I was thinking about this today as I ran on the treadmill. There was a discussion on the "Fat chicks" site about reasons people work out and what they "count" as workouts. I am also a member of Runners World, but I don't post there that often, mostly because of the Type 1's that I'm about to talk about.
This could probably apply to any hard core fitness people, but it is really pronounced in the running community and I find it interesting as someone who was NOT fit until recently. Now some people fit more then one category, but a lot of them fall into the following.
Type 1 - these are the runners who run just because they love to run. They don't worry about time and distance for the most part. A lot of them have been runners since they were teens. They don't wear all the "gear" like watches and DriFit shirts. In fact they tend to scorn them. You wouldn't catch them DEAD in a gym and they take pride in running in freezing temps and throwing snot rockets around. They tend to openly mock other type runners. Many don't "look" like a runner. They also proudly own that they drink and eat things greasy hamburgers and fries. I'm willing to bet that most of these types have never worried a day in their lives about their weight. Most of them have never cross-trained in their lives.
Type 2 - These are the hippie types. They run to celebrate their lives and Mother Nature. A lot of them are trail runners and they tend to be the barefoot runners. They'll stop mid-run to take a pic and then immediately post to their Facebook page with some inspiring quote about how wonderful and beautiful the world is. They also don't tend to wear GPS watches. They usually take pretty good care of themselves although lighting up a joint would not be unusual. These are the ones that talk about getting back to basics and running for the joy of it and you almost never catch these types in certified races. Some of these types are late in life runners that may be cancer survivors.
Type 3 - These are the Yuppie Fit! They'll run outside, but many times you find them at the gym. Regardless of where they run, they have all the latest gear. They spend hours getting the BEST (and usually most expensive) sneakers and watches and clothing and water bottles. They tend to "EAT CLEAN" to the maximum. They know all the latest research on what is good for you and what isn't. They measure their food and know PRECISELY how much fat and protein and carbs they are eating. They also cross-train and can talk in detail about injuries and while they need to take exactly 3 weeks and 2 days off and instead take spinning class because of their Runner's Knee or other ailment. They tend to be beautiful and fit.
Type 4 - And then there these types - like ME. They started running to get in shape. Often because their doctor told them to start exercising. Some were fit as teenagers but have spent the last 20 years getting fat and droopy. They are by the seat of their pants people. They will ALWAYS have their chest straps on so they can tell exactly how many calories they are burning. They mostly run to keep their weight in check. When they first start out, they are wearing crappy ass sneakers they bought at Walmart. They ask stupid questions to other runners and really annoy Type 1's by wondering how many miles they "should" run after eating 2 pieces of pizza. They enter every race and talk nervously about not wanting to be last. They take classes at the gym and get confused about cardio versus weights. They do a lot of reading - and get even more confused.
I totally see myself as a type 4. If I could guarantee that I could stop running and stay this weight without effort, would I still run? I think I would. But would you catch me running 14 miles on the treadmill this morning as images of the pizza I will eat tonight dance in my head? I can pretty confidently say "nope".
So there you have the types as I see them. Did I miss any? Let me know!