Fitness First asked a selection of its 170,000 members about their gym habits in a bid to understand the reasons why visits can drop occasionally. In doing so the gym chain, which has 68 clubs in the UK, has revealed some of the best reasons members have used for not working out as much.
"My hamster died", "I didn't have my headphones with me" and "I needed to wash my hair" are just some of the excuses Brits have used to justify losing their motivation at the gym.
The best includes everything from "I didn't want to spoil my embellished nail art" "I had an allergic reaction to the gym" to "my wife didn't want me getting any hotter before our holiday!"
When it comes to the most popular time for storytelling, the more creative reasons tend to start on a Friday as the weekend kicks off.
Kate Toland, Head of Marketing, said "Britons shouldn't feel too guilty for making excuses when it comes to health and fitness, after all, it's our survival instinct to hunt food and conserve energy - not exert ourselves. Using rather candid reasons, like the ones we've heard, to avoid doing something we know is good for us could be a hangover from that prehistoric way of living."
"Whilst members have shared some imaginative excuses with us we are also seeing an increase in visitation figures year on year, showing Britons want to get away from their caveman instincts. It's our job to keep members focused on their goals which is why we've enlisted the help of our experts to develop a new customised fitness tool to help members monitor their progress and encourage them to stay on track."
Below is a summary of the most creative reasons, revealed by members when they were asked what had prompted them to miss a session or not visit the gym as much, over the last month:
"I couldn't make today's session because I needed to get home and check a parcel had arrived" - Bloomsbury, London
"I couldn't pick up weights because my embellished nail art would chip off so I skipped it" - Solihull
"A fortune teller advised me not to exercise this month" - Bath
"I'd had such a stressful day, I needed chocolate" - Exeter
"My wife didn't want me getting any hotter before our holiday" - Oxford Circus, London
"I was allergic to the gym!" - Basingstoke
"I had to go home to get my peanut butter" - Tottenham Court Road, London
"I didn't want to have to do more clothes washing that week" - Clapham Junction, London
"I didn't take the right trainers to do squats in" - Stirchley, Birmingham
"I didn't want to over-train" - Streatham, London
"I couldn't find my gym card" - York
"I had one biscuit so figured I should finish the packet" - Romford
"My favourite TV show was on that night so I didn't do the class" - Ipswich
"The class made my hair go frizzy" - Cannock
Professor Stuart Biddle, who has worked with Fitness First on a report around the science behind motivation, comments "There is a common misconception about what motivates us to exercise, and why we don't maintain good behaviours. Most of us mistakenly believe that when we fail to stick to our good intentions, it's because we lack willpower. But the reality is that we have much less control over our motivation than we think."
In a bid to help maintain motivation and avoid the need for excuses, Fitness First has developed a new fitness tool to keep its members on track to avoid falling off the health and fitness wagon.
CustomFit is a unique digital training system that allows members to create personalised workouts, set goals and to track progress. Each member is asked four simple questions about their training preferences which enables CustomFit to generate a selection of tailored workouts that they will enjoy and not feel the need to avoid.
To help new and existing members stay motivated and discourage them from excusing themselves from the gym, Lee Matthews, Fitness Director at Fitness First has these top tips:
- Set yourself goals - whether it's a competition in six months' time or a special occasion next year, always set an end goal that is in sight.
- Set monthly short-term targets - it could be a longer running distance, inches from your body or simply being able to lift more weight, setting timescales is a great way to maintain motivation.
- Don't fall off the wagon after one day - take each day at a time. Don't worry if you don't stick to the eating plan or the workout plan all of the time. If you have a bad day, don't let it go into a downwards spiral.
- Start some good habits -being fit and healthy is a lifestyle choice so follow motivational people and watch videos to keep you focused.