Which Ninja Turtle Are You?

I have been writing for Nerd Fitness for 19 months now, and I’ve published 267 articles that cover pretty much every nerd subject under the sun.  While driving to meet up with my friend Jason at CoreBody in Decatur for some workout advice yesterday (if you live in Atlanta and you’re looking for a great trainer by the way, Jason’s your guy), I realized I had never written a single thing about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

For that, dear Nerd Fitness reader, I apologize.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up with the Ninja Turtles: I watched the cartoon, owned the first two movies on VHS (the third one sucked though), wore Ninja Turtles pajamas, adored TMNT2: the Arcade Game, and I can still do the dance from Vanilla Ice’s cameo in the second film.

“Go ninja go ninja go!”

With this being a safe haven of nerdy, fitness enthusiasts, I thought today would be a great opportunity to analyze the intricacies of the personalities of each turtle and how they can apply to your own fitness training. After that, we can discuss which personality most resembles your training style, or which turtle you’d like to model yourself after.

Oh, and don’t bother telling me which turtle is the best, because we all know that answer.


The Turtle: Leonardo is the leader of the Ninja Turtles: he’s slightly older, wiser, and studies harder to perfect his talents that any of the others.  Always trying to learn as much as possible from Master Splinter, this blue-masked turtle takes his life very seriously and tries to lead by example.  Although loves his brothers, Leo often worries that they don’t train with enough dedication.  He is generally the calmest of the bunch, but that doesn’t mean you should piss him off – this badass will light you up like a Christmas tree with his two katana blades if you make him angry.

The Human: You are Leonardo, and you take your fitness training very seriously.  You wake up at the same time each morning, go to bed at the same time each night, always eat healthy structured meals, and train with absolute conviction.  You scour the internet for fitness blogs, you read any book or magazine that will help you along your journey, and your time spent exercising is always considered an opportunity to push harder or learn more.

Although you still have fun with with your friends, you eat well on the weekends, you’re the responsible one in your group, and you try to set examples for those around you by making good decisions at all times.  You’re level-headed, take criticism well, and are always looking for ways to better yourself.


The Turtle: Don is a ninja who can wear purple and get away with it.  Using his bo staff, Don will pick apart any enemy with surgical precision.  Widely considered to be the smartest Ninja Turtle, Donatello is a known for his skills as a scientist, inventor, engineer, and technological genius.  Because he’s so damn smart, he does what he can to avoid conflict when possible, instead solving situations with his cunning intellect.  He loves fixing things, hanging out with his brothers, and devising plans to defeat the evil Shredder.

How you train: You are Donatello, and you are one ANALytical s.o.b.  Before you walk into a gym or begin a run, you have a specific game plan – exactly how many sets, reps, and exercises (or how far and fast you need to run) in order to be better than last time.  You probably have an excel sheet on your computer that has chronicled your last few months of training with graphs to show your progress, strengths, and weaknesses.  You count every single calorie you eat on SparkPeople.com or DailyBurn.com, and you probably weigh yourself daily.

You’re always looking for a way to improve, whether it’s new equipment that can shave a few seconds off your time, a new exercise that can build muscle with greater efficiency, or a minuscule change to your diet that can drop your body fat by a percentage point.


The Turtle: Raph is known for his quick temper, sarcastic deadpan humor, and ability to do some serious damage with his deadly pair of sai.  This red-masked turtle is incredibly aggressive, never hesitating to throw the first punch.  He often chooses to go out and do things on his own, which can get him into trouble when he bites off more than he can chew by overestimating his abilities.  Stubborn as a mule and known for going to emotional extremes, Raph has a tendency to go absolutely berserk while in battle. Don’t make him angry.

How you train: You are Raphael, and you like to train alone.  When at the gym or out running, you go into “the zone:” headphones in, block out everything around you, focusing only on the task at hand.  You have the ability to push through pain and limitations, often accomplishing feats that you previously thought impossible.  If you’re a weight lifter, it means you can pump yourself up to lift heavier than normal; if you’re a runner, it means you always have something left in the tank for those last thirty seconds.

However, you’re also quite stubborn, which means you have a hard time giving any less than 100% and will accept nothing less, which means you’re more prone to over-training and injury.  You don’t really take criticism very well, as you’d rather learn the hard way by trying it yourself before learning it from somebody else.


The Turtle: Youngest of the bunch, Michelangelo “is a party dude!”  Mikey tries not to take life (or his training) too seriously, but that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover – he’ll still own you with his nunchakus.  Light-hearted, friendly, and non-confrontational, this orange-masked reptile enjoys spending his time skateboarding through sewers, reading comic books, and cracking jokes.  Mike has an “an unparalleled level of sensitivity to the feelings of those around him and, as a result, feels a very real and serious need to help those less fortunate.”  Thanks Wikipedia!

Oh, and nobody loves pizza more than him.

The Trainer: You are Michelangelo, and you are a free spirit when it comes to your training.  You’d prefer to get your exercise through rock-climbing, yoga, and surfing rather than spend one minute in a stuffy gym with a bunch of stiffs.  If you’re a runner, you do so barefoot, without a stopwatch, and you do it because you enjoy it.

You try not to take life too seriously either – sure you eat healthy (and natural) when possible, but if somebody put a plate of hot wings or cookies in front of you, you’d still eat them.  The world is a giant playground – the sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and you’re smiling.

Which turtle are you?

In the comments, I don’t want you to debate over which turtle is the best, because we all know it’s clearly Raphael.

Instead, I want you to think of which turtle above most closely resembles your training method (or your planned training method).

Here’s me – At the end of the day, above all, I’m Raphael – I like to train alone and can often push myself too hard. Though I also resemble Leo: I try to lead by example, I’m always learning, and I do what I can to take my training seriously.  I’m trying to add in more of Michelangelo’s outdoor training, and I want to be more analytical of my workouts like Donatello.

Your turn: who’s your favorite Ninja Turtle, and which one do you most resemble?


PS – Here’s the cartoon theme song…sigh….memories….


photo 1, photo 2-5

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