How To Ensure You Never Avoid Going To The Gym, According To Science


Going to bed no later than 9.44pm, telling someone else about your plans – and packing your gym gear two-and-a-half hours in advance are among the best ways to ensure you don’t back out of exercising, a study has found.

Having three sets of exercise clothes, taking two days off a week and going to the gym first thing in the morning to ‘get it out of the way’ are other tips people swear by to stick with their fitness plans.

The poll of 2,000 adults found 54 per cent of people reckon they need to exercise more often than they currently do, with a lack of time (44 per cent), motivation (43 per cent) and money (18 per cent) named as the biggest barriers.


But 37 per cent struggle more during January than at any other time of the year, with 56 per cent putting it down to the dark mornings and evenings making it harder to get going.

Andy Birch, Product and Fitness Director at health club group Virgin Active, which commissioned the research said:

One of the most important things when it comes to exercising is being motivated – if you aren’t, it can be easy to find any little excuse to talk yourself out of going.

We all know January can be the hardest time of year to get yourself motivated thanks to the Christmas hangover, the short, dark days and the cold weather.

One of the best ways to do this is to find a workout that works for you. Whether that’s classes, gym, swim or a mixture of all three.

When you’re engaged with your workout, you’re more likely to remain committed to keeping fit and being a healthier you.

Dr Andrea Baronchelli said:

Reviewing the data, it was clear that components such as the harsh weather, being more organised and working out with a friend all impacted the British public’s motivation levels.

Therefore, we playfully combined them into a formula to create the perfect January.

The study also found that 55 per cent of gym goers who reckon they are good at sticking with their plans swear by going to bed early to make sure they aren’t too tired.

They also tell at least one person of their plans so it’s harder to back out and have three different sets of fitness clothes, so they always have something to wear.


Other tips include leaving two days between sessions and heading to the gym straight from the office, so you don’t have a chance to sit down.

38 per cent also find it easier to exercise with a friend – as it means you’ll be letting them down if you pull out of plans.

But eight in ten admit to coming up with an excuse to get out of exercising, with being too tired the most popular. Others avoid going to the gym because it’s too hot or cold, they have a hangover or have been left to go alone by a friend they usually go with.

‘It’s the weekend’, ‘my gym kit is still dirty’ and ‘my battery has died so I can’t listen to music’ are other excuses people use to explain their absence at the gym.