANAS !!!!! However you want to slice it, I train HYBRID TO BECOME BIOLOGICALY SUPERIOR !!!!!
    ;P

    WILD I

    [Reply]

  33. Per
    May 10, 2011
    1:01 pm

    Personally, I don’t get why people enjoy standing on the treadmill watching the muted re-run of Days of our Lives when I get to the gym, only to be staring at a muted re-run of Project Runway when I leave.

    I do lot’s of weird stuff in the gym, use equipment like it wasn’t originally intended etc, much thanks to Nick Nilson, the mad scientist, and you guys.

    That said, I have a period ahead of me now training for a triatlon (olympic distance, so nothing extreme) which kind of puts me in the Chameleon category.

    I wonder however if you (Elliot) could maybe do a post about your own training for the mud run, (which was a bit more long distance if I remember correctly) which requires a bit more endurance, but without starting to look like a POW as many marathon runners do. (I guess that won’t happen too fast for you though… ;O) )

    How you combine endurance training gains with strength/muscle keeping/minimal loss, I mean.

    [Reply]

  34. Josh
    May 10, 2011
    2:13 pm

    I’m a CAT! I love wrestling, BJJ, and lifting heavy crazy stuff. I love doing work and thinking of it as training… shoveling snow is the best! I HATE RUNNING. This week is “Day 21-28″ of Lean Hybrid Muscle which means I’m on the sprint cycles and I’m not looking forward to it but it’s because I hate it and I’m not good at it that I’m going to hit this workout hard. If I suck at it, it’s probably because I’m not good at it… and that’s not good enough for me.

    [Reply]

    Jose Alvarado Reply:

    On the sprint cycles ur suppose to choose one or do all a, b,c, d.

    [Reply]

  35. Dustin
    May 10, 2011
    2:20 pm

    I use to be a chameleon because I tried to mimic everything in the magazines. Unrealistic training and diet templates led me to grow, but I was not as strong as I wanted to be.
    Now I am a big cat. Short, intense, violent attacks in the weightroom with very specific exercises. Abbreviated training with the big movements.
    Plenty of protein (never saw a big cat chase a bowl of noodles). With some veggies and fruit to round off the nutrition I finally feel like a big cat.
    Not only big but strong to boot!

    [Reply]

  36. Nathan
    May 10, 2011
    2:25 pm

    I’m a mother fucking cat but I don’t mind jogging to lower my resting heart rate. I never knew how fun lifting weights could be. I hate it when I have a full day to myself and I would blast the deadlifts as soon as I wake up but I wait till later in the day just to wake me up. I get so excited to lift more than I did last time!

    [Reply]

  37. KurtJJ
    May 10, 2011
    7:00 pm

    Man, I actually thought this blog was going to teach me how to get a thicker neck and thicker wrists. I was looking forward to it….

    [Reply]

  38. Tyler
    May 10, 2011
    9:48 pm

    I believe that i am a cat. I absolutely want to get bigger thicker muscle, but i do have so chameleon aspects as well. I do want to have a thinner waist and abs, but i am all about gaining strength and muscle. Id much rather be doing heavy lifts and presses than jogging or doing box jumps and stuff like that. I am a CAT!!

    [Reply]

  39. feraz
    May 10, 2011
    9:52 pm

    its true, if you gat a dollar, you can have a change.

    [Reply]

  40. Prabath
    May 11, 2011
    3:55 am

    i guess i fall under “cat”. and my favorite workouts are mostly body weight but i tend to modify it a bit ….

    [Reply]

  41. Tim Kirkpatrick
    May 11, 2011
    4:48 am

    That was a great analogy. I am definitely a cat! I don’t like sitting around waiting for the next set. I just feel like I’m wasting time at the gym. That’s why I don’t really like doing the heavy lifts waiting 2-3 minutes. I prefer super set training, even just two opposing muscle group exercises. The most muscular I have ever been was when I was doing this for 3 sets x 8-10 reps. I cut my gym time from 2 hrs to 45 minutes or an hour.

    I love incorporating the strong man movements in at the end with low RI to get in some HIT cardio. Love the Farmer’s & Keg carries, only at the gym I use DB’s.

    [Reply]

  42. James
    May 11, 2011
    6:47 am

    Used to be a chameleon, but I grew bored of treadmill jogging months ago (soon after I started exercising). I like plyometrics and strongman type training now, so I guess I fall into the cat category now :) For what its worth, I do still enjoy increasing weight/reps with basic repetitive exercises over periods of time – its a great way to monitor strength gains

    [Reply]

  43. Randy
    May 12, 2011
    12:49 pm

    Totally a cat. I love my Rollerblades, but about 1 week after getting my 1st pair, I started skating stairs. About a week after that, I learned how to “grind” railings. Then started playing on a dirt bike (bicycle) and doing what is now called freestyle.
    I’ve been in martial arts since I was 12, and at 40+ I would like to start leaning “loop kicks”. Most people think I’m nuts for even trying these things, but to me they are just fun!

    [Reply]

  44. David
    May 14, 2011
    6:51 pm

    I was a cat, training at home, my way. But I’ve now decided to be a chameleon for a while, after a powerlifter helped out my squat form at a local gym and offered to coach me on a few lifts. So I’ve dedicated the next few months to focus on only 6 movements and get awesome at them.

    However, if I do get bored at any point, I’ll use my caveman-freestyle workout to free my mind – run to the nearest wood and do random combos of pushups, pullups on trees and throwing around logs and rocks – always makes me feel better!

    [Reply]

  45. Miguel
    May 24, 2011
    11:37 am

    im in the cat category, i train hard. i got a iron will and wants result,
    i hate jogging, but i do it anyway i need that type of mental challenge,

    [Reply]

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